Boston with Kids – A Perfect Family Day

In The Wizard of Oz Dorothy followed a magical yellow brick road. In Boston, young ones can travel along a red brick road linking historical treasures.

Mayflower Pilgrims arrived at nearby Plymouth Rock in 1620 and for nearly 400 years Boston has played an important part in the history of this country. It is easy to explore this immensely likable city with children as many of the attractions are centrally-located and easy to navigate.

Boston Common

Across the street from the public garden, this is one of the oldest parks in America. The Frog Pond is a place where kids can slush around in the summer or ice skate in the winter. There’s a cemetery with many historic tombs in one corner of the Common along with part of Boston’s historic Freedom Trail but there are also horse trails, a carousel, and other goodies.

The Mapparium

A unique structure inside the Christian Science Building. This is a colorful globe where visitors can walk inside and see the various countries and continents of the world lit in blazing reds and blues. The map was created in 1930s and remains frozen in time at 1935 when the world’s boundaries were quite different.

Quincy Market

Be careful here, it’s easy to get lost because two of the buildings are very similar and there are many entrances and exits. Primarily a long mall filled with small shops with one building devoted almost exclusively to food. There are food stands, but not the usual fast food court lineup of chain eateries. Here there are local delicatessens, lobster rolls and bowls of clam chowder, ice cream, cookies and candy.. But the fun part of Quincy Market are the stands outside on the green where you can pick up souvenirs or watch an impromptu show. For history, visit adjacent Faneuil Hall. Free.

Fenway Park

If the kids are older take in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, although it will cost a pretty penny. Otherwise, settle for a very interesting behind the scenes tour of the place which includes a history of Boston’s oldest baseball team and such luminaries as Ted Williams. Obviously, these tours go on when the stadium is not in use although some warm-up pitchers might be on hand. Fenway Park is one of the last of the old-time baseball fields and has gained historic status so it will not be torn down.

Paramount Cafe

Before the history lesson, however, begin the day at the cozy, neighborhood Paramount Café, at 44 Charles Street in Boston’s charming and very fashionable Beacon Hill. This family-friendly eatery with exposed brick and hardwood floors serves up casual breakfast and egg dishes, omelets, French toast, pancakes, and waffles that are always a hit with kids.

Boston’s Public Garden

A nice place to spend some free time—literally, because the place is lovely and it’s free. The traditional swan boat ride does cost a little extra and older kids may find it boring, but it’s certainly one of those touristy musts that round out a vacation.

A short stroll along Charles Street will bring you to the elegant Public Garden. Through a storybook wrought-iron gate, wind your way under tall, majestic trees to one of the most popular (and free!) attractions for children. In 1941 Robert McCloskey published “Make Way for Ducklings,” an endearing tale of a pair of mallard ducks who relocate their family to an island in the lagoon of the Boston Public Garden. Children visiting from within Boston or from as far as Botswana will be captivated as they make their way along the backs of bronze statuettes of the mother duck and her eight ducklings.

While they are darting from one duck to the next you can steal a glance over the wrought-iron fence towards Beacon Street at the fictional setting of the popular television show, “Cheers.” Don’t waste time going down the stairs hoping to run into Sam, Woody, Carla, or Diane as the interior is a fabrication of some Hollywood writer.

Returning your glance to the ducks, after some minutes you will come to the realization that the only way you’ll pry them away from these ducks is with the promise of a ride on a really, really big duck. Make your way over to the Prudential Center for the extremely popular “Duck Tour.”

Boston’s Duck Tour

This is great fun and a wonderful way to add spice to history and architecture. The amphibious vehicles (once known as DUKWs) prowl the streets of Boston while a costumed driver gives details on everything from Paul Revere’s ride to the pub trivia of Cheers. The vehicle then slips into the Charles River where the tourists can get a gander of Cambridge on the other side and hear all about Harvard and MIT. Not for very young children but anyone from eight to eighty should have a ball.

You will be forced to succumb to their pleading entreaties after they’ve caught one glimpse of these World War II-style amphibious vehicles prominent throughout central Boston. Your just-right 90-minute tour will take in all of Boston’s firsts: the first subway in the United States, the first public library, the first post office, the first college, the first public park, and the first public school.

From a comfortable vantage point, you can all sit back and relax on the top deck as everything slowly glides by. You’ll pass the imposing gold-domed State House, Faneuil Hall (pronounced like “flannel,” but without the “L”), the USS Constitution, the Boston Aquarium, the Boston Tea Party Ship, Paul Revere’s House, the Old North Church (“One if by land and two if by sea…”), as well as the winding streets of Beacon Hill (so much more enjoyable when experienced from a cushioned seat), and the TD Bankworth Garden (that everyone knows as the Boston Garden—home to the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins).

A Duck Tour satisfies your hunger to see all the historical sites and rewards the kids at the conclusion by veering off the road and diving right into the Charles River for a breathtaking cruise of the Boston and Cambridge skyline.

Faneuil Hall, Where Boston Meets since 1742

Return to Faneuil Hall Marketplace after your tour for their myriad of lunch options with more than 14 restaurants and 36 international food vendors inside Quincy Market Colonnade, the largest food hall in New England, offering everything you could imagine from Pizzeria Regina (of course) to healthy bowls of hot udon at Wagamama. You and the kids will be spoiled for choice.

