Whether planning a Fall mini-vacation or extending your stay after the Oncology Seminar, Boston, MA is a one-stop destination for history, sports, cuisine and culture. But, now that you're planning your weekend get-away, where do you go while in town. And, when it comes to this city's overabundance of things to do and see, how do you narrow down it all down for a three-day stay. To help with your planning, here's this resident Bostonian's take on the city's must-see attractions:
The Freedom Trail
Almost every major historic landmark in the city is located along Boston's Freedom Trail. Starting at Boston Common, the trail winds throughout the downtown area, up to the Italian North End and finishes at Bunker Hill in Charlestown, passing 16 historic monuments along the way. If you don't feel like hiking the 2.5 mile-long trail in its entirety, a Boston Duck Tour provides the most comprehensive and entertaining guided tour of all the monuments and other key sites.
It wouldn't be a vacation without a little retail therapy, and there's no shopping district in Boston more therapeutic than Newbury Street. Lined with upscale boutiques and chic cafes, Newbury is a favorite for Boston's white-collar crowd. So, even if the luxury clothing is out of your price range, the restaurant patios along the sidewalk provide an unobstructed view for good people watching. One block over, you'll find more shopping on Boylston St. and in the Prudential Center and Copley Place malls.
You'll swing through this neighborhood when you visit the Paul Revere house and Old North Church on your Freedom Trail tour. Definitely take the opportunity to dine in one of the many authentic Italian restaurants, such as the original Regina's Pizzeria or the renowned Giacomo's Ristorante. Mike's Pastry Shop is the preferred after-dinner stop of locals and tourists alike. Although the lines are perpetually out the door, the ricotta cannolis are well worth the wait.
Harvard Square is home to innumerable restaurants, book stores, clothing boutiques and street performers. If you've already emptied your pockets on Newbury Street, then take a short (free) walk around the Harvard University campus. Ivy-covered red brick buildings surround the seemingly isolated grassy quadrants a pleasant escape from the bustle and traffic in the square.
Harpoon may be the lesser-known Boston brew house, but this brewery tour trumps the relatively uninspired Samuel Adams tour any day. Only $5 per person, the tour starts with a free sampling glass and a 45-minute walk-through of the brewery, including beer samples throughout the various brewing stages. At the end, the guides lead you to the tasting room for a half hour-long sampling of any of their products on tap, often featuring beer that's not available on the market. Be sure to grab a 24 oz. growler of your favorite draft before you leave.
Museum of Fine Arts
Boston's MFA rivals some of New York's museums with its expansive collection, special weekend events and rotating exhibitions. This Fall, highlights include an exhibit comparing Monet's Rouen cathedral paintings with Roy Lichtenstein's Pop-art style derivatives (till Sept. 25) and the MFA's most recent expansion, the Art of the Americas Wing, which houses over 5,000 American works in chronological order from pre-history to the 1970s.
If you'd like to see Boston beyond these suggestions, my best advice is to put on your sneakers and hit the pavement. There's a reason Boston is nicknamed the Walking City, as its deep-rooted history and culture are best explored on foot. To kick off your weekend retreat, join us on Thursday, September 22 for the Competitive Landscape Seminar Series on Oncology.