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The Old North Church steeple, a landmark that warned of the impending British—and freedom—during the American Revolution, is just one of the many historic pieces Boston embraces. But venture from the Freedom Trail for a day and you’ll find that this birthplace of American literature, a neighbor to intellectual elites such as Harvard and MIT, and home to the Red Sox, is a purveyor of good times both old and new.

City Tips

Facts & Fundamentals

The Public Garden has the world’s only swan boats. The oldest boat in the fleet was built in 1918 by the founder’s youngest son. On December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships and dumped 342 chests of tea worth £9,659. The 45 tons of tea would be worth about one million dollars today Boston’s “Firsts” include: anti-smoking law (1632), public park in America (1634), public secondary school (Boston Latin 1635), college (Harvard, 1636), regular newspaper (1704), state constitution (1780) and city police department (1838). The first woman in the United States to earn a doctorate, Helen Magill White, graduated from Boston University in 1877. The “T,” or Boston subway, is the oldest underground metro in America. Lines are named for destinations: Red for Harvard; Blue for the ocean; the leafy Green suburbs of Brookline and Newton, and Orange for Orange Street. The only place in the world where a boat can sail under a train passing under a car driving under an airplane is Boston University Bridge on Commonwealth Avenue. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum allows anyone named Isabella, with proper identification, free admission. The Colonial Theatre opened on December 20, 1900, with Ben Hur. It had a cast of 350 and a chariot race with eight horses. Longfellow’s poem immortalized Paul Revere, but neglected to mention Dr. Samuel Prescott and William Dawes. Only Prescott reached Concord. The first cookbook published in America, Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, is still in print.

Weather

Gentle spring temperatures greet the glorious displays of flowers after a typical winter that may see an average of 42 inches of snow and temperatures ranging from a low of 21 to a high of 40 degrees from December through February. But bitter winds make those temperatures feel much colder and significant snowstorms can drive temperatures even lower. The first hard freeze is usually in early November.

Summer brings sunny days that are tempered by easterly ocean breezes. July and August are the warmest months, with a daily average between 79 and 82 degrees, although it can soar to the 90s. Autumn not only brings trees blazing with glorious color, but temperate days with an average high of 65-45 degrees and clear blue skies.

City Detail

Beantown, The Cradle of Liberty, The Athens of America or the Hub of the Universe, as Oliver Wendell Holmes dubbed it in 1858. Boston’s many nicknames reflect its place in history and the hearts of millions of admirers who visit every year. British Redcoats and native Sons of Liberty, puritans and pilgrims, forward-thinking rabble-rousers and penniless immigrants have left their indelible marks on the city. For nearly 400 years, Boston has nurtured thinkers, patriots and innovators. Today, visitors can walk in the footsteps of history as they follow the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail and visit 16 sites that tell the story of the early days of the American Revolution. The revitalized waterfront engages the imagination with visions of the Tall Ships and infamous 1773 Tea Party. 

Vibrant neighborhoods with individual personalities are a source of pride for Bostonians. The North End, once home to Italian immigrants, is where to head for authentic pizza and irresistible cannoli. Beacon Hill’s charming streets of Colonial brick row houses were once home to Louisa May Alcott and Daniel Webster. The Back Bay offers exclusive shops, trendy restaurants and architectural treasures like Trinity Church. Chinatown is the third largest in the US and adjacent to the theatre district. And the Fenway Kenmore area welcomes loyal Red Sox fans to Fenway Park, the oldest Major League park still in use, and to major cultural landmarks, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Symphony Hall and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. South Boston, once an Irish stronghold tempts travelers with Castle Island, a Revolutionary War fort and 22-acre park.

The city is more than a collection of historic sites, though. Every August, nearly 130,000 students from 30 professional schools and universities in the city of Boston (and Harvard’s, Tufts’ and MIT’s 60,000+ from across the Charles River in Cambridge) return to The Athens of America. In a city of 617,594, their presence creates a youthful energy that has transformed the once-staid grande dame. There’s a festival every month celebrating everything from Improv comedy, indie films, beer, bacon and vegetarians to jazz, the arts, tango and the Fourth of July. Sports fans of every stripe will find a local team or event to cheer for, whether they’re in love with baseball, hockey, basketball, running or football. Just be sure to keep your Yankee blue at home.

In short, Boston is a modern city that looks to the future while acknowledging its unique past. You’ll find contemporary towers soaring above historic spires, charming swan boats gracing a pond and cutting-edge technology being developed in labs around the city. There’s a distinct accent and lingo that’ll have you dropping and adding ‘r’ while you remember to order a frappe, a tonic or jimmies on your ice cream. You’ll take the T and find yourself on a bus, a trolley, the subway or a train. There’s music, art, sports and ducklings, too. And by the time you leave, you’ll be calling it all “wicked” cool.

