This past April, I needed to travel to Cape Cod for a friend’s wedding. After assessing options of getting there from New York, my friends and I decided to take a bus or train to Boston to rent a car and drive out from there.
Having only been to Boston once before for a conference, I decided to leave a day early and do a bit of sightseeing before journeying out to the Cape.
One day isn’t nearly enough time to see all of the things that make Boston a great city, but it was enough time to see some of its charms and pique my interest for a longer visit.
The city itself is relatively small and well connected by the subway system, the T. If you’re short on time like I was, these are the things I’d recommend you check out.
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile route that hits 16 of the main historic sites in Boston, e.g., Boston Common, home of Paul Revere and so many more. It’s a great way to better understand the city’s revolutionary history
Boston Public Garden and adjacent Boston Common are beautiful. The garden and park are the perfect place for a morning or late afternoon walk. Fun fact: The Pubic Garden was the first public botanical garden in America.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a good place to stop for lunch or a snack, and watch street artists perform. Inside Quincy Market you’ll find every kind of food stall imaginable
Beacon Hill was unsurprisingly one of my favorite parts of Boston. With cobbled walkways, Federal-style row houses, gaslit streets and immaculate flower boxes, every nook and cranny is picture perfect. According to Wikipedia, the neighborhood is named for the location of a former beacon atop the highest point in central Boston, which was used to warn residents if there was an invasion.
- Pro-tip: Acorn Street, the most photographed street in Boston, is located in Beacon Hill- it’s beyond dreamy
- If you have time to shop while you’re wandering Beacon Hill, check out the boutiques along Charles Street. Two favorites: Good (unique gifts and pretty jewelry) and December Thieves (amazing accessories)
Cambridge is where you’ll find Harvard University. We stayed near this area, which made it easy to explore Harvard Yard and the shops and restaurants near the university.
- If you have time to shop while in Cambridge, two of my favorite places: Black Ink (adorable stationary and quirky gadgets) and Mint Julep (pretty dresses for any occasion)
Favorite Places to Eat & Drink
- Crema (Cambridge): Preferential to the ginger lemonade and savory spinach and feta croissant
- Render Coffee at 121 (Downtown Boston): New to downtown, this cute and quiet space is a great place to spend an afternoon working. PS. Their iced teas rule
- Flour Bakery & Cafe (Locations Across Boston): You really can’t go wrong here- everything from the homemade pop tarts to sticky buns and french toast rocks
- Diesel Cafe (Davis Square): The Vietnamese coffee is excellent, and although I’m not a huge bread fan, I loved the pumpkin bread- so rich in the best way. This is a pretty big cafe, which would make it a great option for doing some work if the wifi time wasn’t limited to an hour
- Loyal Nine (Cambridge): Often compared to open-air coffee shops in Chiang Mai, it’s a great place to sit, work and sip some tea
- Thinking Cup (Chinatown): Rumored to have the best coffee in Boston, but I’m a fan of the hazelnut latte
- Wagamama (Locations Across Boston): I first fell in love with this Asian chain in London because the food is fresh and amazing. Love the juices and veggie noodle bowels
- Loco (South Boston): Fish tacos and coconut margaritas, need I say more?
- Beat Brasserie (Cambridge): The food here is bomb. With live music, a vegetarian friendly menu and wine on tap, it’s my dream dinner spot. Really impressed with the kale Greek salad and buffalo cauliflower bites
- Sweet (Locations Across Boston): Quaint cupcake shop, we picked up a few cupcakes to celebrate a friend’s birthday- highly recommend the cappuccino one
- Mike’s Pastry (Cambridge): Cannolis are great (if they’re freshly filled)
On my next visit, I’d like to:
- Walk the full Freedom Trail
- Catch a baseball game at Fenway Park
- Visit the Museum of Fine Arts
- Explore more of Cambridge
- Take a day trip to Salem, MA
And, if you’re passing through Boston on your way to Cape Cod, check-out my recommendations for a weekend in a quintessential part of New England.