Boston’s Freedom Trail

Energized for the afternoon, return to the street, and follow the red brick road known as the Freedom Trail. Boston recognizes the importance of incorporating the past with the present. While Faneuil Hall Marketplace may be viewed in its capacity as a useable mix of twenty-first century retail and restaurants, the imposing three-story brick structure facing Congress Street played center stage for revolutionary speeches by Samuel Adams and James Otis encouraging independence from Great Britain.

The red brick line in front of Faneuil Hall was the brainchild of local journalist William Schofield who, in 1951, wanted to preserve the city’s tremendous historical value and promoted the idea of creating a walking tour linking important local landmarks. By 1953, 40,000 people followed a red (mostly brick) path known as the Freedom Trail, providing correlation to16 significant historic sites along a 2.5-mile walk from Boston Common to Bunker Hill Monument across the river in Charlestown.

You can go at your own pace as you pass along monuments such as the original site of the Boston Latin School, the first public school built in 1636 and remains the oldest school existing in the United States. History is intertwined in Downtown Crossing at the Old South Meeting House where outraged colonists met in 1773 and organized events that would result in the Boston Tea Party. The reservedly-impressive Park Street Church built in 1809 was the location of a significant anti-slavery address in 1829.

Continuing along Park Street is the Old Granary Burial Grounds. This cemetery, dating from 1660, is the final resting place of many historical figures including three signers of the Declaration of Independence, eight governors and five victims of the Boston Massacre. You may be fortunate to see a costumed character in the style of Benjamin Franklin offering commentary. Though Ben isn’t buried here, his parents are.

Barking Crab, Boston

Depending upon energy levels there are many excellent museum options in downtown and the immediate vicinity, such as the Boston Children’s Museum, the Boston Fire Museum, the Science Museum, or the Aquarium.

At the conclusion, the Barking Crab located on Sleeper Street just off of Seaport Boulevard (unmissable under a massive yellow and red-striped canopy) is a family-friendly restaurant sure to be a hit of multiple generations. If you close your eyes, the sounds and smells could transport you to a roadside stand on the distant coast of Maine, but open your eyes and take in the magic of the Boston Waterfront with stunning views over the causeway of towering skyscrapers.

In the summer, eat at weather-worn picnic tables under a colorful canopy. If you visit during cooler months, you’ll still feel as if it’s August as plastic sheeting envelopes the sides allowing warm sunlight to pour in. The kids will be challenged to get as messy as the adults as they rip apart succulent Maine lobster and dive into cardboard baskets of fried clams, oysters, shrimp, and scallops. They also have veggies and even chicken burgers which is made from whatever is left behind after they’ve made chicken fingers.

Modern Pastry, Boston–1960s Time Warp

From here, a short and scenic stroll along the Waterfront will bring to the North End and Hanover Street, a slice of 1960s Napoli. Get in line at Modern Pastry and be rewarded some minutes later with the very best sfogliatelle, torrone, cannoli or tiramisu you will ever have this side Rome.

Green Oasis, The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Conservancy

Walk along Hanover Street to the stunning Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Conservancy and take a spin on the nostalgic carousel with an impressive skyline. Get out the camera and capture the memory of a Perfect Day in Boston with Kids. You will all slumber like angels tonight.

Older children could get a gander at some great art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabel Gardner Museum, both standard stops for adults. And certainly, if there are teenagers in tow a visit to Harvard Square to check out the campus is in order. The school is surrounded by coffee shops, book shops, and that balmy university air.

Boston Duck Tours – Sightseeing on The Charles River

Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, Sightseeing on The Charles River

Boston is famous for its role in the American Revolution. Boston Duck Tours provides an unusual way to see many popular attractions.

Boston Duck Tours offer visitors a novel way to see the city. Amphibious World War II landing craft tour the historic sites, with well-informed con”duck”tors providing an entertaining commentary throughout the eighty-minute trip. The trip is mainly on roads, but for about twenty minutes the boat takes to the water offering spectacular views of the city skyline from the Charles River. While afloat, the young, and young at heart, are offered the opportunity to take the controls.

The trip starts at the Prudential Center, which along with the adjacent Copley Square form Boston’s largest shopping center. The Prudential Tower is Boston’s second-largest building with an observation floor.

The Duck Tour passes Christian Science Center, Trinity Church, and the John Hancock Tower before entering Boston Public Gardens. The gardens, which are the oldest public botanical gardens in the country, are home to Swan Boats on the lake and the Make Way for Ducklings Statues by Nancy Schon

Continuing up Beacon Hill, the tour passes the monument to Civil War hero Robert Gould Shaw and the State House where Samuel Adams and Paul Revere laid the cornerstone in 1795.

Sports fans then see the TD Banknorth Garden, home of Boston Celtic and Boston Bruins, and pass the Museum of Science, which is an alternative starting point for this circular trip.

The bus then turns into a boat, sailing up the Charles River before returning to dry land. The Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution are the next landmarks passed, followed by the Old North Church where two lanterns were hung from the steeple on the night of Paul Revere’s ride.

Six encased glass and steel towers are the Holocaust Memorial built in 1995 and nearby the Union Oyster House is the oldest continually operating restaurant in the United States.

