Whaaat? Just go to Boston for the afternoon? That’s nuts! I’m not suggesting that, but if you’ve got a long layover in Boston, you may want to consider heading into "Beantown". It's only a short subway ride into the city and that’s just what we did on a recent trip when we had about an 8 hour layover. Since both the hubby and I love Boston, we decided to make our way into town and enjoy the afternoon. So, here are a few suggestions for a quick visit to Boston!
Getting into Town
There are a couple ways to get from Boston Logan International Airport (aka, Logan) into town, besides a taxi or car service. The least expensive way is to take the subway, or “T”. There’s a free airport shuttle bus to the T station. There is a Silver Line, which is free and a Blue Line, that also takes you into the city. So you just have to decide where you’re going. We bought a CharlieTicket which is the ticket for the T. For two people, one way, it was $5.50 total to go from the airport to the Aquarium stop. There are more detailed options for the T and how to get where you're going from the airport on the Logan Airport website.
I reference taking the subway, or T a lot, so here’s the link to MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) maps!
We actually decided to take a water taxi into Boston and the T back to the airport, just for a change. To take the water taxi, catch the Massport Route 66 shuttle bus at the airport, which is free. Just let the driver know that you’re taking the water taxi and he’ll drop you off at the designated area. We went in March and the area where you get the water taxi was deserted even though it was near a hotel. I also thought figuring out how to take the water taxi was a bit confusing. It’s also not cheap. It was $24 for two people one way. Still, it was fun to do… once. It’d probably be more fun in the summer, or at least in warmer weather.
What Did We Do With Our Luggage?
The airport doesn’t have storage, but we were heading to Long Wharf and the Boston Marriott Long Wharf allows you to store your luggage for free! But please make sure to tip the bellman who stores your bags for you. We hopped right off the water taxi, walked about 50 feet and into the hotel to drop our bags. It was fantastic! The other good thing was that when we retrieved our bags, the T station was just out the hotel entrance. Super convenient!
What to Do?
Well, Boston is just an awesome city, and totally walkable. Keep in mind, with only a few hours, you won’t be able to get to everything in, but here are some fun suggestions for things to do if you only have a few hours.
Head to the North End.
We were really hungry when we got into the city, so we headed to the North End, which is basically Boston’s version of Little Italy. There are tons of Italian restaurants, coffeehouses, pastry shops, etc. It’s kinda hard to go wrong in the North End for Italian food, but upon the recommendation of my friend Sue, we tried a place called Ristorante Saraceno. I had gnocchi and my hubby had linguine ai frutti di mare, which was linguine with scallops, calamari, shrimp, mussels and clams. We had fried calamari as an appetizer. Now you know we don’t have any pics because I’m way more focused on eating than on picture taking, but take my word for it, it was delish!
While you're in the North End, you can also pass by places that were important to the Revolution like the 1680 Paul Revere House and the Old North Church.
Walk the Freedom Trail.
The Freedom Trail is only about a 2.5-mile walk, so doable for all fitness levels. Of course, you can stop along the way to rest, snap pics, and appreciate Boston’s historical significance to the American Revolution. The Freedom Trail is red-lined route that takes you to 16 important sites in the American Revolution. Below are most of the places you’ll see along the route. We’ve done the Trail in its entirety when the weather was beautiful and it’s completely worth it….. and FREE! You can also do a tour for $12 per person, guided by historic characters who were important players in the American Revolution (there are only 15 here - that's because the tour starts at #16 -the Boston Commons Visitor Center!).
Massachusetts State House Copp's Hill Burying Ground
Park Street Church U.S.S. Constitution
Granary Burying Ground Bunker Hill Monument
Benjamin Franklin Statue & Boston Latin School
Old Corner Bookstore
Old South Meeting House
Old State House
Site of the Boston Massacre
The Paul Revere House
Old North Church
Have a Bite to Eat at Quincy Market.
If you’re on the Freedom Trail and need a snack or a full meal, head to Quincy Market, which opened in 1826. Initially, it sold produce, but today, there are lots of places to eat! It’s only a few steps from the Freedom Trail near Faneuil Hall, so it’s a good place to rest and refresh!
Swim With the Fishes.
Not really, but you can visit them at the New England Aquarium. It’s fun for the whole family and an especially good activity if it’s raining. It’s open from 9am to between 5pm and 7pm, depending on the day and time of year. Tickets are a bit pricey at $27.95 for adults and $18.95 for children 3-11 years old (ouch!), but it’s a great way to pass the time on a rainy day!
If you’re a baseball fan, seeing Fenway Park is probably on your “to do” list. You can see a game or take a tour and the good thing is, since it’s right in the city, you can take the subway!
If Baseball’s Not Your Thing…
Consider a visit to a museum. The Museum of Fine Arts has everything from Egyptian art to contemporary art. It’s open Saturday-Tuesday 10am-5pm and Wednesday-Friday 10am-10pm. Adult admission is $25, but kids are free! And you can get there via the T!
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is another of Boston's fantastic museums! So, you may remember hearing about this museum because of the art that was stolen from it. In 1990, thieves disguised as police officers entered the museum and stole 13 works of art by world-renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Degas and others, totally more than $500 million. It remains the biggest unsolved art theft in world history. Apart from the notoriety of the theft, the museum has really beautiful art in an equally beautiful setting and it’s also accessible on the subway system.
Paahk the Caah at Haavaad Squayah!
Okay, so that was my really lame attempt to imitate the Boston accent in writing. Bad accent aside, no trip to Boston would be complete without a visit to Harvard Square. Home to the oldest university in the United States (Harvard, duh!); the place where George Washington took command of the Continental Army; the location of the first printing press, and the rich history goes on and on. Today, there are restaurants, shops, coffee houses and theaters that bring 8 million people to the neighborhood very year! Again, you can get here by T!
Have you been to Boston or are you thinking about going? Was this post helpful? I’d love to hear about it on Facebook or in the comment section below! And don’t forget, Traveleidoscope is now on Twitter!