Friday, April 4, 2014

Boston in 24 Hours

Boston is a great city.  It's definitely my favorite city on the east coast of the US.  Might be my favorite city in the whole country.  It's small enough to not be intimidating like the urban jungle of New York or endless sprawl of Washington, D.C., but it's still a proper city full of the requisite hustle and bustle.  There is a never-ending supply of places to eat, history to absorb, concerts to enjoy, and fun things to experience.

But you've only got a day.  Or maybe a weekend.  How do you really see Boston in such a short amount of time?

 #1: Follow the Freedom Trail.  It's a 2.5 mile walking path marked by red bricks or a red paint line that takes you through downtown Boston and introduces you to 16 of the city's most important/famous historical sights.  The trail takes you into the Commons, through downtown where things like King's Chapel and the Granary Burying Ground (Paul Revere and John Hancock are buried there) and Old South Meeting House are tucked among the glass skyscrapers of the modern city, into the North End (Little Italy) with some Paul Revere hot spots like his house and Old North Church, and across the river into Charlestown to the Navy Yard (home to the world's oldest commissioned warship) and Bunker Hill.  The Freedom Trail is a great introduction to Boston's historical side, and you'll also experience several of the city's famous neighborhoods like the North End and Charlestown.  If you'd rather undertake the Freedom Trail at a slightly faster pace than walking, there's a guided run every Saturday.  It hits the highlights, including a group sprint to the top of Bunker Hill Monument and a short ride across the harbor on the ferry.

#2: Take a trolley tour!  The nice thing about wheeled tours such as the hop-on-hop-off Old Town Trolley Tour is that you can cover a little more ground because you're not walking.  The trolleys still provide access to the major historical sites along the Freedom Trail, but they also take you a little farther afield to highlights such as Fenway Park, MIT, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts over in the seaport area.  The trolley drivers tell you about the sites as you drive by, and of course you can hop off and explore in greater depth whenever you want.  For the price of a tour ticket, you basically get a free bus service around the city for a day (or two) with an experienced tour guide, free admission to certain locations, and heaps of coupons to other sites.  You can get trolley tickets near the Aquarium, at Faneuil Hall, near the Commons, inside the Marriott Copley and Sheraton Back Bay hotels, and inside the Prudential Center.

#3: Ride in a Duck Boat!  The Duck Boat tours are a lot like the trolley tours ... except BETTER because you go in the water!  After driving around the city to the big sites, your brightly colored amphibious landing vehicle will drive straight into the Charles River and take you on a cruise so you can see the city from a whole new perspective!  While you're on board, you can even pretend that you're a Red Sox player who just won the World Series, or a Bruins player who just won the Stanley Cup, or a Celtics player who just won the championship, or a Patriots player who just won the Super Bowl--since 2002, the Duck Boats have been used to celebrate major victories of Boston's sports teams.  After a championship win, the Duck Boats transport the players and the championship trophy through the city in a Rolling Rally.  (I will write a future post about this madness, because I've been lucky enough to attend two Rolling Rallies and they are insane!!!)  You can catch a Duck Boat at the Aquarium, Prudential Center, or the Science Museum.

If you don't like history, there is still a ton to do in Boston (pub crawl!), but these are the things that first put this city on the map and provide much of its lifeblood even today.  You want to get a feel for Boston in 24 hours?  This is where you start!  And then you'll keep coming back for more.  (And I can help with that .... stay tuned!)

Photos are not up for grabs, sorry.  Come visit and snap a few of your own!

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