Faneuil Hall, christened the “Cradle of Liberty” after meetings there led to the American Revolution, continues the historical theme. Across the road stands The Old State House where the Royal Governors of Massachusetts held office.

The final leg of the journey passes the King’s Chapel Burying Ground and the Parker House Hotel before crossing Boston Common to the Bull and Finch pub, made famous by the TV Series Cheers. A short trip down the exclusive Newbury Street past the Copley Plaza Hotel and Boston Public Library completes the trip.

The Con”duck”tors make the trip both enjoyable and informative. Despite novel names like Major Tom Foolery, Dr Ima Quack and Paul Reverse, they have a detailed knowledge of history on the route and are willing to answer questions.

The tours are very popular and internet booking is available from 5 days in advance (at an extra charge). If you book on the day you will be given a ticket for a set time but expect this to be at least two hours after booking.

Best Budget Hotels in Boston

Inexpensive Boston Hotels are Cheap and Chic

These surprisingly cheap Boston hotels are located in the heart of the city, near Back Bay shopping, museums, and the financial district. They’re clean and nice, too.

Looking for the best hotel deals in Boston? Skip the chain properties, where prices range upwards of $200 a night for a cookie-cutter room, and consider these unique and cheap Boston hotels. Join the ranks of visiting Europeans and savvy travelers who have discovered Boston’s best, inexpensive places to stay. Keep in mind that prices are highest during graduation weekends in May and June, and during fall foliage season.

Charlesmark Hotel

As skinny as a supermodel, the 33-room Charlesmark is a darling of those who’d rather spend money on a good meal than a hotel bill. Facing the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Copley Square (a fabulous location), the sleek Charlesmark is within walking distance of 40-some restaurants, plus shops galore, and a T (subway) stop. Guest rooms are tiny but well turned out, with lots of wood and brick adorned with local artwork. 655 Boylston St. Standard rooms are $119 and up.

Inn @ St. Botolph

There’s no doorman, concierge, or full-service restaurant at the St. Botolph, but guests who’ve discovered this value-packed Boston hotel don’t care. Set in an antique brownstone on a residential street, the inn is located a block from the Prudential Center (and Back Bay shopping and dining.) It’s very quiet, and feels like home, albeit a chic-ly decorated home in stylish cinnamon and black. Guests let themselves in, using a key code, and rooms (all suites) have fully equipped kitchenettes. 99 St. Botolph St. Rates from $169.

John Jeffries House

Looking to stay in quaint Beacon Hill, or need to be close to Massachusetts General Hospital? This gracious, comfortable, 46-room bed and breakfast inn fit the bill. Formerly a dormitory for nurses, it’s pleasantly turned out in floral-patterned upholstered furniture, with triple-glazed windows to block out the noise of busy Charles Circle (and ambulances.) Most of the rooms have kitchenettes, but it will be hard to resist the cafes on adjacent Charles Street. 14 David G. Mugar Way. Rooms from $115.

Encore B & B

Filled with boutiques and restaurants, the South End is one of Boston’s trendiest neighborhoods, the perfect home for this ultra-stylish bed-and-breakfast inn. Set in a four-story 19th-century townhouse, the Encore was created by an architect and a set designer, who glammed it up with Italian furnishings and contemporary accents. Guest rooms are located on the top two floors, and there’s no elevator, so think about packing lightly for a stay at this property. 116 W. Newton St. Rooms from $140.

Book at one of these budget-friendly Boston hotels and use the money saved to buy a fun souvenir at Quincy Market, or a great meal at one of Boston’s best restaurants. Check out the hotel’s web sites for packages and special Internet rates, to make these Boston hotel deals even sweeter.

Guide to Saving Money in Boston

Using research methods and reservation tools enables travelers to save money on hotel stays in the Boston metropolitan area.

Finding quality hotel rooms near downtown Boston does not necessarily require paying top dollar. Do some research on how room rates change throughout the year with high tourist seasons, such as the American baseball season that runs through each fall, or when families visit students during college graduations. Consult the Boston Visitors Bureau and other local guides for timely deals. Try alternative forms of accommodations, such as short-term apartment rentals or university housing. Save even more money using online reservation services and club memberships.

Boston Travel Deals & Discounts

Visit the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau for information on local hotel packages and discounts, including reservation services for area bed and breakfast accommodations. The Visitors Bureau website, located at bostonusa.com, compiles a list of bed and breakfasts in the Boston area, in addition to lists on hotels and other lodging options.

Use a student, AARP or AAA membership card to get discounts at hotels such as the Buckminster Hotel, which also gives a dining discount for the nearby Maluken Restaurant. Chain hotels, like members of the Wyndham group of hotels, offer their own rewards cards for return visits. Wyndham Rewards apply to hotel brands like Days Hotel, HowardJohnson, and Super 8 which all have franchises near downtown Boston.

Stay at Alternate Types of Lodging

Research the Boston area for daily and weekly rates on apartments. The Copley House, located on West Newton Street in downtown Boston, offers studio or one-bedroom furnished apartments with a kitchen and private bath. Some of their kitchens are equipped with appliances like a refrigerator, oven, microwave, and coffee maker. Hostels are another option for budget travelers. Hostelling International operates a location in Boston’s Back Bay area with dorms that offer 6, 12, and 16 beds per room.

