From Back Bay to the North End and from Beacon Hill to Cambridge, find things to do in Boston, including restaurants, tours, nightlife, attractions and shopping.
Boston of the 21st century is a far cry from the soggy spread of tidal marshland that John Winthrop encountered upon his arrival back in 1630. Since his day, marshland has been filled in, neighborhoods have spread out, buildings have grown (much) taller. Yet in many ways Boston hasn’t let go of the Colonial era. You only have to scan a street map to understand the foot- and cow-path nature of the topography, which can be confusing to outsiders accustomed to cities with grid plans. As far as weather, Boston fully experiences four seasons, and these typically fall into two categories: frightful (too-cold winter, too-humid summer) and delightful (spring, fall). Consequently, May to June and September to October are the best months to visit Boston, although the height of tourist season hits in July and August.
Imagine a town where die-hard sports fans integrate with college students at bars in the Fenway, or, better yet, Ivy League professors share swizzles with college students in Harvard Square. A tech culture second only to Silicon Valley mixes with bluebloods named Cabot and Lyman. With its Victorian architecture, plethora of churches and loads of brick, Boston may feel a bit like a northern European city, but despite its Anglo-Saxon reputation, the Hub (hint: that’s the city’s nickname) is incredibly perse. More than a quarter of the population is foreign born, and residents speak 140 different languages. The city is at once conservative yet politically liberal. Bostonians often get a bad rap from the rest of the country as being unfriendly, but the people are truly just reserved. Socialize with a local and prepare to have a well-informed conversation—they know what’s up in this city and in the world around us. Just please don’t call us Beantown.
Boston attracts all types of travelers. There’s the business traveler focused on finance, technology or medical research, who flies in, dines well, and flies out. There’s the student (250,000 of them, actually) exposing residents to their vim and vigor from September to May. And there’s the leisure traveler, who comes to experience a history and sense of tradition not found elsewhere in this country. Boston is easily accessible and familiar to Europeans, who love to explore the city’s historic neighborhoods on foot. Geographically speaking, mountains, seashore and forest are all within a two-hour drive (at most) from downtown, making Boston a desirable destination for nature lovers.
Where to Explore
Geographically situated on Massachusetts Bay, northern and southern curls of land protect Boston from being battered by the waves of the Atlantic. The harbor presents ample opportunities for cruising, sailing, whale watching, strolling and island trekking. Boston’s significant role in the American Revolution attracts history enthusiasts who come to walk The Freedom Trail or trip in and out of countless libraries, historical societies and museums. Unburden your wallet while eating your way across town, where every restaurant is better than the next. Locals have avidly embraced craft cocktailing, and you should, too.