Attractions in Boston
A good way to get to know Boston’s rich history and to see most of the city’s old monuments and buildings is to walk the so-called Freedom Trail. The route passes the 200-year-old USS Constitution warship and Old State House, Old North Church and ends at the Bunker Hill Monument, the site of the first major battle of the 18th-century United States freedom struggle.
All places on the route played a role during the independence struggle and are free to visit except for larger groups. Start from the Boston Common Information Booth.
Museum of Science
Museum of Science [See image first in the article] is located in the Science Park. Here are interactive exhibitions where you are meant to attend. Here are also laser shows, IMAX cinema, Planetarium and exciting presentations of topics such as scene investigation, vaccines, dam construction, electricity etc. Open every day from 0900 to 1700, on Fridays until 2100. The entrance fee costs approx. 250/150 for adult / child.
Museum of Fine Arts
Art lovers should note the Museum of Fine Arts, located at 465 Huntington Avenue. Founded in 1870, the museum is one of the largest museums in the United States.
In addition to works of art by Monet, Van Gogh and Renoir, there is also a large Egyptian exhibition. You will find a peaceful and beautiful Japanese garden adjacent to the museum. Open all days from 0900, closes 1645 Saturday-Tuesday, and closes 2145 Wednesday-Friday. The entrance fee costs approx. NOK 250 for adults and NOK 150 for children. NB! Children under 17 come in free of charge after 1500 and on weekends.
Childrens Museum in Boston
If you bring children to Boston, a visit to the Childrens Museum at Childrens Wharf, 3 00 Congress Street, is mandatory. Here are many interactive exhibits designed to help children understand science, art, culture and environmental issues in a fun and inspiring way. Open 1000 to 1700 every day, Fridays until 2100. Entrance around 150 kroner, but big discounts for children after 10 pm. 1,500.
Cheers has become a television success worldwide, and is many tourists’ foremost association with Boston. There are actually two Cheers pubs in Boston, the original Bull And Finch at 84 Beacon Street, which is not at all like the bar you know from the TV, but it definitely does the replica of the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Be prepared to stand in a long queue to enter. The most hungry can try The eNORMous Burger, and if you eat it all, you get your name in the pub’s Hall Of Fame. Open from 1200 Monday – Thursday, and from 1100 Friday – Sunday.
Boston Common Park
Boston is a green and open city, with a number of large public parks. Join Boston Common, the nation’s oldest park. Boston Common is a vast green space that is Boston’s favorite place for picnics and outdoor activities.
Public Garden is America’s oldest botanical garden. In the Public Garden you have plants, lagoons, monuments, statues and fountains, and you can take a tour with Boston’s semi- legendary Swan Boats, which have operated for over 100 years.
Paul Reveres House
The biggest draw for American tourists is Paul Reveres House, one of Boston’s oldest houses. Paul Revere is a legend in American Revolutionary history and has become a patriots symbol. From this house, in 1775, he embarked on his Midnight Ride, announcing to the rebel leaders Adams and Hancock that the British were about to attack. The house is located in 19 North Square and is open daily from 0930 to 1715. Closes an hour earlier in the winter. Entry about 50 kroner.
200 Clarendon Street Tower
On Clarendon Street 200, you’ll find Boston’s most eye-catching building, the 60-story tall skyscraper of the same name as the street address. In the past, the skyscraper was called John Hancock Tower, or just The Hancock, which the town’s residents still like to call it. The skyscraper was completed in 1976 and is New England’s tallest building with its 241 meters.
The Hancock had a view terrace on top which was a very popular tourist attraction, but it was closed to the public after the September 11 attacks and is still closed at the time of writing. For the best view of the city, visit the 228 m high Prudential Tower at 800 Boylston Street instead.
One of the world’s most renowned and prestigious universities is also the oldest in the United States, and opened in 1636. More than 75 Nobel laureates have their past at Harvard, and students include well-known and historical names such as TS Eliot, Henry Kissinger, Benazir Bhutto, Leonard Bernstein, Jack Lemmon and Presidents John F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D Roosevelt. Harvard is located in the city of Cambridge northwest of Boston.
Tourist in Boston
If you are going to spend a few days in Boston and intend to bring most of the sights and attractions with you, consider investing in a tourist passport. It gives you free admission, or at least solid discounts on over 70 attractions and museums, and is available in several price ranges depending on duration.
You can also join one of the old sightseeing buses that will take you around Boston while providing information about the sights. The buses stop at all the major sights, where you can get on and off all day. The price is quite stiff, but you will experience Boston in a smooth and flexible way.
