Boston Massachusetts, described by the Greater Boston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau as “America’s Walking City”, is full of sites and attractions (both historical and just for fun) for local and out of town visitors. Boston is one of the oldest cities in the country, and the roads can be confusing, but if you spend a few minutes getting to know the subway and bus routes, your journey can easily take you anywhere in the city.
We ventured out with our kids on a beautiful 70 degree day (on the last day of March), which for Boston, was a day for all locals to have their first real chance to get outside and enjoy the sunshine after a long winter. One thing to know if you’re a tourist in New England, the weather is changeable and unpredictable. In the early spring and late fall, it can be warm in the 70’s one day, and snowing the next. During the summer, it can be warm inland, and cooler near the ocean, with both cool and breezy days, as well as hot and humid days. We started our adventure at the top of the Prudential Building, viewing the city from every angle, on the 52nd floor. A fabulous self-guided tour for all visitors, both adults and children, gave us a visual overview on where everything is located in the city, and where we could locate the South End, North End, Boston Common, waterfront, China Town, Fenway area, and we also had a great view of the famous Charles River and Cambridge.
Once we had a good idea of “what was where”, we ventured down under to the subway, and traveled to the Boston Common. Because we grew up in the suburbs of Boston, we were familiar with the story of Paul Revere, the local history of the Boston Tea Party, and famous 1775 skirmishes between the Patriots and the British Red Coats. We decided it would be a fun way for our kids to learn about the famous people and buildings by walking the Freedom Trail. From the common, we followed a painted trail which took us by the new and old state houses, famous burial grounds, and we learned the history of many of the old buildings and about famous resident Patriot soldiers along the way.
A mile and one half into the tour, we stopped and meandered through Faneuil Hall . Located near the water front, Faneuil Hall is a mecca of shops, fresh food vendors, street performers and a large variety of sidewalk restaurant/waterholes. Be prepared to walk over bumpy cobblestones, so wear comfy footwear, as high heals will get broken (along with your ankles!). Though we quit the Freedom Trail here, we could have continued for another mile to see Paul Revere’s house, then walked to the city of Charlsetown to see the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution Museum.
Instead, we decided to take the kids on a shorter walk from Faneuil Hall to the Boston Aquarium. We were in awe of the jelly fish attraction, and spent a relaxing two-hour visit enjoying the huge 3 story fish tank, seeing the penguins, and laughing at the antics of the sea lions.
Nearby, we ate at Joe’s American Bar and Grill. Remember I said it was the first chance for locals to get out and enjoy a 70 degree day? Well, on this Friday night, everywhere we went the bars and restaurants were full as soon as the 5:00 rush started, so plan to get out early (or make reservations) to avoid long waits for a table. Our waitress Megan, took great care of us as we rested our dog tired feet and enjoyed a terrific family friendly meal, while enjoying the view of the harbor.
Though it seemed as though we walked from one end of the city to the other, we didn’t even make a dent in all there was to do in the city. If you are visiting for a few days, buy a Go Boston Card to save money on multiple city attractions. Try the foods from around the world in the Italian North End, Irish South End, China Town, Vietnamese and Korean neighborhoods, as well as all of the typical local offerings of a big city. Visit museums, take a Duck tour, take a swan-boats ride on the Common, go to Theatre District for comedy, shows, mystery plays and be sure to see the crazy Blue Man Group performance.
If you can take public transit, you’ll avoid paying through the nose for parking garages. Boston roads can be tricky to drive, so leave your car at the hotel and take the subways! You’ll find that Boston is an enjoyable, friendly city, full of treasures to be discovered.
Boston tourism & sightseeing