In Boston, baseball and New England oysters are just as important as the history of the American Revolution when it comes to the culture of the city. These activities will give you a proper feel for the city, fast.
Red Sox game at Fenway Park
If you visit Boston between March and September, it’s essential to catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Yes, you’ll see some of the world’s best baseball players but even if you don’t follow the sport, the atmosphere alone is worth the price of admission. Indulge in hot dogs and fried chicken and be wowed by the size of the crowd – the stadium holds up to 40,000 people.
Museum of Fine Arts
There are more than 5000 objects at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts so choose a few galleries to focus on. Within its walls you’ll find works by all the big hitters, Van Gogh, Picasso and Pollock among them. Don’t miss the Jonathan Borofsky installation, I Dreamed I Could Fly, of flying figures under the curved glass ceiling in the Linde Family Wing.
Institute of Contemporary Art
The ICA was the first museum built in Boston in more than 100 years. The futuristic space on the Fan Pier waterfront was completed in 2006 and features polished concrete floors and oodles of natural light. Rotating exhibitions showcase works by leading and emerging contemporary artists – fashion lovers should mark their calendars for American designer Virgil Abloh’s exhibition, coming in 2020.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The site of the greatest unsolved art theft in history, this gorgeous museum and courtyard was founded in 1903 by wealthy art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner. In 1990, thieves managed to steal 13 works, including pieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer, worth more than $500 million. There’s still a $10 million reward out for information that leads to recovery of the works. But there are still 7500 works of art, 1500 rare books and 7000 objects from ancient Rome and the Renaissance to explore at this peaceful museum.
Boston Public Market
Boston Public Market is an essential stop for food lovers – you can sample the offerings of more than 35 New England speciality food producers and artisans, including goods fro purveyors of smoked fish, honey, cheese, bagels and wine. Take the free, one-hour tour to learn the history of the market and meet the makers.
The Freedom Trail
Put on your walking shoes and brush up on your American history by walking The Freedom Trail, a four-kilometre path that weaves through downtown, passing 16 important historical sites. You’ll see the site of the 1770 Boston Massacre, when British soldiers killed five protestors, and Granary Burying Ground, where notable Revolution-era figures were laid to rest.
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is a restored 18th century vessel filled with costumed reenactors telling the story of the 1773 Boston Tea Party protest, where American colonists dumped hundreds of chests of British tea overboard in protest of the Crown. Artefacts from the era are also on display and, ironically, you can partake in afternoon tea on site.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Soak up the buzzing atmosphere at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, a dining, shopping and entertainment district where four markets intersect at a cobblestone promenade. A merchant area from the 1700s onwards, it’s been an important meeting space and site of protests and speeches ever since.
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Hearing the the Boston Symphony Orchestra is a premier cultural experience in the city. In summer, the orchestra plays outdoors in the Berkshires, a picturesque semi-rural area two hours by car west of Boston.
Paul Revere House
The former home of Paul Revere, a key figure in America’s liberation from the British, this landmark building has been open to the public since the early 1900s. Architecture buffs will admire the preservation of the original structure – 90 per cent dates back to the 1600s – and there’s also a visitor education centre if you need a crash course in American history.
Boston Public Library
With its soaring barrel vault ceiling, arched windows, oak bookcases and green reading lamps, Bates Hall in Boston Public Library is one of the most beautiful spaces in the city. Take a guided tour of the entire library to fully appreciate history of one of Boston’s most important institutions, which holds more than two million books.
Just over the river from downtown Boston (about 10 minutes by car or subway), you’ll find the sprawling grounds of Harvard, the oldest university in United States. Stroll the peaceful yards and historic buildings of the campus by yourself or learn more about the storied institution’s history on a guided tour (offered on weekdays). Don’t miss the Peabody Museum, an astonishing collection of archaeological and ethnographic items.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
JFK was born in the Brookline neighbourhood of Boston and graduated from Harvard in 1940. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to his life and includes displays of some of the most incredible gifts he received from foreign heads of state and an exhibition focusing on his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy.
Indulge in oysters
Whether you eat them raw, deep-fried, charbroiled or on a bread roll, dining on oysters is an essential New England experience. Boston has a proud history of serving up some of the freshest shellfish in the US and there’s a bewildering amount of restaurants and oyster bars to choose from. Union Oyster House, the oldest continually serving restaurant in the city, serves hearty dishes in a landmark building.