[Travel Advice] Boston

Random Observation/Comment #434: It’s important to differentiate a sports rival hatred with travel advice. It’d be unfair to judge Boston based on the Bruins or Red Sox rivalry, but man do they suck.

see lemons boston freedom

Things Boston Does Well:

  • College campuses. Harvard, MIT, North Eastern, and Boston University all have beautiful campuses for walking and crashing their local tours. I’d really just make a whole day out of it, but you should be careful with parking. It’s also seasonal, so I would suggest visiting over the summer for more tours and less frantically panicking college students.
  • Boston attire. This might be the tourists, but I saw a lot more Boston attire than I love NY t-shirts in NY. Maybe people in NYC are rightfully more scared to be labeled a tourist? Maybe there’s a lot more Boston pride floating around?
  • Chowda. Especially in a bread bowl. This is incredible and totally worth my lactose intolerance with the cream base. Along the same lines, lobster rolls and seafood in general are also delicious.
  • Walking dates. As with NYC and London, there are a lot of great dating walks on beautiful days. If you want to avoid the tourists, I’d suggest staying away from the freedom trail.
  • History. The freedom trail tour is filled with amazingly old historical nuggets. As a tour junky, I love hearing those crazy stories. I wish the tour guides were drunk though so we could do drunk history tours.
  • Energetic, knowledgeable, and well dressed guides. These guides are the essence of polished. They’re super nice and stay in character much more than they need to. I’m a big fan and totally worth the price (or you could just tag along for a story here and there).
  • Old towns. Not a lot of tall buildings in downtown and I feel like they’ve kept a lot of the place around the area with an old style.

Lessons learned:

  • Driving and parking is a nightmare. This is a given with one ways and permit parking only areas. I think Sunday mornings are better, but a good place we found to park was in the bottom of the Boston Common park area.  $18 a day is steep, but better than worrying about moving the car every 2 hours. I’d recommend public transportation instead.
  • Take a Guided Tour. We didn’t have a lot of time to plan so we just showed up and followed random people who were already telling stories. I found each one to be extremely entertaining and amazing (or I’m just a history junky). I really think it’s worth a few hours to hear the stories.
  • Stay away from the Freedom Trail. This is contrary advice to taking the guided tour, but to be fair, the red brick road is super crowded and filled with tourists. If you have a map and know where you’re going, try to avoid the heavy traffic.  If you don’t care about history at all, just walk around and see the sites on your own.

Our 1.5 day itinerary:

  • Friday rainy – arrived around noon, Doyle’s pub for World Cup match while waiting for Sam Adams brewery tour, hour of learning about beer and drinking beer, out for dinner (no fireworks – sadness)
  • Saturday beautiful day – morning brunch, park in Boston Commons, freedom trail random tours, Quincy Market, lobster roll at Pauli’s, USS Constitution, Warren’s Tavern for World Cup game and chowda, walk to Chinatown for dinner
  • Sunday – morning brunch, (lucky to park on the street), Harvard campus tour, visit the Harvard stadium, MIT great dome, drive back

Besides an overall rivalry with New York, Boston actually rubs me the right way. It does have a lot of tourists, but being one of them in this case, it’s very easy to avoid (basically, walk a block away from the freedom trail and you should be fine). Parking is also really annoying, but it’s the same for any city.

Boston is certainly a great place to visit and explore, but for some reason I don’t want to live here. Maybe it’s my fear of getting a Boston accent or start saying “wicked awesome”, but I just don’t get that same urge I do with NYC. I’d certainly love to go to university here if I were to do it all over again.

~See Lemons Love Boston