The enchanting capital of Massachusetts delights its visitors with an eventful history. No other city in the US can look back on a longer tradition than Boston. At the same time, Boston is characterized by tremendous progress. A sightseeing trip through Boston mixes history and modernity like no other major US city.
Boston is one of the USA’s oldest cities and looks back on an exciting past, which can still be felt in many corners. Founded in 1630, however, Boston is mostly made up of the Boston Tea Party known in the 18th century. The protest against the increase in the British government’s tea tax culminated in a war of independence against the British. You will encounter the traditional past of the city at numerous sights and architectural masterpieces. But modern life has long since found its way into Boston, so the city blossomed into the “Hollywood of the East Coast.” The capital of Massachusetts does not only have this nickname because numerous Hollywood blockbusters were filmed here. With the breathtaking skyline from modern glass buildings and skyscrapers and the dazzling entertainment industry, Boston is gradually gaining the glamor of Hollywood. Boston is also known for the economic boom in education, finance, and health care and is one of the most prosperous cities in the entire United States.
It is precisely this exciting mix of contrasts that makes Boston so unique. Old brick houses, hip cafés, and extensive green spaces meet cultural wealth here, exuded by time-honored buildings such as MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) or Harvard University. The 23 districts of Boston all exude their own charm, and so, for example, you can start a journey into the past in Beacon Hill, while in the South East, you can catch the hip flair of the USA. Boston is a melting pot of ethnic cultures, and you can explore Chinatown, Irish Charlestown, or the Italian North End, among others. However, Boston is also an idyllic waterfront city and has a modern port.
Boston is located in the northeastern United States and measures an area of 232 square kilometers. This makes it the largest city in New England. However, the country’s area is quite manageable so that you can explore numerous highlights on foot during a comfortable stroll through town. You will surely notice how clean and well-kept this city is. You will also look in vain for the restless hustle and bustle of a big city. Boston is an ideal vacation spot for exciting sightseeing adventures, interesting museum visits, and long walks along the harbor promenade.
If you want to explore the city center and Boston’s charming districts with all their facets, a sightseeing trip through the part of the city steeped in history is worthwhile. Be curious because there is a lot for you to discover here.
Boston is still referred to as the “cradle of freedom” by the locals, as the struggle for independence from Great Britain had a lasting impact on the city. If you want to dig a little deeper into Boston’s history, you should definitely walk along the Freedom Trail. The four-kilometer route takes you past 17 different sights, all of which deal with the topic of the struggle for independence.
You can tell the right way by a red brick path that takes you from the oldest park in the city, Boston Common, to the Bunker Hill Monument, which commemorates one of the Revolutionary War’s most important battles. On the way, you walk across downtown Boston, cross the Charles River, and finally arrive in the Charlestown neighborhood.
The main attractions along the Freedom Trail are as follows:
- Boston Common: oldest public park in the United States
- State House: the seat of government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- Old Corner Bookstore: one of the oldest brick buildings in the city
- Old State House: oldest public building in the city
- Faneuil Hall: Market hall where were once heard important speeches on the independence movement
- SS Constitution: oldest warship in the world
Sports enthusiasts will get their money’s worth at Fenway Park in Boston. The Boston Red Sox baseball team’s home ground opened in 1912, making it the oldest baseball stadium in the world that is still in use. If you are lucky enough to get tickets for a home game, you will enjoy a typical American sporting event: roaring crowds, talented players, and cheering cheerleaders with entertaining dance choreographies. With a cold beer and a steaming hot dog, you can jump into the fray and cheer on your team.
The world-famous Harvard University really has everything a renowned university needs: ivy-covered dormitories, cozy student cafés, and legendary pubs. Explore the huge campus on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or take part in a guided tour that Harvard students personally conduct. They chat from the sewing box of their everyday student life and, with a bit of luck, will also take you to a rustic student bar in the evening. Boston is a real university city with more than 100 universities. If you haven’t had enough of the student life and campus air after Harvard, you should definitely visit MIT on the Charles River.
Museum of Fine Arts
A visit to the Museum of Fine Arts is a feast for the senses. More than 450,000 exhibits take you on a journey through art history. You will discover works by world-famous artists such as Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh or Frida Kahlo. In addition to impressive paintings, you will also find archaeological collections, musical instruments, fashion, prints, and photographs from all continents.
The building in neo-Gothic style also attracts all eyes. If you visit the museum on the first Friday of the month, you can marvel at the impressive works of art with tapas, cocktails, and live music.
Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library is the largest of its kind in the United States and, in fact, one of the largest libraries in the world. If you go to Copley Square, you will notice the gigantic building from afar. A special eye-catcher: the library is surrounded by other architectural highlights from a wide variety of eras. Take a look inside the huge library, which contains more than six million books and paintings, sculptures, and frescoes. If you’ve discovered an interesting book, you can take a closer look at it in comfortable armchairs or the imposing reading room.
Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market
The Faneuil Hall, located in the middle of the Freedom Trail, is a market hall inaugurated in 1742. This makes it one of the oldest buildings in the city. However, throughout time, The Hall served as a political meeting place and a typical market hall. Today, however, no big speeches are made here, but it stands as the host for the delicious delicacies on sale. So that they all fit under one roof, the Faneuil Hall got bigger, to include the neighboring Quincy Market.
Not only enthusiastic buyers cavort between fruit, dairy products, meat, and craftsmanship, but also all kinds of street artists who show their skills. You will also find the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Museum on the upper floor of the huge Faneuil Hall, where you can discover weapons, uniforms, and stories from previous battles. Numerous restaurants and bars invite you to satisfy your hunger and watch the hustle and bustle of the market from afar.
The South End neighborhood, also known as “Southie,” is a multicultural and hip district of Boston. Here you will find not only unusual shops but also a colorful variety of people. Many creative people settle this quarter, and their innovative ideas give the city a fresh, young look. Take a stroll through the South to get to know modern Boston. Afterward, you should definitely sit down in a cool café and soak up the city’s hip flair.
The posh district of Beacon Hill shows itself from a completely different side. You can stroll along the harbor promenade in the oldest quarter of the city and sniff the salty sea air. Surrounded by red brick buildings, quiet streets, and luxury shops, you’ll feel like you’re in a Hollywood movie. If you want to follow in the footsteps of the Afro-American people, you should walk along the Black Heritage Trail in Beacon Hill, on which the Museum of African-American History brings you all sorts of interesting facts about the history of the Afro-American population.
The grand finale of your walkthrough Beacon Hill is a visit to Boston Common Park. The oldest park in the United States was once a vast arable land for grazing animals. Later it was used as a field camp and place of execution. However, since 1830 the 20-hectare park has been an oasis of calm, ideal for picnics, sports, or walks. In summer there are also regular open-air concerts here. But even in winter, the Boston Common has a lot to offer because, in the cold months, the lake Frog Pond is transformed into a giant ice rink that encourages winter ice skating. Beverage stands and carousels do not make it boring here.
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
You will come across the Boston Tea Party of 1773 again and again on your city trip through Boston. If you want to delve deeper into the past, you should visit the museum for the Boston Tea Party. Here the resistance is shown to you very clearly as elaborate theater productions. After a successful spectacle, you can visit the replica ships and even throw tea boxes into the water yourself, as happened back then.
Elegant and historic, yet hip and modern at the same time – Boston is a city of contrasts. If you wander through the streets of the city, you will soon notice. Whether a short city trip or a longer stay, if you plan a trip to Boston, you will get some tips along the way.
Ideal travel time
The weather in Boston is changeable, and there can be snow in November, but heatwaves in March are also possible. In general, however, you can expect hot and humid summers and cold and rainy winters. The best travel time for a sightseeing trip is spring when not only everything blooms but also the thermometer climbs to pleasant temperatures of up to 20 degrees Celsius. Autumn beckons with stable temperatures and New England’s beautiful Indian Summer.
You can fly directly to the largest city in New England from almost any major city. Boston’s airport is Logan International Airport, which is about six kilometers northeast of Boston City. Take the SL1 bus or the blue metro line to get to downtown Boston with ease. You can count on public transport within the city and therefore do not have to rent a rental car at the airport.
International restaurants, chic bars, and harbor pubs: Boston spoils you with a wide range of culinary delights. While you can mainly order fish and seafood on the harbor promenade, the city’s international quarters entice you with local delicacies. You can eat dumplings in Chinatown or taste tortellini in Little Italy.
Typical Boston, however, are lobster dishes, which you can find in all sorts of variations, whether as a sandwich, as a soup, or with pasta. The cannoli foam rolls filled with nuts, nougat cream, or caramel are popular desserts. But American cheesecake is also one of the sweet delicacies that you should definitely try on your Boston trip. In the evening, fruity cocktails tempt you in a rooftop bar or cool beers in a rustic pub – depending on how you would like to end an exciting day of your holiday.
Hotels & accommodations
Boston scores with elegance and modernity – also with the accommodations. Therefore, you will find numerous luxurious accommodations with a spa, rooftop bar, and fitness center in the city. It would be best if you were prepared to dig a little deeper into your pockets because Boston is quite an expensive place.
Whether a suite right on the waterfront, a boutique hotel in the financial center, or accommodation with a view of Boston Common – the city leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to overnight accommodation. But of course, there are also budget hotels, B&B, and guest houses where you can spare your budget, stay inexpensive, and still benefit from great service.
- Boston Freedom Trail: Andrew Malone - Flickr | CC BY 2.0 Generic
- Boston stadium Fenway Park: JJBers - Flickr | CC BY 2.0 Generic
- Museum of Fine Arts Boston: Regan Vercruysse - Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Generic
- Quincy Market building: ajay_suresh - Flickr | CC BY 2.0 Generic
- Boston Common statue of George Washington: Tim Rowle - Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Generic
- Boston Tea Party Museum: Nick Normal - Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Generic
- Boston Tea Party Ships: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism - Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0 Generic
- Boston aerial view: Robbie Shade - Flickr | CC BY 2.0 Generic