A mix of the old and the new is Boston’s charm.
Long before Tom Brady’s winning team became synonymous with Boston patriots, this city on the banks of the Charles River was a hub for men and women of action. In 1630, Puritans established a foothold along the harbor and 150 years later the American Revolution was launched. Our country’s history is wrapped up in this remarkable city along with newer additions, which only add to its fascinating attraction.
If Paul Revere and his fellow patriots returned to Boston today, they would surely recognize many of the brick-lined streets and likely be grateful that the city’s focus on bold ideas endures.
History lives side by side with modern life in the city. One of the best ways to kick off a visit to Boston is to follow the Freedom Trail, a self-guided 2.5-mile walking tour that leads to important sites of the American Revolution, including the Old North Church and the Boston Common, the oldest city park in the country.
Of course, the waterfront is what led the city to prominence. Boston Harbor looks very much as it did in 1773 when protestors threw crates of tea overboard in protestation against England’s taxation during what became known as the Boston Tea Party. Visitors can climb aboard 19th century ships and learn about the rebellion or take a harbor cruise.
Visitors can also explore the small wooden home that belonged to Paul Revere and from where he launched his famous Midnight Ride in 1775, when he warned, “The British are coming,” saving Samuel Adams and John Hancock, among hundreds of others.
Faneuil Hall has been a market since the 18th century, but it has also served as a political rallying spot. It’s here that the colonists established their creed, “no taxation without representation,” and George Washington celebrated America’s first birthday. Today, the market is home to kiosks selling everything from artisanal food to hand-crafted jewelry. It’s also a popular gathering spot to catch acrobats, magicians and other street performers.
More recent history continues today as fans of the 1980s sitcom Cheers can make a pilgrimage to the Bull & Finch Pub, where the exterior, which has remained unchanged since filming, makes a perfect selfie backdrop. Inside, good pub grub and Cheers merchandise are for sale.
Boston’s important place in history fuels its reputation, but this city is in near constant evolution, thanks, in part, to its many universities, such as Harvard, MIT, Boston University and Boston College. It is also a significant art center, including the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, which showcases Rembrandt, Matisse, and Whistler, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts and its half-million works, including Copley’s classic portrait of Paul Revere. The city is also studded with quality art galleries and upscale stores and restaurants along iconic Newbury Street.
If you are lucky enough to be in Boston on the Fourth of July, begin the day at the Old State House for a 10 a.m. reading of the Declaration of Independence in the very same spot it was read in 1776. By sunset, head to the Charles River, where a blaze of fireworks is accompanied by music from the Boston Pops.