The Can't-Miss Points of Interest in Boston

USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, berthed at the Boston Navy Yard
USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, berthed at the Boston Navy Yard | © DustyDingo / Alamy Stock Photo
Mark Nayler

One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston can be considered a founding block of the nation. The Massachusetts capital is home to Fenway Park: the nation’s oldest baseball stadium, Havard and other world-leading universities, and an expansive culinary scene – all on show at Boston Public Market. Make sure to visit these attraction when visiting Beantown.

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Beacon Hill

Historically home to old-money Bostonians (known as Brahmins), Beacon Hill is an affluent neighborhood of leafy avenues and pristine brownstones. Here lies Acorn Street, often dubbed the prettiest street in the country, with its tight cobblestone path flanked by red-brick facades. You’ll also find the Bull & Finch pub, the inspiration for TV sitcom Cheers. Beacon Hill is not a community stuck in the past, though. It’s here the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized gay marriage, granted state residents affordable healthcare and legalized recreational marijuana use.

Boston Harbor Islands

Just off the city’s shoreline sits the Boston Harbor Islands, a charming collection of 34 islands and peninsulas created by a major glacial event 15,000 years ago. For a great walk, head to Spectacle Island, where 5mi (8km) of hiking trails lead to the 155ft-high (47m) North Drumlin, the highest point in Boston Harbor. To soak up some history, jump on a boat to George’s Island and visit Fort Warren. Finished in 1861, it’s supposedly haunted by the Lady in Black, the ghost of a woman who died trying to rescue her husband from the fort’s dungeons in the 1860s.

Fenway Park

Sport is religion in Boston and cathedrals are plentiful. Home to the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins, and with the New England Patriots not far, there are plenty of teams for locals to cheer. For an outsider, however, the greatest sporting attraction is Fenway Park, home to the Red Sox baseball team. Built in 1912, it’s the oldest continually used stadium in Major League Baseball. The regular season usually runs from late March to early October if you’d like to catch a game. Alternatively, tour the Fenway Park Living Museum to learn more about the Green Monster and Red Sox legends such as Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

Harvard & MIT

Visit two of the world’s leading universities – Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – in one day. From Downtown Boston, it’s an hour’s walk (or a 15-minute metro ride from Park Street) to the attractive city of Cambridge. Here, you can explore the manicured grounds of Harvard by joining a student-led tour. After, relax in Harvard Square stopping at either Charlie’s Kitchen or Russell House Tavern for some grub. Then, stroll south for 25 minutes to marvel at the work on display in the MIT Museum.

Boston Public Market

Boston’s port heritage means seafood – specifically clam chowder – is what it’s best known for globally. However, to diminish the city’s culinary scene would be sacrilege. At the Boston Public Market, 30 vendors showcase the finest produce New England has to offer, from craft beers and honey to organic poultry and smoked fish. A year-round rotation of cooking classes, workshops and tours is managed by the Boston Public Market Association.

New England Aquarium

Nestled in Boston’s harbor area, the New England Aquarium is home to more than 20,000 marine animals. Permanent fixtures include the four-story high Giant Ocean Tank, where 1,000 animals live on a man-made Caribbean coral reef. The tank’s star resident (since 1970) has been Myrtle the green sea turtle. Food and drink is served at the Harbor View Café, the Reef Bar and Dog ‘n Claw, the last of which does a great lobster roll.

USS Constitution Ship and Museum

Launched in 1797, the USS Constitution – also known as Old Ironsides – is the oldest ship still used by the United States Navy. Take a tour of this long-serving vessel and meet her present-day sailors, as well as learn about naval history in the USS Constitution Museum. Also docked in the Boston Navy Yard is the USS Cassin Young, a veteran battleship that survived two kamikaze attacks and seven Pacific conflicts during World War II.

Freedom Trail

If you visit Downtown Boston, you might spy a curious red-brick line cutting through the sidewalk. This is the Freedom Trail, a cleverly marked sightseeing route that visits 16 locations significant to the Revolutionary War. The 2.5mi (4km) trek starts in Boston Common and ends at the USS Constitution Museum. Highlights include the Massachusetts State House, Faneuil Hall and the Granary Burying Ground, where prominent Bostonian patriots Paul Revere and Samuel Adams are interred.

Boston Common and Public Garden

Boston is a fascinating place to visit

Established in 1634, Boston Common is America’s oldest public park. Over the years, it’s been home to grazing cows, a British Redcoat encampment and a civil rights rally led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Now it hosts Frog Pond (a children’s spray pool in the summer and skating rink in the winter), several late-1800s monuments and beautiful foliage during the fall. Attached to Boston Common’s west side is the 24-acre (10ha) Boston Public Garden – the country’s first botanical garden. Wander its shaded pathways, admire its Victorian monuments and board a swan boat to explore its lake.

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