The second State we’ve encountered on our exploratory mission in the East Coast of the USA, was Massachusetts. We only had one day to visit Boston, the State’s capital, but we would encourage our fellow travelers to stay an extra day to explore a little bit more.
In order to make the best of your visit to Boston, we have created a map that features all the sights, attractions and eateries we did (or intended to) include in our walking tour. Due to a lack of time, we may have had to skip a few of these locations but you’ll still find them on the map.
Arriving in Boston – transportation
We arrived by car from Brockton, a 30-minute drive south of Boston. If you are based outside the city just as ourselves but you don’t have a car, you will probably have to rely on trains or buses which will most likely take you to Boston’s South Station. Alternatively there are two other major arrival stations within the city: North Station and Back Bay Station.
As for us, we had a rental car and parked in a very central location: CityPlace Garage. We spent US $23 for a maximum of 12 hours. It was the cheaper option in such a central area and the closest spot to the start of our tour: Boston Common, the country’s oldest public park.
With regards to parking, do not forget to download and check out the INRIX Parkme App before you arrive in the city you intend to visit, for quick and easy information on the costs and availability of parking in the area. It turned out to be a very useful app on our entire American trip.
Visit Boston – Freedom Trail
Let’s be honest, what you are really here for, as a tourist, unless you are just a foodie or a Patriots fan, is the Freedom Trail.
You can easily follow the trail without a map. Why? Because, apart from being featured on Google Maps as a red line, it also is a physical red-and grey-bricked line – and the occasional plaque – laid out on the ground.
You can therefore opt for a free, self-guided tour and access some extra information about all the 16 stops along the trail from the Freedom Trail website. Here you can also find many different options for guided tours, should you want to listen to an eloquent orator sporting traditional 18th-century garments.
Some of the sites featured on the trail also house exhibitions and collections. These sites have specific opening times and can be visited by paying an entry fee. On our frugal visit to Boston, we only spent our budget towards food.
Unmissable sights along the Freedom Trail
It is not without pain that we have to commend a few sites over other ones, as most immediately and crucially important in the events leading up to and characterising the American Revolution.
- Old South Meeting House: it is here that public debates between Patriots and Loyalists against British taxation took place; most importantly, it is here that the plan for a protest act known as Boston Tea Party was conceived.
- Old State House: history buffs may as well be willing to pay the entrance ticket (US $12) to see a vast array of Revolution-era artifacts. Alternatively, just walk around the building – which, in itself, is impressive, considering how a two-story red-bricked edifice can so solemnly stand out among the surrounding skyscrapers – identify the east-side balcony: the Declaration of Independence – agreed to in Philadelphia – was proclaimed from here to jubilant Bostonians, on 18 July 1776.
- Paul Revere House and Old North Church: necessarily bound together in history, these two sites evoke the night in which, as the British Army was spotted moving into Boston from the sea, Paul Revere rode from his house to Lexington – where the colonialists were storing arms – to inform fellow patriots of the arrival of the British invader. The warning signal that sparked his ride was devised by Revere itself and now constitutes the opening verse of a famous poem dedicated to him by poet Longfellow: “One if by land, two if by sea…”. The sentence refers to two lanterns located atop Old North Church steeple, that were briefly lit the eventful night of April 18, 1775.
- Bunker Hill Monument: a 221-foot obelisk commemorating the first major battle of the Revolutionary War.
Other points of interest
We have indicated a few points of interests (green) on the map. Unfortunately we could not get to all of them for lack of time.
Here below a list of sites we’ve managed to see or visit and consider worth sharing:
- Boston Public Garden: a peaceful oasis where to relax and unwind.
- Acorn Street: a narrow cobble-stoned street and brick houses preserved in its original mid-18th century fashion.
- The Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant: the classic symbols of the two major parties in US Politics standing in opposition to one another (the elephant is engraved in the footprints).
- Trinity Church: a unique and utterly majestic example of Richardsonian Romanesque style.
- Statue of Edgar Allan Poe: a tribute to the American “Gothic” author born in Boston on January 19, 1809
Before you head out to explore, read our post “what and where to eat in Boston“.
Once you do that you should be all set and ready. Enjoy your time in Boston!