Destination Guides


Boston

General   Weather   Airports   Attractions   Kids Attractions   Events   Restaurants   Shopping   Nightlife  

Introduction Region

Boston under the moon ©Pear Biter

As one of the oldest settlements in the USA and the largest city in New England, Boston has a wealth of history and culture to offer travellers. Despite the serious academic and historical pedigree of the city, however, the huge student population from more than 50 colleges and universities situated in the greater Boston area ensures a youthful vibrancy that adds a totally different dimension to the historic charm of the city.


Cambridge lies across the Charles River and is the largest college town in the world, synonymous with Harvard University, founded in 1638. The neat ivy-covered brick buildings of the university grounds, as well as the labyrinth of twisting streets in Boston centre and the historical buildings in the old-world neighbourhoods are best explored on foot. Boston refers to itself as the 'Walking City' and is a remarkably compact city that is centred on the country's oldest public park, Boston Common. The Information Centre in Boston Common is the starting point for two of the city's main attractions, which are in fact walking tours: The Freedom Trail explores the city's revolutionary past and the birth of the modern American Republic, while the Black Heritage Trail highlights Boston's place in black American history and its role in anti-slavery.


Boston is an easy blend of historic charm and modern convenience, with a busy street life and beautiful architecture, green parks and gardens, skyscrapers and modern freeways, museums, galleries and colonial churches. Boston is home to the first public library, the first public school and the first subway system in the US; it is the site of the Boston Tea Party that started the Revolutionary War; and is the location of the Cheers bar, made famous by the popular TV sitcom. Boston is also the city from whence both planes that crashed into the World Trade Centre on September 11th, 2001 originated, and many of those who died were local residents - this tragedy hit the city particularly hard, and has only added to the famed patriotism of Bostonians.


Climate Info

Boston has a continental climate with very changeable weather patterns such as wide temperature swings in a matter of days, and unseasonal snowfalls. Summers (June to August) are usually sunny, hot and humid, with temperatures in July hitting averages of 82°F (28°C). Winters, by contrast, are bitterly cold, windy, wet and snowy, with temperatures in January averaging between 22°F (-6°C) and 35°F (2°C). Boston averages 42 inches (108cm) of snowfall annually, much of it deposited in northeasterly storms. The best time to travel to Boston is in late spring or early autumn, when the weather is warm and pleasant. Autumn is particularly lovely when New England's trees wear their colourful fall foliage.


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Getting Around

Boston's transport network consists of the country's oldest subway system, buses, trolley buses, ferries around the harbour and the commuter rail. For getting around the Boston-Cambridge area the subway is the best as it is easy to use, fast and safe. It serves most of the city and on the whole visitors will have little use for the bus network, which is cheaper but more confusing for newcomers. Buses operate from 5am to 11.30pm and the subway until around 1am, and a 'Night Owl' bus service has been introduced to provide transport along main bus routes and parallel to subway lines on Friday and Saturday nights until 2.30am. Taxis are plentiful but expensive, although water taxis are popular as a novel way to explore the city. Licensed cabs are best found at cabstands (usually near hotels) or can be reserved by phone; they are metered and provide receipts. Boston is a motorist's nightmare and there is no need to rent a car while in the city, unless planning excursions.


Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)

LocationThe airport is situated four miles (6km) northeast of Boston.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from mid-March to first Sunday in November).
Contacts

Tel: +1 800 235 6426.

Transfer terminals

A free shuttle bus services the four terminals.

Getting to city

The Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority provides regular bus service for free, on the Silver Line, and a faster subway connection, on the Blue Line, to and from the city centre, costing about $2.65. Massport's free water transportation bus connects from all airport terminals to the Logan dock where private water taxis and public commuter boats are available to multiple destinations in the Boston Harbour.

Car Rental

Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Hertz and National.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis are available outside all terminals and a taxi from Logan International Airport to downtown Boston takes between 20 minutes and an hour, depending on traffic. Some companies offer shared vans that provide door-to-door services.

Airport Facilities

There are ATMs and bureaux de change in all terminals. Other facilities include restaurants and bars, shops, duty-free shopping, children's entertainment, tourist information and hotel reservations.

Car Parking

Parking at Boston Logan starts at $3 for the first half hour, $6 for an hour, $16 for two hours, and up to $23 per day. Weekly rates are charged at $138. The three parking lots closer to the terminal are more expensive if you stay more than a couple of hours, and all lots are serviced by a free shuttle to the terminals.

Websitewww.massport.com


Freedom Trail


The two and a half mile (4km) Freedom Trail follows a line of red bricks, or a painted red line on the pavement, linking 16 historic sights associated with the early struggle for freedom from British control and the events leading up to the revolution. Markers identify the stops and prov
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Freedom Trail ©dancingnomad3



Black Heritage Trail


Today Beacon Hill brings to mind images of affluence and luxurious living, yet until the end of the 19th century it contained a community of free blacks and escaped slaves from the southern states who owned businesses, built houses and schools, and worshipped together in the churches. Al
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Black Heritage Trail ©Edgar



Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum


Moored to the bridge is the Beaver II, known as the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum, and one of the three ships stormed by patriots in 1773 as an act of rebellion against British rule and in particular against the new tax laws imposed on tea. A group of revolutionaries disguised as Moha
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Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum ©Martyn Smith



MIT Museum


The MIT Museum is located in Cambridge, near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most prestigious universities in the US. The relatively small museum houses technology-themed collections of holograms, artificial intelligence, robotics, and maritime history
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MIT Museum ©angela n.



Cambridge


Just across the Charles River from Boston, Cambridge is actually a city in its own right although the two cities are so closely associated that many people believe them to be one and the same. Cambridge is home to two of the most prestigious centres for education in the country, Harvard
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Statue of John Harvard, Harvard Yard ©Jessica Williams



Harvard University


Established in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest in the country and one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the USA and indeed the world. It is famous for its brilliant faculties, which have produced economists, biologists, prize-winning poets, and famous grad
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Harvard University ©Roger W



Boston Public Garden


The first botanical garden in the United States, the Boston Public Garden provides a tranquil escape from the fast pace of the city centre. Maintained by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Public Garden, the botanical garden is a must-see on any exploration
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Boston Public Garden ©Robert Linsdell



Faneuil Hall Marketplace


A great Boston day trip and shopping destination, Faneuil Hill Marketplace offers superb shopping at some familiar designer stores, quality arts and crafts, as well as great restaurants and sidewalk cafés. Four places in one, Faneuil Hall Marketplace encompasses Faneuil Hall, Quincy Mar
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Faneuil Hall Marketplace ©6SN7



Boston Museum of Fine Arts


An artwork in itself, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston houses some of the most famous European paintings in the US. Boston's oldest, largest and best-known art institution, the MFA's collections is one of the world's most comprehensive, with something like 22,000 artworks including mast
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Boston Museum of Fine Arts ©Bill Damon



Codzilla


Codzilla takes passengers on a high-speed cruise around Boston's harbour. People on board will scream in pure delight as the boat curves, spins and rips through the harbour for 40 minutes, with music such as Bobby Darin and ACDC blaring. You'll be travelling at a heart-pumping 40 miles (
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Codzilla ©Tony Hisgett



New England Aquarium


Home to Simons IMAX Theatre and the New England Aquarium Whale Watch, which runs from April through October, the New England Aquarium features a plethora of some of the world's most amazing marine species, such as the impressive giant pacific octopus, sand tiger shark, green sea turtles
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Jellyfish at New England Aquarium ©Smart Destinations



Fenway Park


The Boston Red Sox are a much-beloved part of life in New England. The 'curse of the Babe' and their infamous near 100-year losing streak only made their supporters more fanatical. Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use, and has quirky features like The Tria
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Fenway Park ©Rick Berry



Sam Adams Brewery


Visitors to Boston can take an informative tour of the Sam Adams Brewery, and get a look at the brewing process for the popular beer. Named for the revolutionary war hero, the beer has been brewed in Boston since the 1980s. The tour showcases the entire process, and allows visitors to ta
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Sam Adams Brewery ©ep_jhu



Shopping

One look at the city's boutiques, department stores, malls and outlets and it's no secret why thousands flock to Boston to stock up on clothes, jewellery and books. Take a walk down to the Downtown Crossing near Boston Common, a browser's paradise, while just around the corner Boston's Chinatown offers herbal remedies, silk slippers and other traditional goods.


