Boston is the largest city in New England, the city proper, covering 48 square miles.The city is the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.5 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country.
One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan colonists from England.It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston.
At the time Boston was chartered as a city, the population was about 46,226, while the area of the city was only 4.7 square miles.By the end of the 19th century, Boston’s core neighborhoods had become enclaves of ethnically distinct immigrants—Italians inhabited the North End, Irish dominated South Boston and Charlestown, and Russian Jews lived in the West End.
The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald are two of the city’s major daily newspapers.
Things To Do In Boston
STROLL AROUND ARNOLD ARBORETUM
Give yourself a self-guided tour of Arnold Arboretum, in Jamaica Plain. This garden is very conveniently located directly adjacent to the Forest Hills Orange line stop. What is the Arnold Arboretum exactly? According to their website, “The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is the oldest public arboretum in North America and one of the world’s leading centers for the study of plants. Administered by the Office of the Provost of Harvard University and a link in Boston’s Emerald Necklace of parks, the Arnold Arboretum is a unique blend of respected research institution and beloved public landscape. We provide and support world-class research, horticulture, and education programs that foster the understanding, appreciation, and preservation of trees.”
The park features Peter’s Hill, a decent hike that ends at Boston’s third highest point. This hill has a gorgeous view of the city and is an excellent location to watch Boston’s Independence Day fireworks, as well as smaller fireworks displays throughout the city, especially if you’re looking to avoid the somewhat chaotic Charles River area.
VISIT THE HARBOR ISLANDS
Take the Harbor Islands Express ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands for the day. Boston features a network of Islands including Georges, Spectacle, Lovells, Grape, Bumpkin, Peddocks, Thompson, Deer, Nut, Worlds End and Webb Memorial. Many of the islands feature picnic areas, hiking trails, information, swimming areas, public boat launches, restrooms, camping, refreshments and kayak/canoe rentals. Start at spectacle island, and then spend the day hopping the ferry from island to island. The views are unparalleled, the sea breeze is refreshing even on the hottest summer days, and the vegetation is diverse and beautiful. The website has all the information you need to plan a daytrip or overnight camping trip. “Here is a place. . . where you can walk a Civil War-era fort, visit historic lighthouses, explore tide pools, hike lush trails, camp under the stars, or relax while fishing, picnicking or swimming—all within reach of downtown Boston.” It’s an excellent way to feel like you’re far away from the city, without being more than five miles away!
SHOP AT SoWa MARKET
Beginning May 15 and 16 from 10am to 5pm, the SoWa market will once again open for the season in Boston’s historic South End. The open market features a diverse collection of vendors that sell art, clothing, fresh local fruit, baked goods, flowers, photographs, handbags, house wares and plenty of antiques. This is a one stop shop for everything you need and everything you don’t know you need! Vendors are enthusiastic to share their expertise and shoppers are always in an excellent mood. Check out their website for lots of information and photos from last year’s market.
CHECK OUT SOME AWFUL ART
On a rainy or chilly day, check out the Museum of Bad Art(MOBA) at its Somerville or Dedham location. “The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA) is a community-based, private institution dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms and in all its glory. MOBA was founded in the fall of 1993 and presented its first show in March 1994. The response was overwhelming. Since then, MOBA’s collection and ambitions have grown exponentially. This, MOBA’s first permanent gallery, proudly opened in October 1995. For a number of years, it was the world’s only museum dedicated to bad art. A small museum in the basement of an old building, MOBA is appropriately lit by one large, humming fluorescent light fixture. Of over 400 pieces in the permanent collection, 20 to 40 are exhibited at each location. Each piece is accompanied by a written interpretation, helping the public grasp many of the complexities inherent in the work.”
VISIT SOUTH BOSTON’S CASTLE ISLAND
Visit Castle Island for the day. Castle Island was originally some distance offshore when it was built in 1643, but land reclamation for expansion of port facilities has extended the mainland towards it, and it is now connected to the mainland. The fort is open to the public according to the hours on their website. Free tours are given in the summer.
The surrounding acres of grassy parkland offer a constantly changing view of the busy Boston harbor. This park is also an excellent spot to park a picnic blanket and watch planes take off and land, as it is located just across a narrow channel from Logan International Airport.
Not to be missed at Castle Island is a stop at Sullivan’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This grab-and-go spot has been a staple of South Boston for 60 years and features excellent seafood, sandwiches, fries, ice cream and drinks.
SOLVE A MYSTERY ON THE STREETS OF BOSTON
Participate in Urban Interactive, an alternate reality adventure. The folks at Urban Interactive provide teams with iPhones that are preloaded with the Urban Sleuth application.
According to their website, “You’ll then spend the next two hours racing around the city competing against other teams…Solve missions embedded in the “real world”, while being immersed in an Alternate Reality adventure. Ever watch The Game, Amazing Race, or Treasure Hunters? It’s a bit like that. Or geo-caching on steroids. We make the secrets of your neighborhood come alive. We merge reality and fantasy… and sometimes it isn’t easy to tell them apart. Investigate puzzles planted on web sites, or engraved on historical monuments. Race around the city competing with friends, and meeting real, live actors. Solve a mystery; save the world. You are the protagonist in the story. Why watch a movie, when you can be inside one?”
TAKE IN THE SIGHTS AT ROSE KENNEDY GREENWAY
Take a stroll on Boston’s new Rose Kennedy Greenway. Located at the former site of Route 93 (which has been relocated underground), this chain of parks is part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace chain of parks. A quick glance at the Greenway’s website shows a myriad of activities that take part on the greenway every day. Events and activities include a Carousel that operates daily, a public market that takes place every Wednesday and Friday, Fitness walks, Boston walking tours, free games and more. Make sure to end your day in the North End for some reenergizing treats from one of the many Italian pastry shops near Hanover Street!
TOSS A KAYAK OR CANOE IN THAT DIRTY WATER
See the city from the river. Rent a canoe or kayak from Charles River Canoe & Kayak. With four boat launches, in Boston, Cambridge, Natick and Newton, there are a limitless amount of opportunities. The company offers guided tours, group and corporate outings, season passes, one way rentals and boats by the hour. The website boasts a variety of boat rentals including paddle boards, rowing shells, canoes and kayaks of all shapes and sizes.