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With regular flights from Manchester Airport to Boston USA, it’s easier than ever to visit one of America’s oldest and most cultured cities. 19 million tourists come to the city every year with lists full of things to do in Boston but so many forget the iconic experiences that every visitor should try. Boston is a sprawling metropolis, easily rivalling the likes of New York City, Chicago and Washington for things to do – making it super-easy to miss out on the most important attractions.
If you’re planning to visit the historic capital of Massachusetts be sure to make the most of it and guarantee yourself a truly Bostonian experience with our handy guide to the city. We’ve even included something most locals would rather you didn’t know about, a secret experience completely unique to the city that is 100% unmissable. Here’s Manchester Airport’s list of 10 things to do in Boston (including 1 locals don’t want you to know about):
1) Relax in the shade of Boston Common
Address: 139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111.
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours, daily.
What is Boston Common?
Dating back to 1634, Boston Common is a beautiful stretch of land running through the centre of Downtown, close to the Boston Theatre District. It boasts many proud features and examples of American architecture, both modern and dating back to the earliest settlements. The founding fathers of America took a special interest in the common as John Hancock’s mansion overlooked the grounds and George Washington even visited to celebrate the nation’s independence.
The Common also has a robust arts schedule featuring highlights such as open-air concerts, political debates and Shakespeare on the Common – a completely free opportunity to enjoy the tales of bard under the stars. There are so many things to do at Boston Common including the Frog Pond, Tot Lot and ballfields that are sure to fill hour after hour with family-friendly fun.
Why is Boston Common One Of The Best Things To Do In Boston?
A must for visitors to the city, Boston Common is the perfect example of Boston’s history and is a constant focus for public events – if you visit on a weekend you are certain to get swept up into one festival or another. The best thing about the Common is that it’s completely free to use, making it accessible to all visitors. And, if you visit Boston Common you’ll be able to hop on our next pick…
2) Follow the Freedom Trail
Address: Starts at Boston Common (see above).
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours, daily.
What is the Freedom Trail?
Boston’s Freedom trail has been heralded as one of the most accessible walking tours in the World. Simply follow the different coloured routes etched into the floor at various points around the city and you’ll be guided between 16 key landmarks of the American Revolution including the Paul Revere House, Old North Church and the statue of Benjamin Franklin – all of which may be enhanced by charismatic tour guides and dedicated reenactors of key events.
The trail is one of the best things to do in Boston and can be quickly found in most parts of the city. It also walks visitors through some of the most historic and popular neighbourhoods. If you’re unable to walk the trail for any reason, you can also travel from point to point using either public transport or one of the many tour companies that operate along the route.
Why is the Freedom Trail One Of The Best Things To Do In Boston?
Fans of American history will find there are few places better to visit than the Freedom Trail as it’s sure to bring you closer than ever to the most famous events from the revolution era. However, even if you’re not a fan of the founding fathers, this tour is a great way to get around the city without getting lost – locals should be able to point you to the closest landmark and many of the areas you’ll walk through on the trail are the most popular with tourists. Plus, it’s important to get a feeling of the city from the ground-level before experiencing our next pick…
3) Get A Bird’s Eye View From The Skywalk Observatory
Address: 800 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199.
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm, daily.
What is the Skywalk Observatory?
Sitting atop the incredible Prudential Center Building in the heart of Boston, the Skywalk Observatory is the only viewing platform of its kind in the city, boasting 360-degree views of the city’s iconic skyline. Acoustiguide audio tours are available in a range of languages to help you pick out key details in the urban sprawl and guide your gaze to some of the greatest views on offer.
The observatory also features the Dreams of Freedom Museum, which gives a unique window into the role of immigration on the development of the city. A multimedia movie theatre concludes the experience where visitors can enjoy “Wings Over Boston” a spectacular film about the city’s landscape and “Dreams of Freedom” a companion to the museum exhibit.
Why is the Skywalk Observatory One Of The Best Things To Do In Boston?
Like viewing New York from the Empire State Building, the Skywalk Observatory’s unique perspective on Boston is one of the most iconic ways to experience everything the city has to offer. Come around sundown or sunrise (when possible) for a once in a lifetime experience. Don’t be surprised if you start to fall in love with the city from the Skywalk, and if you do you might find yourself longing to visit our next thing to do in Boston…
4) Cheer for the Red Sox at Fenway Park
Address: 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215.