Utilize housing services on college campuses during the summer break when many students, and potential dorm tenants, are away. Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts offers housing for professional organizations, young adult group activities, and student internship participants. Colleges, like Northeastern, may also offer dining options and access to campus amenities like fitness centers and meeting rooms.

Boston Hotel Deals and Techniques

Boston contains many hotel choices for travelers on a budget. The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau has information on hotel deals. Lodgings are available in downtown Boston for short term renting, as are hostels for travelers on a budget that don’t mind potentially sharing a room with strangers. Colleges in the area may provide summer housing programs for groups like interns. Discounts are available for members of travel organizations and hotel rewards programs.

Boston Luxury Hotels Offer Fenway Park Tickets & Packages

No visit to Boston Massachusetts is complete without Fenway Park. Two great places to stay when going to see the Red Sox are Fairmont Copley Plaza and Omni Parker.

Boston is a great city full of history to explore, including Fenway Park, a genuine piece of baseball history. Two Boston hotels offer tickets and packages tied into Red Sox games.

Fairmont Copley Plaza

This famous Fairmont, so named because it is located across the street from Copley Plaza, has the level of service and luxury one expects to find with this brand. It also is full of history and happens to have been built in 1912, the same year as Boston’s famed Fenway Park, one of the most iconic sports stadiums in American sports lore. The décor of the hotel, just like the ballpark, has a way of taking one into the past.

During the baseball season, the Fairmont offers a “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” signature package, which includes peanuts, Cracker Jacks, a drink, and an official Boston cap. For those who are experiencing the “Fairmont Gold” service that allows them to have a concierge assigned to them, a mention that one is attending the game results in finding a note in their room giving them information about how to get there, game start time, expected weather and the starting pitchers.

Getting from the Fairmont to Fenway can be done by taking a quick ride on the “Charlie” (subway) green line or taking a 20-25 minute walk.

Fairmont Copley Plaza
138 St. James Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
617-267-5300

Omni Parker House

The Omni Parker House is notable for a variety of reasons. Founded in 1855, it is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the United States. Located just off the Boston Common, some of America’s greatest writers, politicians, athletes, and celebrities have used it as a place to stay, hold press conferences, and dine on Parker House Rolls and Boston Cream Pie.

The hotel has played an important part in Boston Red Sox history. Before he became world-famous as the “Babe,” a young pitcher named George Herman Ruth liked to spend time there while leading the Red Sox to a World Series title in 1918. Unfortunately, he got traded away and Sox greats such as Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski viewed it as a great place to eat and meet during the 86-year drought when the “Curse of the Bambino” was in effect. However, another Omni Parker House regular, David Ortiz, helped to break the curse in 2004.

While there are plenty of great historical connections between the Red Sox and the Omni Parker House, the best connection is in the present, as guests can reserve special packages during the season that combine not only a historic place to play but also tickets to the game. That’s important in Boston, which has sold out Fenway Park over 500 straight times.

Omni Parker House
60 School Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Phone: (617) 227-8600

For further information on places to stay, contact the local visitor’s bureau for tips and local specials.

Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Two Copley Place Suite 105
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
1-888-SEE-BOSTON

Boston is a great place to visit for history and baseball. Both can be combined into a fun vacation when staying at the Fairmont Copley Plaza or Omni Parker House.

Pet-Friendly Hotels in the Boston Area

Boston is a classic New England city, rich in culture and history. Visitors can appreciate the great outdoors by taking a Duck Boat Tour, or by checking out the Bunker Hill Monument, the Freedom Trail, or Boston Common.

Tourists can also shop on Newbury Street or Copley Place, stroll along the Charles River, or check out the city from a bird’s perspective with a visit to the Prudential Center’s Skywalk Observatory. Fenway Park and the Boston Garden are the Hub’s must-see locations for sports fans, while tourists who are into the arts can visit the Museum of Fine Arts. Animal lovers can visit the Boston Aquarium, the Franklin Park Zoo, or the Make Way for Ducklings statues on Boston Common.

With all these attractions, visitors will need to spend at least a couple of days in Bean Town to see all the sights. And if a trip includes a pet, then consider making reservations at one of the following pet-friendly hotels in the Boston metro area:

The Inn at Crystal Cove

Located at 600 Shirley Street, Winthrop. This waterfront hotel overlooks scenic Boston Harbor from the quaint seaside community of Winthrop. It’s just minutes from Boston’s Logan Airport and downtown Boston by car or public transportation. Guests enjoy cozy accommodations with balconies and private kitchenettes. Guests can unwind by the hotel’s heated pool and spa, while enjoying views of the Boston skyline. Rates range from $89 to $129. For more information, call 877-966-8447 or visit www.inncrystalcove.com.

 La Quinta Inn and Suites

Located at 23 Cummings Street, Somverville. This hotel is located just outside of the city limits, about two miles north of downtown Boston. It’s convenient to Route 93 and the hotel offers a free shuttle service to and from Logan Airport. Guests enjoy free shuttle service to a nearby MBTA station, deluxe continental breakfast, access to the hotel fitness center, and laundry on site. Dogs of all sizes are welcome. Rates start at $139 per night. For more information, call 617-625-5300.

 The Comfort Inn

Located at 900 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston. This hotel is situated less than four miles from Boston’s historic downtown. And it’s less than five miles from Logan Airport. Free shuttle service is offered to a nearby MBTA station, the Seaport World Trade Center and multiple Boston hospitals. Guests enjoy free deluxe continental breakfast and free wireless high-speed internet service. Rates start around $145 per night. For more information, call 617-287-9200.

The Colonnade Hotel

Located at 120 Huntington Avenue, Boston. All pets and sizes are welcome at this hotel, located in Boston’s historic Back Bay and South End district. It’s convenient to the Hynes Convention Center, the Prudential Center and it’s just a few minutes from Boston’s Logan Airport. Classy accommodations from around $275 per night. For more information, call 617-424-7000 or visit www.colonnadehotel.com.

The Eliot Hotel

Located at 370 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. This Back Bay hotel is situated on Commonwealth Avenue, modeled after the Champs Elysee in Paris. It’s a short walk away from the boutiques of Newbury Street, Copley Place, Boston University and MIT. Guests can enjoy complimentary access to Boston Sports Club, wireless internet service, signature bathrobes and down comforters. The hotel even offers pet sitting services for guests. Rates start around $295 per night. For more information, call 1-800-44-ELIOT or visit www.eliothotel.com.

 Hotel Commonwealth

Located at 500 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. This luxury hotel is located in Boston’s Kenmore Square, just a stroll from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the home of the Boston Red Sox – Fenway Park. Guests enjoy complimentary wireless internet, luxury Italian linens, L’Occitane bath amenities and turndown service. Pet sitting service is available. Rates start at $332 per night. For more information, call 617-933-5000 or visit www.hotelcommonwealth.com

Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston

Boston Luxury Hotel at the Fairmont Copley Plaza

Enjoy history, great food, and the Red Sox in Boston, Massachusetts. A notable place to stay, for location, service, and a bit of history is the Fairmont Copley Plaza.

From the moment the guest steps out of their car or taxi in front of the hotel, The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston staff begins to deliver superior service. One may even be greeted by Catie Copley the “Canine Ambassador” of The Fairmont. It is a service that will last throughout the guest’s entire stay no matter what the setting.

Boston Historic Hotel

The building was first opened in 1912, which is also the same year Fenway Park was built. The 383-room edifice is a symbol of Boston’s history located within walking distance of the Boston Common, the Freedom Trail, and Beacon Hill. Right across the street from the hotel one can find the Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, and Hancock Tower.

Nearly every 20th Century American President stayed at the hotel. As part of the building’s renovation, the Fairmont has added eight themed suites that focus on Boston’s unique history and culture. The rooms are classic with modern conveniences meant to give a residential feel to the stay.

Fairmont Gold

While the service at the Fairmont Copley Plaza is always excellent, visitors have the option of choosing the Fairmont Gold service, which takes the service to an even higher level. Guests have their own reception area on the fourth floor along with access to the lounge, which offers breakfast in the morning, appetizers, and cocktails in the early evening, as well as coffee, tea, sodas, and an honor bar throughout the day.

Fairmont Gold guests have a concierge at their disposal to provide service for them during their stay. If a guest mentions they have tickets to the Red Sox game the next day they can expect to find a note in their room giving them information about how to get there, game start time, expected weather, and the starting line-up. The staff at the Fairmont anticipates needs and helps guest enjoy their stay at the hotel and the area of Boston.

The Oak Room

There are many Boston locals who stop by the Fairmont Copley Plaza even though they may not have a room. That is because of the well known Oak Room restaurant that offers award-winning cuisine set in a luxurious setting with a 30-foot high ceiling complete with intricate white plasterwork and twin Waterford crystal chandeliers.

The Oak Room offers excellent steakhouse fare, including a 20-inch bone-in rib eye. Make sure not to miss out on the local seafood found in dishes such as seared crab cakes, lobster bisque, and calamari salad.

Before or after dinner, head right next door to the Oak Bar, to enjoy a drink while sitting in a splendorous room with dark wood paneling, mirrors, and marble.

Catie Copley, Canine Ambassador

Perhaps the most famous member of the Fairmont Copley Plaza staff is Catie Copley, the hotel’s official canine ambassador. Catie, a black Labrador, has her own spot in the hotel lobby where guests can stop by to pet and feed her and hopefully feel more at home at the hotel. She also has a small dog house outside one of the doors where guests can greet her. Guests can even schedule an appointment to take Catie for a walk.

Catie has her own business cards and email address and has even published her own children’s book. Copies of the book, complete with Catie’s footprint signature, can be purchased in the hotel’s gift shop.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston
138 St. James Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
617 267-5300

There are many reasons to visit Boston and while there, there are many reasons to enjoy a stay at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.

JFK Travel Sites in Boston

Tour President Kennedy in Massachusetts

Boston is a great place to visit to see many different phases of American history, from the Revolution up through President John F. Kennedy.

A visit to Boston gives one a chance to see many different parts of the history of America, and part of that history includes the life of President John F. Kennedy. There are several places to put on the list to see and do throughout the city not only because they are great places to visit, but because they also offer insight into the life of one of our country’s most beloved political figures.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Wanting to know more about the life of President John F. Kennedy during a visit to Boston must include a visit to the JFK Library since it is the central place to learn about the amazing life of this man before he became president and while he was in office. While reviewing the life and politics of the president and his family, visitors will experience pictures, audio and television clips, and interactive exhibits.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It sits overlooking the water at beautiful Columbia Point and can be reached by using public transportation. For those traveling by automobile, free parking is available.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Columbia Point
Boston, Massachusetts 02125
888-535-1960

Union Oyster House

It’s worth visiting the Union Oyster House simply because it has some of the best seafood in Boston and can also boast that, having been established in 1826, it is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in America.

