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!”