If you're planning a weekend getaway trip to Boston, great choice! This historic city is beautiful during all seasons (particularly in the fall and spring, in our opinion) and you'll have a great time.
We imagine that you probably want to relax as much as you want to explore during your weekend getaway, so we did a little research and put together an itinerary for you. These ten things to do are our favorite ways to see the city and get a feel for Boston's unique vibe.
10 Things To Put On Your Itinerary For Your Boston Getaway Weekend
Friday evening: Arrival
Hooray, you made it! Whether you're getting off the plane or getting out of the car after a long road trip, head to your home away from home for the weekend. After you've gotten settled, head out for a quick walk and a great dinner.
1. Walk on the Freedom Trail
Boston is a very walkable city. Many of the city’s finest sights are accessible on foot. You can start with the Freedom Trail, which isn’t a dust-beaten path in the middle of nowhere, as some might imagine. It’s a 2.5-mile stretch through downtown Boston that passes 16 significant historic sites. It starts at the Boston Common, a public park in downtown, and ends at the USS Constitution in Charlestown, Massachusetts. If you don’t want to miss any of the historic facts and details, opt to take a guided tour. Or download a map and explore the grounds at your own pace, making it a leisurely weekend activity.
2. Have a charming dinner in North End
The North End is one of Boston’s oldest neighborhood communities, and is known as the city’s “little Italy.” This section of Boston is all about the old school charm—narrow, winding streets lined with beautiful, age-old buildings. You’ll find many restaurants, cafes, gelaterias, delis and bakeries in the area to continue your weekend foodventure. And while the North End is primarily associated with Italy, the neighborhood also has a wealth of Irish, Portuguese and Jewish influences to explore. If you’ve never tried a cannoli, a delectable Italian pastry, definitely head to the North End to grab a little weekend treat.
Saturday: Relax and Get To Know Boston
Wake up, sleep in, and then head out to experience the best of this city. Spend the day walking, or get to know the T, Boston's subway system. Here are a few things that we recommend putting on your list for the day.
3. Try the food at Faneuil Hall Marketplace
This National Historic Landmark is a market complex in downtown Boston. The actual market structure, aka Quincy Market, was one of the largest of its kind in the United States when it was built in the early 1800s. The two-story structure serves as a marketplace for all sorts of goodies—chowder from the winners of Boston Harbor Chowderfest to Boston’s own soft pretzel, established in 1985. The Faneuil Hall Marketplace is also the center ground of shops, and the stage for live acts by musicians and street performers. You can bet a lot of artists gather here on the weekends. Join them for some good food and fun.
Part of the Faneuil Hall Marketplace is the actual Faneuil Hall, a meeting hall that has been around since the 1740s. It’s a stop along the Freedom Trail, as well as part of the Boston National Historic Park. This is the site where historic figures such as Samuel Adams and James Otis encouraged independence from Great Britain. The hall has been among one of America’s top most visited sites according to Forbes Traveler. Take some time over the weekend to see what this site’s all about
4. Stroll down Newbury Street
Newbury Street is a popular promenade in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. It’s a unique retail experience of finding individual shops and restaurants in the brownstones along Newbury Street. The classic architecture of the buildings might feel a world away from the modern brands you’ll find inside. But there are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you’ll discover the charming and chic aura of Newbury Street. The commercial area takes up eight blocks, with some businesses along the cross streets. This area is hopping on the weekends, so join the throng to find out why.
5. See a game at Fenway
Even if you’re not a Red Sox fan, Fenway Park is a classic Boston landmark, beloved by locals and frequented by tourists. It’s the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, and home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912. Baseball legends including Babe Ruth, Manny Ramirez and Ted Williams made history in Fenway. It’s also where the world famous Green Monster, which stands 37 feet 2 inches tall, and Pesky’s Pole make their home. There are plenty of upcoming weekend games for the 2016 season, which makes it the perfect time to catch a Red Sox home game.
6. Grab dinner at Chinatown
This downtown Boston neighborhood is the only surviving “Chinatown” in New England. It’s also the third largest Chinatown in the United States, after New York’s and San Francisco’s. This bustling ethnic neighborhood is located right next to the city’s downtown shopping and financial districts. Once you pass through Chinatown’s traditional opening gate, you’ll be at the center of Asian American life in Boston. Take this weekend to sample some authentic Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine and see how Asian culture has shaped this part of the city. (We also love these ten vegetarian restaurants in Boston if you're interested in checking them out as well.)
7. Get fancy at Prudential Center
Located in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, the Prudential Center is the epitome of all that is urban about Boston. It’s the second tallest skyscraper in Boston, and the 77th tallest in the USA. The weekend is a great time to visit all the shops that are located in the center, but also to dine at the Top of the Hub, a restaurant on the 52nd floor. This restaurant is 2 stories above the Skywalk Observatory, the highest observation deck in New England open to the public. It makes for a great date night, or a fancy weekend evening out with friends. This is a great place to end the evening while taking in the views of Boston.
Sunday: More of Beautiful Boston
Sleep in if you'd like, and have a lovely breakfast before making the most of your last day in town. We recommend going to see Cambridge, because of its beautiful and historic architecture. We also don't think that you should leave without seeing the Boston Common, and if it's warm enough, bring a picnic and a blanket!
8. Go on a Duck Tour
Ever hear the phrase, “One, if by land, and two, if by sea”? It’s most often associated with Paul Revere’s historic ride from Boston to Concord to warn of the British advance. Back then, means of transport was one or the other. Now, duck boats make it possible to get around the city on both land and water without leaving the comforts of the vehicle! The "Duck" is an authentic, renovated World War II amphibious landing vehicle that is part boat, part minibus. It tours Boston’s waterfront and Harbor region, and passes by all the main tourist hotspots. Tours are 7 days a week, rain or shine in season. Taking a weekend boat tour will save you from battling throngs of locals and tourists on foot.
9. Walk through Harvard Square
A weekend jaunt across the river to Cambridge, Massachusetts is a great option for the weekend. The vibe across the river is completely different from that of Boston’s city center. While Boston is more urban, glam and glitz, Cambridge is reminiscent of nooks, books and bricks. The cobblestoned streets and red-bricked buildings are distinctively Cambridge, and will give you a nice change of pace from Boston’s busy atmosphere.
10. Boston Common
Weekends are a great time to visit the Boston Common, the oldest city park in America. Forget “old” as in dilapidated, antiquated or obsolete. Think majestic, carefully maintained and clearly beloved. These grounds provided a recreational space for the public since 1634. Today, visitors can find fifty acres of greenery and the Boston Common Frog Pond near the original site, but also a 1,100-acre chain of nine parks linked by parkways and waterways called the Emerald Necklace. It really might take you the whole weekend to explore this gem.
This article was written by Hanna Choi.