For all of New York’s urban chic, the non-stop excitement of Las Vegas and Orlando’s theme park magic, some of the very best destinations in America are special precisely because they are not modern, cutting-edge and hectic. So, if you are among those who prefer culture to casinos, why not take a look at our Boston holidays page and consider booking a break in this amazing city?
In this article, we recommend five of Boston’s many fine historic attractions that, if added to your itinerary, will help you learn all about the extraordinary heritage of one of the oldest cities in the U.S.
The Freedom Trail
Wherever you turn in Boston, you will not be far from a site of historical interest. In fact, the city is so packed with significant landmarks that, in the early 1950s, it was agreed that a visitor-friendly walking route should be established which would make it easier than ever to discover a cross-section of Boston’s heritage highlights.
The wonderful Freedom Trail is just two-and-a-half miles long but takes walkers past no less than 16 fascinating local sites, some of which we will discuss in more detail individually later on. To give you a quick idea of the wide variety of interesting places you can expect to see when you hit the trail, a few examples include the USS Constitution (an 18th-century battleship), Boston Common (the oldest urban park in the country) and the Granary Burying Ground (the final resting place for many of the Revolutionary War’s most famous combatants).
The fact that the Freedom Trail is so compact and clearly marked yet contains such a wealth of internationally-recognised landmarks means that walking it would be the perfect way to kick off your historical discovery of this incredible city.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
One of the most famous points on the Freedom Trail is the hugely impressive Faneuil Hall Marketplace building, which has been a focal point for commerce and governance in Boston since the mid-1700s.
What makes the Faneuil Hall complex different from so many similar historic sites around the U.S. and beyond is that it remains as relevant today as it has always been, serving as the number one place where both locals and visitors can shop, dine and be entertained in style. Consistently ranked among America’s most popular tourist stops, the hall should go straight to the top of your must-see list if you only have enough time to visit one Boston landmark.
As well as its magnificently-preserved Georgian architecture, more than 70 retail outlets and the choice of a dozen restaurants and bars that cater for all tastes, one of the things Faneuil Hall Marketplace is notable for is the fabulous street entertainment that can be enjoyed there every day, right outside the main building. Only the most talented and engaging musicians, magicians, acrobats, jugglers and other performers are given the chance to demonstrate their skills in the shadow of Boston’s magnificent hall so, whenever you plan to take a trip there, you can be sure of seeing some live shows of the very highest quality.
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
If you’re still unsure of why Boston is regarded as having played such an important role in the formation of the U.S. as we know it today, all your questions will be answered with a trip to the fantastic Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
As fun as it is educational, this much-loved attraction is family-friendly but will prove fascinating for visitors of all ages. Dedicated to bringing to life the famous Boston Tea Party of 1773, the site vividly tells the story of when, in defiance of the ruling British government, a group of protestors threw overboard and destroyed a vast amount of tea that was destined to be shipped on for sale in the colonies – without any tax being paid to America. Often described as the single most significant event leading up to the Revolutionary War, the Tea Party is certainly deserving of its wonderful waterside museum.
Just some of the many highlights you can look forward to enjoying once you arrive at the museum include attending a dramatic 1772 summit of the Boston townspeople (where you will meet Samuel Adams, the local founding father), seeing the only surviving tea chest from the Tea Party itself in person, and even having a go at throwing one overboard yourself!
Another Boston landmark that is somewhat more modern but is, in many ways, every bit as interesting as the Tea Party site is the legendary Fenway Park baseball ground. Officially the oldest Major League Baseball (MLB) park in the U.S., the stadium celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012 and is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most iconic sports venues.
Home to the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park should be added to the holiday itineraries of any sports fans who find themselves in the area, or indeed of anyone who just wants to learn more about what is a vital part of the city’s cultural heritage. As it is found right in the heart of Boston (an unusual feature for a major sporting location), it is easy to arrange a tour of the park if you’re nearby; an informative guide will spend an hour showing you around the ground and telling you all about its colourful history.
Fenway Park may be among the smallest of all the U.S.’s MLB parks, but we can assure you that it is also – perhaps partly because of its size – rarely bettered in terms of its visitor experience.
Paul Revere House
However impressive the city’s sporting credentials may be, however, there can be no disputing that Boston is most famous for the local events and people which helped give rise to the American Revolution and, ultimately, the country gaining independence. It is only fitting, therefore, that our final recommended attraction is another example of a Boston landmark that is both historically significant and exquisitely maintained.
Paul Revere House is the oldest private dwelling in downtown Boston, having been built in 1680, so is worthy of its fame for this reason alone. Even more important, though, is the fact that it was the family home of one of the several Boston natives who helped to change the course of American history. Despite being an extremely successful and pioneering silversmith by trade, Revere is best remembered for setting out on horseback on the night of April 18, 1775, to warn his fellow patriots that British troops were advancing, allowing the American forces to mobilise and prepare to contest the battle that would signal the start of the Revolutionary War.
Today, visitors to Paul Revere House can explore the building at their own pace, taking their time to admire the original interiors and period furnishing, some of which belonged to Revere and his family themselves. Plenty of informative written material is on display throughout the house, and those who want to can even pick up some directions to follow in Paul’s footsteps and recreate his ‘Midnight Ride’!