If you are looking to soak up some history on your next vacation, Boston is the place for you. There is, perhaps, no other American city that holds as much history of the colonial and Revolutionary War era. The best part about visiting here however, is that you can explore all of this history on foot, since most of the city's major sights are close together. It's also a great place to travel with kids. Not only can you teach them about history, they will get to explore some of the best children's museums and aquariums in the country. So if Boston is on your list of travel destinations this year, make sure you check out the list below for the best spots to visit.
1. Freedom Trail
If you are a history buff, this is a must for you. This three-mile trail will take you to 16 of the city's historic monuments and sites. You will get to see the Old Granary Burying Ground, which is where Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and John Hancock are buried. You will also get a chance to visit King's Chapel Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House and the Old State House, Boston's oldest public building and the site of the Boston Massacre. In the North End, you will see Boston's exciting Italian neighbourhood and get to visit the Paul Revere House and Old North Church, where lanterns were hung in 1775 to alert Paul Revere that British troops were coming to Lexington to arrest the patriot leaders. The trail will end across the bridge in Charlestown.
2. Boston Common and Public Garden
Boston Common is America's oldest park and is the start of the Freedom Trail. It's a beautiful area to visit for some peace and quiet or you can rent a pair of skates to use on the Frog Pond during the winter months. In summer you can take a dip in the wading pool. Adjoining it is the 24-acre Public Garden, America's oldest botanical garden, as well as Victorian-style monuments and statues. When you visit here you must take part in one of Boston's iconic experiences – riding around the lake on their famous Swan Boats, which were launched in the 1870s.
3. Harvard Square and Museums
You can't go to Boston without making a visit to the famous Harvard University, which was founded in 1636 and is considered one of the world's leading academic centres. You can get a guided tour of the university so you can learn all about its history and prominence. Harvard Yard sits right in Harvard Square, which is a lively hub for students and visitors who want to browse shops, bookstores or eat some of the best ice cream around. Adjoining Harvard Yard is Harvard Art Museums, which includes three formerly separate collections that have been ranked high as major U.S. Art museums. Fogg Art Museum has Italian early-Renaissance art, while the Busch-Reisinger focuses on Expressionist art of central and northern Europe. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum showcases one of the world's best collections of Chinese jade, as well as Chinese bronzes, Japanese prints, Indian art and Greco-Roman antiquities.
4. Fenway Park
Calling all baseball fans! A trip to Boston wouldn't be complete without taking in a game at famous Fenway Park. Known as America's Most Beloved Ballpark, this home of the Boston Red Sox is such a cool place to visit even if you aren't a baseball fan. One of its most recognizable features is the Green Monster, the 37-foot green wall in left field. The park is also unique because it has kept some of the remnants of the old style of baseball, including the hand-operated scoreboard.
5. Museum of Fine Arts
This is one of the leading art museums in the country and is filled with Impressionist paintings, ancient Egyptian treasures, Asian and Persian fine arts and works from ancient Greece and the Middle East. But this museum also has an American Wing dedicated to holding collections of American paintings, furniture, decorative arts, folk art, silver and glassware dating from pre-Columbian arts to the Art Deco and Modernist eras.
6. Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its inaugural concert in 1881 at Symphony Hall. Over the years, its conductors have included Pierre Monteux, Serge Koussevitzky, Charles Munch, Seiji Ozawa and James Levine. As well as its regular symphony season, this hall is also home to the Boston Pops Orchestra, which is a highlight for many who visit the area. You can watch inside or outside, and can go behind the scenes on a tour where you will hear all the history and traditions of the Orchestra.
7. Boston Harbor
Looking to take a leisurely stroll or boat ride with some amazing scenery? You will want to visit the Boston waterfront, which includes a mix of residential and commercial space connected by HarborWalk, the walkway along the waterfront that is lined with parks, public art, benches and cafes. You will want to walk from the North End through the wisteria-draped pergola of Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, past Commercial Wharf, India Wharf and Long Wharf before heading into the more vibrant Seaport District to the Institute of Contemporary Art. The Boston Tea Party Ship, which is a replica of one of the original ships that the Sons of Liberty dumped tea overboard on December 16, 1773, is also here and offers tours with a reenactment of the event.
8. New England Aquarium
If you are planning a family trip to Boston, your kids will love a visit to the New England Aquarium, which features more than 20,000 fish and aquatic animals representing more than 550 species. There is also a man-made Caribbean coral reef that houses a variety of tropical fish, as well as sharks, turtles and moray eels. You kids will even be able to touch small invertebrates such as crabs, starfish and urchins. When you step outside, the fun continues with harbor seals playing and performing in their enclosed habitat.
9. Boston Children's Museum
Travelling with kids can sometimes be difficult – but not if you take them to the Boston's Children's Museum. They will get to experience hands-on exhibits and learn about science, culture, art and several other subjects. They will even get a chance to make big soap bubbles, pretend to repair cars and play around in a Japanese house replica.
10. Samuel Adams Brewery
This may be one of the most popular destinations for tourists who visit Boston. You will get a tour where you will learn all about the brewing process and will even get to sample the ingredients they use and view the machinery. At the end of the tour, you will get a free sampling and a small glass as a souvenir.