Beyond that, ask to sit upstairs in a special place called the “Kennedy Booth,” the very place where the future president used to regularly go on Sundays to hang out and read the newspapers while enjoying fresh, local seafood.

Union Oyster House
41 Union Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
617-227-2750

Fairmont Copley Plaza

When this beautiful, historic hotel opened in 1912, it was JFK’s grandfather, Boston Mayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald who cut the ribbon. The hotel has combined with the JFK Library and Museum to offer a suite that celebrates the public and private life of the president.

Besides offering a wonderful place to stay and an amazing level of service, the Fairmont Copley Plaza is also home to the Oak Room, a luxurious dining room offering steak house fare as well as local seafood.

Fairmont Copley Plaza
138 St. James Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
617-267-5300

Omni Parker House

Omni Parker House is worth visiting for a variety of reasons. Besides being a classic place to stay with a lot of history, it’s also the place to indulge one’s taste buds as the Boston Cream Pie and famed Parker House rolls were invented there. The hotel is also loaded with Boston history, and its renowned “Press Room” has been the place where a variety of public figures, including JFK, made major announcements.

In 1946, Kennedy, who was already known as a World War II hero, announced his candidacy for Congress, his first public office, at the hotel’s Press Room. In 1954 he held his bachelor party at the hotel’s Press Room before his marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier.

OMNI Parker House
60 School Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
617-227-8600

From a museum to hotels, to a restaurant booth where the future president would read the Sunday papers, Boston offers a variety of sites that offer a chance to find out more about JFK while also having a great vacation.

Free Historical Tours in Boston

Learn about some great historical tours in Boston that can be enjoyed for free. They include Boston Women’s Heritage and Boston National Historic Park.

Boston has many historical tours that focus on its general history, as well as many tours that focus on specific aspects of local history and leaders that contributed to its history. These tours are often offered at discounts to schools, but many of them can actually be quite expensive. However, there are also some great tours that are completely free, although some do suggest small donations. Some of these tours offer tour guides, while others are self-guided and simply supply all the learning materials.

Historic sites in Boston can be quite expensive, especially since many historic locations charge admission fees of $5-$15. This adds up over time, especially considering how many historical locations can be found throughout the city. Luckily, many locations offer free historic tours in Boston, and sometimes these locations don’t even charge an admission fee.

Boston African American National Historic Sites

Boston African American National Historic Sites offers a collection of fifteen sites that played an important role in African Americans’ fight towards freedom. The tour is known as the Black Heritage Trail, and it begins at the Shaw Memorial and ends at the Museum of Afro-American History. They also offer tours of the museum which is accompanied by an educational video.

The museum also has some excellent exhibits that are available to those that take the tour. The museum is in the Beacon Hill area of Boston, and further information can be found on the museum’s website. Although the tour is technically free, they do have a suggested $5 donation, but it is not required.

Museum of Afro-American History
46 Joy Street
(617) 725-0022

Boston Women’s Heritage

Boston Women’s Heritage Trail offers some great, free self-guided tours. It’s also the only tour in Boston that focuses on the women that played an important role in local history.

The website offers downloadable information for tours, which includes maps. They also offer a variety of tours that focus on different aspects of women’s history, including tours that focus specifically on women artists, educators, activists and abolitionists, and much more.

Boston Women’s Heritage Trail
(617) 522-2872

Boston National Historic Park

Boston National Historic Park consists of six different sites that have been administered by the NPS (National Park Service), all of which are part of the Freedom Trail, which consists of a total of fifteen sites. The tour begins at the Visit Center, and ends at the Old North Church, and takes around an hour and a half total.

Free tours are provided with a professional tour guide, but they also offer information and material for people to take a self-guided tour.

NPS Downtown Visitor Center
15 State Street
(617) 242-5642

Park Street Church

Park Street Church was built in the early 1800s and is a stop along the Freedom Trail. Park Street Church was part of a lot of the history of Boston and even stored gunpowder during the War of 1812. They also had a lot of well-known members and was the location for the Address to the Colonization, given by William Lloyd Garrison. This speech was his first public statement against slavery. The church still plays an important role in many current social issues and programs.

Park Street Church
(617) 523-3383

The Old State House

The Old State House was built in the early 1700s and is the oldest public building in Boston. It was originally used for the royal government in the New World and was the location of many historical events. It was the location of The Boston Massacre, as well as the first reading to the public of the Declaration of Independence in the entire state. It is open daily year-round from 9 am until 5 pm, although this changes to 4 pm throughout January. There is a small admission charge, except Boston children and the elderly can get in for free. However, they offer self-guided tours that are free, as well as guided towards (which may cost a small fee).

