3 days in Boston – What to see and do
Boston is certainly one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in the United States. It is a “small” city, with culture and history. Its short distance from New York (4 hours by car), make it a great place to include in a trip to Manhattan and that’s exactly what I did. Here is a list of the most important sites to see and things to do when spending 3 days in Boston.
This article is not intended to be a travel guide, but a summary of information based on my experience and personal opinion. I spent 4 nights and 3 complete days in Boston.
Looking for a place to stay in Boston? Read my experience at Aloft Boston Seaport Hotel
How to get to Boston
You can get to Boston from almost any country if you’re travelling by plane. If you’re traveling from other US city, you can get by plane, bus, train or car. I took a direct flight from Chicago to Boston with Southwest airline.
The cheapest way to get to Boston from New York is by bus. The company I know and I definitely recommend is Bolt Bus. They have the cheapest rates! I’ve used their service many times in US and Canada and I’ve never had a problem.
Transportation in Boston
Boston has a metro service (referred as the “T”) with several lines connecting different points of the city. It’s very simple to use. The metro pass is called “Charlie.” You can buy a rechargeable card, or you can buy individual tickets. You canso get a week pass that gives visitors unlimited travel on subway, local buses, and ferry for seven days.
Things to do in Boston
- Freedom Trail
Boston is one of the most historic cities in the USA as several battles and events that led to the independence of the United States occurred here. The city was founded by English puritans and this is reflected in the city’s architecture: cobbled streets, lanterns, Victorian buildings, the british vibes are everywhere. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long route through the city that passes by 16 significant locations for U.S. history. The trail is marked by bricks on the floor that lead to the different sites. It is a very entertaining walk, full of history and interesting buildings that you can enter. I suggest to start the trail at the Visitor Center located in front of Quincy Market, where you can get information and pamphlets of the different sites of the trail.
- Boston Common (part of the Freedom Trail)
Boston Common is one of the oldest public parks in the USA. It is a fairly large park with trees and statues worth visiting. Right next to this park is the Boston Public Garden, another very nice park where there are several sculptures.The most known are the bronze ducklings that refer to the book “Make Way for Ducklings”.
- Quincy Market (part of the Freedom Trail)
This historic market is located in the center of Boston. Its interior is beautiful and the atmosphere of the place is unique. There are artists singing or playing instruments while people eat at community tables. There is a great variety of food. It is usually crowded with people but it is really worth visiting.
- Massachusetts State House (part of the Freedom Trail)
Just in front of Boston Common , you will find a building with a huge golden dome that you’ll surely notice. This is Massachusetts State House. The entrance is free and you don’t need to make a reservation to visit it. You’re allowed to roam around the building freely, although some areas are obviously restricted. It is truly beautiful.
- Old North Church (part of the Freedom Trail)
This church was built in 1723. It is really old but so well preserved! Entrance is free.
King’s Chapel Burying Ground (part of the Freedom Trail)
A very old and small cemetery. Several important figures from the USA revolution are buried there.
- Boston Public Library
One of the places I liked the most in Boston was the Boston Public Library. Founded in 1848, it was the first public library in the United States. The building is beautiful, and the main reading room is breathtaking! I could definitely spend hours here.
- Newbury Street
One of the most picturesque streets in Boston. Here you will find many shops, restaurants and accommodation. All of its typical brick buildings make it a very nice street to roam around.
- Beacon Hill and Acorn Street
A neighborhood with authentic English vibes. Brick houses, cobbled streets, lanterns, trees perfectly aligned. Acorn Street, is one of the most famous and photographed streets of the USA. It is a narrow street with cobblestone that takes us back in time to the colonial Boston in the nineteenth century, when it was inhabited by merchants and craftsmen.
Outside Boston you’ll find the city of Cambridge, known for being the place where Harvard University and MIT are located. You can get there by metro from downtown Boston. In addition to seeing the university buildings, there are very nice shops and cafes to visit.
Harvard is huge and the different buildings are scattered all over. I think if you visit by yourself, it is a bit difficult to know what’s inside each building or wether you can enter a place. I was fortunate to know someone studying at Harvard who gave us a tour and showed us many places where only students are allowed to enter. My recommendation is to join one of the free tours, so you will be able to know the meaning of each building and not just wander around.
In addition to the activities I mentioned , there are several museums and attractions in Boston worth visiting. I didn’t visit any because I didn’t have the time. But if you have time to visit more places, a great option is to get the Boston CityPASS. The pass includes admission to 4 attractions: New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Skywalk Observatory and Harvard Museum of Natural history or a cruise with Boston Harbor Cruises. Although I didn’t use the pass in Boston, I’ve used it in Chicago and it was totally worth it!
Most hotels/hostels are located in the downtown area of Boston, near Newbury Street. One of the recommended hotels in this area is Newbury Guest House. I stayed at Aloft Boston Seaport Hotel, which is located in a remote area but it is still close to downtown Boston. You can read about my experience at the hotel here.
I totally enjoyed my 3 days in Boston and loved the city. Have you visited Boston?
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