Faneuil Hall Marketplace, also known as Quincy Market, is a firm favourite, with more than 100 of Boston's finest shops and carts touting a variety of merchandise. It is also home to the Bull Market, a fleet of 43 unique pushcarts featuring New England's artisans and their wonderful wares, as well as an amazing food court where tired shoppers can stop and refuel.


Big spenders can give their flexible plastic friends a good work out at one of the many designer boutiques on the renowned eight-block stretch on Newbury Street, boasting names such Cartier, Armani and Max Mara to name a few. History buffs will fall in love with the cobblestone streets of Charles Street on Beacon Hill, where they can browse through the cramped stores of this early Boston neighbourhood for historic photos, furniture, antique china, and intriguing architectural objects.


Shops in Boston generally open from 10am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday, with most large stores open on Sundays with reduced opening hours.


Nightlife

Surprisingly, considering the huge student population, Bostonians don't take their nightlife too seriously; most clubs close by 2am and Massachusetts state law forbids smoking in all bars, nightclubs and restaurants. That said, Boston's entertainment and nightlife scene is still thriving with live bands, comedy acts and shows taking centre stage in the Theater District.


Contrary to popular belief, not everybody knows your name in Boston's bar scene, but a beer at the 'Cheers' bar on 84 Beacon Street is a must for fans of the 80s TV show. Don't be disappointed though if you don't find your friends here, they're probably hitting some of Boston's hipper nightspots. Boston's nightlife has a sophisticated edge, with a good dose of culture in the entertainment; popular spots to drink and mingle include venues like the Museum of Fine Arts, which often features live music and a cash bar on summer evenings. Crowds of classy 20- to 30-somethings mingle and socialise in the galleries and museums while sipping on cocktails and wine. Many Bostonians prefer to start off an evening with drinks in hotel lounges and bars, as they're much more civilised than many clubs and bars and patrons are able to converse easily. Once they're warmed up, the clubs are the place to be and Bostonians can party hard.


Pool and bowling are popular pastimes in Boston and visitors will be spoilt for choice with the amount of bowling alleys and pool halls to choose from. Couple these activities with a few beers and you've got yourself a recipe for a more relaxed evening out - the choice of many Bostonians.


Those looking for theatre or classical music won't come away disappointed either, as the renowned Boston Pops Orchestra has regular performances at Symphony Hall. The Boston Symphony Orchestra also performs there, and the New England Conservatory is nearby, offering top-notch student performances for with no admission charge.


Pomodoro

A tiny, unpretentious Italian restaurant with hard working staff and authentic Italian cuisine, Pomodoro is one of those neighbourhood restaurants that is frequented by locals and foreigners who keep coming back for more. Situated in the Northend, Pomodoro serves a wide range of Italian cuisine from traditional linguine marinara with lots of garlic and fresh herbs to seafood wonders like tiger shrimp. The affordable prices and quality of food make up for the simple décor, with most patrons being mesmerised by the activity and aroma escaping from the open kitchen and the food on their plate. Reservation recommended. Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.


Food Type: Italian     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 120 Salem Street

Website pastapomodoronorthend.com



Mistral

Located in Boston's trendy South End, Mistral promises uncomplicated and stylish fine dining. This upmarket restaurant specialises in French cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. The chef, Jamie Mammano, is highly acclaimed in Boston and the restaurant has a lovely ambience. Reservations are recommended.


Food Type: French     Style:     Price: 5

Address: 223 Columbus Avenue, Boston

Website mistralbistro.com



The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille is an American steakhouse institution, serving up extremely high quality food in generous portions. Despite being a restaurant chain The Capital Grille is an upmarket fine dining experience and a good option for special occasions: if you are visiting for a special celebration mention it to them when you make a reservation as they really do go the extra distance. Although steak of all kinds is the speciality there are also tantalising seafood and vegetarian options on the menu. The Capital Grille is open for lunch and supper Monday to Friday and supper only on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations are recommended.


