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Bellingham, Massachusetts

Spotlight: Boston

Get your fill of history, sports and tasty New England food

As one of America’s oldest cities, Boston is a must-visit for anyone interested in United States history. A number of significant historic events took place in Boston, including the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre and the Siege of Boston, and it’s a city that celebrates its rich cultural heritage in its numerous historical and cultural institutions. 

English pilgrims first settled this atmospheric Massachusetts capital in the 1630s and it takes its name from the English town of Boston, in Lincolnshire. Not long after its settlement, Boston developed into the biggest city in British America. The population grew again in the early to mid-1800s, due largely to massive Irish immigration that came as a result of the potato famine. And though with just under 650,000 residents Boston is no longer the largest city in the region, it’s still quite an important hub for New England cultural and intellectual life, thanks to its many museums, historic sites and universities.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

History and Culture

One of the city’s most important attractions is the Freedom Trail, a two-and-a half-mile pedestrian circuit that passes by 16 important historical sites across town. These include King’s Chapel and its Burying Ground, Park Street Church, the Paul Revere House and Boston Common, to name a few. Visitors to the trail will want to stop at Bunker Hill, where the famous 1775 battle of the same name—the first major battle of the Revolutionary War—took place. The Freedom Trail also passes by the USS Constitution, a historic warship that was launched in 1797 that saw action against the British in the War of 1812.

Boston’s beautiful Public Garden, which dates back to the Victorian era, is another popular site. The 24-acre botanical site was established in 1837 on what was once a salt marsh, and has a huge variety of native and introduced trees from around the world flanking its meandering pathways.

Culture lovers will enjoy a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, which houses a stunning collection of 18th- and 19th-century American and European paintings. Boston’s award-winning Symphony Orchestra is also among the country’s finest.

City of Sports

Sports lovers might want to plan their trip around a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, the oldest Major League Baseball stadium in the country. The Park opened in 1912 and 50-minute tours are available daily. This sporty city is also home to a number of other major league teams, including the Boston Celtics (basketball) and the Boston Bruins (hockey), which play at TD Garden. There’s also a Sports Museum featuring memorabilia from all the city’s major teams. The New England Patriots (football) and the New England Revolution (soccer) both play at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, 30 miles away.

Boston’s best-known athletic event, however, is the Boston Marathon, the world’s largest marathon with almost 40,000 runners and nearly half a million visitors. It’s held annually on Patriots Day (the third Monday in April) and is reserved specifically for runners who have previously participated in marathons and qualified by completing the 26.2-mile distance in good time. The marathon was the site of a terrorist attack in 2013, but despite this tragic occurrence, the event has carried on, in the true spirit of Boston’s perseverance and dedication to sportsmanship.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Culinary Culture

Foodies won’t want to miss some of Boston’s many excellent eateries. New England specialties such as prime ribs, steaks, lamb chops and lobster—as well as the city’s famous baked beans—can be enjoyed at Durgin Park, or visitors can dig into fresh seafood at the Union Oyster House, which has been serving local diners since 1826, making it one of the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country. Boston is also an excellent shopping destination and its Newbury Street has plenty of boutiques and chain stores as well as great restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world.

There’s also a strong beer culture in the city, and visitors who love a good brew won’t want to miss a visit to local breweries and beer pubs, including Boston Beer Works, the Samuel Adams Brewery and the Atlantic Beer Garden. You can even visit the Cheers pub shown during the opening credits of the popular 1980s sitcom. And if you visit during Saint Patrick’s Day, be prepared for lots of Guinness imbibing as the large Irish-American population celebrates Ireland’s national saint. South Boston’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade takes place on the Sunday closest to March 17 and is considered the second-largest parade in the country, garnering a viewership of around 600,000 people per year.

For More Information

Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism