Whenever someone references “The City” people typically jump right to New York City– but not me. Growing up in Hopkinton, which is right outside of Boston, I always think of my native city. Although it may be a very unpopular opinion among many of my college friends, I think Boston is, without a doubt, the superior city compared to New York. Maybe I’m just biased... but I much prefer the small city feel and Boston’s vibe compared to NYC. Although it may be smaller, Boston still has SO much to do– and depending on the time of year you visit, your options are limitless. I am so excited to share with you what I think are some of the best of Boston, and I hope that if you’re ever in the 617, you stop by these wicked awesome places.
It may not be Central Park, but Boston Common is such a beautiful place to spend any afternoon. If you consider yourself to be a History nerd, The Common is the perfect place for you, since it’s the official starting place for the Freedom Trail. Depending on the time of year you visit the city, you may find ice sculptures and ice skating on The Common, or the sidewalks may be scattered with street performers. If have the chance to visit The Common in the Winter, definitely take it. The ice sculptures are usually brought out after New Years, and let me tell you– they are like nothing I have ever seen before. The sculptures are breathtaking, it adds some excitement to your casual stroll through The Common. Although Boston Common may be smaller than Central Park, it turns out that The Common is America’s oldest and most historic city park– take that New York!
If you’re visiting Boston in the Spring, I can think of nothing better than taking a trip to Fenway to watch the Sox beat the Yankees. Fenway is one of the most historic, if not the most historic, ballpark. It seems that almost every ballpark has been remodeled and modernized, but not Fenway. Given that my Dad has season tickets to the Sox, I am fortunate enough to go to a handful of games each year, and the beauty of Fenway is something that never gets old. You can find affordable bleacher seats for almost every game, or even get seats in the Green Monster for the full experience! While you’re near Fenway, you should also be sure to take a walk down Yawkey Way, where you’ll find yourself surrounded by pull-carts and a street lined with restaurants and tons of outdoor seating. If you get to a game early on a nice day, treat yourself to a drink and some people watching on the patio of The Cheeky Monkey– one of my favorite places to go with my Dad before a game!
Looking for some high-end shopping while you’re in Boston? If so, you should definitely take some time out of your day to take a stroll down Newbury Street. With countless stores that will be sure to break the bank, Newbury Street also has tons of restaurants and cafés to fuel your shopping addiction. Be sure to stop by Thinking Cup or Barrington Coffee Roasting Company for a quick caffeine fix while you’re spending the day in the Back Bay! The architecture on Newbury Street is also beautiful, and totally Instagram worthy, so I would definitely recommend coming here while you’re in the area.
Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market
Faneuil Hall has to be one of my absolute favorite places in Boston– hands down. Faneuil Hall is the perfect place where you can stop and shop at your favorite stores or visit restaurants, like Dick’s Last Resort, for some classic Boston hospitality. If you’re not in the mood for a sit-down meal, further inside Quincy Market you can find various food counter, all serving something unique. If you’ve never been inside of Quincy Market let me paint a picture for you– chaos.Really though, the food is delicious, and the open cathedral in the center of the building is the perfect place to sit and enjoy your meal. Faneuil Hall is also always filled with some sort of festivity, whether it be the lighting of the Christmas tree, or watching street performers drum away on their buckets– Faneuil Hall really is the place to be.
If you’re wrapping up your time at Faneuil Hall, but you’re staying in the area, you might as well take a walk to the North End and indulge in Boston’s best pastries. If you get to Mike’s Pastry and see an enormous line flowing down the sidewalk, don’t be alarmed– that’s completely normal. Mike’s has been around since 1946, and started out as a small, family owned bakery, but now it rules the North End. Going to Mike’s has kind of become a Boston tradition– if you leave Boston without a Cannoli from Mike’s, you’re doing something wrong. So,when you stop by Mike’s (because you have to, it’s tradition…), you have to get one of their Cannolis. Personally, I would recommend the Chocolate Chip Cannoli– although it’s classic, and maybe a little unoriginal, it is absolutely delicious.
New England Aquarium
Who doesn’t love the Aquarium? Boston has one of the biggest, and best, Aquariums in the North East– in my opinion obviously, again not biased at all. The New England Aquarium is the perfect place to spend a day with your family or friends if you’re looking to get off the streets of Boston. The Aquarium is huge, and has close to 20 different exhibits and encounters, some of which are interactive. The New England Aquarium has a wide variety of sea life on display, as well as informative exhibits you can explore. You might find yourself face-to-face with Stingrays and Sharks in a touch tank, while also having the chance to meet Penguins and Turtles of various species. The Aquarium also has open-air exhibits, where you can watch Sea Lions perform and play. During the Summer, the Aquarium also offers Whale Watching Tours in the Boston Harbor, where you are guaranteed to see several kinds of large whales, and even a few dolphins if you’re lucky!
The Boston Marathon
Ok, so stick with me on this one… I know this isn’t really a tourist attraction, or something you’ll always be able to see, but if you’re planning on taking a trip to Boston in the Spring, save it for Patriot’s Day. I can honestly say that the Marathon is one of the best things about Boston, and it’s something I have always loved about my city. I grew up in Hopkinton, which happens to be the start of the Boston Marathon, and also the only thing interesting about my hometown. Nonetheless, I have had the chance to see the Marathon at the beginning, and the end, and let me tell you– it never gets old. The Marathon is something I look forward to every year, but something I’ve lost touch with in recent years being at school. If you ever have the chance to see the Marathon from the city streets of Boston– take it, because it’s an experience like no other.
Although I may be closer to NYC in proximity while at school, Boston will always be my home. I hope that maybe one weekend, you choose to visit Boston instead of NYC, because this small city has so much to offer. These spots, although touristy, are touristy for a reason– they truly are, what I believe to be, the best Boston has to offer, so I hope you have a wicked awesome time.