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Ultimate Guide to Boston : Neighborhood and Sights

Boston-guide

Boston a city known for its brainy students, old historical sites, sports fans, the “T”, outstanding food and fantastic neighborhoods.

 

Here are the places you should see in Boston:

Beacon Hill

Beacon-Hill

Beacon Hill maybe a bit intimidating for most as it is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the area. However, try walking into the neighborhood to see several landmarks that makes Boston stand out from other historic cities in the country.

Visit the State House, the “oldest continually running state house” since 1798. If you are not sure which one is the State House just look for the one with the 23k golden dome.

Another Boston landmark on Beacon Hill is the African Meeting House which was built in the 1800’s. This building is preserved and works to remind the community of their history from “slavery to the abolitionist movement” and now towards having quality education.

Drop by Charles Street and enjoy the cobblestone streets and brownstones, while shopping in the different boutiques, antique shops and restaurants. It is a must visit for fashionable locals and tourist alike. Acorn street is the narrowest and most photograph street in Beacon Hill.

Back Bay

Bostin_Public_Library
Boston Public Library

Back Bay is a trendy neighborhood filled with glamorous shops, art galleries and restaurants.  Another affluent neighborhood with houses made with Victorian brownstones and manicured gardensthatactually stands on a landfill along the Charles River.

The eight-block Newbury Street is located here and so are shops from Urban Outfitters to Banana Republic and even Chanel and Cartier. You can also find world-class restaurants, bistros, cafes, fine art galleries and high-end salons on this shopping strip.

Or go to Boylston Street where Apple’s flagship store is found together with other stores. This street will also bring you to Copley Square, John Hancock Tower, the public library and more. Right across Copley Square is the John Hancock Tower, it is most known for its 10,344 reflective glass panes that mirrors the Trinity Church.

Copley-Square

Nearby is the Boston Public Library which was first founded in 1848 and has since accumulated as much as 23.7 million items in collection. That is a lot of resources. If you enjoy taking pictures like me, enter the public library, its free, and it’s really pretty.

75 more stores and restaurants are in the Prudential Center. If you are looking for Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Barnes and Noble Booksellers, they are all here.

North End

union_oyster_house

Bella Vita! Italian culture rules in Boston’s “Little Italy.”Up to now, authentic Italian markets and shops are alive in this oldest Boston neighborhood romancing visitors to live loud, eat good food and commemorate history.

North End happens to have most of the 16 historical sites included in the Freedom Trail. The freedom trail actually highlights the bravery of the people in Boston and the events that led to the revolution and liberation of the country from British imperialist. You may enlist tour guides dressed in 18th century costumes to help you relive history.

Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere also lived in this part of Boston and his house still stands on the very same spot preserved for the future generation to see and learn from his legendary Midnight Ride.

Of course, North End is also famous for its Italian food. I recommend Mike’s Pastry to have a taste of traditional Italian pastry- the cannoli.

Aside from Italian flavors, do not forget to eat seafood when in Boston. Look for Union Oyster House and devour their delicious oysters. While there, enjoy its fixtures and know that you are dining inside a national historical landmark built centuries ago – revolutionary heroes may have frequented here as much as Daniel Webster was.

Downtown Crossing

Boston- Common

East of Boston Common and West of the city’s financial district lies another shopping destination, the Downtown Crossing. Built as a pedestrian-only mall, this busy intersection was once labeled as “The Hub of the Universe.” There are several shops and restaurants in this part of the town and biggest ones are Macy’s and Corner Mall.

The Boston Public Garden is located here too, it is the first botanical garden in America. It is designed to be “decorative and flowery” and it features “meandering pathways for strolling”

Fenway

Isabella's garden Boston
Isabella’s Garden

Fenway is Boston’s axis of entertainment best known for Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Most people in Boston are sports fans whether it be the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Celtics, the Bruins or the Boston Marathon – sports fill the city’s air with excitement, fierce loyalty and competitive spirit.

There are 18 colleges and universities, and medical research centers and hospitals in West Fenway. Here also are the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabela Stewart Garner Museum, the Symphony Hall, House of Blues Boston and Lansdowne Street where the nightlife is. I tried the Isabela Stewart Museum, I liked its courtyard, absolutely loveable. However, the place was a bit too dark for you to appreciate the art.

The Fenway Park, bars and restaurants, the House of Blues Boston and the Kenmore Squareare actually found east of Fenway. You may avail of the Fenway Park Tours to learn more about “America’s most beloved ballpark.”

