Boston, Massachusetts is an old colonial city full of new world energy, thrilling revolutionary history that changed the world and hundreds of attractions that visitors and locals love. With its fascinating museums, famous market and brewery and beautiful harbor, it’s worth spending a few days in Boston. Here are nine attractions visitors shouldn’t leave Boston without seeing.
The Freedom Trail:
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walk that departs from the park Street Church and ends at the statue of Paul Revere. It can take from 90 minutes to three hours and gives visitors an up close and personal view of the city as well as important moments in American history. It passes many historical landmarks where the American Revolution and the future United States took shape. There are 16 significant historic sites including the USS Constitution, Bunker Hill, Faneuil Hall and the fabulous market, King’s Chapel and Granary burial grounds, the Boston Common, and the Old State House site of the Boston Massacre.
Museum of Science:
The Museum of Science has many exhibitions that will fascinate children and adults. The Discovery Center is for children up to eight years along with their accompanying adult to participate in many interactive, fun activities where they discover science through play. There is a rare Triceratops skeleton in the museum as well as a theater of electricity with the world’s largest Van de Graaff generator and indoor lightning storms. The museum has a planetarium and IMAX theater. There are over 100 animals to see, many of which were rescued from dangerous situations. Exhibitions include the Current Science and Technology Center with live presentations of cutting edge technology, a to-scale solar system with only the Sun, Mercury and Venus on the museum grounds, and the other planets somewhere in the city. The Duck Tours also leave from the museum.
The Duck Tour:
The Duck Tour of Boston is conducted on a WWII amphibious landing vehicle. It is a completely different way to see the city and harbor. After a tour of the city on the streets, it cruises right into the water at the harbor on the Charles River for a harbor cruise and a view of the harbor islands. The tour guides give impersonations of famous Bostonians, and the whole experience is great entertainment. Visitors see all the major Boston landmarks and learn interesting and fun facts about Boston.
Harvard and MIT
These world famous universities are just across the Charles River in Cambridge, MA. The Harvard University campus is beautiful in the summer and fall and has several excellent art museums including the Fogg Art Museum for Western art, the Busch-Reisinger for art from Central and Northern European and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum for Asian and Islamic art. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology grooms engineers and computer scientist in its many I.M. Pei and Frank Gehry designed buildings. Visitors see installations from students on artificial intelligence, holography and robotics. It’s worth a walk through the campus to see the many examples of classical and contemporary architecture.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace:
One of the first urban historic shopping districts, Faneuil Hall has great shopping with specialty shops, flea markets and malls as well as landmarks, historic sites and food stalls. It includes the Quincy Market, North Market and South Market. The hall has seen political demonstrations along with the market since the 18th century. Now there are world famous street performers including clowns, musicians, mimes, magician and jugglers. There are also seasonal events for the Fourth of July, a Street Performer Festival and a tree lighting ceremony. It is on the Freedom Trail and a five minute walk from Paul Revere’s House, the Children’s Museum and the New England Aquarium.
The New England Aquarium:
A visit to the New England Aquarium is like being under the sea without getting wet. There are coral reefs from the Bahamas, the tropical Pacific and Australia. See the poisonous stonefish and lionfish, touch sharks and rays in the touch tank and interact with the harbor seals and Northern fur seals behind the scenes with the trainers. Other exhibits include the Amazon Rainforest with piranhas and anacondas in the Freshwater Gallery, the four-story Giant Ocean Tank with sharks and sea turtles, the penguin exhibit with over 80 rockhopper, African and little blue penguins. There are Whale Watching tours on a high-speed catamaran offered by the aquarium. They take three to four hours and have naturalists and educators onboard. The aquarium also has the largest IMAX 3D technology screen in New England and offers unforgettable shows that take visitors deep under the sea.
The John F. Kennedy Library:
Located on Columbia Point, it is an architectural marvel by I.M. Pei. It houses the original papers and correspondence from the Kennedy years including a lot of previously unpublished material. It not only holds presidential papers, it also has personal items and artifacts from the Kennedy era. Visitors get first-hand information about the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy/Nixon debates and the space program. There are also displays and paraphernalia about the First Lady, Jacqueline and other members of the Kennedy family.
A beautiful street of old brownstone houses, modern style buildings and classical architecture in the Back Bay area, Newbury Street is the high-end shopping area in Boston. It has a mix of funky salons, elegant boutiques and trendy galleries as well as good restaurants and cafes. It is a fun place for a leisurely stroll, people watching and possibly a little shopping. The Boston Public Garden end of Newbury Street has the most expensive boutiques and they gradually become less costly and more bohemian when the street reaches Massachusetts Avenue. Called one of the most expensive streets in the world, it is a very attractive street with window displays, cases for fresh flowers and sidewalk sales.
The Sam Adams Brewery:
Owned by the Boston Beer Company, the Sam Adams Brewery offers tours and beer tasting. It is the second largest brewer in the U.S. They produce twelve varieties of beer as well as some seasonal beers, and visitors can taste most of them. Guides explain the brewing process and give samples of the ingredients including the hops and grains. For those who don’t drink beer, there is root beer.
Boston has many more attractions that inform, entertain or are simply beautiful to see. The locals recognize the many charms of the city, local countryside, harbor and sea and welcome visitors to explore and enjoy all Boston has to offer.
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