Boston has something for everyone from the history buff to the sports fanatic.
The Massachusetts city is rich in history, key to the Revolutionary War. Many visitors enjoy a walk through the forts and meeting halls of the era that are linked by the popular Freedom Trail.
A true college town, Boston is home to top institutions such as Harvard University, Boston University, and Boston College. This new infusion of young culture, combined with its historical importance, makes Boston a great choice for many different types of travelers.
Boston is the central hub of New England, and no visit to the area is complete without at least a day in Beantown. The city has a great transportation network and plenty of things to do without the hustle and bustle of the United State's other big cities.
Here's a look at the top spots to help you plan your trip:
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Faneuil Hall or Quincy Market is the perfect place for clam chowder, fish and chips, and other Boston delicacies. Both sides of the hall are lined with different food vendors tempting you with every stop. Faneuil Hall Marketplace was originally funded by Peter Faneuil to create both a town hall and marketplace for Boston. The hall is often called the cradle of liberty due to its importance in the American Revolution. Unfortunately, the originally hall burnt down in 1761. However, it was rebuilt shortly after. Today, visitors can still gather at the marketplace to take in some Boston fare and watch the street buskers that perform most days on the cobblestone streets surrounding the hall.
While the Freedom Trail may not be for everyone visiting Boston, history buffs will love following the 2.5-mile red brick line to 16 different historical sights. Tours depart from Faneuil Hall and Boston Common, or just pick up the trail from any of the sites and follow it on your own. Some of the main attractions include Paul Revere's house, Bunker Hill Monument, and the Boston Common.
For those wanting to shop until you drop, Newbury Street is the place to go in Boston. From high end stores like Marc Jacobs to consignment shops, Newbury Street has it all. The street is full of outdoor cafés reminiscent of the European style. There are no complaints on the numerous frozen yogurt shops that have popped up all over the trendy street.
Whether it's the Celtics, Bruins, or Red Sox, catching a Boston sports game is a must in any season. So, grab your Celtics of Bruins jersey and head over to TD Bank North, at North Station. If you're visiting Boston in the fall or summer, head to Fenway Park to cheer on with Boston Red Sox fans in hope of another World Series.
New England Aquarium
If you're bringing children with you on your trip to Boston, a visit to the New England Aquarium may be a perfect family adventure while visiting the city. The aquarium itself is a long spiraling loop around a gigantic tank. There is also an I-Max theater that plays science and kid-friendly films in cooperation with the Aquarium. Whale watches and Boston harbor tours also leave from the Aquarium.
Brewery Tasting and Tour
Brewery tours are a cheap way to learn about your favorite Boston beer and get a sweet tasting too! Harpoon's tours are only $5 and get visitors a tasting in a souvenir glass. Part of the proceeds are donated to the Harpoon Helps Charity. Harpoon also has its own Oktoberfest full of music and German food. This year's festival takes place on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Tours at the Samuel Adams Brewery depart every 45 minutes with a suggested donation of $2, which also benefits local Boston charities.
Boston Harbor Islands
The Boston Harbor Islands are one of the hidden secrets of Boston. Take the ferry from downtown Boston, Quincy, Hingham, or Hull to one of 12 islands that are part of the park. Escape the city for camping, kayaking, lighthouse tours, and exploring Civil War forts. Taking the ferry to one of these islands not only gets visitors into the New England nature, but also allows them to skip the more expensive harbor cruises.
The North End
The North End of Boston has seen continuous streams of immigrants since the Puritans in the 1600's. After the American Revolution, many of the wealthy citizens of the area moved away and Irish, Jewish, and Italian immigrants took their place. The North End became almost 100% Italian by the 1930's. The Italian presence remains in the North End today where visitors can explore the small brick alleys filling up on gelato and spaghetti. The line down the street at Mike's Pastry is worth the wait for their famous cannoli.
Take a stroll through Cambridge
Cambridge, perhaps Boston's most prestigious neighborhood (that's not actually a part of the city), is home to both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Visitors can take free student-guided tours of Harvard from the Holyoke Center Arcade. You can even stop at the Harvard bookstore in the main square to pick up a Harvard T-shirt to pretend like you actually went there. Another great spot is along the Charles River in Cambridge. Bring a good book or watch the Head of the Charles Regatta; the world's largest rowing completion on October 22 and 23.
North Shore of Boston
Traveling up to the North Shore gives Boston visitors a chance to experience small town New England charm. Get spooked in Salem, MA at the Salem Witch Museum or head for the sand and surf. The beaches of the North Shore are top vacation spots with the most popular being Crane Beach of Ipswich. Essex, another North Shore town, is famous for its fried seafood - try Woodman's famous fried clams or fried lobster tails. An American Cult Classic-right up there with baseball and apple pie, Zagat writes of Woodman's in its restaurant guide.
Any other suggestions? Feel free to share them in the comments below!