If you’re anything like me, whenever you land in a new city, you want to see ALL of it, regardless of how much time you have. I was faced with that challenge when I found myself in the Boston area for only 24 hours! So much to do, so little time! Here’s the top things I managed to get up to whilst I was there (and yes, they were all done within 24 hours).
So, if you find yourself in Boston for a day, here’s how to make the most of the city!
1. Walk the Freedom Trail
If you want to learn about the history of Boston, the Freedom Trail is an absolute must! Possessing similarities to the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz, it is a 2.5 mile red line that runs through the city, covering 16 historic spots. Our guide was fantastic, dressed up in costume, and took us on a 90 minute tour of the trail. We stopped at a variety of interesting places including Boston Common, the Massachusetts State House, Granary Burying Ground, the Benjamin Franklin Statue, Kings Chapel, Boston Town Hall, and the infamous site of the Boston Massacre. The tour is extremely informative and I learnt a lot about the history of Boston. The trails run throughout the year so be sure to wrap up warm if you are visiting in winter.
2. Relive the Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is a great place to visit whilst in Boston and was my favourite thing to do in the city. It is an interactive museum that is split into four parts, recreating the night and aftermath of this scandalous event. Beginning the tour at a colonial town meeting recreation, actors play historic figures such as Samuel Adams, and discuss their plans for the rebellion. This is followed by a tour of ‘Eleanor’ (a replica of one of the boats used on the night) where you get to relive the ‘party’ by throwing the tea overboard yourself! You are then lead into the museum where the Robinson Tea Chest (the only surviving tea chest from the party, found the morning after in Boston Harbour) stands proudly, sealed in a glass case for protection since 1773. This authentic treasure acts as a perfect relic to that fateful night and was incredible to see up close. Finally, a short movie is played, titled ‘Let it Begin Here’ which describes the events leading up to the American Revolution.
For more information, read my full post on the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
3. Grab a drink at the ‘Cheers Bar’
For all you ‘Cheers’ fans out there – this is a must! Cheers was a little before my time ( I was brought up on Friends), but after watching a couple of episodes and getting familiar with the set, I decided to jump on the band wagon and head down to the Original Cheers Bar on Beacon Hill where the outside shots were filmed. It is exactly how it looks on the show – the Cheers sign hangs above the steps that lead down into the bar, the wooden door with Cheers stamped across the window – even the menu board was identical!
As somewhere to eat? Don’t. I wasn’t impressed with the food at all. We ordered a burger and fries, and fish and chips – both dishes were inedible. What I would suggest, is that once you’ve taken your pictures of the outside, head upstairs to the bar for a drink, which is again recreated like the bar in the show.
4. Climb the monument at Bunker Hill
Every trip to a new place should include at least one view point, right? I love being able to look across at a city and see it in its entirety, just waiting to be explored. For Boston, nothing does this better than climbing Bunker Hill Monument. It offers incredible views of Beantown and panoramic views of the Boston skyline. It is also a site of historic significance, as the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 was the first battle of the Revolutionary War.
Now, I’d like to think I’m reasonably fit, but even I struggled climbing the stairs to the top. There are 294 steps in total. The steps are quite high and the stairwell is very thin and spirals as you ascend, making the climb more difficult than originally thought! Once you are at the top, the views of the city are great, however the windows are TINY so it gets pretty crowded up there. The windows definitely need to be cleaned more often; one had a dead bird on the ledge and stains down the front, which made the visibility quite poor. I’d still recommend the climb if you truly want to see Boston, but to be honest, I think the Boston Harbour presents a pretty good skyline too.
5. Witch hunt at Salem
Salem is the home of witchcraft, and is somewhere I have always wanted to visit (after watching the Nickelodeon show ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch!’) Fortunately, it is SUPER close to Boston (only a 40 minute drive) and so was ideal to occupy half a day.
Salem is well known for its witch trials, and once again, I learned a lot of history from the tours and information provided. Highlights included the Witch House that was the home to Judge Jonathan Corwin; judge for the Salem witch trials, and the Witch Museum; where I learned a lot about the history of witch craft, how and why the accusations started, and who they originated from! One theory for the initial witch hunt may have been a type of mould called ergot, that had grown on the rye, causing those who consumed it to behave erratically and hysterically, leading others to think they had been ‘bewitched’.
It turns out 10% of the population of Salem ended up behind bars for being a witch! Other highlights included a witch trial re-enactment and a tour of the prison cells the supposed witches were kept in.
How and why did the witch hunt end? Judge Jonathan Corwin’s wife ended up being accused of witchcraft so he decided to free everyone and put an end to the trials……convenient eyyy?
Something I wish I could have done:
Fenway Park – Home of the Red Sox!
As I visited in November, there were no games on, but it’s definitely something that I would like to do when I return in the summer. I also just recently watched the film ‘Fever Pitch’ so I’m even more excited to attend my first Baseball game!
If anyone has any other suggestions that I have missed off, do let me know in the comments below, so I can add them to my list when I next visit Boston!