Boston is the capital city of Massachusetts
Boston is the capital city of Massachusetts. It is in the center of eastern Massachusetts along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It was first settled in 1625 by Reverend William Blaxton, who was the sole European settler of the Shawmut Peninsula until he invited the Puritans in 1630. Before long, the Puritans had made the settlement theirs and Blaxton decided to move on, as his beliefs differed from theirs. These Puritans developed the settlement that would become the city of Boston.
After Blaxton left, the Puritans developed the first public school in the country, added public parks and a system of law that would lead to many executions based on religious beliefs. The following century, the town would change greatly and become the core of the American Revolution. Many of the buildings and graveyards of that time still exist in Boston.
At the heart of Boston are the Boston Common, the Public Garden and Beacon Hill. This is the area where the Puritans settled and the revolutionaries butted heads with the British. Following the Freedom Trail from the Common will take visitors by various churches, graveyards and schools. It will also take them to the markets where colonists used to shop for their groceries and where the generations after them expanded the market to accommodate a booming city. From there, the trail takes visitors down to the North End, where the finest restaurants in Boston are located. It ends at the Bunker Hill Monument. This walk, which can be achieved in a couple of hours, covers most of the heart of Boston.
The Back Bay can be reached by heading in the opposite direction of the Freedom Trail down Beacon Street from the Boston Common. South Boston and the Leather District are located away from the heart of Boston down Congress Street.
Boston National Historic Park
Boston National Park houses several historic sites from the American Revolution, including the Old South Meeting House, Faneuil Hall, the Old State House, the Paul Revere House and the Freedom Trail.
Boston Naval Shipyard
Originally called the Charlestown Navy Yard, The Boston Naval Shipyard is one of the oldest shipyards in the US Navy and became part of the Boston National Historic Park in 1974. The USS Cassin Young is currently in dry dock at the shipyard and is open for tours.
USS Constitution Museum
Also known as "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution is the oldest fully commissioned Navy ship in the United States. Best known for defeating Guerriere in the War of 1812, the ship became a museum in 1907 and retains an active duty naval crew. The ship is open for guided tours, but visitors who wish to embark must present a valid federal or state-issued photo ID before admittance.
Museum of Science
Formerly the Boston Society of Natural History, the Museum of Science was founded in 1830 and is located along the Charles River. The museum houses a planetarium and features periodically changing exhibits and live presentations that explore the various sciences.
Old North Church
Built in 1723, Old North Church is a National Historic Landmark and the site of the famous land or sea lantern signal that was sent on April 18, 1775, during the Revolutionary War. Tours of the church tower and the crypts are available.
Boston Children's Museum
The second oldest children's museum in the United States, Boston Children's Museum opened in 1913 and houses 17 hands-on exhibits that are designed to stimulate children mentally and creatively.
Museum of Fine Arts
Founded in 1870, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston houses more than 450,000 works of art and is one of the largest art museums in the United States.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library offers several exhibits, including picture books, digital archives and a media gallery that detail the short life and substantial contributions of our 35th President of the United States.
The home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park is also the oldest Major League baseball park in the United States. As such, it has the uncommon ability to treat all visitors to a healthy dose of Americana.
Rent a Car
Driving in Boston is a nightmare, plain and simple. The streets are not laid out in a grid pattern like most other major cities in the United States. They weave and overlap, causing headaches for lost drivers trying to find their way. The parking in the city is horrendous. There is very little of it, and the parking that is available costs an arm and a leg. Try to avoid driving in Boston if at all possible. If this is the option that best suits your needs then you may reserve your rental car easily online.
This is one of the best options for those who want to get around downtown Boston. The downtown is very compact and packed with many historical sites within walking distance of each other. The streets are clean and safe with an abundance of lovely architecture to look at while walking through the city.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) runs all of the public transportation options in Boston. There are four subway lines operated by the MBTA that will get visitors to any area of Boston they need to go except for a few isolated pockets of the suburbs.
The buses are a little slower than the subway, but they can many times get riders a little closer to their destinations than the subway. They are also less expensive than the subway, and the view is much nicer from a bus than being underground on the subway.
Many visitors will get a kick out of the water shuttles that are run by the MBTA. They get people quickly from one part of Boston harbor to another, and the views from the ferry decks of the city skyline are amazing.
The town is a great place to ride a bike. The roads and drivers are bicycle-friendly, and the flat nature of the city makes it a breeze to pedal around town. Most forms of the MBTA welcome bike riders. Most buses have bike racks for riders to store their bikes when travelling from one area of the city to another.
This is the most expensive cab system in the country, even more so than New York City. The taxis are mostly clean and the drivers are friendly, but a ride of any significant length costs an arm and a leg. The driver will expect a tip as well. Try to avoid taxis in Boston if at all possible. The only time public transportation isn't running is from 1-4 AM, so try to limit taxi usage to these hours.
Boston's location right on the harbor makes it a great place for sailing and viewing the variety of boats that come in and out of the city. One of the best events in Boston that involves viewing ships is the Tall Ships. This event involves a fleet of ships being invited to Boston to show off for residents and tourists. In 2012, there were 120 tall ships gracing the harbor. This is all part of the Sail Massachusetts Visiting Ship Program.
Free Concert at the Hatch Shell
The Fourth of July is special throughout the United States. Boston is no exception. It was here that many of the ideas that shaped the revolution took form. Today, the people of Boston celebrate in several ways, including a free concert at the DCR Memorial Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade. The Boston Pops play there every year and are followed by fireworks.
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Boston is the recipient of a very special Christmas tree every year. Nova Scotia sends the city a large tree annually in thanks for Boston's rapid response to a tragedy that occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1917. An accident between two ships in their harbor devastated the region and Boston sent help almost immediately. The lighting of that tree takes place in December on the Boston Common.
L Street Brownies Swim
The L Street Brownies Swim is a good example of crazy New England winter fun. Every New Year's Day for more than one-hundred years, the L Street Brownies have taken a swim in the bitter January waters of the Boston Harbor. It starts at 8 a.m. and often involves hundreds of swimmers. Those not brave enough to take the plunge can stop by to watch the event.
The Boston Marathon is a running marathon held on the third Monday of April every year. Like the L Street Brownies Swim, this tradition has lasted more than a century. Today, runners train all year to take on what has become one of the toughest marathon runs in the country. There are many hills along the course and the weather varies greatly from year to year. It can be very cold or even in the 80s, as it was in 2012. Roughly 20,000 runners take it on every year.