Food Type: Steakhouse     Style:     Price: 5

Address: 900 Boylston Street, Boston

Website www.thecapitalgrille.com



Pho n Rice

The Boston area's eclectic heritage is best appreciated through its foods and nowhere better than at Pho 'n Rice. For the uninformed pho is deceptively simple traditional Vietnamese soup consisting of light but strong broth and noodles, with pieces of meat and vegetable that continue to cook in the bowl. Pho 'n Rice has added great variations to the traditional meal along with some Thai-style dishes that promise to be light on the wallet and the waistline. They'll even deliver your dinner to you for a small extra charge.


Food Type: Asian     Style:     Price: 1

Address: 289 Beacon Street, Somerville

Website www.phonrice.com



Legal Sea Foods

Known for serving some of the best clam chowder in Boston, Legal Sea Foods offers a range of fresh local seafood and steaks. The large restaurant has three levels, and the top dining room and balcony offer stunning views of the harbour, and the staff is attentive and knowledgeable. Booking ahead is recommended, as there can be long queues at peak times.


Food Type: Seafood     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 270 Northern Avenue, Liberty Wharf

Website www.legalseafoods.com/restaurants/boston-legal-harborside



Durgin Park

'Your father and grandfather probably dined with us' says the advertising slogan for this Faneuil Hall market restaurant, which has been feeding the hearty appetites of locals for well over a century. Today the restaurant is a tourist attraction simply because the cuisine it serves is still authentic old style New England. The food is unpretentious, honest and good, including favourites like clam chowder, fish chowder, fish cakes and beans, chicken pot pie, prime rib, roast turkey, cornbread, Indian pudding and apple pie. Open daily for lunch and dinner.


Food Type: American     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 340 Faneuil Hall Market Place

Website www.durgin-park.com



Atlantic Fish Company

Consistently ranked one of the top restaurants in Boston, the Atlantic Fish Company serves up local seafood like crab cakes, mussels, clam chowder, Atlantic cod, and lobster pot pie to hungry tourists and locals alike. The menu changes daily according to the day's catch. The dining room is built to resemble the interior of a classic cruising ship, and the outdoor patio. Atlantic Fish Company is open Sunday to Thursday from 11.30am-11pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11.30am-midnight. Reservations are recommended.


Food Type: Seafood     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 761 Boylston Street

Website www.atlanticfishco.com



Boston Harborfest

The Boston Harborfest celebrates the nation's independence and the maritime and colonial heritage that is part of Boston's history. There are over 200 events, including re-enactments, concerts, historic walking tours, and parties, climaxing with the 4th of July orchestra and fireworks display over the Charles River. Main events include the Opening Ceremony, the Chowderfest and Children's Day. The festival is thought to be the largest celebration of patriotism in the country.


The 4th of July is no ordinary date in Boston. As one of the pivotal locations of the Revolutionary War, the city celebrates the American Independence Day like no other. The July 4th Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular includes a performance by the Boston Pops Orchestra and one of the biggest fireworks displays in the US, as well as parades, festivals, and many other parties.


Date 2017-07-01 to 2017-07-04     Website www.bostonharborfest.com
Boston Harborfest ©Gary Ward



Boston Marathon

The oldest marathon in the world, and ranked as one of the most celebrated and popular road racing events, the marathon sees 20,000 runners take to the streets of Boston every year. Entry is by qualification - would-be runners must complete a certified marathon in a qualifying time determined by age; qualifying is highly competitive. After the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon in 2013, in which two bombs exploded, killing three people and injuring about 264 others, security has been increased at the marathon and Boston is working hard to put a positive spin on the famous race despite the tragedy.


Date 2018-04-16 to 2018-04-16     Website www.bostonmarathon.com
Boston Marathon ©Peter Farlow



First Night Boston

Said to be the oldest and largest New Year's Eve celebration in the country, First Night Boston features performances and entertainment at more than 40 indoor and outdoor venues throughout the city. Highlights include ice sculptures, glittering fireworks displays, a Family Festival and the First Night Grand Procession, as well as a variety of theatre, dance, music, film and storytelling. Of course, First Night is also a big party! Boston becomes a kind of friendly winter wonderland with fireworks, street parties, live music and performance art.


Date 2016-12-31 to 2016-12-31     Website www.firstnight.org
First Night fireworks ©Bill Damon



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