Before learning anything about Boston, you need to listen to the one song you’ll hear at any game you’ll go to see at the TD Garden; that you’ve heard in the film The Departed, ou Les Inflitrés en français, and other Boston based films or series; the one song, for me, that will give you a grasp of Boston’s atmosphere and an idea of what you’ll find: « I’m shipping up to Boston ».
Now that you’ve got the feel of it, we can talk history. Founded in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the US; it was originally settled by English Puritan Christians and quickly grew into a major trading port. The city was the scene of different events leading to the American Revolution such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party and the Siege of Boston. Boston was also the home to many famous revolutionaries, for example John Adams, John Hancock and Sam Adams (mostly known today for the beer named after him. If you go to Mass, it is a MUST drink!). >> Want more info on Boston’s history?
If you only have a couple of days in Boston, here is what you should see:
.♣ The Black Heritage Trail in Beacon Hill
Start the day by flaning around Beacon Hill going through the Black Heritage Trail. It’s one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Boston; probably what get’s the closest to Europe, full of chic and history. Enjoy the narrow streets, the stoned paths and the little boutiques. You can even try to seek for one of John Kerry’s or Uma Thurman’s houses.
.♣ The Freedom trail
Continue on the Freedom Trail (my first experience in Boston!). It is a great first point to get to know your way around. It takes you on a 4 km walk through Boston’s history, highlighting some of its most famous sights. From the Boston Common, which began as a common grazing ground for sheep and cattle, to the Bunker Hill monument, where you’ll have a nice view of Boston. Stop at the Faneuil Hall for lunch and eat at the Quincy Market. Get adventurous in North End and wonder around the streets of our Little Italy.
Once you finish the trail, make your way down on Commercial Street and Atlantic Avenue to the Aquarium and probably call it for the day. If you need any idea for dinner check out XXX article.
♣ Harvard University – VE RI TAS
Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Matt Damon, Nathalie Portman… surprisingly, guess what they all have in commun… Yup, the most famous University in the world, Harvard, or Hahvahd like they say. Take a tour of the University, but don’t expect to have too much insight, as us commons cannot enter the buildings, although it’s still great to have a sense and an understanding of how this multi-billionaire organization sets up. Once you finish, you can either wonder around the neighborhood, it’s pretty nice or visit the Harvard Art Museums.
Swing by the MIT campus if you’re interested. It’s much more moderne, but still wildly notorious and you can also do a tour of the campus.
♣ Back Bay
Head to Copley square in the Back Bay area. Walk around the Square, you’ll see a mix of ultra modern and (almost) old, between the 19th century beautiful Trinity Church, that you can visit for 7$… (sacrés américains!), the 241m tall Hancock Tower, the highest of the city and the Boston public library. When you get to the library, visit the gardens and then head upstairs. Enjoy the Harry Potterish scene, with all it’s books and high selling, but also take the time to take a 1 hour break and feel the atmosphere; grab a book, open your computer or just sit and observe.Now that you’re nice and relaxed, head to Newbury Street if you feel like shopping. Start at the beginning though, from Arlington Street, so you can notice the evolution of the shops.
Finally, go and have a drink at the Top of the Hub. The panoramic view of Boston is pretty amazing.
♣ The Museum of Fine Arts
♣ Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
♣ Fenway Park
If you can’t go and see a game, which by the way is renowned for being pretty boring but you still should go for the experience, take a tour in the home stadium of our Red Sox baseball team at Fenway Park.
Start from where you stopped on the first day by the aquarium, grab a drink on the esplanade if you feel like it and imagine all the tea flying around and being dumped into the ocean, as that is one of the scenes of the Boston Tea Party. As reminder, the 1773 Boston Tea Party is the beginning of America’s emancipation from the Brits, when locals destroyed an entire shipment of tea.
Anyhow, make your way down to South Station, check out the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum; Cross on to Seaport boulevard, around the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) and wonder by the water, you can even visit the Harpoon Brewery (pretty famous famous New England beer).