Packed with architecture, culture and entertainment, alongside a beautiful cityscape steeped in nearly 400 years of history, Boston makes the perfect fall road trip destination. From visiting Harvard to exploring The Freedom Trail, here are 6 things you absolutely have to do in Boston.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
One needn’t be a fervent patron of the arts to be wowed by the Gardner Museum. Its namesake, who travelled tirelessly to acquire the pieces now housed here, opened the museum in 1903 to befit (some would say to rival) her staggering collection. The 15th-century, Venetian-style palazzo is a veritable feast of artifacts, art, and architecture in which flowers bloom, sculpted nudes pose in hidden corners, and entire ceilings reveal their European origins.
New England Aquarium
The sea pervades nearly every aspect of Boston life, so it’s appropriate that the New England Aquarium is one of the city’s most popular attractions. What sets this aquarium apart from similar institutions is its commitment to presenting not only an exciting environment to learn about marine life, but also to conserving the natural habitats of its gilled, feathered and whiskered inhabitants.
Don’t let the profusion of Prada-clad shoppers fool you: there’s more to Newbury Street than world-class retail, people watching, and al fresco dining. One of the first streets created on the marshland known as Back Bay, Newbury has seen a myriad of tenants and uses over the past 150 years. Look closely and you’ll catch glimpse a historical side to Newbury Street all but unseen by the fashionistas.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Bostonians may bemoan its popularity with tourists, but this market completely deserves all the attention and accolades it has received since its revitalization in the mid-1970s. Once the pulsing center of Boston mercantile activity, the area fell into disrepair in the 1930s. Today, however, millions of visitors are testimony to its newfound vitality as a shopping and dining destination.
The Freedom Trail
Snaking through 2.5 miles of city streets, the Freedom Trail creates a living link to Boston’s key revolutionary and colonial-era sites. Stroll from highlight to highlight and you’ll see history adopt a vibrancy, palpability and relevance unparalleled among US cities. Some of Boston’s most unique shops, restaurants and attractions are also located along the trail.
Boston Common & Public Garden
Verdant Boston Common has hosted auctions, cattle grazing and public hangings over its 350-year history, in addition to festivals and the requisite Frisbee tosses. The adjacent Public Garden, opened in 1839, was the USA’s first botanical garden. Its swan boats, weeping willows and bridge are emblematic of Boston at its most enchanting. The French-style flower beds may only bloom in warmer months, but the garden exudes old-world charm year round.