Restaurants

Union Oyster House

41 Union St

Boston, MA 02108

A National Historic Landmark and favorite of JFK, this is the place for traditional seafood. Diners enjoy the low-ceilinged rooms and a menu of the best seafood around in America’s oldest restaurant. Order the shore dinner for a New England feast of lobster, clam chowder, steamers or mussels and gingerbread.

Phone

+1-617-227-2750


O Ya

9 E St

Boston, MA 02108

The brilliant chef-owner, Tim Cushman, has transformed a warehouse into the best restaurant in town. Innovative sushi artfully prepared, like seared foie gras nigiri in aged sake, and a sake menu with artisanal choices create meals that diners long remember and savor. The Omakase Chef's Tasting Menu is 16 courses of heaven.

Phone

+1-617-654-9900


Eastern Standard

528 Commonwealth Ave

Boston, MA 02108

A diverse crowd finds its way to this American Brasserie, offering a menu of classic European and New England favorites. Tasty bites include veal schnitzel and one of the best burgers around. The 46-foot marble bar is not only the longest in Boston, but the setting for savvy locals and hip travelers.

Phone

+1-617-532-9100


Pigalle

75 Charles Street South

Boston, MA 02108

A Parisian style with dark browns and creams, accented with red, sets the stage for this Theatre District bistro. Chef Orfaly’s cuisine inspires diners to miss the performance as they take their time over cassoulet, crispy duckling or tuna martini with creme fraiche. For gourmets, the chef’s five-course tasting menu is filled with delights.

Phone

+1-617-423-4944


KO Prime Steakhouse

90 Tremont Street

Boston, MA 02108

Sizzling beef, a dramatic dining room and distinctive cowhide loveseats in the lounge distinguish this downtown steakhouse. The menu features coastal options for those who don’t care for beef. Listen to the call of the wild, and your taste buds will thank you for ordering the Kobe beef tartare or a perfect filet mignon.

Phone

+1-617-772-0202


Boston, the land of the cod and bean, has enjoyed a renaissance of the culinary arts. True, Cambridge was the home of the beloved legend, Julia Child, but Boston’s claim to culinary fame has rested more firmly on scrod than scrumptious dining. The early 1980s changed that and the restaurant scene has blossomed.

Frappes, jimmies, scrod, egg rolls, milkshakes and coffee “regulah” are staples and likely to be foreign to visitors. Ask for jimmies on ice cream, and chocolate bits are added (Sprinkles are the colored version). A milkshake is just milk with flavored syrup and no ice cream; the ice cream version is called “frappe” (silent "e"). Scrod is whatever fish was fresh and cheap at the pier that day. Don’t ask, just eat. Egg rolls are large, fluffy kaiser rolls. And “coffee regular” means you want cream and two sugars, no questions asked.

Surprisingly, there’s no agreement on what constitutes authentic Boston cuisine. Lobster rolls, clam chowder and pizza are staples throughout New England. Locals may disagree on where to find the best, but Legal Seafood and Union Oyster House, the oldest continuously operating restaurant in America, are two local institutions that can’t be missed. Global flavors, locally sourced ingredients and innovative chefs have driven a thriving restaurant scene that is earning rave reviews.

Small restaurants are thriving, even when they offer as few as 44 seats, like the North End’s Neptune Oyster. The long wait to get in is mitigated by a superior wine list, flawless raw bar with a surprising variety of oysters and a menu that may include the best lobster rolls in town. However, fans of Belle Isle Lobster & Seafood claim the best lobster roll title for it. Profiled on Bourdain’s No Reservations, this no-frills South Boston favorite is the real deal.

O Ya, named by Zagat as Boston’s #1 restaurant for food, is a Japanese restaurant in the Leather District. Housed in a former warehouse, marked by a simpe shingle, this is the place for the best sushi in town served in a serene atmosphere. Menton, headed by chef/owner Barbara Lynch, wins kudos for a sophisticated setting and superb French and Italian cuisine. It may be the priciest restaurant in town, but the sensational offerings ensure a memorable visit.

Charming bistros pop up in every neighborhood, and four that garner raves are Pigalle, Craigie on Main, Hammersley’s Bistro and Troquet. Each is a different experience, from Hamersley’s rustic entrees to Pigalle’s inventive French fare to Craigie’s locally-grown ingredients.

And meals can’t be complete without fabulous desserts and ice cream. Brigham’s, a local standard, offers delectable sundaes and splits and is the place to head in blueberry season. Gigi Gelateria in the North End and Bon Bon on Mass Ave tantalize the taste buds with some of the best gelato around. Mike’s Pastry, a North End legend, will wow you with flavorful biscotti, traditional Italian pastries (cannoli, la sfogliatella, rum cakes and more) and torrone. It’s all made fresh with the finest of ingredients.

Events

Harborfest

Downtown Boston, waterfront districts and Boston's City Hall Plaza

Boston, MA 02108

[June/July] Celebrating the American Revolution and Boston’s maritime heritage, this six-day festival features 200+ events. There’s extreme sailing with daily races by international boats and a skirmish between those blasted Redcoats and the brave colonial militia. Chowderfest gives visitors a chance to sample and vote for the best of this Boston staple.


Boston Pops July 4th Concert

Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade

Boston, MA 02108

[July 4] America’s orchestra, the Boston Pops, stages the quintessential July 4th concert on the Esplanade along the Charles River. Join hundreds of thousands at this free concert—wristband required—and enjoy the rousing 1812 Overture punctuated with howitzer cannons and church bells. A spectacular fireworks display over the river ends the concert.


Fisherman's Feast

Fleet and Lewis Streets, North End

Boston, MA 02108

[August] Reflecting the cherished traditions of early Italian immigrants, Fisherman’s Feast is a three-day celebration of the Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca. Beginning with the Madonna parading the streets, it culminates with the flight of the angel. In between there’s food, concerts, crafts and the blessing of the fleet.


(ahts) The Boston Arts Festival

Christopher Columbus Park

Boston, MA 02108

[September] (ähts) The Boston Arts Festival is a two-day extravaganza celebrating the arts. Held in Christopher Columbus Park on the waterfront, more than 60 juried visual artists showcase unique works in an artists’ village. Two stages feature performances that range from ballet to local bands to performance art.


First Night

Throughout the city

Boston, MA 02108

[December 31] From noon to midnight, join more than one million celebrating the old and welcoming the new at the oldest, largest and most elaborate of First Nights. Buy a button for free admission to events at over 30 locations. There’s ballet, ice sculptures, concerts, fireworks, poetry slam and ice skating.


A marathon, opening day at Fenway, feast days for saints, emancipation and the cool strains of jazz are just a few reasons for the multitude of festivals and single-day events that crowd Boston’s calendar. Whether it’s beer, wine, fashion, books, boats, chowder or the New Year, Bostonians celebrate it with élan and good food.

Early July starts with a bang! The Boston Pops and the Fourth of July have become synonymous thanks to the amazing concert and fireworks display on Boston’s Esplanade. Thousands spread out on the lawn to enjoy gourmet and homemade picnics, camaraderie, guest stars and melodious tunes that culminate in the signature moment: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannon firing and bells ringing. The six-day Harborfest treats visitors to more than 200 daily events and is now considered the largest patriotic celebration in the US. Showcasing the colonial and maritime heritage of the American Revolution, major events include the tasty Chowderfest, extreme sailing races, historical reenactments and a Disco Party.

Boston offers a wide variety of festivals and events that reflect the diverse global cultures that call the city home. Summer brings a Native American Pow Wow, and ethnic film festivals happen year-round. Between June 6th and September 5th, North End churches host a dozen celebrations for major saints’ feast days. There are Italian morsels, parades, games, live music and entertainment in the charming streets of this enclave of Italian immigrants. In August, Chinatown plays host for the August Moon Festival. India, the Caribbean, Germany, Dominican Republic, Southeast Asia and Poland are all celebrated between August and November.

Bostonians are committed sports fans, and the start of every season is a major event. Fans can live their fantasy with the Jimmy Fund’s Fenway Fantasy Day. The New England Patriots kick off the new season just south of Boston, so hop aboard the train for Gillette Stadium. The Boston Bruins return to the ice at TD Garden with Fan Fest. More refined opening seasons begin in the theatre district with the likes of Audra McDonald and other Broadway stars, while Opera Boston and Boston Symphony make sweet music. Across the river, the Honk Bands Festival for activist street bands may have you joining in.

Fall gives way to winter and the merrymaking steps up with a tea party or two, gingerbread houses, gaily decked trees and holiday-themed festivities. Major tree lighting ceremonies are held around the city, including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Newbury Street, Prudential Tower and the Boston Common. Performances by the Boston Pops, the Boston Ballet’s beloved Nutcracker and the free 150-tuba outdoor concert at Faneuil Hall Marketplace have audiences tapping their toes. Crowning the year’s events, First Night is the city’s alcohol-free gala celebration that’s spread out over five neighborhoods. Revelers enjoy everything from ice sculptures and fireworks to performances and a grand parade with brass bands, floats and costumed participants. Copley Square is the site of the countdown to midnight, while Boston Harbor welcomes the arrival of 2012 with a glorious fireworks display.


Logan International Airport (BOS): Boston, MA

Airport Address
1 Harborside Drive
East Boston, MA 02128 USA

Ticket Counter Location
Terminal A, Sun Country Ticket Counter

Click here for Logan International Airport Terminal A map.


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