The best of Boston: living like a local
Boston is best known for being the birthplace of the American Revolution, and you’ll see guides dressed in colonial garb leading groups all around the city. Although a guided tour can give you some insight into the history of this fair city of mine, the best part of coming here (or travelling to any new place, for that matter) is actually living like a local and visiting spots that locals really love. If you ever find yourself in Boston, these are the four things you just have to do (according to this local, at least)!
1. Immerse yourself in college life
The Greater Boston area is home to more than 100 colleges and universities. This focus on education gives the city a youthful and academic vibe. Both students and visitors can enjoy the inspiring spaces and museums of world-famous universities like MIT and Harvard. Don’t feel like going to a museum? Grab a great book to read in a coffee shop near Boston University and soak up the atmosphere; you don’t really need to attend classes to feel like a student in this city.
2. Follow the Freedom Trail
Want to experience the best of Boston’s history? Just take a stroll along the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile line of red brick which takes you past most of the city’s historical highlights including the Boston Common, Old North Church, and USS Constitution. The Paul Revere House is in the North End, the historically Italian neighborhood of the city. While you’re there, I recommend taking a little detour to sample some of the best treats in the city: cannoli! There’s a debate among locals to which pastry shops serves up the best, but whether you choose Mike’s or Modern Pastry Shop, it’s bound to be delicious. Go stand in one of the lines (yes, they’re always long) and wait for your turn to taste the Italian pastry shell filled with sweet ricotta cream.
3. Take to the water
Bostonians love living near the water. The Charles River separates Boston from the nearby city of Cambridge, and its banks are a favorite spot for picnics during the warmer months. Watch the rowers glide down the river, or rent a kayak and venture out on your own. In the summer, the Boston Harbor is teaming with sailboats, and there are a variety of sightseeing and party cruises that will give you different vantage points of the beautiful Boston skyline from the water. If you’re in the area during Independence Day (July 4), rent a kayak to watch the fireworks show from the water; there’s really no better seat in the house!
4. Gobble up a Fenway Frank
You can’t visit Boston – or talk to any Bostonian for that matter – without including sports. Even if you (like me) can just barely follow a game of baseball, the iconic Fenway Park is a stadium worth seeing. There are tours which take you around the park and cover its history and fun facts. Or go for the true Boston sports fan experience by watching a Red Sox game from the stands. Eat a Fenway Frank (hot dog) and watch the players run around the field under the famous Green Monster (the high wall in left field). After the game, check out some of the many bars in the Fenway neighborhood to celebrate the Sox’s win – or mourn their loss.
So there you have it! From history to culture, fantastic food to sports, Boston’s got it all. Once you’ve checked these four must-do’s off your list, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true Bostonian.
Images: top: Bert Kaufmann, Flickr / Creative Commons