Last year in May, I got a chance to visit Boston with my family! This city has something for everyone. There is so much history here, and even though we are not American citizens, it was still very interesting!
This was only the second time that Isabella has been on a plane and she was great! She loved the colouring package she received from Air Canada and of course the pretzel snacks were a hit as well.
One of the must see’s in Boston is the Quincy Market. Located downtown, this market is visited by many locals and tourists every day. There is so many food options available as well as shops and entertainment especially on the weekends. There are three buildings in total, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market. Be prepared to spend a few hours wandering around and sampling some local offerings! (Just look at the size of those bagels!)
Nothing beats clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl!
May is a great time to visit Boston. The weather can be cool but not cold. We were lucky and had mostly sunny days and a few days in the 80’s.
Boston is such a beautiful city. There is so much to see and do, and although there is a lot of walking involved, it is very easy to see most parts of the city.
If you are a baseball fan, or even if you’re not, I highly recommend doing a Fenway Park tour. I’m not a huge baseball fan but the history of this stadium and the fan base is unbelievable. When you go you can sit in the original wooden seats. They are super uncomfortable but still a great experience! The Red Soxs were away when we were there so unfortunately couldn’t see a game. Depending on where you staying in the city you make to take public transit over to the park, which is fairly easy to figure out.
The Freedom trail is one of the most popular things to do in Boston. It takes you on a self guiding walking tour of Boston’s history. We started at the end and walked backwards as that’s what our hotel was closest to. Along the way you see the USS Constitution, Bunker Hill Monument, a few old burial grounds, Old North Church, Boston Commons, Faneuil Hall, site of Boston Massacre and the Massachusetts State house. At the Bunker hill monument you can climb the 294 steps to the top for a nice view of the city. Free to do, but not for those who are out of shape, trust me! Visiting burial grounds is not everyone’s cup of tea, but seeing the artistry on the graves was very unique. This self guiding tour can take the better part of a day depending on how much you stop and do. There are Freedom trail maps to follow, as well as markings along the sidewalk. If you’re familiar with the Make Way for Ducklings book, you will find a statue of a large duck with her babies behind her in the Boston Commons park. Very cute! We had just missed the duckling parade that takes place every mothers day.
One of the must do tours is the Duck Boat. They are quite popular so you must reserve a spot early in the day. There are three different departure areas, the science museum which is a bit on the outskirts tends to be the least busy. You can purchase duck whistles for the kids in your group (or adults!). This is truely a unique tour, taking you through the streets of Boston and then into the Charles River. The tour is over an hour but well worth it. What other vehicle can go from land to sea in a matter of seconds!
The other must do, especially if you have kids is the New England Aquarium. There is an open air penguin aquarium when you first walk in, containing three different species of penguin. You can watch them play and be fed. Adorable! There is also a massive circular aquarium that takes up the center of the building, which has a ramp around it to take you to the higher floors. Really neat to see all the sea life. There was a gigantic sea turtle who seemed to wave when he swam by! Once you get to the top the aquarium is also open and they do demonstrations as well as have a diver in the tank. We found out the sea turtle is fed broccoli, lettuce and brussel sprouts! They also have a sting ray touch pool, but Isabella was not into petting sting rays.
Of course you cannot visit Boston without a trip to Harvard University! Even if it’s just for a few minutes to walk around campus and pretend you go there. The campus is beautiful and we were lucky to be there on a gorgeous day. Can’t forget to shop at the Coop, where you can find all kinds of Harvard merchandise to buy.
If you are travelling with kids I recommend the Boston’s Children’s museum as well as the Boston Tea Party museum/ship. The kids museum has plenty to do to keep the little ones busy. For all those 80’s/90’s kids out there they have an Arthur exhibit where kids are in front of a green screen and part of the theme song to the show. There is a bubble/water area, barber shop, climbing area etc. When you arrive at the Boston tea museum, they give you a character and a feather. Than characters come in and reenact the Boston Tea party and history with the help of the audience. Some have speaking parts, other’s don’t. You then get taken on the ship where you can explore the containers where the tea was kept. You can even throw a box of tea overboard just like they did in history! Both of these can be around an hour stops so easy to do both in one day.
Whether you stay downtown or on the outskirts and rent a car, both are great ways to see the city. We like to stay outside of downtown a bit, and do some shopping. If you have a car the Merrimack Premium outlets in New Hampshire are just a short drive away. Also Burlington Massachusetts has a great mall to look around. You cannot visit Boston without visiting a Primark store. I could not believe how well priced this store was. Might have gone a little nuts, good job I had extra room in my luggage!
If you have a car, you should do a Salem day trip to the Salem Witch Museum. Very interesting stories of the Salem Witch Trials, and then a few other exhibits to look at. There are also some cute stores to look in. You should also head over to Cape Cod, even if you just touch on a town just briefly on the cape. It can be a long drive in traffic but pretty and well worth it. If you have time to drive around the whole thing there are plenty of nice houses to drool over!
Both hotels we stayed in were long stay style as we were there for 10 days . The Residence Inn Woburn is a great option for the outskirts of town. Breakfast, pool/hot tub and about a 15 minute drive downtown. Be warned, parking downtown cost us $38 for one day! And I thought Toronto parking was expensive. But if you split time between outskirts and staying downtown, you can park and walk from your hotel. The Residence Inn Boston Tudor Wharf was our downtown hotel. Great location, close enough walk to Little Italy and some other restaurants around. Transit is just across the bridge to, which is what we took to get over to Fenway.
Now, of course I can’t talk about Boston without talking about food! Being on the coast you are guaranteed to find some delicious Seafood places in and around the city. But there are also a few other hidden gems. Let’s start with dessert, because who doesn’t love dessert first! Mike’s Cannolis, in the Little Italy part of Boston is guaranteed to have a line out the door no matter what time of day it is. Their specialties are cannolis but you can find plenty of other delicious pastry treats.
Some other great restaurants include Blackmoor Kitchen, which is around the corner from the Residence Inn Tudor Wharf Hotel where we stayed. A mixture of German and American dishes. If you get a chance to go down to Cape Cod, a must eat at is Fresh Ketch. Most of the dishes are fried fish of some sort. The cod fish and chips were delicious. If you order the fried scallops be prepared to have about 20 scallops the size of your palm. Very inexpensive and causal atmosphere. Legal Seafood is a popular local restaurant with a few locations. The lobster bisque pictured below was from there! If you visit the town of Salem, be sure to check out the Lobster Shanty. The restaurant is no more than a trailer with a small outdoor seating area, and a handful of seating inside. Be warned, there is no A/C. Delisous foods, most consisting of lobster. This place has been on Diner’s Drive In’s and Dives, so you know its good! I don’t think you can go wrong with Italian food in Boston’s little Italy. Best place to go for lots of Italian options.
Overall, Boston is a city that I highly recommend seeing. Whether you only have a few days or a week, there is plenty of sites to keep you busy!