Full disclosure, (potential crazy adoring stalkers cover your eyes), I’m from Boston, so I figured what better way to start off this series than share a little bit of my hometown. The aim is to give some tips on the conventional and unconventional things to see and do that will give the ‘real’ flavor. So, let’s kick it off…
One of the best features of Boston is its size, which makes it an incredibly easy city to navigate if you are walking or taking the subway. I will tell you now, in no uncertain terms, do not drive in Boston. Not only are we known for notoriously crazy drivers, use of horns to turn signals must be at least 4:1, but the street layout was supposedly made by using old cattle paths around town, so take from that what you will.
Now, I’m going to assume that if you’ve thought of going to Boston, you either know a little something about it, or have done some research, so I’m not going to go diving into a big long in-depth description of Boston and how fantastically amazing it is. Since, and I’m sure you guys can figure this out, not every Bostonian drinks at Cheers or hangs out in Faneuil Hall, there is a whole world out there where you can still hear people talk funny and see Red Sox hats.
Boston, take it away:
Boston has a strong maritime history, which provides great access to water, not only is Boston Harbor part of a vital shot of the beauty of Boston, it is home to some great natural habitats.
- Get on the water – this past summer I had a great experience using Charles River Canoe & Kayak from the Cambridge docks. It is a fantiasic way to see Boston from the Charles River, a mini workout and with reasonable prices to boot. Bring a lunch and have a picnic over by the MIT green then walk over and get a rental.
- Beat the system – looking to see Boston from the water? There are many whale watches and tours you can take, or you can get pretty much the same view by taking public transportation. The MBTA offers ferry service around the inner harbor or out to some local suburbs daily, for a few bucks a ticket.
- Hit the islands – while you’re out there on a ferry, check out the Boston Harbor Islands, beyond the views, you might learn a little about history and nature, like it enough and looking for a cheap place to stay, then bring some gear because camping is offered.
Boston is considered by many to be the education capital of America, having so many colleges and universities in such a small area, brings a lot of opportunities if you know where to look.
Advanced edumacation – smaller than your average museum, but jam-packed with exhibits the Harvard Museum of Natural History is a perfect option, and even better for your wallet if you happen to be a science geek and a member of a local participating Associating of Science and Technology Centers, because do to that wonderful word, reciprocity, admission is free, whoohoo. Hungry for more? I like your style, so I’ll let you in on a little tip, admission to one Harvard museum, gets you in next door to the Peabody Museum of Archeology, or check out the MIT Museum nearby for free admission on Sundays from 10 am to noon.
Take a walk – look down on the ground, see a big fat red line? Follow it. The Freedom Trail meanders through Boston and hits on historic spots throughout town, Boston tends to be proud of its history, and does a good job of preserving the historic along with the modern, a skill I find many American cities aren’t able to do as successfully. It’s self-guided and so start and end anywhere you like, feeling thirsty then try a Freedom Trail bar crawl, have a few Sam Adam’s along the way, grab a tri-cornered hat and feel like a patriot.
- Kick back and relax – love to spread out a blanket, bring some cheese (and wine in a flask, but don’t say I told you that) and watch the classics? Well, you’re in luck, Fridays in the summer the Boston Harbor Hotel sponsors a series of free movies, across town over at the Hatch Shell, they also offer Free Friday Flicks, as well as Wednesday Free Concert Series.
- Watch some kicks – I am a big soccer fan, following Liverpool, mostly due to some very good friends with a connection to them, but it didn’t hurt when the owners of the Red Sox purchased the team. So, if you love soccer, rugby or Gaelic football, head over to the Phoenix Landing or the Banshee where you can grab a pint with some fellow devotees of the game.
- Best sports town….ever – of course, no trip to Boston is complete without talking about the sports fanaticism that trickles down to all segments of society, you will be hard pressed to find a place with a more knowledgeable and passionate fan base. So, if you can swing it, I highly recommend taking in one of our major sports teams: Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Revolution. If you still want to take in sports, but on a more budget schedule, try lacrosse, or some of our college teams. Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, and Northeastern, are all spots to catch a great game.
Well, there you have it, by no means an exhaustive list, but a good start, and ways to get a little bit outside of the regular tourist crowds. So, come to Boston, hang out, have a beer, I guarantee you’ll have a great time.