Day 1 in Boston
Since most hotels have breakfast included in the room rate, the first point of your day program will be to find a nice diner that can give you a good start to the day, because you will need some energy.
As mentioned, Boston is a relatively compact city that is easy to get to know on foot. The most natural and best way to get to know Boston’s rich history and to see most of the city’s old monuments and buildings is to walk the so-called Freedom Trail. All places on the route played a role during the American Freedom Fight and are free to visit.
A clear red line runs along the entire route, so it is almost impossible to trace and go wrong.
You can of course walk this tour on your own, but just walking the streets and looking at old houses without knowing the history behind is of limited interest. Why not include a guide in colonial costume that tells you the story? This of course makes the trip twice as interesting. Such a service does not cost much and starts from the Boston Common Information Booth.
We walk the Freedom Trail in Boston
We start at Boston Common, which is the oldest public park in the United States, and for centuries has been Boston’s favorite place for picnics and outdoor activities. It was also the town’s court until 1817. The Freedom Trail passes the Massachusetts State House from 1798 in Beacon Hill, before arriving at Park Street Church with Granary Cemetery, which has been in use since 1660.
Here lie buried several of the state’s governors and city mayors, as well as national heroes such as John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, a name you may be familiar with first and last.
Next stop is Boston’s oldest Anglican church, Kings Chapel from 1749. The church bell was made by Paul Revere, and the tomb is next door to the city’s oldest. In the same street, aptly named School Street, is America’s first public Latin school, founded by Puritan colonists in 1635. Here stands a statue of one of the school’s students, Benjamin Franklin. His childhood home is just one block away, on Milk Street.
The next stop is the former site of the Old Corner Bookstore from 1718, which in the 19th century was the home of classic writers such as Charles Dickens and Harriet Beecher Stowe. At the time of writing there is a jewel shop, Ultra Diamonds, in the historic premises.
If you follow the red line a little to the south, you come to Old South Meeting House, an old meeting room most known for being the place where the protesters behind the Boston Tea Party gathered. It is now a museum, and if you want to take a closer look at what they have to offer, it costs a few dollars in entrance fees. Open every day until 1600 or 1700.
Old State House [See image first article] Located in Boston’s financial district and is surrounded by skyscrapers. Old State House is historically perhaps one of the most important buildings in the United States. Here, the country’s declaration of independence was read from the balcony on the east side, July 18, 1776. Today the building houses a historical museum, but is also used for weddings. Notice the lion and unicorn on the roof of the building, the same symbols you find in the coat of arms of the United Kingdom. The address of the Old State House is 206 Washington Street.
In front of the Old State House you can see a circle of cobblestones marking the scene of the so-called Boston Massacre in 1770. A quarrel between a wig apprentice and a British guard post evolved into a full revolt that culminated in the soldiers firing into the hectic crowd and killed five people.
Nearby is the famous Faneuil Hall, which has served as a market and meeting place since the 1740s, and the two-story Quincy Market, which was built as a supplement to Faneuil Hall.
Legend and Patriots symbol Paul Revere
Once you have had your food and drink, you are probably ready to embark on the final stage. Along the red line, you will pass the New England Holocaust Memorial, with six 18-meter-high glass towers in memory of six million victims of World War II concentration camps. These are not part of the Freedom Trail, but they are most likely Paul Rever’s house, located in 19 North Square.
Paul Revere is a legend in American Revolutionary history, and has become the patriots symbol of the nation. From this wooden house, in 1775, he set out on his “Midnight Ride” and was notified of the entire district and rebel leaders Adams and Hancock about the British plans of attack. The house is open for visits from 0930 to 1715 every day, but closes an hour earlier in the winter. Entry about 50 kroner.
Paul Reeve’s house is located in the North End district, one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods. The next stop on the Freedom Trail is Old North Church in Salem Street. The church was built in 1723. Paul Revere was one of the watches here. The bell tower is 53 meters high including the weather tap at the top. A little further up the street, on North End’s highest hill, is Copp’s Hill Tomb, otherwise Boston’s second oldest.
Charlestown Navy Yard Shipyard
Now you have a distance to go to the next point of interest. Go up to Commercial Street and cross the Charlestown Bridge. You are now in the Charlestown district. The port here is called the Charlestown Navy Yard and is one of the oldest in the United States. It is therefore preserved as a National Historic Site and part of the Boston National History Park. In this port lies the pride of the United States Navy, the three-seater frigate USS Constitution of 1797.
Every half hour there is a free onboard tour. Nearby is a free museum where you can learn even more about this historic ship.