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday
What is Fenway Park?
Deep in the blood of every Bostonian is a love for Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox. One of the most famous sights in the city, Fenway Park is a monument to the city’s pride in its team. The park has stood for over a hundred years since its founding in 1912 and is the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Fenway has seen its Red Sox through nine World Series wins and many games with their intense rivals, the Yankees.
It’s possible to visit the stadium any day of the week, however, we highly recommend that all visitors to Boston try to buy tickets for a Red Sox game – which can range from affordable to costly depending on where you want to sit and the match being played. The atmosphere on game day is electric and is one of the best things to do in Boston if you want to get a better understanding of the locals.
Why is Fenway Park One Of The Best Things To Do In Boston?
Gameday at the ballpark is an American tradition, there are few things that feel more typically American than sitting behind Home Plate with a hotdog in hand. Even if you’re not a sports fan, you might be surprised at how much is on offer at Fenway Park. Unlike some British Stadiums, you’ll find top-class facilities, a wide range of restaurants and no drunken rowdiness – the ballpark is as family-friendly as it is fun. If you’re looking for something a little more adult you might want to check out our next suggestion…
5) Knock Back A Pint At The Samuel Adams Brewery
Address: 30 Germania St, Boston, MA 02130.
Opening Hours: 10am-8pm Monday-Saturday
What is the Samuel Adams Brewery?
Many Bostonians will proudly tell you that their city is home to the greatest beer in America, if not the World, and while that may be up for debate, there’s no argument over the crisp and refreshing taste of Samuel Adams Beer. Whether you’ve never tasted the world-famous lager or you’re a die-hard fanatic, the Samuel Adams Brewery is a must for all adult visitors to the city.
During a tour of the brewery, you’ll enjoy plenty of samples of the Samuel Adams’ range as well as an informative overview of the Brewery’s history and the modern-day process that guarantees the beer’s distinctive taste. Book into one of the Brewery’s Tap Rooms, where you’ll be able to sample fresh barrels of Samuel Adams, for a complete experience.
Why is the Samuel Adams Brewery One Of The Best Things To Do In Boston?
Samuel Adams is as integral to Boston as Guinness is to Dublin, it’s the drink of the city and Bostonians will argue that it’s iconic as any monument or tourist attraction. If you’re travelling with an adult group in search of things to do in Boston, the Samuel Adams Brewery is perfect. Those with a different idea of culture might be enticed by our next choice…
6) Discover The Museum Of Fine Arts
Address: 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115.
Opening Hours: 10am-5pm Saturday-Tuesday
10am-10pm Wednesday – Friday
What is the Museum Of Fine Arts?
Founded almost 150 years ago, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (often abbreviated to MFA), is the fifth largest art museum in the United States of America – easily putting it amongst the top things to do in Boston. While the original site was built in Copley Square, the collection had to move as it grew too large to be contained in its’ original site. Today the museum contains nearly 500,000 works of art ranging from the ancient Egyptian era through almost every artistic movement to some of the greatest contemporary pieces.
Visitors to the museum can expect an incredible programme of exhibitions and events, often featuring the world’s most famous pieces of art. If you decide to visit, look out for the museum’s most famous pieces including Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington, a selection of Rembrandt and Van Gogh pieces and tiles dating back to the era of Ramesses III.
Why is the Museum Of Fine Arts One Of The Best Things To Do In Boston?
Easily standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts makes for a brilliant day out. There are many pieces here that you’re sure to recognise and the ancient history exhibits are some of the best in America. If you’re still in the mood for art and history you can also check out our next pick…
7) Brush Up On Your History At Boston Public Library
Address: 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116.
Opening Hours: 9am-9pm Monday-Thursday
What is the Boston Public Library?
Like many things in this list, the Boston Public Library was the first of its kind in the United States of America. Established in 1848 it was created to ensure that citizens of Massachusetts always had access to books and other information resources, a goal that it has continued to this day. While it originally was based out of a repurposed schoolhouse, the library today has spread out and developed into some of the most iconic buildings in the city – especially the McKim building which is a protected National Historic Landmark due to its beauty and examples of Renaissance Beaux-Arts Classicism architecture.
While getting around each of the library buildings is sure to take several trips, visitors should focus on the McKim Building, its inner courtyard (which is considered the best reading spot in Massachusetts) and the dense schedule of free talks, lectures and more that the library hosts every year. If you’re more interested in the history of the library and the build itself, consider booking on to one of the tours that run each day.
