Fun Things to do in Boston, MA
A Tour Through Boston
One of my earliest memories from childhood is driving into Boston and taking a ride on the famous Swan Boats (Boston Public Garden). My mother has always been a fan of them and considers a child's first ride on one to rank right up there with their first word, first step, etc. To say the sight of one of these crafted swans was overwhelming would be like saying the Eiffel Tower is a very big building. While both descriptions are true, they don't fully describe the object. From a child's perspective, they are enormous, realistic and somewhat scary. However, while the other children were crying and screaming that they didn't want to be eaten by the swan, I just stared in awe. I stared until my family arrived at the ticket counter and the old, wise man (because aren't they always old and wise?) selling tickets felt obligated to talk down to me about the big birdies and it being my first ride on one. Thankfully, the line was short that day and we got seated pretty quickly. I remember my Mom kept her arm around me the whole ride, telling me about her first ride, pointing out the real swans that swam beside the boat, telling me to wave at strangers on the shore, making the ride as special and memorable as she could. If you would like to check out the Swan Boats for yourself, they run April-September, seven days a week (weather permitting like all outdoor activities). For more specific information on times and fares, please go to http://www.swanboats.com/schedules.php.
While we're still somewhat on the topic of birds, if you're in the city, I would definitely recommend that you visit the Granary Burial Ground (33 Beacon St.). Huh? Let me explain. When exploring the grounds, you will come across a stone bearing the name "Mary Goose" who is believed to be none other than the famous storyteller herself, "Mother Goose." Other famous people residing here: Peter Faneuil (Faneuil Hall), John Hancock (signer of the Declaration of Independence), Rev. John Murrary (considered by many as the founder of American Universalism), Paul Revere (Midnight Ride, anyone?), as well as many past political figures of Massachusetts. Even if history bores you, it's a beautiful, well-maintained cemetery that's free to look at and fun to creep out your children and gullible adults in.
It would appropriate now to discuss Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market (you did just meet its namesake after all). Around for the better part of 250 years, its a fascinating place to simply walk through if shopping and dining aren't in your budget. There is always free entertainment (though I'm sure a donation, no matter how small, would be greatly appreciated) courtesy of live musicians, street performers and overly enthusiastic tourists. If you can afford to eat here, I would highly recommend it. The food court is enormous with variety that is rarely seen under one roof. Depending on which stall you stop at, the prices are either reasonable or unthinkable. I haven't tried out each stall, but the ones I have tried have been worth the stop.( I always seem to find my way to Boston Chowda.) The food is tasty and fresh. Considering the amount of competition for vendors there, your business will be appreciated, your food questions will be answered. Below the food court, you will find various sit down restaurants. Try to check out Slugger's Dugout. For Boston, their prices are fair. Their flavor variety is great. The quality is outstanding. If I lived closer to Boston, this place would be the only place I would go to for ice cream.
While we're on the topic of food, you can't leave Boston without first paying your respects to the North End. If you want to taste authentic Italian food (No. Olive Garden isn't authentic.), you must dine at one of the many restaurants on this block. If you don't have time to eat (Please don't say such a filthy phrase around an Italian Mama!) you must get something to go from either Mike's (300 Hanover Street) or Modern Pastry (257 Hanover Street). Both make mouth-watering delights, huge cookies, fluffy pastry. You can't go wrong getting anything from either place. Gelateria (272 Hanover St.) makes the best coffee gelato I have ever had.
I would be in very deep trouble if I neglected to mention Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. If you stand very still in any part of the park (which is impossible because of fans and Fenway staff who want to keep people moving), you will feel all of the history and emotions that make up this park. Since opening on April 20, 1912, the park has seen its fair share of losses and wins, fights and comradery, both on and off the field. Every time that I go to a game, I always stop and think about what this park stands for and how much it means to so many people. On game day, the place is alive. With all of the love this place receives, you can almost hear it breathing, laughing, reacting to the game. During off season, you can almost hear it snoring, readying itself for the season ahead. I'm not a fan of baseball, but I love Fenway Park. It's the grandfather of Boston.
I honestly believe that Boston has some of the best museums in the country. Some of my fondest memories of childhood take place at the Children's Museum (300 Congress Street). There's nothing like sticking your hand up a big nose. The Museum of Science (1 Science Park) is enjoyable for both adults and children. While the exhibits in residence are great, you really should try to make it to one of the limited run exhibits. From CSI to Star Wars, the limited run exhibits are both educational and fun. If you have time, try to view one of the shows in the Planetarium. The New England Aquarium (1 Central Wharf) has always been a favorite of mine. You are allowed close enough to the animals so that you get to have a real sense of them, but the barrier is far enough away from them for all beings to remain safe. There is an option for you to buy a joint ticket for the museum and an IMAX 3-D film. In the warmer months, you can buy a joint ticket for the museum and a whale watch. If you would like to learn more about our 35th president, you should head to the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum (Columbia Point). Besides viewing memorabilia from his term in office, there are artifacts from his, his wife's and their children's personal lives. The library itself is beautiful with a view of Boston that's hard to match. Like the MOS, the Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Avenue) has exhibits in residence that are wonderful to see, but it's the limited run exhibits that are a must see. It should be noted that all museums have discounts for students and senior citizens.
If you would feel more comfortable having a guided tour of Boston, there are many available. The Boston Duck Tours seem to be the most popular. You see them driving around Boston more than any other tour bus. I've only been on one once. Riding on both land and sea, it is certainly an interesting way to view the city. Please go here to their website http://www.bostonducktours.com/ to learn more. If you're up to walking, the Freedom Trail is fantastic. Before Duck Tours began, this was the popular way to see Boston. I still believe it to be the best way. For more information, please explore their website http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/index.html. My favorite tour to go on in Boston is the Ghosts & Gravestones tour. I've always been a fan of the supernatural and this tour gives you an earful of the less discussed tales of the city. Please go to their site to find out the specifics http://www.ghostsandgravestones.com/boston/gravestones-ghost-tour.htm.
As you can see, Boston, MA is a beautiful, accessible, historically rich city for all seasons. While I mentioned many things to do in Boston, I urge you to visit and explore the city for yourself. I suggest you wear some comfortable shoes and don't forget to bring a jacket (New England weather is highly unpredictable.). Enjoy the city for all it has to offer and all it will become to you.
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