Old State House
206 Washington Street

The Old South Meeting House

The Old South Meeting House was the location where the colonials gathered to find a way to deal with the British tea tax. This quickly led to the Boston Tea Party, where many of the attendants gathered to toss all of the tea into the ocean. The Old South Meeting House still holds lectures and discussions on recent events, but also offers many concerts and readings as well. Admission is around $5, and they normally charge $3 for the tours. However, sometimes they offer tours for free. The tours are held from April through October.

Old South Meeting House
310 Washington Street
(617) 482-6439

  • Grader, Rob. The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Boston, 2nd: Secrets of Living the Good Life–For Free!Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot, 2009.
  • Wolff, Ethan. Frommer’s Boston 2010 (Frommer’s Complete). Hoboken, NJ: Frommers, 2010.

Top Attractions in Boston

Boston Offers Rich History and Top Attractions

Boston’s rich history in combination with its top attractions makes the city a great destination. Draws include the Public Garden, Freedom Trail, and New England Aquarium.

Boston is one of America’s best-loved cities. Whether you’re a fan of history, architecture, or Yankee cooking, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Beantown.

Boston is one of America’s best-loved cities. Whether you’re a fan of history, architecture, or Yankee cooking, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Beantown.

Swan Boats Are Big Boston Attraction

If you visit Boston between April and September, you’ll need to take a ride on the city’s beloved Swan Boats, a fleet of paddle boats that have been gliding across The Lagoon in the Public Garden for 120 years. The Public Garden itself, located in the heart of downtown, is a horticultural museum and the nation’s first botanic garden.

If you visit between December and March, you can ice skate on Frog Pond, the ice skating rink in the Boston Common, America’s oldest public park. The 50-acre area was set aside in 1634 as a military “training” ground and common pastureland, but it has always been a place where city dwellers convene for anything from a political rally to sunbathing. Adjacent to the Public Garden and across from the State House, these two beautiful green spaces are an oasis in the heart of the city.

Freedom Trail

Walking along Boston’s Freedom Trail, visitors can’t help wonder at the quaint historic churches and meeting halls surrounded by towering glass-and-steel skyscrapers.

The walls of the Old South Meeting Hall, one of 16 stops along the trail, were privy to Samuel Adam’s secret signal, which launched the Boston Tea Party. With a little imagination, you can almost hear today his words to make “Boston Harbor a teapot.”

Boston’s Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile, red-painted path that connects most of the city’s historic sights. From the Common, you can walk all the way to the Bunker Hill Monument and the Charlestown Navy Yard where the U.S.S. Constitution, familiarly known as “Old Ironsides,” is berthed.

Little Italy

You can also take a less ambitious version that leads you past Charles Bulfinch’s gold-domed State House (completed in 1798), King’s Chapel and Burying Ground (built in 1688), Old South Meeting House (built in 1729 as a Puritan meeting house), Old City Hall (also the site of the first public school in the nation), Old North Church (where the lantern was hung to signal that British troops were moving “by sea”), and Paul Revere’s House (the oldest house still standing in Boston).

Since this stop is in the heart of “Little Italy,” Boston’s North End, feel free to put history aside and have lunch at one of the many pizzerias/trattorias here, such as Antico Forno (93 Salem Street), Nebo (90 North Washington Street), or Pizzeria Regina (11 Thatcher Street).

Theater District

Just a few blocks away from this evocative historic setting, Boston’s theater district beckons. A variety of fine cuisine can be enjoyed at popular restaurants like BiNA Osteria. The restaurant’s creative menu and an excellent selection of wine and craft beer are perfectly set off by its stylish modern décor.

Museum of Fine Arts

And no matter where you are on the Freedom Trail, there always seems to be a Starbucks nearby. It’s only a short ride on the subway or via taxi to see the latest exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, or hear the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall. Boston is a great walking city with reliable mass transit.

Fortunately, many of the best hotels place you right near the action, including the historic Four Seasons Boston and the recently built Fairmont Battery Wharf.

Four Seasons Boston Across from the Public Gardens

The Four Seasons Boston is just across Boylston Street from the Public Gardens and near Beacon Hill, Boston Commons, and the start of the Freedom Trail. As in other Four Seasons hotels and resorts, the service level is impeccable and the décor luxurious down to the smallest detail. Many of the spacious guestrooms offer garden views. Guests can take advantage of the fitness center and indoor pool. The adjacent spa is cozy and offers diverse treatments.

Even locals are drawn to the Four Season’s restaurant, The Bristol, from breakfast to late-night snacks. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow diners to watch the world go by as they indulge in tasty signature martinis and creative entrees. Late Friday and Saturday night the Viennese dessert buffet tempts guests with 30 types of rich confections. The restaurant lounge features comfy couches and a fireplace.

Public Gardens

Just a few footsteps away from the Four Seasons, the Public Gardens are filled with flowering trees, charming bridges, and a willow-lined pond with a swan boat ride. Bronze statues overlook vibrant tulip beds and garden pathways. Next to the gardens is Boston Commons, which once was used as a cow pasture by city residents. Now it’s a popular park filled with leafy trees, monuments and well-used benches.

Bunker Hill Monument

A trek across the commons leads to the start of the Freedom Trail, which ends with the Bunker Hill Monument. Visitors can get their National Park passport stamped at the Freedom Trail visitor center adjacent to the Old State House. The Old Statehouse is just across from the site of the infamous Boston Massacre, which is now marked by a patch of bricks in a busy intersection.

Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel on Boston Harbor

Only a few blocks from such stops are The Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel on Boston Harbor in the North End. The stylish new hotel is just down the street from the Quincy Market, Christopher Columbus Park, and the New England Aquarium. A nearby water taxi stand offers transit to additional sites along the harbor and the Charles River, which feeds into it.

Additionally, the hotel is not far from popular Italian restaurants, including the North End’s oldest, Cantina Italiana, a favorite since 1931.

But even with such dining options nearby, guests shouldn’t miss the hotel’s own restaurant, Sensing. Making a splash on the local cuisine scene, Sensing offers a sophisticated setting where guests can watch their dinner being prepared by top chefs.

Rooms at the hotel provide harbor views and are outfitted with smart contemporary furnishings. Guests will appreciate the smart design of their accommodations, including the large, two-door clothes closet that opens both to the room’s foyer and its large bathroom.

Quincy Market

The nearby Quincy Market is a shoppers delight with a multitude of brand name venues as well as locally owned specialty boutiques and restaurants. Entertainment from musicians to magicians can be seen in the market’s central courtyard. Just a few blocks away, lush, green Christopher Columbus Park is set off by sweeping blue views of the Harbor.

New England Aquarium

Also within walking distance of the hotel is the New England Aquarium with its stories-tall central tank filled with all manner of sea creatures from sharks to parrotfish. Visitors wind their way up the central ramp surrounding the huge tank and can stop off at various floors to see other exhibits, including one on the massive Gulf of Maine ecosystem, which includes Boston Harbor.

Boston Duck Tours

Boston Duck Tours features a tour via an amphibious vehicle that leaves from the aquarium. Tour participants view historic sites along the streets of Boston then the tour leader drives into the Charles River for an exciting boat tour that shows off the city skyline.

Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market

Historical premises are only a few of the more than 15 designated stops on the Freedom Trail, along with Faneuil Hall (built by merchant Peter Faneuil in 1742 as the meeting place of the Sons of Liberty), Quincy Market, and the North and South Markets that now make up the huge urban destination know as Faneuil Hall Marketplace. While the historic structures remain, the markets are filled to the brim with modern shops, bars, restaurants, pushcarts, kiosks, and some historical exhibitions.

The area is also home to two landmark restaurants, Ye Olde Union Oyster House and Durgin-Park, both famous for New England and “Yankee” specialties like scrod, clam chowder, pot roast, and baked beans (they don’t call it “Beantown” for nothing!”

Boston’s Freedom Trail

Enjoy this Free Outdoor Tour of Boston’s Historical Attractions

Boston’s Freedom Trail is an excellent way to get an overview of Boston’s historical sites and to see downtown Boston on the cheap any time of the year.

The Boston Freedom Trail is a red-brick path that leads pedestrians throughout Boston’s downtown core to some of its major historical buildings and not-to-be-missed sites.

The trail can be experienced as a self-guided tour using one of the many travel guidebooks available from your local bookstore, or you can purchase a ticket for a more formal group tour. The 90-minute tours run daily year-round and are lead by energetic guides often costumed in historical garb. Tickets can be purchased at the Boston Common Visitor Information Centre or at the Bostix Booth in Faneuil Hall.

Though you can start walking the Freedom Trail at any point along the way, the official starting point is just outside the Visitor Information Centre in the Boston Common.

Sites along the Boston Freedom Trail

There are 16 historical stops along the 2.5 mile-long Freedom Trail, including everything from government buildings to chapels and cemeteries, to historically important homes, stores, and battle sites. Here is a selection of what you’ll see:

  • The Boston Common: A large public park, the Boston Common is the oldest such park in America and has been witness to everything from grazing herds to public speeches, military training, and even gallows and hangings. Today it is a lush green refuge in central Boston and host to concerts and public celebrations
  • Granary Burying Ground: This final resting place of some of Boston’s most famous people evokes both the historical significance of the region and the simple beauty of the seasons in the northeast US. Among the 2,300 burial markers on the grounds, you’ll want to keep a lookout for those of important historical figures like Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, James Otis, Benjamin Franklin’s parents, Peter Faneuil and John Hancock.
  • Faneuil Hall: The site of the first town hall meeting in America, Faneuil Hall witnessed both debates and dissent in its 250 years as a meeting hall and marketplace. Currently, the location of a variety of retail stores and the Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall is a good place to stop for lunch and a little shopping. With restaurants and outdoor patios lining the pedestrian mall, there are many spots to sit and watch the passers-by. Or, venture into the Quincy Market for a wide selection of food-court style eateries.
  • Paul Revere House: It was Paul Revere’s home in 1775 when Revere set out on horseback to warn Boston’s leaders about the pending British attack. Today it is a museum commemorating one of Boston’s most famous sons.

History of the Boston Freedom Trail

The Boston Freedom Trail was established in 1951 by Bill Schofield, a writer for the Herald Traveler newspaper who had been frustrated at his inability to easily locate Boston’s famous historical sites. Using his newspaper column to propose and market the idea, Schofield quickly found success when his idea was picked up by city officials who recognized the value the trail would bring to city dwellers and tourists alike. Schofield became known as the Father of the Freedom Trail. To this day, the Freedom Trail remains one of Boston’s most popular attractions and a worthwhile trek through the city’s historical sites.