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Boston is one of America’s most treasured and vibrant cities. A bustling economic and historical hub of the Northeast, it is the largest city in New England with a population of 675,647.
The wider metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, is home to about 4.8 million people.
Founded by Puritan immigrants escaping persecution in England in 1630, the city has been at the center of many key events in Early American history, including the Boston Tea Party, The Boston Massacre and the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Throughout its existence, it has remained a vital port city, connecting the Old World to the New. Today Boston is primarily celebrated for its unique culture, molded by Irish, Italian and other immigrants over three centuries, and also for its world class educational institutions (Harvard, MIT).
There are tons of things to do in this classic American City but here are some of the best.
Walk Boston Common
Boston Common is the oldest Public Park in The United States. Its 50 acres of greenery date back to 1634 and offers great views from the center of Boston. In winter, there is ice skating at Frog Pond and the park also has small venues to grab a drink and socialize.
Explore Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Boston and is ripe with History. Its cobblestone streets tell a story older than The United States itself. The Massachusetts State House dominates the area and was built back in 1798. American revolutionary heroes, Paul Revere and Samuel Adams laid the foundations for the building in 1795 before it was completed three years later. This is a very expensive part of Boston to live but the bars, shops, along with its north edge sitting on the Charles River, make it a very alluring place to explore.
There are a few signature pubs in the area:
21st Amendment right next to The Massachusetts State House, has a great atmosphere and is said to be the place where John F Kennedy wrote his speeches during his earlier political career.
The Sevens is great hangout and Sports bar with great hotdogs and brats along with some of the best local New England Beers on tap.
Emmet’s Irish Pub is the oldest Irish pub in Boston and that is reason enough to swing by and grab a Guinness. The atmosphere certainly rings authentic and while they do serve Bangers and Mash, unfortunately do not serve Irish Breakfast. Their Irish Coffee is extremely popular with both college students and Boston’s business class.
In the past, the bartenders have all been from Ireland but recently, they’ve appeared to hire more locals.
Explore China Town
The number of Chinese in Boston is quite staggering, given the city’s historic links with Europe and being half a world over from East Asia.
But Chinatown in the central part of the city is truly like stepping foot in China or Taiwan. With scores of authentic Chinese restaurants markets and street vendors, westerners easily and suddenly, become a minority in this district a couple blocks southeast from Boston Common. It even smells like China in this couple block corridor, in which during the day time Chinese men can be seen playing cards in the alleys and practicing Tai Chi without uttering a word of English and probably not knowing any either.
Take the Ferry to Boston Harbor Islands
For $25, you can hop on a ferry during the summer time and head to the National Park islands in Boston harbor. Just like the rest of Boston, there is a rich history to these islands and on Georges Island, you can visit Fort Warren, a Civil- War era fort and National Historic landmark.
Spectacle Island has a beach and great hiking trails which offer amazing views of Boston and the surrounding waters.
Visit The North End
The North End of Boston is another historic New England neighborhood that has been inhabited longer than any other area of Boston. Paul Revere’s home is still standing in The North End and so is The Old North Church which also played a strategic role during the Revolutionary war.
After the Revolutionary War, most of the North End’s history is tied to the Italian immigrants who settled here in the 1800s and onward. This part of Boston is also called Little Italy and there are scores of Italian restaurants, coffee shops and other small businesses with direct ties to this heritage.
Salumeria Italiana is a much visit food market on Parimeter street that has authentic Italian groceries and the best freshly made sandwiches in the entire neighborhood. This place can attract a crowd in the Summer!
Walk The Freedom Trail and Visit Bunker Hill
The Freedom trail takes you through 16 historic sites in Boston directly linked the Revolutionary War.
It traverses through Boston Common, Beacon Hill and The North End.
One of the more notable sites, is The Granary Burying Ground, just a couple blocks north of Boston Common. Some of the most important figures in early American history have been laid to rest in this iconic cemetery, including Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin’s Parents and the victims of The Boston Massacre of 1770.
The end of Freedom trail takes you over the bridge to Charlestown at the site of The Battle of Bunker Hill. This site on June 17, 1775 saw the bloody start to the War of Independence where men from New England took on the British Army.
It was here that the Yankees killed or wounded over 1000 Red coats in a battle that the British ultimately won.
Mr Dooley’s Irish Pub
While not that old, Mr. Dooley’s Irish pub may be the best and most authentic Irish Pub in Boston, Hosting traditional Irish music at least twice a week, with other local entertainment every other night, this is a bar where locals gather. True to its Irish identity, there are no TVs in the pub and thus you are more likely to chat it up with the locals or the Bartenders, who are often from Ireland.