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Boston Harbor | © Rachael Elana Photography
Boston Harbor | © Rachael Elana Photography

How To Spend 48 Hours In Boston

Picture of Rachael Silverstein
Updated: 20 October 2016
Boston is a quick train ride or (less comfortable but remarkably inexpensive) bus ride from New York, making it a perfect weekend getaway. This summer, take the time to explore this New England destination’s plentiful history, charm, and delicious restaurants.

Day 1

Home to one of the most elite marathons in the world and the original location of fitness movement the November Project, Boston promotes outdoor fitness despite its cold winters. Boston plays host to some breathtaking walks along the Charles River Esplanade, so take in the sites on a morning jog. Fuel up for the day at Thinking Cup on Newbury Street with Stumptown coffee and delicious pastries. After wandering in and out of the boutiques on Newbury Street, cross over to Commonwealth Avenue and take in the architecture of the Back Bay neighborhood, which features row houses with beautiful bay windows.

Newbury Street | © Rachael Elana Photography

Newbury Street | © Rachael Elana Photography

Boston is well-known for its charming New England architecture. Founded in 1848, the Boston Public Library was the first free, large-scale municipal library in the United States, and it’s worth a trip for its collection of 23 million items. Today, the Boston Public Library system includes a central library alongside 24 library branches.

Boston Public Library | © Rachael Elana Photography

Boston Public Library | © Rachael Elana Photography

Make your way to the Boston Public Garden to see the famous ‘Make Way for Ducklings’ sculpture, inspired by Robert McCluskey’s book of the same name. This endearing artwork by Nancy Schön can be found near the gate to the Garden, at the corner of Beacon and Charles Streets.

Make Way For Ducklings | © Rachael Elana Photography

Make Way For Ducklings | © Rachael Elana Photography

Wander the garden and take a rest under one of the many giant weeping willow trees after partaking in a 15-minute Swan Boat ride around the Garden’s lagoon for an alternative view.

Boston Public Garden | © Rachael Elana Photography

Boston Public Garden | © Rachael Elana Photography

Continue through the connecting Boston Common, which is the oldest park in the country and the starting point of the Freedom Trail, a two and a half mile-long path through downtown Boston, which passes through 16 historical points of interest. Next, make your way to the picturesque cobblestone alleys of Beacon Hill. Marvel at the historic architecture, old-time door knockers, quaint mailboxes, and charming doors. Famous Acorn Street provides you with stunning Americana views of Boston’s historic streets.

Acorn Street | © Rachael Elana Photography

Acorn Street | © Rachael Elana Photography

Have lunch at Tzurit Or’s Tatte Bakery and Cafe on Charles Street after enjoying the scenic views of Beacon Hill. Tatte features exquisite Israeli-influenced French pastries, delicious salads, sandwiches, and more.

From Beacon Hill, take the T (Boston’s subway system) to Cambridge, where you can embark on a free, student-led historical walking tour of the world-famous Harvard University campus. Make sure you book a tour in advance, especially during the summer months, as fewer tours are offered when students are away. After your tour, shop in the ‘Coop’ for some unique gifts perfect for book lovers. If you’re feeling especially energetic, take the T or a bus to the grounds of the Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, which was established in 1872 and designed in collaboration with Frederick Law Olmsted, who planned Central Park. The Arboretum is a National Historic Landmark that occupies 281 acres of trees, shrubs, and vines.

Harvard University Arnold Arboretum | © Rachael Elana Photography

Harvard University Arnold Arboretum | © Rachael Elana Photography

Return to Harvard Square and conclude your evening with unique cocktails and fantastic food at Russell House Tavern, located in the home of Thomas Russell, a 1800s furniture dealer.

Day 2

One of the best cities on the East Coast for history buffs, Boston offers Duck Tours, which provide both an engaging and exciting way to see much of Boston’s historical sites, and they offer special views of Boston from the water. For the active traveler, kayaking along the Charles River as far as your arms can take you is a fantastic way to spend a summer afternoon in Boston.

The stunning Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a must for both art and history lovers. New York City-born art patron Isabella Steward Gardener was a great supporter of the local art scene and a friend and patron of legendary artists such as John Singer Sargent and Henry James. Over the course of 30 years, Gardener amassed an incredible collection of art, which is now housed in her namesake museum. Complete with a peaceful garden, the Museum displays a selection of paintings, furniture, sculptures, textiles, and artifacts from around the world.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum | © Rachael Elana Photography

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum | © Rachael Elana Photography

If you haven’t quite had your fill of local art after the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, visiting The Institute of Contemporary Art, located in the Seaport District, is a must. The Institute was founded in 1936 as a sister institution to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Today, it still stands as one of Boston’s most notable contemporary art exhibition spaces.

Seaport District Public Art | © Rachael Elana Photography

Seaport District Public Art | © Rachael Elana Photography

From delicious food, charming cafes, innovative cocktails, and of course, beer, to rich historical sites, natural beauty, and front-running exhibition spaces, Boston is a fantastic weekend trip from New York.