Though I live in New York City and have no plans to leave anytime soon, my heart will always belong to Boston, Massachusetts, where I was born and raised. Most Bostonians I know share the same sense of pride (okay, it borders on arrogance) about the city, which serves as the hub of New England. Boston attracts more than 17 million visitors each year, and for good reason. Small enough to work as a walking vacation (comfortable shoes are a must) but big enough to keep you endlessly busy, Boston offers plenty to do during any type of weather—and New England experiences every season fully.
As one of the oldest cities in the country (established in 1630), Boston is rich with historical significance, and it also has exciting sports, quirky museums, nightlife for a variety of tastes and excellent dining—in other words, something for every type of traveler, of every age.
Peek Into the Past
Any Boston visit must include a stroll along The Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile red-brick walking trail that leads you to 16 nationally historic places, including burial grounds, the site of the 1770 Boston Massacre and the USS Constitution . It also includes a stop at Faneuil Hall, an area known as America's "Cradle of Liberty" since the 1700s, and also a great spot for shopping and dining (at Quincy Market) and for seeing street performers. Don't miss The Union Oyster House, the city's oldest restaurant, serving seafood and other New England classics.
Another great spot for shopping is the trendy Newbury Street area in Boston's Back Bay, home to fashionable big-name stores like Chanel and Burberry and many smaller boutiques. Around the corner, Copley Place houses 100 stellar shops, including Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Neiman Marcus. Be sure to try clam chowder and other fresh fare at Legal Sea Foods and then walk off your meal at the connected Shops at the Prudential Center.
Tiny tots and grandparents alike will love a ride on the Boston Duck Tours, a duck-shaped bus that takes you around the city and then turns into a boat for a ride along the scenic Charles River.
I still love the Swan Boats in the Public Gardens, which are a must in nice weather. Children will love feeding the ducks and seeing the Make Way for Ducklings statue, which pays tribute to the famed children's book set in Boston Common.
Sophisticated culture seekers will enjoy both the Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which are among the world's finest art museums. The Boston Pops at Symphony Hall and the Boston Ballet are both world renowned, and the city's Theater District is flourishing.
At night, Boston's many colleges and universities give the city a youthful vibe. Head back to Faneuil Hall to sip a cold Sam Adams at one of the many Irish pubs (try Hennessey's) or to the sports bars around TD Banknorth Garden, home of the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. Of course, swing by Cheers, the bar where everybody knows your name, or visit the North End for quaint cobblestone streets and fabulous Italian restaurants.
I saved the best for last—no visit to Boston is complete without seeing Fenway Park, home of the beloved Boston Red Sox since 1912. Year-round, visitors can take tours of the famous ballpark, but if you're lucky enough to score tickets to a game, try to sit behind the famous Green Monster. Then, do as the locals do: Grab a sausage and beer on Yawkey Way, complain about the Yankees and chime in on a chorus of "Sweet Caroline"—and then you can truly say you've experienced the best of Boston.