Boston is one of America's oldest
cities and first settled in 1630. The capital of Massachusetts, Boston is a
city rich in history and tradition, yet vibrant and modern.
Located along the northeastern
seaboard of the United States, Boston is about 200 miles northeast of New York
City. Logan International Airport serves the area. Although only two miles
north east of Boston, it will take you about 30 minutes by car or taxi to reach
the city. Six bus companies provide non-stop service to and from the airport
for about $6 each way, and they run every 15-30 minutes. The MBTA subway's Blue
Line will take you into the city in about twenty minutes and costs less than
$1. You can also take the Airport Water Shuttle. It takes about seven minutes
and takes you to the Rowe Wharf on the Boston NE Waterfront. The shuttle
operates every 15 minutes Monday-Friday, and every 30 minutes on Saturday and
Sunday and costs $10 for adults, $5 for seniors. Children 12 and under ride
The summer months of July and August
can be hot and humid in Boston. The average temperature in July is about 81°F
(28°C). During the winter months of November to February, the weather can be
wet and snowy. The average temperature in January is about 21°F (-6°C).
The easiest way to get around Boston
is on foot and by subway. Although the streets do not follow any particular
pattern, you'll find it easy to navigate. Wear comfortable walking shoes, especially
for the granite paving stones you'll find in the Market place and the
cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill. A note of caution: be careful when walking
in the city and obey all traffic signals; Boston drivers are known for their
Boston's subway system, also known
as the T, has four major lines (red, blue, orange and green) that branch out
from the center of the city. The T is efficient, safe, fast, and
You'll find many information centers
throughout the city that will provide you with helpful maps and brochures. A
particularly good place is the Boston Common Information Kiosk. It's open seven
days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors
Bureau, located at Prudential Plaza, provides multilingual maps. The Prudential Center Skywalk is New England's only observatory, offering 360-degree views
of Boston and its most famous sites.
Boston is a city of neighborhoods,
colleges, and wonderful walking trails designed to help visitors learn about
its glorious past.
Popular Walking Tours
The most popular tour is the Freedom
Trail. It takes walkers along a 2 ½ mile trail of popular sites from the
American Revolution. The Freedom Trail begins at the Boston Common (the oldest
public park in America) and ends at Bunker Hill in Charlestown. By following
the well-marked red line, tourists will see 16 of Boston's most important
historical sites including the Old Meeting House, Fanueil Hall, and Paul
Revere's home. National Park rangers offer free-guided tours from April through
The Women's Heritage Trail traces
the accomplishments of 80 renowned women on four self-guided tours. Maps are
available for $5 at the Old State house and the National Park Service Visitor
Black Heritage Trail takes tourists
past 14 sites of historical significance from the 19th century. Along the 1 ½
mile trail are the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment monument located in the
Boston Common. The movie Glory was based on this young officer and
his regiment comprised of the first black soldiers recruited for the North
during the American Civil War. The Lewis and Harriet Hayden House, a stop on
the Underground Railroad, provided a safe haven for runaway slaves on their way
to Canada. The Abiel Smith School, the city's first public school for black
children, now houses the museum of African-American history. Next door is the African
Meeting House where abolitionist leaders such as Frederick Douglas spoke out
against slavery. The oldest continuously operated black church in America, the
Meeting House also offers historical and educational programs.
The Harborwalk is a self-guided tour
that follows Boston's rich maritime history. You'll find maps for this walk at
the information center on Boston Common.
The Neighborhoods of Boston
Boston is made up of many charming
neighborhoods with fine restaurants and antique stores.
Back Bay is a virtual open-air
museum of various residential architectural styles including Victorian,
Italianate, and Gothic Revival.
Beacon Hill harkens to another era
with its gas lamps, shade trees, brick sidewalks and grand townhouses built
between 1800 and 1850. You'll enjoy strolling along the prettiest streets in
Beacon Hill -- Chestnut and Mt. Vernon -- that open out into Louisburg Square.
There are wonderful antique shops along Chestnut Street. Along Pinckney and
Beacon streets, you'll find many homes designed by Charles Bullfinch.
Across Boston Harbor is Charlestown,
a predominantly Irish working class neighborhood. You can reach Charlestown by
trolley or a quick ferry trip from Long Wharf that costs $1. Charlestown is
also home to the U.S.S. Constitution, a 44-gun frigate first commissioned in
1798. The Constitution is a living museum of Boston's shipbuilding past and is
open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free tours from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Along Boston's Waterfront is the New
England Aquarium filled with sharks, live sea creatures, wonderful exhibits,
and an interactive and educational Kids' Space. Open 363 days a year, (9 a.m.
to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays)
the Aquarium also offers whale watching cruises and Science Sea cruises.
Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts, at 465
Avenue of the Arts, is second only to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of
Art. A glorious grand staircase with colorful murals painted by John Singer
Sargent welcomes visitors into the museum. Founded in 1870, the museum is
divided into nine areas. It houses the finest and largest collection of Japanese
art outside of Japan. There is also a large collection of impressionist
paintings and major works by Homer Winslow, Edward Hopper, and over 60
paintings by John Singleton Copley. Other galleries feature art of Africa,
sculptures and ceramics from the Ancient Americas, and a wonderful collection
of tableware made by Revolutionary patriot and silversmith, Paul Revere.
No trip to Boston is complete
without a shopping spree at Filene's Basement department store, the second most
popular tourist attraction in the city. At Filene's Basement you won’t find
fancy décor, but you will see wooden bins piled with merchandise and racks of
clothing from famous designers. Open seven days a week and major credit cards
One of Boston's most famous
landmarks is FaneuiI Hall. An historic market place and greeting place built in
1742, it houses an information desk on the first floor for visitors and
tourists. With its gourmet coffee shops and boutique store, it is a popular
place for both locals and tourists. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Across from FaneuiI Hall is the
Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall Market Place, a wonderful place for people watching
and shopping. You'll find café's with international and specialty foods,
popular chain clothing stores, unique gift shops, book stores, open air bars
Street jugglers, magicians, and entertainers perform daily. Open Monday-Sunday,
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
If you're in town on a Friday or
Saturday, you'll want to check out the open-air Hay Market. From dusk to dawn,
vendors with push carts sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to
fish, meats and cheeses.
Outlet shopping is also very popular
in the areas surrounding Boston. Fall River and New Bedford, about 45 minutes
south of Boston, were once manufacturing centers for clothing. They now have
more than 100 outlet stores where you'll find great buys on clothing, house
wares, lingerie, and much more.
A Sports Town
The world's most prestigious race -
the Boston Marathon -- takes place every third Monday in April on Patriot's
Day. A local tradition for over 100 years, thousands of runners from around the
world compete in the 26.2 mile race, while hundreds of thousands of spectators
line the city streets to cheer them on their way.
Fenway Park is home to Boston's
professional baseball team, the Red Sox. Built in 1912, Fenway is one of the
oldest - and smallest -- ballparks in America. Its narrow wooden seats give the
park a unique, old-fashioned charm. The Red Sox play April through September.
The Boston Bruins, of the National
Hockey League, have won the Stanley Cup five times. A ferocious, hard-hitting
team, they play in FleetCenter. Their regular season is October through April.
FleetCenter is also home to Boston's
professional basketball team, the Celtics. With their green and white jerseys,
the Celtics have been a familiar team at the NBA finals, and in fact, have won
16 NBA Championship titles. Their season runs October through April.
The New England Patriots of the
National Football League currently play at Foxboro Stadium from September
through December. Construction is underway for a new stadium, CMGI Field, which
should be completed in spring, 2002.
Other Places to Explore
There are over 50 college campuses
in the greater Boston area. Just across the Charles River is Cambridge, home of
America's oldest university, Harvard. Harvard Square, a very popular spot for
people watching, is also known for its street musicians performing on weekend
nights and Sunday afternoons. Coffee shops, restaurants, and book stores are
abundant in this town that caters to 30,000 students.
About 20 miles northwest of Boston
are Lexington and Concord. Lexington is a quaint, quiet town of historic homes
and taverns. Lexington is where Paul Revere made his historic ride to warn the
townsfolk the British were coming. Concord, the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Henry David Thoreau, and Walden Pond is about 22 miles northwest of Boston.
You'll also find Sleepy Hollow Cemetery here. Both towns can be reached by
Salem, where suspected witches and
sorcerers faced interrogation and death, is 20 miles north east of Boston. The
Salem Witch Museum is filled with interesting exhibits and the Witch Dungeon
Museum historically recreates the witch trials. The Salem Trolley will take you
to all the major points of interest. If you prefer walking, follow the Salem
Heritage Trail. The red line will take you to the Peabody Essex Museum, the
Salem Witch Museum, and the House of the Seven Gables.
You can go back in time to December
1627 when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Plimoth Plantation, located
about 30 miles southeast of Boston in Plymouth, is staffed by interpreters
dressed as native American Indians, pilgrims, and sailors. It offers visitors a
realistic look at everyday life of these early settlers and includes preserved
and restored 17th century homes. You can also board a full-scale replica of the
Mayflower. The Plantation is open April through November, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
daily and until 7 p.m. in July and August. Admission for the Plantation and
Mayflower Tour is $18.50; tour of the Mayflower only is $6.