Boston Tourism: 6 Ways to Explore the City
Heading to Boston for your next vacation or business trip? Check out these 6 ways to explore this fine city.
Boston is one of New England’s best cities and one of the most historical in America. A lot has happened in this city, and you get that sense as you soak in the streets, the lights, the sounds, the people, and everything else that creates the unique city of Boston. I did an article last month about some of the best things to do in Boston that would give you the full New England experience. This article will be different because we’re going to be talking about 6 ways to explore Boston. There’s a lot to see in Boston, so exploring it all will be worth trip.
Walking, Running, Driving, Transportation
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. The best way to experience any city is to walk through it. Walking through a city - doesn’t matter if it’s night or day - is the only way you truly learn what the city has to offer. Sure, museums and historical tours can teach you a lot about the city and yourself at the same time, but you don’t get the sense of what the city is like at that particular time. What are the people like? How do they talk, eat, drink, party, etc.? You can answer those questions and explore the city of Boston by simply walking around and diving right in.
While walking is great, it is one of the slowest forms of transportation. You can go for a run through one of Boston’s many parks, drive around the city, and ride a bus around until the sun sets for the day. Using your legs and Boston’s public transportation is the best way to explore the city and everything it has to offer. Make sure you do this, so you can visit some of the places I’m about to mention.
You can’t explore a city without doing a lot of sightseeing. To me, sightseeing includes things like museums, parks, trails, tours, etc. Basically, this is the best, easiest, and quickest way to see and learn about the city.
Boston is loaded with parks and many of them are home to historical landmarks as well as pleasant areas for relaxation. You can walk, run, jog, sit, sleep (somewhat), and play in a park as well. Take a day or two to visit one of Boston’s parks and try things like bird watching or spending time at a Boston park water fountain, which the kids will especially love to do.
These parks are gorgeous all year long, even during the winter. They allow you to see the organic and natural beauty of Boston, including glimpses of wildlife and the fish that live in the ponds. Try visiting the Public Garden and enjoy exploring this side of Boston.
Boston has no shortage of museums. Of course, there are museums for the old colonial days and the American Revolutionary War, but there are other museums with themes that aren’t quite as obvious. Take a trip to the Boston Fire Museum, which was founded in 1983 and holds many forms of memorabilia, supporting the fire service and public safety. Check out the Boston Tea Party ships and museums which are located on ships in Boston harbor. Other places to check out are the Gibson House Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, and many open studios featuring demonstrations, music, and art shows.
You can learn a lot from these museums and explore the edges of Boston’s culture. Make sure to check one out during your next visit.
Another way to soak up some history and experience the natural beauty of Boston is to take a hike through one of their many trails. Walk the famous Freedom Trail, the Boston Heritage Trails, and the JFK Trail. There’s plenty to see, read and experience, even if you’re not into getting a historical lesson at the moment. There’s also a Boston Sports Trail, which allows all sports fans to get their fix.
Boston’s museums have tours, but there are also tours around the city itself. One in particular is the Chocolate Tour, where you travel around sections of Boston, learning everything about the eating, creating, and buying of fine chocolates. This tour adds a little more flair and culture than a generic museum or boat tour. Do not get me wrong though. Boston Museum & Boat tours are amazing as well. Check out Boston Duck tours for a particularly beautiful experience. Another interesting tour to take is the Ghosts & Gravestones Tour. Touted as one of the most haunted cities in the United States, this tour lets you explore some of the city’s haunted venues, including famous murder sites and nighttime tours.
Take a cruise on the Atlantic Ocean or go canoeing down the Charles River. Through these experiences, you’ll take a step away from Boston, seeing the beauty that encompasses its outer edges. It’s a spectacular city to view during the day but an absolutely gorgeous sight at night. Do not leave Boston without taking one of these cruises or canoeing trips.
Boston is home to a lot of farmer’s markets during the week and weekend. You’ll get a chance to taste and buy fresh produce from local farmers, plus you'll get the chance to be in the middle of an event the Boston population flocks to. If you want to see what the Boston people are all about, but don’t want to experience the city’s nightlife, then the farmer’s markets are your best bet. Being around the people and exploring the miracle of fresh produce will only add flavor to your experience. You don’t have to buy anything to enjoy a market like this, so take a stroll with the family or by yourself and have a good time.
Boston is home to many professional and amateur sports teams. A lot of them are some of the most famous in the world, like the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and the New England Patriots. During your vacation or business trip, make sure to check out a home game or two. The Boston citizens love their sports teams and are dedicated fans, so each game is an experience of excitement, tension, and memories. If you’re trying to explore the roots of the city and what makes Boston the city it is, this is a great place to start.
Want something less chaotic? Boston's amateur and less popular sports teams also have large followings. Check out a home game of the Boston Lobsters, Boston Breakers, Boston Blazers, and Boston Cannons for an excellent but less chaotic experience.
Shopping and Dining
Another good way to explore what Boston has to offer is to experience its shopping and culinary scene. Each city has their own style when it comes to food and shops, but you’ll get some of the best beer and seafood in Boston. So, going hungry in Boston really isn’t an option. Many of the restaurants are small businesses, breaking the generic “chain restaurant” feeling that plagues some of the bigger cities. The microbreweries and the Samuel Adams brewery have tours that always end in tastings, so that’s another option for experiencing everything that is Boston.
Many districts and streets of the city are solely dedicated to shopping. There are many stores spanning across many different styles and varieties and you're sure to find what you're looking for on a Boston shopping excursion. I suggest checking out some of the smaller shops and boutiques; it’s amazing the unique and fun items you can find in places like that. Newbury Street and Main Street districts are some of the more popular shopping areas in Boston.
Boston is home to many festivals, including music festivals, movie festivals, cultural festivals, and parades. A lot of these festivals celebrate Boston, its people, and its culture. So, it’s always a good time to be in Boston during one of these festivals. Some of the more popular festivals are the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Boston Marathon, Harborfest, and Harpoon Oktoberfest.
If you’re taking a vacation, then make sure to schedule it during one of these festivals. If you’ve been told you’re being sent to Boston for business, pray it is during one of these festivals. They will make that business trip much more fun!
I’ll be honest, the food and beer is enough for me to go to Boston. I’ll get everything I want out of my stay after visiting a few restaurants and going out a few nights. That’s the beauty of a city like Boston. You don’t need to experience everything in order to explore what makes Boston a great city. A bowl of clam chowder can do just as much good as a two-hour trip through a museum.
Exploring Boston can be fun, and I hope my 6 ways of exploring the city will help you see, eat, feel, and experience everything the great city of Boston has to offer.
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