As one of the oldest settlements in the USA and the largest city in New England, Boston has plenty of historic culture. Yet with over 50 colleges and universities situated in the greater Boston area there is a youthful vibrancy that adds a totally different dimension to the historic charm of the city.
Cambridge lies across the Charles River and is the largest college town in the world, synonymous with Harvard University, founded in 1638. The neat ivy-covered brick buildings of the university grounds, as well as the labyrinth of twisting streets in Boston centre and the historical buildings in the old-world neighbourhoods are best explored on foot. Boston refers to itself as the ‘Walking City’ and is a remarkably compact city that is centred on the country’s oldest public park, Boston Common. The Information Centre in Boston Common is the starting point for two of the city’s main attractions, which are in fact walking tours. The Freedom Trail explores the city’s revolutionary past and the birth of the modern American Republic, while the Black Heritage Trail highlights Boston’s place in black American history and its role in anti-slavery.
Boston is an easy blend of historic charm and modern conveniences, with a busy street life and beautiful architecture, green parks and gardens, skyscrapers and modern freeways, museums, galleries and colonial churches. Boston is home to the first public library, the first public school and the first subway system in the US; it is the site of the Boston Tea Party that started the Revolutionary War, and is the location of the Cheers bar, made famous by the popular TV sitcom Cheers.
A historical treasure trove, Boston is full of fascinating sites crucial to America’s history. Following a line of mostly red bricks and linking 17 of Boston’s top attractions, from Paul Revere’s house and the statue of Benjamin Franklin to the Bunker Hill Monument and Boston Common, the 2.5-mile (4km) Freedom Trail is a must for history buffs and anyone sightseeing in Boston.
Head to the New England Aquarium featuring more than 70 exhibits with aquatic animals from around the world, marvel at the Bengal and white tigers at the Franklin Zoo, visit the Museum of Fine Arts and get away from the buzz of the city by wandering through the first botanical garden in the United States, the Boston Public Garden.
After a long day of exploring the city, what could be better than appreciating Boston from a distance aboard a sunset cruise on one of the many boats that leave the harbour. Enjoy sipping on a glass of wine, a magnificently prepared seafood dinner and breathtaking views while the sun dips below the horizon.