Josh and I recently took our very first trip to America! At 26 and 23 years old respectively, a lot of people have already taken the journey over the pond by our ages, but we had never been so we were really excited for the experience. We were particularly excitable about the sights that we named 'everyday American things', like fire hydrants, school buses, massive trucks, fire engines and post boxes, that we had only previously seen on the telly. Believe it or not, these things actually exist in America and not just in films ha! I will be creating and uploading a Boston vlog to my YouTube channel, when I eventually sift through all the footage and take on the mammoth task of editing it all! In the vlog I'm going to be covering what we got up to, day-to-day and also at Boston Calling music festival, but I wanted to write a post on what to do and see in Boston!
1. Take a trip to Boston Common:
We were quite lucky with the weather in Boston, it rained a couple of times but generally it was quite warm and sometimes sunny! When we landed in Boston it was lunchtime, so we hopped off the plane and headed straight for a coffee shop to get some lunch. The weather was lovely so we dropped our bags off at our friend's apartment then made our way to the common to enjoy the weather and scenery. It's a beautiful, massive park with cute bandstands, bridges, small lakes with overhanging trees and historical statues dotted around. We were in Boston over Memorial weekend, and found that 37,000 flags (as seen in the photo above) were displayed in the Common to represent each of the servicemen and women, who were linked to Massachusetts, who had been killed in service since the Revolutionary War. It was a very poignant tribute - the sea of flags was overwhelming. It was great to experience America around Memorial day, there's loads of tributes and references all over town.
If you're looking for an easy, cheap day out in Boston when the weather is good, then I'd recommend a wonder around the Common. There are also cute swan boats on the lakes, which you can take a trip around in!
2. Walk The Freedom Trail:
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walk around the city, with red bricks embedded into the pavement leading the way. The route stops at 16 sites around Boston, each one with a different historic significance to The American Revolution. We didn't follow the trail perfectly, due to getting distracted by side roads or tasty looking food places along the way, but we always gradually found our way back and continued along the red brick road. Some of the stops on the trail include U.S.S Constitution, Commonwealth Museum, Bunkerhill Monument and more! I would definitely recommend walking the trail, it's a great free day out and enables you to explore the whole city without getting too lost, plus see loads of history too. You don't have to follow every section of the trail, you can dip in and out as you like.
3. See The Holocaust Memorial - Congress Street:
The Holocaust Memorial is located on Congress Street, just off The Freedom Trail mentioned above (see here for directions) - this is another free sight that Boston has to offer. The memorial is made up of 6 glass pillars with an opening to walk through, one for each of the main death camps in the Holocaust, each inscribed with 1 million numbers to represent the victims and the forced tattoos on their arms. Walking through the memorial was chilling, to see the sheer number of people killed for no reason - individually laid out before you with numbers. There were also quotes from Holocaust survivors throughout the memorial, these were really interesting to read but again very upsetting. I found the memorial very moving, I just can't get my head around everything that happened in WW2 and why anyone would want to do that. The memorial is very architecturally beautiful and serves as a reminder of such an horrific time.
4. Eat cakes and pastries in North End:
Boston's North End is also known as 'Little Italy', with a very high number of Italian residents, restaurants and cafes! It's a lovely area and definitely somewhere to head for amazing pizza, pastry and cakes! Another area to check out is Beacon Hill - beautiful shops, streets & houses!
5. Watch a Boston Red Sox game:
We went to a 4pm baseball game, with no idea of the game or rules, but we had an amazing time! The earlier game of 4pm (it's usually at 7pm I believe), is very family orientated and a lot of fun. There are guys walking round flogging typical American sporting food & drink, from trays on their heads, complete with lots of shouting and yelling! The atmosphere is incredible, I would definitely recommend a visit even if you're not that into sports. We booked our tickets here and they only cost about $20 each, not bad for a fun evening out in one of the most famous baseball stadiums!
6. Visit the Boston Tea Party Museum & Ships:
This was such a fun trip! We were shown around an old ship, told the history of The Boston Tea Party (a political group, not our kinda tea party) which lead to the The American Revolution and how evil the British were so the Americans kicked them out (awkward) by actors dressed up in full costume and continuously in character. We were given little parts of our own to include the audience, like the card above, and props like our own feather quill. Kids (and Josh) were able to take part in reenactments of throwing the Britains' tea over the side of the ship, just as The Boston Tea Party did. A really fun trip for both adults and kids, plus there's a tea room and shop on the site where you can taste and purchase loads of tasty teas.
7. Go on a tour of the Harvard University campus:
The information centre near Harvard Campus run a free, hour long, tour of the site. It's worth a visit for the red brick architecture and amazing non-religious stained glass windows! The grounds are lovely and it feels like you're in an American university film set! In the same vein, we also visited the M.I.T museum, seeing two renowned universities in the same day! The M.I.T museum was not free like Harvard, but it had loads of hands on exhibits and was currently hosting a hologram exhibition too which was impressive!
8. See JFK's family home:
We wanted to see JFK's family home, which is registered as a National Historic Site in Boston. It's a short walk down a regular, residential road featuring some beautiful American style houses. One house in particular got a lot of love on my Instagram here. Unfortunately we arrived at the house and it was closed! Don't go on a Monday or a Tuesday, apparently it's closed on those days... but check the website first! I'm recommending this purely based on the exterior of the house and the other houses on the road, we had a lovely afternoon anyway!
We fitted so much tourist stuff into one week, as well as attending a music festival and catching up with friends, eating brunch at cute cafes and dinner out in Chinatown too! I wanted to dedicate one post purely to the excursions we went on and the highlights of our tourist adventure for anyone that might visit Boston in the future! All the music we saw, food we ate and other little trips will be in my vlog coming soon on my YouTube channel!
Have you been to Boston before? Were you as tourist-y as Josh and I? What did you do there?