The Charlestown Navy Yard was the site where the British soldiers landed before the first battle between colonists and British, in June 1755. This brings us to the last stop on the Freedom Trail.
On the hill top of Breeds Hill stands a 67-meter-high granite obelisk in memory of the Battle of Bunker Hill, which it has been mistakenly known as, for Bunker Hill is a little further northwest. The British “won” this battle, but they lost considerably more men during the fighting than the colonists did. There are 294 steps up to the top for the crack.
When you’re back in the center again, it’s probably time to relax in the hotel or in a pub before dinner. After all, you can do as most Boston tourists; eat at the Cheers! Pub which is world famous from the TV series of the same name.
To call it a pub gets a little wrong, this is just as much a restaurant. There are actually TWO Cheers pubs in Boston, the original Bull And Finch at 84 Beacon Street, which is not at all like the bar you know from the TV, but it definitely does the replica located in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Be prepared to stand in a long queue to enter, as it is not possible to reserve a table unless you are in a group of at least 15 people. Here it is always tasteful and a high level of sound. The most hungry can try The eNORMous Burger, and if you eat it all, you get your name in the pub’s Hall Of Fame.
If you want to try Boston’s nightlife afterwards, Cheers is not! the place to be seated, because the beer here is among the city’s most expensive. But you certainly won’t have any trouble finding another nice pub, because Boston has more of it than any other American city in terms of population.
Day 2 in Boston
After a good breakfast at a diner, we suggest you take the Green Line subway to Copley Station. You will then reach Copley Square, the heart of the Back Bay district. Here you will find, among other things, the beautiful Trinity Church from 1873 and Boston’s public library.
Also on the square is the fun statue Turtle and Haren, which symbolizes the target area for Boston’s traditional marathon run. Also, you cannot help but notice the city’s tallest building, 200 Clarendon Street at a full 241 meters, and formerly known as the John Hancock Tower.
Shop ’til you drop
Walk Boylston Street west, a thoroughfare with many stores, including Prada and a large Apple store. A few blocks up you come to the Public Garden park, and on the corner is the old Arlington Street Church, the district’s oldest church, completed in 1861.
Turn left up Arlington Street, then left again. In front of you now has Boston’s premier shopping street, Newbury Street. The first quarters are the most exclusive and most expensive, with sales to Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Versace.
Here you can spend hours on shopping or window shopping, visiting galleries or admire some of the other old churches, Emmanuelkirken in Newbury Street No. 15, or Church of the Covenant in Newbury Street No. 67.
When you reach Exeter Street, turn right. In the next quarter, you come out on the long and wide Commonwealth Avenue, which has a long park area between the lanes that is great for a stroll. The area has many monuments and fountains, including a statue of our own Leiv Eriksson.
Public Garden in Boston
Going east again, you will eventually return to Arlington Street. Across the street you see a gate into the Public Garden, and a huge statue of the first President of the United States (George Washington) on horseback. In the background, you see the skyscrapers in Boston’s financial district.
Public Garden was the continent’s first botanical garden. On the park’s own small lake are Boston’s famous Swan boats, which have been around since the 1870s. A little further north in the park is one of Boston’s most photographed statues. It’s a duck mother with her eight ducklings in tow.
If you are very interested in American history, you might enjoy swinging north up Beacon Hill and taking a closer look at all the old historic homes located in this upscale area. If, on the other hand, you are a regular European tourist who has never heard of George Middleton, John Coburn, John J. Smith or Lewis & Harriet Hayden, then you probably have the same pleasure of continuing east through the Public Garden and into the Boston Common neighborhood.
Downtown Crossing in Boston
In the east of Boston Commons, you reach the exit on Park Street, and in front you have the Winter Street pedestrian street that takes you to Downtown Crossing. This is an old town with pedestrian streets that are full of shops, market stalls and department stores. Downtown is an area that attracts all kinds of people for strolls in pleasant surroundings.
For dinner we suggest one of the city’s specialties. Boston is dominated by its Irish and Italian immigrants, and since Irish cuisine has not exactly taken the world by storm, you are instead testing one of the city’s many Italian restaurants.
Recently, Giacomo’s Restaurant at 355 Hanover Street has received a very good reputation. This is a jovial and intimate family restaurant located in Little Italy in the North End, with a solid wine list. NB! Make sure they take cards and not just cash.
But when it comes to pubs, the Irish are totally superior to the Italians, and you will find plenty of Irish pubs within a short walk of Hanover Street, where you can have fun until late at night. No wonder we call the street Hangover Street!