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Boston Travel Guide

Boston Travel Guide

Boston is a truly historic city, founded by the New England pilgrims, integral to the events of the American Revolution and the fight against slavery, and home to many of the nation's great thinkers and writers over the centuries:

The main reason to choose a holiday in Boston is the city's vast historic importance, being one of the oldest cities in the country and, for many generations, home of the scholarly elite. Boston has been dubbed 'the Athens of America' because of its great cultural, political and economic influence as well as being renowned for its superior higher education institutions. A holiday in Boston will appeal to history lovers and cultural tourists who will revel in the plethora of museums, art galleries, libraries and diverse, interesting neighbourhoods. Visitors can walk the Black Heritage Trail and the Freedom Trail to get to grips with the historic wealth of Boston, and need only wander the hallowed grounds of Harvard University to feel the city's academic energy.

Boston may be one of America's oldest cities, but it has a remarkably young population - with something like 75 percent of the population under 45 - ensuring that the city's lofty academic atmosphere is balanced by a vibrant restaurant scene, plenty of good shopping, lots of events and outdoor activities, and a varied nightlife.

Best time to visit Boston

Although some visitors relish the hot, humid summers, or even the cold, snowy winters, the best time to travel to Boston is in late spring or early autumn (May, September and October), when the weather is warm and pleasant. Autumn is particularly lovely as New England's trees wear their colourful fall foliage. Read more on Boston's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Boston

-Visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which houses one of the world's most comprehensive art collections.

-Catch a game at Fenway Park and cheer on the Red Sox with the locals.

-Enter a world of technological genius at the renowned MIT Museum.

-Marvel at the underwater world of the New England Aquarium.

What to do in Boston

-Tour the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum, reliving the famous revolutionary event.

-Cross the Charles River into the prestigious scholarly enclave of Cambridge.

-Shop and eat your way around the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

-Enjoy a picnic and a stroll in the Boston Public Garden, the oldest botanical garden in the US.

Beyond Boston

Popular daytrip destinations near Boston include Salem, famous for its witch trials and historic houses; Plymouth, the landing point of the pilgrims; Gloucester, known as 'America's Oldest Fishing Port'; New Bedford, famous for its whaling history; Lexington, where the first blood of the American Revolution was spilled; and Concord, a charming town loved by many famous authors.

Getting there

Boston Logan International Airport, situated four miles (6km) northeast of the city, is one of the busiest airports in the US, and the primary air travel hub of New England. Get more information on Airports in Boston.

Did you know?

-America's first subway, first police department, first library and first public park were all established in Boston.

-The Boston Terrier is the official state dog of Massachusetts.

-Christmas was banned for 22 years in Boston, by the pilgrims, starting in 1659.


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Boston under the moon © Pear Biter

As one of the oldest settlements in the USA and the largest city in New England, Boston has plenty of historic culture. Yet with more than 50 colleges and universities situated in the greater Boston area, there is a youthful vibrancy that adds a totally different dimension to the historic charm of the city.

Cambridge lies across the Charles River and is the largest college town in the world, synonymous with Harvard University, founded in 1638. The neat ivy-covered brick buildings of the university grounds, as well as the labyrinth of twisting streets in Boston centre and the historical buildings in the old-world neighbourhoods are best explored on foot. Boston refers to itself as the 'Walking City' and is a remarkably compact city that is centred on the country's oldest public park, Boston Common. The Information Centre in Boston Common is the starting point for two of the city's main attractions, which are in fact walking tours. The Freedom Trail explores the city's revolutionary past and the birth of the modern American Republic, while the Black Heritage Trail highlights Boston's place in black American history and its role in anti-slavery.

Boston is an easy blend of historic charm and modern conveniences, with a busy street life and beautiful architecture, green parks and gardens, skyscrapers and modern freeways, museums, galleries and colonial churches. Boston is home to the first public library, the first public school and the first subway system in the US; it is the site of the Boston Tea Party that started the Revolutionary War, and is the location of the Cheers bar, made famous by the popular TV sitcom. Boston is also the city from whence both planes that crashed into the World Trade Centre on September 11th, 2001 originated, and many of those who died were local residents, a tragedy that hit the city particularly hard, and has only added to the famed patriotism of the city.

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