Boston Bucket List

7 Must Do Things in Boston

As one of the oldest cities in the country (1630), Boston is rich in history- it’s home to the first public park, first public school, first subway system, and first large public library. It’s also where 1st President George Washington celebrated America’s first birthday. While the city celebrates its storied past of firsts, Boston continues to be a hub of thought leadership today, serving as the home for some of the countries leading educational institutions such as Harvard and MIT.

The best time to visit Boston is late Summer or Early Fall (August through October), when moderate temperatures allow you to explore and enjoy the city’s past and present as a pedestrian.

1 Freedom Trail

This 2.5 mile walking trail, marked by a paved line of red bricks, weaves through downtown Boston as it purposefully passes 16 sites of national historic significance. It was first imagined in 1951, started as a simple set of 30 signs on street corners, and today is among the most comprehensive and celebrated way-finding tools for tourists in the world.

Popular points of interest along the Freedom Trail include Boston Common, Granary Burying Ground, Old Corner Bookstore, Faneuil Hall, and the Paul Revere House.

2 Boston Common

This 50-acre park has played many parts over the centuries including a cow pasture, British war camp, and protest headquarters. Today it offers an urban escape to Bostonians who refer to it simply as “The Commons”.

Although it’s the oldest city park in the United States, Boston Common is sparse in landmarks, mostly offering usable open space for picnics, gatherings, exercise, team sports, festivals, and special events throughout the year. Its most popular attraction — the frog pond — becomes an ice skating rink in the winter (and the carousel is great for kids).

Boston Common is a great starting point for those walking the Freedom Trail and you’ll find a Visitor Center for all of Boston on the Tremont Street side of the park.

3 Fenway Park

As the oldest active stadium in Major League Baseball, the Boston Red Sox’ Fenway Park has many interesting features and quirks, the biggest of which is in the outfield. The 37-foot tall left field wall, known as “The Green Monster”, is quite the spectacle for fans and players alike.

Designed to offset its closer than normal distance from home plate, the Green Monster is a product of its environment: Fenway Park is crammed into a dense urban neighborhood with a limited footprint. Not only does it have the Green Monster in left field but it’s got a shorter right field wall than any other park in Major League Baseball at 295 feet.

4 Faneuil Hall

It’s nicknamed “The Cradle of Liberty” for good reason: this magnificent building is where colonists first insisted “no taxation without representation” (1764) and where President George Washington celebrated the country’s 1-year anniversary (1777).

Today, Faneuil Hall serves as the anchor to Quincy Market, housing a Visitor Center in a bustling city hub with dozens of vendors, shops, and stands surrounding it.

5 Quincy Market

The centerpiece of Faneuil Hall Marketplace is Quincy Market, a 3-building complex of 100+ shops and food stalls in the heart of Boston. It was built as an extension of Faneuil Hall in 1826 and originally named “Faneuil Hall Market”, but Bostonians have always endearingly referred to it as “Quincy Market” in honor of the man who led the project’s vision and development: Mayor Josiah Quincy. The honorary name finally became official in 1989.

6 Boston Public Garden

Just outside of America’s first public park (Boston Common) sits America’s first public botanical garden: Boston Public Garden. Founded in 1837, this beautifully arranged collection of flowers and trees sits next to a peaceful 4-acre pond you can glide upon in a Swan boat for a small fee.

Two iconic statues can be found on the garden grounds: a bronze statue of a mother duck with her ducklings and a sculpture of George Washington riding his horse.

7 Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

Hop aboard a replica 18th-century ship for a live action performance and interactive exhibits telling the story of the Boston Tea Party.

In 1773, as an act of defiance against British taxation without representation in Parliament, angry American colonists dumped 342 chests of tea into Griffin’s Wharf in Boston. They dressed like Native Americans to prevent getting caught individually, but Great Britain would punish Boston collectively, causing turmoil that united the 13 colonies against the crown. The Tea Party Ships and Museum let visitors follow in the footsteps of rebellious Americans like Samuel Adams and John Adams that helped lead the colonies to become states.

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