You know a city is worth going to when it has served as inspiration for movies, TV shows, books and even songs. Although the largest city in New England sometimes gets lost in the radar because of neighbouring New York, Boston is in a league of its own and, in a lot of cases, preferred over the Big Apple by many.
Boston is known as one of the most historic cities in the United States of America, as it's the place where the American Revolution and modern democracy got its kick-start. Three hours on the road away from the craziness that is New York, most people find Boston to be a refreshing change.
The flavour of Boston is an eclectic mix of vibrant city life, laidback and friendly people and homely suburbs; sounds like a perfect city to live in, little wonder then that this is city gets 16.3 million visitors a year and is one of the ten most popular tourist locations in the USA. In addition, the presence of a very young population, consisting of mostly local and international college students and their professors, means that Boston is always buzzing with lots of concerts, sports events and night-time haunts.
One of my favourite parts of the city would have to be Newbury Street, which consists of eight blocks of interesting boutiques, galleries and restaurants. You can spend your whole day strolling down the street and simply looking at all the interesting things on display. Most of the businesses lining Newbury Street operate out of old, refurbished homely red-brick buildings surrounded by pretty trees and shrubs, and the street is full of college students, professionals, tourists and street performers. If you're like me and you love people watching and mixing with the locals in a city, you'll love Newbury Street.
When you're in Boston, you must visit the oldest public park in America, the Boston Commons and Public Garden, especially during the warmer months. Simply lie down under the shade of one of the many trees lining the park and watch as families ride the beautiful Swan Boats. One of the more touristy things to do in Boston is the Duck Tour, a tour bus that starts off at Copley Square, takes you around Boston and can even go on water, making a round around Charles River.
Copley Square is also home to a lot of Boston's city life; visit the Boston Public Library to admire the breathtaking architecture and the gardens, sit around in front of the library and enjoy the view of the historical square with the backdrop of modern architecture like the Prudential Building.
For those looking to explore the history of Boston, make sure you visit the Freedom Trail, which is a long walk that will take you through many iconic places in Boston. You can choose to walk with a tour group, or go by yourself. We recommend a tour group, however, because the walk is a long one and it's best to have someone show you the most important sights and sounds in case you have a time constraint.
While walking the Freedom Trail you will come across Faneuil Hall, one of the first urban historic shopping districts which now hosts an assortment of shops and restaurants. You will find a “Cheers” bar here as well, although the TV show was inspired by the one in Back Bay.
Just across the Charles River, easily accessible by mass transit, are Harvard, MIT, local galleries, restaurants and bars that are effectively a part of the city and a must-visit on the list.
Sports lovers should definitely research from beforehand to see if there is by chance a Boston Red Sox or Celtics game going on in the city, and the after-party if a Bostonian team wins should not be missed!
The best time of the year to visit Boston would have to be the summer months, because the unpredictable weather of New England means it can get pretty cold the rest of the year. However, if you do find yourself in the USA in the middle of winter, you can be rest assured that Boston will not disappoint no matter how deep the snow is!