Boston will always be home no matter where I wander. I wanted to share some of the best things to do when visiting Boston. So, here are some of my favorites!
#1 The JFK Presidential Library and Museum.
This is really cool. There is so much history here! I don't know if other past President's have such an interesting, and yes, fun, place to be immortalized, but it's hard to imagine one better than this. UMass Boston is right next door and in-between classes I would spend most of my time here.
#2 The Freedom Trail.
This trail is a 2.5-mile, red-lined route that leads you to 16 historically significant sites — each one an authentic treasure. Along the trail you get to explore museums and meetinghouses, churches, and burying grounds right in the heart of the city. The Old North Church - the oldest standing church building in Boston (1723) is famous for it's age and incredible history - don't skip this part of the trail. I've done the trail a few times with people visiting. And, it never fails, that someone comments on how much they've learned. Or, how weird it is to find a tiny old cemetery in the middle of all the hustle of Boston proper.
#3 Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
There are so many cool shops and great bars and restaurants. It's only a short walk to the waterfront. The cobblestone promenades are filled with the music and famous and or talented street performers and musicians. I love the shops they have there - there is something for everyone. The nightlife here is always busy. But, it does get very busy and the cobblestone ways are not fun to walk on in heals!
#4 The New England Aquarium.
It has awesome exhibits, and IMAX 3D theater, and the best Giant Ocean Tank I have ever seen. At its deepest point, the goes down 23 feet and you can walk from top to bottom following the curves of the tank. This exhibit is so big that it was built first, and then the rest of the Aquarium was built around it. I've been going there since I was a kid and my kids too. Now, they take their kids! It never gets old!! If it's a nice summer day we'll spend time walking around the waterfront, enjoy an ice cream, and just sit and people watch for a bit.
#6 The Museum of Science.
This is another favorite of mine since childhood. They have more than 700 interactive permanent exhibits, live presentations, and an IMAX theater that they play the best films on. They also have a revolving schedule of temporary exhibits - my favorite was the Egyptian Mummy Exhibit! They have Planetarium shows with themed night shows like Pink Floyd playing to the display. There is and a very cool Light/Energy Display Theater which is all about energy forces. It's a huge museum that will keep any age delighted! There are areas the kids can actually run around in, places they will actually have fun learning in, and when you need a break they have a cafe as well as a food court.
#5 Skywalk Observatory.
Located at the Prudential Center Easiest place to go to to get panoramic view of Boston, including Fenway park, the Charles River, and more for miles. The audio tour is included and gives tons of information about the lay of the land. There is rarely a long line of any kind. Some say it is not worth the $19 admission, but that it is definitely worth it if it's part of one of the pass programs (1 - 2). Bonus, if you go there, is the Top of the Hub. It's a cool restaurant and bar with sweeping views of the city.
#7 Boston Public Garden
This was the first public botanical garden in America. This garden is one of the best-maintained in the country with beautiful landscaping and colorful blooms throughout the year. It is filled with history and includes many statues and information plaques. One of the most famous maybe the mother and her ducklings, which people from all over the world, and those of us nearby, love to see again and again. It is the perfect place to stroll in the heart of the city.
#9 Boston Harbor Cruise
Boston cruises are all good - it's a beautiful city. But, for a entertaining and unique cruise I recommend the The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum Tavern Night Cruise. It's like going back in time. You get to see the city lights drift by while you share an upbeat dinner and drinks with Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Dorothy Quincy and other prominent Bostonians. It's quite an experience to share a harbor cruise with "Sons of Liberty and Daughters of Freedom."
#10 Boston Theater District
More than a dozen theaters are clustered in the Boston Theater District. On Warrenton Street or Shear Madness Alley, the Charles Playhouse is home to the Blue Man Group, as well as Shear Madness, the country’s longest running non-musical play. Other theaters include the Colonial, Shubert, Orpheum, Opera, Emerson Majestic & Wilbur, most of which were built in the grand architectural style of early 1900's performance halls. These beautifully restored Boston gems, some intimate, some grand, host critically acclaimed productions. There are also countless restaurant in the area and Chinatown is just a short stroll away.
#11 Boston Common
Boston Common is the oldest city park in the United States (1634) and consists of 50 acres in the center of the city. It is surrounded by the Boston Garden, the Theater District, famous stores and pubs, and many colleges and universities. There is a bandstand, beautiful landscaping, as as with the Gardens - a lot of history here (burial grounds, historic statues, and markers of famous historical moments of the Common). The "Frog Pond" - akin to Rockefeller Center in NYC - is where you'll find in winter months ice skating. And, in the summer months, the area is a wading pond. Thee are also spray fountains and splash pads. Sports fields, plenty of trees for shade, and plenty of open-air space for relaxing makes this one of the most popular areas in the city.