When the summer comes to an end the bad weather starts showing up here in Iceland. Then you really start dreaming about a vacation abroad. In fact, autumn is our favourite season to visit new cities. There are usually fewer tourists around, cheaper flight tickets and on top of that all the beautiful autumn colours start to show up.
Last year we decided to visit Boston late fall. The city was unbelievably beautiful this time of year and people had already started decorating their houses in Halloween style!
Boston is one of my favorite cities in the US. When I first arrived I was surprised at how European the city looks. Most of the buildings downtown are relatively small in size and cute (unlike other major cities in the US which are full of tall skyscrapers) and the city is lined with parks and historic buildings.
Boston is widely considered a city rich in culture as it has endless art galleries and theaters. Furthermore it played a huge part in the independence of America and as a result there are many historical places to visit around the city.
The famous universities, MIT and Harvard, add a youthful touch to the city, with young university students sitting in parks and going out for a run by the river.
Everyone should be able to find something to enjoy in this amazing city. At least, we want to share with you some of our favorite spots.
Top of the hub
Top of the hub, is the place to go if you want a striking view over the city. Unfortunately the food at the restaurant is nothing special and it’s quite expensive. However, we recommend taking a seat at the bar slightly before sunset and grab a drink during happy hour. From there you can walk around the area with your drink and enjoy the view.
The restaurant is located in “The Prudential Tower” on 52nd floor.
People of Boston are very proud of their baseball team, the Red Sox! Baseball is in full swing during autumn and the World Cup final takes place in October every year. You can see the team with your own eyes at at their home-field in Fenway Park, where they have played since 1912.
Near the stadium you’ll find many fan pubs where you can crab a few beers and enjoy baseball with fellow Red Sox fans. Remember to wear red socks, so everyone knows who you are routing for!
Throughout a large part of Boston downtown area is a red line called “The Freedom Trail”. This line symbolizes the blood that flowed in the northeast of the country during the American Revolutionary War. Boston played an important role in the war and therefore several historical locations have been preserved from that time. If you follow the red line through the city, you’ll be brought to the most important monuments and landmarks associated with the war of independence.
The Freedom Trail begins in the Boston Common garden and ends at the Bunk Hill monument.
After chasing The Freedom trail through the city all the way to the memorial of Bunker Hill, you can walk down to the harbour and see the famous warship, USS Constitution.
The warship is most famous for its part in the struggle for independence with the British but was for a long time forgotten and docked in Portsmouth, New Hampsire, where it served as a barracks ship.
The ship was later rediscovered, made up and brought back to its hometown, Boston, and is now on display for the public.
The world known Harvard University is located in Cambridge, a suburb of Boston. I strongly recommend visiting this historic campus area. You can get a cup of coffee or a snack in the vicinity of Harvard Square and experience a real college atmosphere. On a sunny day buy some ice cream, find a nice bench and observe the Harvard students rush by, as well as the many squirrels. There are also a lot of interesting bookstores to visit where you can easily forget yourself for a few hours. Andri got lost in the variety of medical books.
Rent a Bike
Bicycling is one of the best ways to explore the city and you get a great exercise while you’re at it. Boston has this easy self service rental system called “Hubway” with various rental points in the city. You simply use your card in one of the booths and release one of the available bikes. To save money you can easily exchange your bike every 45 minutes at a different rental point, otherwise you’ll be charge a bit higher. By downloading the Hubway app on your smartphone you get an overview of all the rental points on the city on a virtual map.
Boston Public Libary
Visiting the public library was more fun than I expected. The building itself is famous for its architecture and most book-free walls are lined with historical artworks. It’s also a nice place to sit down, grab a coffee and connect to the free wifi. The offer daily free tours around the library for those who are interested to learn more.
The Boston Common is a beautiful garden in the heart of the city the marks the start of the “Freedom Trail” that I spoke about earlier. Everyday the garden is teeming with life and you easily chill there for a full day if you like. For the perfect garden-chill-recipe, bring a blanket, visit the nearby fruit market for some grapes and strawberries, find a nice spot, enjoy and people-watch.
Samuel Adams Brewery
Free tour and free beer tasting! What else can you ask for?
At the Sam Adams Brewery you get a free tour around the factory, get to smell the main hobs and see how the beer is brewed. The tour is relatively short but interesting, but afterwords you enter a little pub inside the factory where the real fun starts. You get your own Sam Adams beer glasses (which you get to keep) and 2L mugs of different beers are brought to your table. Our tour guide gave as a quick tutorial in beer tasting along with a few jokes. We had a really good laugh and enjoyed the beer, which was surprisingly rich and tasty compared to other US beer brands.
Newbury street is a charming shopping street that kind of reminds you of scenes from the “Sex and the City”. On every corner you find cute little stores that really put a lot of effort into their display windows. Here you’ll find a number of coffee houses, bakeries and cup cake stores. I noticed a lot more of the smaller clothing stores where new designers are trying to stand out, and only a few bigger clothing chains like H&M and Urban Outfitters.
Museum of fine arts
I’m not much of a museum type if I speak for myself. But the Museum of Fine Arts is one of those museums that you can’t miss. It’s one of the biggest museums in the US and contains over 450 thousand artworks with over a million visitors per year. Here you can immerse yourself in history, culture and contemporary art. Keep in mind that the museum is huuuge..so plan for a full day and eat well before (the food is super expensive inside). It’s the perfect activity for a rainy day in Boston!
The atmosphere by the Charles River is incredibly alive and fun to watch during sunrise and makes for a romantic evening walk. You’ll see plenty of people enjoying life by this scenic river between Boston and Cambridge. There were so many college and university students running by, biking or roller blading on the river banks. I also saw an outdoor yoga and aerobics class in one of the gardens by the river. Don’t miss out on the rowing teams from Harvard and M.I.T. that train here every day.
In Boston you’l find a number of cute residential neighbourhoods thats fun to walk around and get lost in. We stayed 5 nights with a lovely couple through airbnb in a nice neighbourhood close to Bunker hill. It was enjoyable to get to know the life outside downtown for a bit and imagine who it would be to live here.