It took me all of 2 full days to fall completely in love with New England. Luckily, I spent the entire summer living there so my love for the Northeast grew more and more every day. Cape Cod was dreamy, Rhode Island was beautiful, but Boston was everything rolled into one. It has charm, personality, culture, history, amazing food, and awesome sports. It is the perfect city for a girl like me, and I can’t sing its praises enough.
before I really got to know Boston, I did all the typically touristy things. I have to be honest, I loved it! Touristy things are usually touristy because they’re worth seeing. These 10 spots in Boston are definitely worth seeing!
Walk the Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. Marked largely with brick, it winds between Boston Common to the USS Constitution in Charlestown.
Stops along the trail include simple explanatory ground markers, graveyards, notable churches and buildings. Most of the sites are free or suggest donations, but there are a few that charge a small admission price.
Wander Through the Beacon Hill Neighborhood
Beacon Hill is a historic Boston neighborhood lined with stunning Federal-style row-houses and known for it’s narrow streets, and brick sidewalks. Beacon Hill is one of my favorite neighborhoods of any city I’ve ever been to. Whether it’s covered in fall leaves or 2 feet of snow, it explodes charm at all times of the year. It is such a fun place to wonder the streets and snap some pictures. Homes in the Beacon Hill neighborhood run anywhere from $1.2 million to a whopping $12.5 million.
Visit the Paul Revere House
Anyone who’s been through the US school system knows the story of Paul Revere. On the night of April 18, 1775, silversmith Paul Revere left his small wooden home in Boston’s North End and set out on a journey to warn the colonists “the British were coming”. Today that home is still standing at 19 North Square and has become a national historic landmark. It is downtown Boston’s oldest building and one of the few remaining from an early era in the history of colonial America.
Visit Old North Church
Once you’ve visited the Paul Revere House make your way to the next part of the historical journey and head to Old North Church. This church has an important place in early American History. This church is from which the famous “One if by land, and two if by sea” signal is said to have been sent.
On the night of Paul Revere’s famous ride, he told three Boston patriots to hang two lanterns in the steeple of the church to signal a warning to Charlestown patriots across the Charles River about the movements of the British Army. One lantern hung meant the British were arriving by land, two lanterns hung meant they were arriving by sea.
The lanterns were hung for just under a minute to avoid catching the eyes of the British troops occupying Boston, but this was long enough for the message to be received in Charlestown. The militia waiting across the river had been told to look for the signal lanterns, and were prepared to act as soon as they saw them.
Today, the Old North Church is the oldest standing church building in Boston and is a National Historic Landmark.
Chill out in Boston Common
Boston Commons is Boston’s version of New York’s Central Park. The “Commons” as it’s sometimes called, consists of 50 acres of land in the heart of downtown Boston. Just like Central Park, it’s a popular area for runners and walkers, picnics, and group gatherings. The Commons is beautiful at all times of the year, but it is absolutely stunning in the fall when the leaves begin to change colors. I took the picture below in the early summer when the Boston Bruins were in Stanley Cup Finals. If you look closely at the statue of George Washington, you can see he is wearing a Bruins jersey.
Grab a drink at Cheers
“Where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came!” The original Cheers, where the cult classic show was filmed, is located in Beacon Hill, but a replica restaurant is located at Feneuil Hall. What most people don’t know is that the pub that was used for the show Cheers was actually originally founded as the Bull & Finch Pub. Cheers the show only used the exterior of Bull & Finch for filming of the show. When the show developed a devoted following, the exterior of the building became easily recognizable by people all over the world. In 2002, 9 years after the Cheers series finale aired, the Bull & Finch Pub was officially renamed Cheers Beacon Hill, to pay homage to the show that made it famous. Be a super tourist and pay extra to keep the souvenir Cheers mug your cocktail is served in. I definitely did this. #NoRegrets
Hit up the shops on Newbury Street
Newbury street is not your typical Michigan Ave in Chicago or even 5th Ave in New York City. Newbury is a mile long street lined with stunning and historic brownstones that house hundreds of shops and restaurants. Newbury has everything from high-end boutiques to more budget friendly stores. In my opinion the entire street is worth strolling through, but if you’re looking only for something specific, most of the high end stores are located near the Boston Public Garden end of Newbury. As you head more towards Mass Ave, the stores become more casual and budget friendly.
Get a cannoli at Mike’s Pastry
Mike’s is full of amazingly delicious sweets, but if you want a truly Boston experience you have to get a cannoli. Beware: it’s not uncommon for there to be a line out the door at all hours of the day at Mikes. That should also prove to you just how good their sweets really are. The original Mikes can be found in Boston’s North End neighborhood, but they’ve also recently opened up another store at Harvard Square.
Grab dinner and drinks at Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Faneuil Hall took me by complete surprise! Located near the waterfront and Government Center, Faneuil Hall has been a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1743. It was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others encouraging independence from Great Britain. Now it is part of Boston’s National Historical Park and a well-known stop on the Freedom Trail. Faneuil Hall Marketplace also includes three buildings called North Market, South Market, and Quincy Market. It operates as a huge mecca of food and restaurant options and as an indoor/outdoor mall. On many nights the marketplace is full of musicians and street performers of many different kinds providing lively entertainment.
Watch the Red Sox play at Fenway Park
One of my favorite things about living in New England was how loyal people are to their sports teams. Fenway is lovingly nicked named “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark”. Not only is it a historic park (opened in 1912, the oldest Major League Ballpark still in use today), but it’s also an awesome place to watch a game. Be prepared: because Fenway is so old, it lacks some modern upgrades you may be used to at other newer parks; i.e., wooden seats, extremely small amount of leg room, etc. If you’d like the full Fenway experience head to the stadium well before the game. Stop for a drink or lunch at Cask and Flagon and wander through the famous Yawkey Way. Tours of Fenway are available year round. Click here for more info.