There are many reasons to visit Boston; locals call it the ‘Hub of the Universe’, and with a rich cultural scene that includes the Boston Symphony, sporting landmarks like Fenway Park, and institutions like Harvard University, it’s a hard claim to refute.
But for the many reasons to visit Boston, two of the city’s biggest draws are it’s access to history, and nature. Boston is one of the oldest, if not the oldest city in America, and the city is so steeped in history that you don’t have to walk far to discover something historic.
And then there’s nature; despite being a buzzing, bustling metropolis, nature spills into the city, and Boston is perhaps one of the most progressive cities for access to nature in the United States.
So, the following is an overview of our favorite things about Boston; a couple of ideas to combine history and nature into your itinerary, with these fantastic things to do.
Combining History & Nature in Boston
Historians: Walk the Freedom Trail
Boston’s Freedom Trail passes through many historic sites and buildings, significant to the American Revolutionary War. This is a 2.5-mile route that links 16 historically significant landmarks, like museums, churches, cemeteries, and more.
While there is a convenient hop-on-hop-off bus route available, keep in mind that if you travel from point to point by bus, you lose the deep sense of history you get from walking. With 250 years of history here, you can even take walking tours led by 18th-century costumed guides!
The American Revolutionary War began in Boston, and everything along the trail holds significance from the conflict. This took place from 1775-1783, and was the war where America won it’s independence from Great Britain.
While guided tours only take 90 minutes, they don’t often cover the whole trail, so if you’re a true history buff, it’s best to plan on exploring on your own. Allowing time to stop and take in the history of each site, plan for at least four hours on the trail.
To walk the route, follow the red brick road. While most of the sites are free or accept donations, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, and the Paul Revere House charge admission.
Follow the Freedom Trail …
When You Get Hungry …
All that history is enough to make anyone hungry, and you’ll definitely need a full stomach before heading out and exploring Boston’s outdoors.
While Boston is known for its freshly shucked oysters and gourmet lobster rolls, any type of local fare is guaranteed to be delicious here. Being a harbor town and a connoisseur of seafood, Boston tends to offer some pretty amazing bites.
Perhaps the most famous North End restaurant, Neptune Oyster serves award winning seafood people travel from all around the world for. Fried oysters are a favorite grab-and-go bite for locals, though don’t miss out on the restaurant’s delectable lobster rolls.
The Barking Crab is another great seafood joint; with everything from chorizo-stuffed littleneck clams at $1.75 a piece to $51 king crab, there’s something for every budget. There’s an open-air deck and a great harbourside atmosphere. It’s a great place for families to relax and put on a bib.
Encore Boston Harbor is a Casino resort with great dining, and a really diverse range of places to eat; you’ve got both casual and fine dining restaurants in the one place here, serving everything from steak, to authentic Italian cuisine, Asian fare and other delectable dishes.
While we can recommend eating at the resort, as far as the casino itself, our vote is to save your time in Boston for the outdoors … you can always get your gaming fix at your favorite online casino.
Nature Enthusiasts: Fall Foliage
The best time to visit Boston is during fall, not only because it’s starting to warm up again, but the colors of the city at this time are just astounding.
From September through early November, Boston becomes ablaze with colors of red, orange, yellow, brown, and many shades of each! They completely overtake the city, and you can either take a New England fall foliage tour, or DIY it around Boston yourself.
Some of the best places to see fall foliage in Boston include the Public Garden, Boston Common, The Esplanade, Beacon Hill, and Fernway & the Fens. You won’t miss the foliage, it completely overtakes the city, making ordinary cityscapes extraordinary, and every day jogging paths super insta-worthy!
The city of Boston usually has online interactive maps showing where and when the colors are expected to reach their peak.
If the weather in early September is relatively warm, the fall foliage will be delayed a bit. Colder than normal weather in early September will make the leaves change color a bit sooner.
Image credit: Chris Yiu / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr
Escape to The White Mountains
The colors in the White Mountains of New Hampshire are too spectacular for words, especially if you’ve taken our advice to travel during fall. And even though it’s a three hour drive from Boston, it’s something that should be on every nature lover’s list.
The White Mountains are a mountain range that cover most of New Hampshire, and stretch all the way over to Maine. They actually form part of the northern Appalachian Mountains, and there are a huge range of hiking trails, including sections of the famous Appalachian Trail.
Some of the most legendary attractions in this region include the Conway Scenic Railway, which is an old-fashioned railroad through the breathtaking valley, and Flume Gorge, where you can take a 2-mile nature walk that leads through the gorge and incorporates covered bridges, amazing waterfalls, a scenic pool, and incredible mountain views.
There’s so much adventure in this region beyond hiking, like ziplining, caving, and even a water park. While the mountains are known for their rustic alpine huts most commonly utilized by long distance hikers, there are a number of more comfortable resorts.
Driving to the White mountains means staying on the 93 North until you get to where you want to go. There are plenty of gas stations, restaurants and pancake houses along the way, and trams will often take you up to the top of mountains if you’re not keen on hiking.
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