 

South End

Boston-guide

This neighborhood was first developed to receive the crowd from downtown Boston and Beacon Hill. From salt marches it was turned into tree-lined streets with beautiful “brick bow-front townhouses” complete with iron gates, pocket parks and fountains. The neighborhood became so pretty it was awarded as “the largest urban Victorian neighborhood in the country” in 1973.

Although it was not always this way, in the 1960s the neighborhood was tarnished with a reputation of crime and poverty. This district had several gentrification before it finally became the chic neighborhood that it is now.

Tremont and Washington Streets are the primary places in the South End for restaurants, bars and other small shops. The Boston Center for the Arts and Boston Ballet Headquarters are found here together with more than 50 artists’ studios and 15 exhibition spaces.

Seaport

Compared to other centuries old neighborhoods, this part of the city was just recently developed and hallelujah for that.

Enjoy Boston by the sea by starting your tour with a Harborwalk Stroll. From there, you can visit the ICA for some modern performances and art. There are also several restaurants and outdoor dining options to enjoy the seaside view.

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Charlestown

Once a “townie” where everyone seems to know each other, this neighborhood is having a face lift as young, mobile professionals took residence here.

Before these professionals, several historical landmarks called this place home including the U.S.S. Constitution, the Bunker Hill Monument and the Charlestown Navy Yard.

When in Charlestown, one super must visit is the Quincy Market. With more than 100 local and international stores, this market place has everything you need for the day including artisan crafts, clothes and accessories, restaurants, cafes, bakeries and pubs.

This marketplace is actually made up of four historic buildings: the Faneuil Hall, North Market, South Market and the Quincy market. All these buildings now give a vibrant life in the neighborhood where people can shop, dine, be entertained and enjoy some nightlife.

Cambridge

Cambridge may be a separate city but it is connected by the same transit system as Boston. You can easily tour around the many shops and restaurants in the area.

Harvard University and MIT are located here. As the oldest institution of higher learning in America, Harvard University is known as one of the best universities in the world. You may request for a Harvard campus tour or go to Harvard Square.

Another must see is the MIT museum displaying an eclectic collection of art, science and technology exhibits.

Fares and Passes:

Boston has a unique transport system locally known as the “T”. You can either get a free CharlieCard and load it with cash credit or buy paper tickets to pay for subway or bus fees.

Subway ride with CharlieCardcosts $2.25 while tickets costs$2.75.

The bus fare is 1.70 per ride but transfers are free if you just came from subway.

Consider buying a Day Link Pass for $12.00 or a Week Link Pass for $21.25.

Other ways to experience Boston

Historic Pub Crawl– tour around the cities best bars and pubs with this tour that includes Michigan Ave, Tribune Tower, Chicago’s underground layers, Billy Goat Tavern, old historic jazz club and a 19th century mansion.

Super Duck Tours – a 90 minute “land and sea tour” of the city while on amphibious Super Duck Boats.

Odyssey Cruises – get on a cruise while enjoying live music, fantastic food and a view of the harbor and the city.
This city has so much to offer and one trip may not be enough to really get to know this proud city.

11 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide to Boston : Neighborhood and Sights

  1. This is a wonderful overview of things to do in Boston! I’ve only been once, but it was years ago. We did the duck tour and loved it! Saw a few things on this list (Fenway Park, the Library, etc.) as well, but now I have a great list to refer to next time I go back! Thanks!

  2. I’ve never been to Boston, although it’s been high on my list for sometime. Thanks for breaking down the different areas and points of interest. And I’d be sure not to miss dinging at Union Oyster House. I love Oysters and the atmosphere makes it look like an interesting place to dine.

  3. I’ve never been to Boston, but I can see how this guide would come in handy. I really liked your shots too. Fenway park looks like a good spot to visit 🙂 Worth checking out.

  4. I did a summer at Harvard and I didn’t see half the things you recommend. Obviously I didn’t get out and sightsee enough. My absolute top pick is the Isabella Gardiner Museum. It’s world class and such a stunning building.

  5. I’ve never had the pleasure to visit Boston, but if and when I do your post will definitely be my guide. I absolutely love the look of the library and the garden. Seems like you can easily fill a a couple of days in the city.

  6. Although I lived in the United States for about 10 months, and I visited many beautiful places, unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get to Boston. I will definitely use your article as a reference for my future travel to this interesting city.

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