What do Little Women, the Red Sox, and Paul Revere all have in common? Boston, Massachusetts. Since the early days of the United States, Boston has been a leader in establishing American culture. Living up to various nicknames—such as Beantown, the Hub of the Universe, the Cradle of Liberty, and the Athens of America—Boston offers something for everyone. This spring, experience Boston—your way.
Boston has long been known for its famous Tea Party when, instead of being consumed, tea was dumped into the harbor. Since then, food appreciation has grown, and many basic staples of American cuisine stem from this city. Here are a few restaurants to visit, along with some delicious recommendations.
1. Jasper White’s Summer Shack
As is the case with numerous New England towns, Boston draws in many lobster-craving visitors. Jasper White’s Summer Shack, located at 50 Dalton Street, Back Bay, has been called the “Mecca for seafood lovers” and is a great place to get that craving satisfied.
2. Historic Parker’s Restaurant
In 1856, the restaurant at Parker’s Hotel hired a French chef who created a culinary masterpiece—the Boston Cream Pie. This cream-filled, chocolate-covered cake became Massachusetts’s official dessert in 1996. Sample this delicacy and enjoy a fine dining experience at Historic Parker’s Restaurant, located at 60 School Street.
3. Cheers—Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Originally known as the Bull and Finch Pub, the pub was renamed after it was used as the basis for the famous sitcom. Located at 84 Beacon Street, the restaurant has a menu that offers a variety of burgers—some named after characters on the TV show.
4. Faneuil Hall
Since 1742, Faneuil Hall has served as the hub of activity in Boston, hosting political speeches, concerts, and—most importantly—food. This urban marketplace houses 17 restaurants and pubs located in the center of the city. While here, make sure to try some award-winning Boston Baked Beans at Durgin-Park.
5. Mike’s Pastry
Located at 300 Hanover Street in Boston’s North End Little Italy, Mike’s Pastry has entertained many celebrities and world leaders. Offering any bakery treat a customer could wish for, Mike’s Pastry has become known as a “North End Tradition.”
6. Union Oyster House
Boston Clam Chowder has been a staple in Boston cuisine since 1836 and is still served in America’s oldest operating restaurant, the Union Oyster House, located at 41 Union Street.
The greater Boston area has been home to some of the best and brightest minds ever to have emerged in American literature, and it is dotted with small neighborhood libraries.
1. Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library (BPL), founded in 1848, was the first large free municipal library in the United States. When it opened, it housed 16 thousand volumes. Today the BPL has more than 33 million items in its collection and maintains 27 neighborhood branches. The BPL is located at 700 Boylston Street.
2. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Although not the Sleepy Hollow of Washington Irving fame, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery houses the remains of the Alcott, Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, and Lothrop families on what is called Author’s Ridge. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is a must-see stop on any literary pilgrimage. It is located on Bedford Street in Concord, just outside of Boston.
3. Make Way for Ducklings Statue
Robert McCloskey’s classic Caldecott Award-winning children’s book inspired this statue in the entrance of the Public Gardens. Having stopped traffic at the corner of Charles and Beacon streets, Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings march their way into the park and the pond where they live happily ever after, being fed peanuts by the tourists.
4. Authors’ Homes
Along Lexington Road in Concord are three homes where several important American authors lived. Visitors are welcome to all three. Orchard House was home to transcendentalist and teacher Bronson Alcott and his family, including his daughter Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women; the set of the 1994 movie version of Little Women was based on this house. The Wayside, a home that became the first national park with literary associations, housed three famous literary families: the Alcotts (who later moved to the Orchard House), the Hawthornes (including Nathanial Hawthorne, author of The Scarlett Letter and The House of Seven Gables), and the Lothrops (Harriett M. Lothrop, author of The Little Peppers, wrote under the pen name of Margaret Sidney). Just across the street and down the road from the Orchard House is the Ralph Waldo Emerson house.
5. Walden Pond
Walden Pond is the site of the
famous experiment of transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. It is the spot where he went when he “wished to live deliberately.” Today, Walden Pond is open for swimmers, fishers, and nature enthusiasts. The nature paths that surround the pond lead the wanderer to the historic site of Thoreau’s cabin.
6. The Old Manse
Alternately the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathanial Hawthorne, the Old Manse has been the center for many deep philosophical discussions. You will find it at 269 Monument Street. Just out the back door, you can see the Concord North Bridge (see Battle Road in the History Buff section of this article).
