Boston has been defined and shaped by its history for nearly 400 years. The American spirit of independence was born in the city, and the sights celebrate the important role the Sons of the Liberty Goddess played during the Revolutionary War attracting visitors from all over the world. Whether taking a game at Fenway Park, taking a stroll along the new Harbor Walkway or enjoying a video game on an island beach, Boston is also The Best Things To Do in Boston for travelers who are looking for fun and relaxation. With the city’s 15-year grand refurbishment called the “Big Dig” finalized, Boston’s tourist attractions are more accessible and attractive than ever before.
Known as the “cradle of liberty,” Faneuil Hall was built in 1740-42 by Huguenot merchant Peter Faneuil as a market hall and presented to the city on condition that it should always be open to the public.
The ground floor is still occupied by market stalls; on the upper floor is a council chamber, which in the 18th and 19th centuries was the meeting place of revolutionaries and later, of abolitionists. On its fourth floor is the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Museum, with weaponry, uniforms, and paintings of significant battles.
The adjoining Faneuil Hall Marketplace includes three long halls (Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market), dating from the early 19th century, now occupied by a lively assortment of shops, restaurants, and exhibitions.
In good weather, you’ll find street performers and buskers putting on shows in the square around the market, and along with the numerous food stalls, there are also shops selling jewelry, clothing, gifts, and souvenirs. The market stalls are some of the favorite places to eat lunch in Boston.
Cheers Beacon Hill
Fans of the television show “Cheers” who want to visit the bar that inspired the hit series may need to travel to two separate locations to fulfill their wish. Renamed Cheers Beacon Hill in 2002, the Bull & Finch Pub located on Beacon Street served as the exterior shot of the bar featured in the opening credits, but the pub’s interior was never used for the show. A replica of the show’s set, however, is on display at the historic Faneuil Hall market building downtown, and tourists asking for the location of Cheers are likely to be directed there. Both destinations sell souvenirs commemorating the show.
America’s oldest public park, Boston Common was acquired by the city’s Puritan founders in 1634. First used as a cow pasture, the park is also the site of many historic events. The British used the area as a camp at the start of the Revolutionary War. A plaque in the park marks the spot where public hangings were held. A kiosk hosted by Boston’s Freedom Trail Foundation offers visitors information about the park’s monuments. Landscaped with shady trees, fountains, and a pond, Boston Common is a pleasant place to take a break from sightseeing excursions as well.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The Best Things To Do in Boston: Set in a building its eccentric creator modeled after a 15th-century Venetian palace, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum displays its collections in rooms surrounding a four-story central courtyard filled with flowering plants and fountains.
The priceless 2,500-piece collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, decorative arts, books, and manuscripts reflect the personal tastes and considerable expertise of Mrs. Gardner herself, whose own flamboyance further adds to the charm of the museum.
Behind the palazzo, a 70,000-square-foot glass-clad building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano creates new viewpoints for the original palazzo and stunning spaces for music and visual arts, allowing the museum to showcase exceptional contemporary works and artists. Rather than clash or compete with the original building, Piano’s wing simply provides a new glass through which to view Mrs. Gardner’s palazzo.
Museum of Science
Exhibits in this extensive science museum encourage learning through hands-on exploration of science and technology, but the museum is not just for children. Physics, biology, chemistry, ecology, zoology, astronomy, computers, and more are explored in more than 700 permanent, hands-on exhibits that are enhanced by stage presentations and interpreters.
Highlights are a 65-million-year-old fossil discovered in the Dakota Badlands, an electricity dome with continuing programs, the Butterfly Garden where you can walk among free-flying butterflies in a conservatory filled with exotic plants, a live animal center, a chance to join local meteorologists to learn weather forecasting, and ComputerPlace, where you can operate a robot and explore how your computer stores information. The planetarium presents daily laser and star shows, and the Mugar Omni Theater has a five-story domed screen.