The city of Boston is easily accessible for a day trip or two, just a two-hour drive from Portland, Maine. From marveling at the enchanting aquarium to tracing the footsteps of history along the iconic Freedom Trail, and enjoying retail therapy on the renowned Newbury Street, Boston offers an abundance of experiences to savor.
Here are a list of activities from my recent two-day trip to Boston to consider in creating your own itinerary. Discover what this city has to offer!
Delight in Underwater Wonders at the New England Aquarium
Located in the stunning Boston Harbor, the New England Aquarium guarantees an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. When you're in Boston, a trip to this remarkable aquarium is an absolute must!
As I stepped into its enchanting realm, two highlights left me awe-struck. First, the expansive open area where playful penguins gracefully swam about, delighting visitors with their charming antics. Second, a colossal tank situated at the heart of the aquarium, complete with a spiral staircase and windows that offered glimpses of diverse marine life. Brace yourself for close-up encounters with turtles, manta rays, and schools of fish gracefully gliding by.
Admission cost: $34 (adults), $25 (children 3-11), and free for children under 3.
Hours: Open every day from 9:00am - 6:00pm
Step Back in Time: Walking the Freedom Trail
In the heart of Boston, there's a special path called The Freedom Trail. It's marked by a red line of bricks that takes you on a journey through history. Along the way, you'll come across museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, and historic markers that share the incredible story of the American Revolution and more.
You have two options for exploring this unique trail. You can wander at your own pace, taking in the sights and stories on your own. Or, you can join a guided walking tour led by someone dressed in an 18th-century costume, adding a fun twist to your adventure.
Quincy Market / Faneuil Hall: A Lunch and Shopping Extravaganza
Nestled in downtown Boston, this vibrant complex breathes new life into a historic meeting place, teeming with novelty carts, unique shops, national chains, talented performers, food stands, and restaurants.
Faneuil Hall, a marketplace and meeting hall, has been a vital location for Boston residents and visitors, serving as a central hub for commerce and gatherings. Situated within the Boston National Historical Park, it is a must-visit destination along the iconic Freedom Trail.
Step into Quincy Market, the nation's largest and oldest food hall, where culinary delights await! As we strolled through the market, we couldn't resist the mouthwatering offerings from various local vendors, offering everything from fresh seafood to snacks and desserts. Finally, I settled on some tasty Greek food for lunch and a refreshing juice from different stalls – why not indulge a little?
Anticipating a food tour later, I resisted the temptation of trying a tantalizing lobster roll, a must-try treat at Quincy Market with numerous options to choose from. Whether you have a craving for seafood or not, this food paradise has got you covered!
Serenity Amidst the Bustle: Boston Commons / Garden
The Common and its neighboring Public Garden are among Boston's greatest amenities, loved by visitors and locals alike. Stroll along the tree-lined paths, unwind and enjoy the serene atmosphere, or experience the joy of a swan boat ride on the pond. With a multitude of excellent restaurants and shopping options nearby, you can't go wrong with a visit to this scenic area.
Captivating Charm of Acorn Street and Beacon Hill Neighborhood
Over time, Acorn Street has become a beloved tourist destination in Boston, like a picturesque postcard come to life. Its 19th-century architecture, adorned with colorful flowers in window boxes, antique gas lamps along narrow brick sidewalks, and cobblestone road, all contribute to its enchanting character. Given its convenient location adjacent to the park, I strongly suggest taking a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood afterward.
Enjoy Boston's Bites through a Food Tour
To explore the finest flavors of Boston, we opted for a small group foodie tour that led us through Downtown and the North End, famously known as "The Little Italy" of Boston. During the tour, we sampled roasted nuts, meat and cheese from a local deli, clam chowder, a lobster roll, pasta, and cannoli's.
While every dish impressed me, two stood out above the rest. The lobster roll from Red's Best was delicious, generously filled with succulent lobster meat. And the freshly made-to-order cannoli's from Modern Pastry were a treat. They were so irresistible that I've already made up my mind to have them again on my next trip to this captivating city!
Experience Retail Bliss along Newbury Street
Embark on a shopping extravaganza at the iconic Newbury Street, where retail therapy reaches new heights. This vibrant and stylish destination in Boston is a shopper's paradise, offering an array of boutiques, luxury brands, charming cafés, and more. Get ready to treat yourself to the finest shopping experience that Newbury Street has to offer!
On a scorching summer day, during our visit, we couldn't resist cooling off with a treat at Amorino Boston, located on Newbury Street. This gelato chain is renowned for its unique signature offering – gelato scooped into the shape of delicate rose petals and adorned with a scrumptious macaron on top. It was the perfect refreshment to savor and beat the heat.
Romantic Dining at Yvonne's
While searching for a romantically atmospheric restaurant, I discovered Y'vonne's in downtown. It boasts a modern supper club vibe, featuring a moody and cozy interior with candlelight and velvet booths – an ideal spot to celebrate special occasions, like our anniversary.
During our dining experience at the restaurant, we had the opportunity to try a diverse, globally-inspired menu that offered shareable plates, allowing us to sample a variety of dishes. Among the highlights, the Coconut Rock Shrimp with key lime yum-yum sauce left a lasting impression, and the Greek Doughnuts served with honey-thyme syrup, blueberry "baklava" frozen yogurt, and a walnut crunch for dessert were simply divine and became an instant favorite.
Alongside the delectable food, the standout feature of Y'vonne's was its impeccable service, with attentive staff always ready to cater to our every need.
Explore Boston's Seaport
The Seaport District, a revitalized area along the South Boston waterfront, offers an array of modern and stylish restaurants, bars, and hotels. Along the Harbor walk, both visitors and locals unwind at cozy restaurant tables. Witnessing the mesmerizing sunset over the harbor and experiencing the vibrant city come alive at night was truly a beautiful sight to behold.
Where to Stay
I highly recommend Hilton Boston Downtown/Faneuil Hall as an excellent base for your Boston trip. Its ideal location allows for easy walking access to all the downtown attractions, and the interior features a captivating art deco vibe that I absolutely loved! Moreover, there's a convenient parking garage nearby, making it hassle-free to come and go as you please.
Getting Around Boston: Exploring the City's Transportation Options
Parking - Finding a parking spot in Boston can be tricky, especially downtown. Street parking is mostly metered with strict time limits and restrictions. While parking garages are available, they can be expensive.
Walking - You'll be pleasantly surprised at how compact Boston is; you can easily walk across the heart of the city in about an hour. Many attractions are within close proximity to each other, making it an enjoyable and convenient option for exploring.
Biking - For a quick, fun, and budget-friendly way to get around town, consider using Bluebikes. With over 4,000 bikes and 400 stations across the city, it's a fantastic option. Tourists can opt for the adventure pass at just $10, providing 24-hour bike access.
Take the T (subway) - Boston's subway system, known as the T, connects the city, Cambridge, and nearby suburbs, granting easy access to all the attractions. Simply purchase tickets at the ticket system available in each station. Look for the big "T" in a circle to spot a stop conveniently.
Thanks for reading!
- The Maine Chick