Bostonians have always been sports fans. From winning the first World Series in 1903 to securing the Stanley Cup in 2011, Boston sports teams have excelled in every way. For the sports fan inside of you, here are some places to visit that celebrate the wonderful world of sports.
1. TD Garden
Located at 100 Legends Way, TD Garden is the home arena of both the Boston Celtics and the Boston Bruins. Since its original opening in 1995, TD Garden has undergone several renovations and name changes and now covers 755,000 square feet with a maximum seating capacity of 19,580 people. Located within TD Garden is the Boston Sports Museum, which celebrates the varied athletic achievements in Boston over the years.
2. Candlepin Bowling
Candlepin Bowling was invented in Massachusetts in 1880—some say in Boston itself. Candlepin bowling is different from 10-pin bowling: the ball is smaller and has no holes, the player gets three balls per frame, and the downed pins are not cleared away after each turn. To try out the sport, visit Lanes & Games at 195 Concord Turnpike in Cambridge.
3. Red Auerbach Statue and Larry Bird Shoes
Red Auerbach was the coach of the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1966. He was a pioneer of modern basketball and was influential in breaking down color barriers in the NBA. Larry Bird was an NBA basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics. A statue of Red Auerbach is located in Faneuil Hall. A pair of Larry Bird’s large shoes, which have been bronzed, rest on a nearby plaque. You can take a picture with Auerbach and compare your shoe size with Larry Bird’s.
4. Nickerson Field
Now owned by Boston University, Nickerson Field was once the field of the historic Boston Braves baseball team and the Boston Patriots football team. Other names it has gone by are Braves Field, National League Park, and Boston University Field. Today it is named after William E. Nickerson, who donated the field to the university.
5. Fenway Park
Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium currently in use. The park is famous for the Green Monster, a green fence along left field that is a daunting obstacle for any would-be home run hitter to overcome. The park has been in use since 1912 and accommodates around 37,500 fans.
6. Boston Marathon Memorial
Situated in Copley Square, this memorial commemorates 100 years of the Boston Marathon. The world’s oldest annual marathon, the Boston Marathon is run annually on Patriots Day and ends near this memorial. The memorial includes a medallion inscribed with the names of the marathon’s previous winners.
The third Monday in April is known as Patriot’s Day, commemorating the beginnings of the American Revolution. Boston celebrates in various ways during this time, from detailed reenactments to the Boston Marathon, making spring the best time to visit Boston.
1. Harvard University, 1636
The oldest institution for higher education in the United States, Harvard was established in 1636 and now enrolls around 21,000 students. While on campus you can cheer for the sports teams, get a tour, or visit the Museum of Natural History—the most visited attraction at Harvard.
2. Adams National Historical Park, 1735
This park features the birthplace and home of John Adams—a founding father and the second President of the United States. Located on 135 Adams Street in Quincy, the park is a little south of Boston. Here you can learn about the four generations of an American dynasty as you visit 13 acres and 11 buildings that house an amazing collection of approximately 100,000 historical treasures.
3. Boston Tea Party,
December 16, 1773
The actual location of the Boston Tea Party is disputed, but there is a memorial marker of the event on the corner of Congress and Purchase streets. Just up Congress Street is the new Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, which commemorates the event and gives valuable historical information regarding the events that led up to the tea party.
4. Freedom Trail, 1775
The Freedom Trail is a self-guided tour following a red line that winds through Boston, highlighting 17 historic landmarks. Some of these include Park Street Church, site of the first abolitionist meeting; the site of the Boston Massacre; the Paul Revere House; the Old North Church; the Bunker Hill Monument; and the USS Constitution, aka Old Ironsides. Celebrate the spirit of freedom by walking the Freedom Trail.
5. Battle Road, April 19, 1775
Following the road from Boston to Concord—taken by the British on a mission to commandeer weapons gathered by revolutionists—is Battle Road, which offers detailed information about the events that began the American Revolution. Battle Road, part of the Minute Man National Park, passes through many places, such as the Lexington Battle Green and the Concord Old North Bridge (where the famous “shot heard ’round the world” was fired on April 19, 1775). Reenactments of this battle take place every year on Patriot’s Day.
6. 54th Regiment Memorial, 1863–1865
The 54th Regiment Memorial is a memorial to the first official black volunteer infantry regiment led by Robert Gould Shaw during the Civil War. The memorial is just one stop along the Black Heritage Trail of Boston, which also highlights homes, churches, and schools that promoted emancipation efforts. The memorial is located on Beacon Street.