One of the oldest cities in the USA, Boston is the culturally-rich and thriving heart of New England. The wealth of academic institutions have made an indelible mark here and Boston buzzes with an upbeat entrepreneurial engery. This is a beautiful, compact walking city and it's gorgeous in spring and autumn, particularly. Enjoy the city from Boston Common, the oldest public park in the USA. Any chance you have to explore Boston or engage a local in conversation, should be taken. The feisty spirit of Bostonians remains, long after their instigation of the independence movement.
What are the top things to do in Boston? For a hearty dose of culture, visit the Museum of Fine Arts. It's one of the largest museums in the country and contains more than 450,000 works of art. Its exhibitions range from Egyptian artefacts to impressionist works by Manet, Van Gogh and Moet. Also, the Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Science are other Boston highlights. For more entertaining and informative kids' activities, check out the Boston Children's Museum. The 4-kilometre Freedom Trail is an historic walk and sports fans may make a beeline to a Red Sox (baseball) game at Fenway Park.
Where to Eat and Drink
Some locals are quick to tell you Boston has the country's best sushi – an unanticipated claim – and that you can find it at Oya or Oishii in Chestnut Hill. At the other end of the day, some swear by Hi Rise Bread Company in Harvard Square for fabulous breakfast quiche, and the Clover Food Truck on the Boston waterfront serves up excellent chickpea fritters and soy BLTs. Boston restaurants will generally spoil your palate. Boylston Street has plenty of upscale bars, clubs and restaurants if you're looking for a fun night out. If you're out late and relying on the subway though, remember it starts to shut down just after midnight.
Where to Stay
Boston accommodation includes gleaming glass and stately heritage. It certainly does quaint and this is also a student town: budget is okay. A handful of choices from a city replete with options: The Back Bay Hotel – at the former Boston Police Headquarters, marrying history and fine service; the Coolidge Corner Guest House – a great little 'bed and bagel' handy to the Fenway/Kenmore area; Friend Street Hostel is simple accommodation in an area with quite a few handy bars. If you're planning an extended stay, there are self-contained apartments too.
Boston shopping covers upmarket to flea market, depending on where you look. A distinct bonus is there's no sales tax on clothing valued under $175. Newbury Street runs the length of the Back Bay neighbourhood; its brownstones and upscale shops are more expensive the closer they are to Boston Common. This area is also the home of Copley Place, featuring the likes of Tiffany & Co. and Jimmy Choo. Downtown Crossing is a central city shopping area and the historic but buzzing Harvard Square is across the river in Cambridge.
Boston like a Local
A rich resource for scholars, filmmakers and an interesting detour for visitors, the Harvard Film Archive cinema presents films Friday–Monday nights, year round. It's part of the Carpenter Centre for the Visual Arts in Cambridge. If you're looking for a great spot to view the entire bay of Boston and surrounding islands, head to Castle Island. It's been connected to the mainland since the 1930s when streetcars brought bathers to Pleasure Bay and its castle is Fort Independence. There's a pretty walking trail too.