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Visit Boston

Many of the events which kick-started the American revolution occurred in Boston so I knew that the city was steeped in history and culture (note the subtle tea party reference).

I was excited to learn about a topic which I knew relatively little about but, after leaving the endless museums of Washington DC, I worried that I was overdoing it on the American history lessons. Luckily, Boston knows how to keep its visitors entertained.

The fresh sea breeze which flows through the city immediately sets Boston apart from other North American cities, many of which are heavy with urban heat in the summer. Wandering along the harbour walk, or sunbathing in one of Boston’s gorgeous public parks, it doesn’t even feel like you are in a huge metropolis.

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The city itself is a mosaic of cultures, echoed in the architecture which changes as you walk. From the cobbled streets of North End, to the red-brick buildings of South End, to the skyscraper jungle of the financial district, Boston is endlessly fascinating.

So here are the top things to do in Boston:

Quincy Market

This marketplace is always bustling with tourists, eager to try their first lobster roll or bowl of clam chowder. While the stalls can be a bit pricey, the competition ensures that pretty much anything you try here will be delicious.

You can find more than just seafood at Quincy hall –  from adorable bakeries, to Italian pizza stands and Asian noodle bars, you could spend hours here.

Make sure to check out the happy-hour deals at the different restaurants encompassing this market hall, offering outdoor seating on Boston’s beautiful summer days.

Opposite Quincy Market is Faneuil Hall which, although closed at the moment, is definitely worth a visit.

Copley Square

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Located in the Back Bay area, this Square is surrounded by the beautiful Boston Public Library, Newbury and Boylston Streets (famous for their designer shops), the magnificent Trinity Church and the enormous John Hancock Tower. It is therefore the perfect destination to tick off a few more of those Boston boxes.

Boston Common and the Public Garden

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These neighbouring parks are the ideal pit-stop for a sunbathe, picnic or even a nap if the walking is getting to be a bit much. Grab a coffee, sit under the willow trees in the gardens, and watch the world go by – this is the perfect afternoon activity in Boston.

North End

Wander around Boston’s North End for a true taste of Italy. There are countless cafes and restaurants so pop in for lunch, dinner, or even for a cheeky afternoon wine.

Make sure to pop into Mike’s Pastry and try one of their many flavours of cannoli. This bakery almost always has a line outside so get there early or be prepared to wait for a little while!

Whale-watching

On previous whale-watching trips with my family, the experience often resulted in nothing more than a brief, and distant, glimpse of a whale tale, and several vomming incidents amongst my family members.

My expectations were, therefore, pretty low but I was excited by the prospect of even a distant sighting. To say that my expectations were surpassed would be an under-statement.

As we reached the sanctuary, the boat slowed and all of the passengers began to scan the waters around us. I heard a voice from above – our guide – who announced that there was a group of whales at our three o’clock. My heart began to race. As I looked out, I saw aqua bubbles simmering at the surface. Soon a group of dark whales burst out from the ocean, mouths wide open and pink throats revealed. The crowd of tourists collectively oohed and aahed at the majesty of these elegant animals, and this was quickly followed by the rush of cameras clicking.

 

 

Over the next couple of hours we saw fin, minke and humpback whales, and even a couple of dolphins. Perhaps I was just lucky but most companies in Boston guarantee sightings and offer you a refund or another trip for free if you don’t manage to spot them – so sightings must be pretty frequent.

I travelled with Boston Harbour Cruises who pride themselves on their eco-conscious trips. I would really recommend going with a group which is rooted in sustainability and conservation so you know that you are helping the very whales you are spotting.

The Freedom Trail

There is an easy way to make sure you do not miss any important historical sites – simply follow the freedom trail, a continuous red brick line which you can follow around the city to various spots. As Dorothy famously said, follow the (red) brick road.

You can do this trail by yourself or you can take a tour. I went with The Freedom Trail Foundation who take you on a number of the freedom trail stops. The guides dress as patriots or loyalists, leading you around the city on hilarious (and informative) journeys. The guides provide little details about the stops, going beyond the basic information on the plaques.

Harvard University

Cross the river to see, literally, a different side to the city. Take a stroll through Harvard’s buildings or take a tour led by some of the students themselves. These are just some of the many incredible spots in Boston. Make sure to add this incredible coastal city to your travel bucket list!

Check out my video to see Boston in action – 

Originally published on The National Student – http://www.thenationalstudent.com/Travel/2018-06-18/visit_boston_from_the_cobbled_streets_of_north_end_to_the_skyscraper_jungle_of_the_financial_district.html

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