Why is the Boston Public Library One Of The Best Things To Do In Boston?
There’s no way to capture the grandeur of the McKim building or its atmosphere of scholarly focus. Any student will feel right at home during a visit and all who walk its halls are guaranteed to leave feeling inspired. Due to the library’s size and the way it is spread throughout the city, it’s easy to stop by many of its sites as you make your way between other landmarks, including our next pick…
8) Snag A Deal At Quincy Market
Address: 4 South Market St, Boston, MA 02109.
Opening Hours: 10am-9pm Monday-Saturday
What is Quincy Market?
We’ve managed to steer clear of shopping for most of this list but if you’re in search of a little retail therapy in Boston there’s only one place to go, Quincy Market. Built almost 200 years ago by a newly elected mayor who wanted to reduce the number of street sellers in the city, Quincy Market is one of Boston’s Icons with a design that, thanks to a constant restoration effort, looks as incredible today as it did 200 years ago.
Inside the market, you’ll find an atmosphere reminiscent of Covent Garden, with micro-restaurants, independent craft shops and many pushcart sellers filling the colossal building. Whether you’re looking to stop for lunch, pick up a unique souvenir or just relax and absorb the history of the city, Quincy Market is the place to be.
Why is Quincy Market One Of The Best Things To Do In Boston?
There’s no shame in admitting that you’re a shopaholic, everyone is to some degree, so indulge in the joy of shopping with Quincy Market’s incredible mix of boutique fashion, food and other goods. It really is the perfect place to snap up a keepsake as well as any presents you might want for the folks back home. Once you’re all stocked up make sure you grab everything for a lunch on-the-go because our next pick will take you a little out of town…
9) Walk The Halls Of Harvard
Address: Harvard University, 86 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Opening Hours: The Campus Centre is open 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday.
What is Harvard?
Nestled in the small town of Cambridge (ironically), Harvard University is considered one of the greatest seats of learning in America and the World with its prestigious ivy-league status and a list of graduates that reads like a who’s who of the 20th & 21st Century. Notable alumni include Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, T.S. Elliot, Matt Damon, Natalie Portman and several United State Presidents. The campus dates back to the 17th Century and has been a constant nexus of learning in America.
Visitors can enjoy a tour of the impressive campus given by a dedicated guide or by using their smartphones and the Harvard website for an augmented reality experience. The architecture throughout the campus has been praised by many for its timeless classical style, making it easy to simply wander around the campus discovering secret nooks and hidden treasures of the university.
Why is Harvard One Of The Best Things To Do In Boston?
There are few places in the World with such a universal reputation for education as Harvard – perhaps only the United Kingdom’s own Oxford and Cambridge. It’s a brilliant destination for any student or academic and it’s sure to impress visitors from all walks of life. If you’re not a feeling the call of academia, perhaps our final pick, Boston’s best kept secret and a destination the locals don’t want you to know about will be the one for you…
10) Hang Out With The Locals At The Middle East
Address: 472-480 Massachusetts Avenue, Central Square, Cambridge, MA 02139.
Box Office: 12pm-7pm, daily.
Venue: 11am-1am Sunday-Wednesday
What is the Middle East?
Hidden away in the Central Square District of Cambridge, in the shadow of Harvard, is one of the greatest local treasures in the Boston area, the Middle East. Originally a Lebanese restaurant opened in the seventies, the Middle East slowly transformed into the ultimate rock venue with five stages, two restaurants and a reputation as a proving ground for local and national talent.
Over the last 40 years, the Middle East has seen many famous acts including Public Enemy, Eminem and The Smashing Pumpkins – making it an absolute must for all music lovers. While the original owners have now stepped down, the restaurants in the complex boast a reputation for fairly-priced high-quality food making it the perfect place to chow down before watching a gig.
Why is the Middle East One Of The Best Things To Do In Boston?
The great thing about the Middle East is that it’s still entirely independent, while you’re likely to see major acts advertising their shows at the venue you’re just as likely to find a local singer or comedian taking to the stage. If you have a little money left over from your travels around the city consider splurging on dinner and a show at the iconic venue and you’re sure to come away feeling like a true Bostonian.
With so many amazing things to do in Boston, there couldn’t be a better time to book a flight from Manchester Airport to Boston USA.