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Boston see + do

Boston is often called the most European of U.S. cities because of its walkable scale and Victorian and Colonial buildings, bookish mien, acres of public parks, and lively café-restaurant culture. The city has also derived a great part of its identity from the many universities and colleges based here and in Cambridge, including, of course, the hallowed Ivy League Harvard. Lots of Boston highlights can be taken in on foot in a day or two—Boston Common, the country's oldest park; the Victorians of Back Bay; the mansions of Beacon Hill; and all the sights along the Freedom Trail, which can be considered a capsule guide to what not to miss. For all of this history, Boston's quarter-million college students keep it young, and the nation's oldest major city keeps reinventing itself—including in two very new neighborhoods. The Seaport District, with entertainment venues, restaurants, museums, and bars, has sprung up on what were gravel parking lots and freight yards; and the Fenway, the once-lackluster home of Fenway Park, which has transformed into a prime place to restaurant- and bar-hop.
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Boston Common and Public Garden, Boston

City-center Boston Common is the nation's oldest public park. Cattle grazed here between 1634 and 1830, but today, the rolling green hills and bench-lined...more

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Boston Duck Tours, Boston

Put your skepticism aside: This tour of Boston on WWII amphibious vehicles is actually fun and informative (with the occasional historical embellishment). The...more

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Boston Harbor Islands, Boston

Just a seven-mile ferryboat ride across the Boston Harbor, this little-known national park makes a great day trip on a sunny summer day. The park extends to 34...more

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Boston Public Library, Boston

The Boston Public Library is a destination in itself, and not just for bookworms. Charles Follen McKim designed the original building (check out where the...more

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Boston Red Sox / Fenway Park, Boston

Even Yankees fans have to admit that there's something special about seeing a ball game at Fenway Park. First opened in 1912, it's one of the smallest stadiums...more

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Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston

Bostonians display a similar devotion to the Boston Symphony Orchestra as they do to their beloved Red Sox. One of the finest orchestras in the world, the BSO...more

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Cambridge, Harvard University, and MIT, Cambridge

Billing itself as "Boston's Left Bank," Cambridge is an academic center, a technological corridor, and a vibrant, multicultural city located just across the...more

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deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln

More popular with locals than tourists, the deCordova is off the beaten track by virtue of its location, about 16 miles west of Boston, in the picturesque town...more

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Freedom Trail, Boston

Winding around 16 historical sites, the two-and-a-half-mile Freedom Trail is a good introduction to Boston history—and also to the city's sometimes...more

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Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Founded in 1936, the ICA showcases work by the likes of Nan Goldin, Mona Hatoum, Paul Chan, and Julian Opie (major exhibitions rotate three times per year). But...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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