With a history that stretches back 400 years, including a stint as a key player in the American Revolution, Boston has had a major influence on the United States. Ever since the Puritans’ quest for religious freedom brought them to this “city upon a hill” in 1630, Boston has been a crucible for free thinkers, poets, idealists and rebels with a cause. Today, its amazing culture, monuments and educational institutions make it a top U.S. city.
Fenway, a tranche of land between Kenmore Square and the Longwood Medical Area, exudes a laissez-faire vibe, thanks to its student density. It’s here you’ll find the shrine to baseball, the Red Sox’s beloved Fenway Park — the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball — as well as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The Freedom Trail
For all its high-tech dynamism, hip bars, fine dining and multicultural verve, Boston still draws tourists to follow the 2.5-mile red-brick Freedom Trail. Passing by 16 historic sites, including Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, Old North Church and Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, the trail provides the backdrop for the ideals that stirred the American Revolution. In addition to the jaw-dropping Institute of Contemporary Art and the stellar Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s cultural largesse finds expression in a robust theater scene, a lauded symphony, magnificent libraries and several universities.
City on the Move
Boston has no shortage of adventure right in its own backyard. You can stroll, bike or run the verdant expanses of the 17-acre Rose Kennedy Greenway, which cuts through the city and showcases Boston’s creative impulses with murals, artistic installations, water fountains, food trucks and a summertime beer garden. Just a few minutes outside of the city, the Blue Hills Reservation is woven with 125 miles of multiskill hiking trails. Avid golfers congregate at Franklin Park’s 18-hole course (the second-oldest public course in the country), a par-70 course fringed by a 527-acre wooded parkland. Cyclists, runners and skaters get their hearts pumping as they traverse the Dr. Paul Dudley White Bike Path, an 18-mile circuit that funnels from the Museum of Science along both sides of the river down to Watertown.
Boston’s rich cultural influences resonate in the city’s delectable culinary pleasures. Discover old-school Italian restaurants in the city’s North End, where you’ll find spaghetti just like mama made. Here, industrial-strength espresso and glasses of gelato are served on red-checkered tablecloths. There are the cobblestone streets of gorgeous Beacon Hill, with its antique stores, delis and chic restaurants housed in gracefully aging brownstones, and show-stopping architecture along the grand avenues of Back Bay, where hip Newbury Street attracts weekend brunchers to its streetside patios.
Easily accessible from the city, the Boston Harbor Islands comprise 34 unspoiled islands with scenic hiking trails, historic sites, rugged beaches, campsites and picnic areas. Ferries make the 45-minute trip to Georges Island, home to Fort Warren, a Union stronghold during the Civil War. With walking trails, a pretty beach and an eco-friendly visitor center with a cafe, it’s a pleasant retreat from the city. Sailing the open seas has proved a popular local pastime since native son John F. Kennedy became Boston’s highest-profile sailor in the 1960s. Boston Harbor and the Charles River are launch pads for boating, sailing, kayaking and tours on amphibious Duck vehicles.
Art of Life
From family-friendly movies in the Hatch Shell to world-class theater in parks across the city, Boston is awash with free cultural events all summer long. After Memorial Day, East Coast theatergoers set up their lawn chairs and roll out their picnic blankets as Shakespeare on the Common takes up residence with its annual two-week summer production. The popular November Project is a free exercise program that got its start in Boston in 2011. Named for the Google Doc that the founders used as a progress-tracking tool, the group hosts early morning, large-scale group workouts in outdoor spots around the city, including the Harvard Stadium stairs. With its indomitable spirit, it’s no wonder Boston is the setting for the country’s oldest and most celebrated running event, the Boston Marathon, which takes place each April.
Boston’s cobblestone streets, parks and gardens are part of a patchwork of historic sites and landmarks where American history unfolded. The events that led to the American fight for independence against the British are enshrined on the Freedom Trail, a rite of passage for every visitor to the city. From the country’s oldest public park to a Revolutionary War battle site, Faneuil Hall and the Paul Revere House, Boston is a compelling outdoor history museum. Boston has always blazed its own trail. In fact, many of the progressive movements that defined the course of history were born in Boston, including the American Revolution, the abolition of slavery and women’s rights.
For More Information
Greater Boston CVB
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism