How to Spend a Day in Boston, Massachusetts

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Visitors can enjoy much of Boston's historic and cultural attractions in just one day. Boston is a walking town, where major historic points of interest, parks and churches are within close proximity. Visitors can tour on their own or take guided walks and harbor cruises, dine in popular New England cafes and restaurants, explore sailing ships or shop in trendy stores and colorful markets.

  • Park in one of the downtown parking garages such as one in the Government Center Parking Garage at 50 New Sudbury Street. If arriving by cruise ship as a port stop, there will be buses available at the dock to take you into town with a designated place and time for boarding and return to the ship. You might consider taking one of the many walking tours available, such as the "Boston by Foot" tours led by volunteer guides. Follow the Freedom Trail, a 2 1/2-mile self-guided tour of historic landmarks. The route is actually marked right on the pavement, so you don't even need a map (see Resources below).

  • Visit the Old North Church at 193 Salem Street, where a signal was sent in 1775 from Paul Revere that the British were coming. Take either a self-guided tour after a 10-minute history introduction that is free, or a "Behind the Scenes" tour that has a fee. Explore the shops along Faneuil Hall Market Place with upscale shops, home decor, clothing and sweet treats. Be sure to stroll along the garden paths of Christopher Columbus Park with beautiful views of the harbor (see Resources below).

  • Try one of the casual dining options for lunch in Faneuil Hall on long, picnic-style benches or upstairs seating to watch the action below. It's a busy place. Outside there are more formal restaurants, such as Wagamama, Mc Cormick & Schmick's‎ or Kingfish Hall. Coffeehouses with sidewalk tables and chairs also offer a respite from all the walking.

Tips & Warnings

  • Obtain maps and city guides in advance of your trip from the Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau (see Resources below).
  • Photo Credit Photos by Natasha Lawrence
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