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From forging its way to independence during the colonial days to maintaining some of the most elite sports teams in the nation today, Boston, Massachusetts is a triumphant city. Boston is a colorful city seeping with athletic culture and historical roots; a mecca for both sports enthusiasts and history aficionados alike.
Boston hotels in the downtown area bring tourists within walking distance of some of the most historical sites in the United States, including Fanueil Hall, Boston Common, and the site of the Boston Massacre. Hotels in Boston, MA provide a range of accommodations from luxury lodging and trendy boutique hotels to comfortable Boston resorts and even the oldest hotel in the US, the Omni Parker House Hotel.
Back Bay is another area with a vast selection of hotels in Boston. Back Bay features city tours, shops, restaurants, and notable landmarks, including the Boston Public Library and the Prudential Tower. Vacation at the Boston, Massachusetts hotels in Back Bay for easy access to Copley Square and the Boston Public Garden. Expedia provides visitors with Boston hotel deals, so they can sleep and stay nearby the intriguing architecture in Copley Square and the inviting swan boats in the Boston Public Garden.
Boston-bound visitors commonly book flights to Boston on Expedia to the Boston Logan International Airport, which is only three miles from downtown. From the airport, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is one of the best ways to arrive in downtown within just six minutes. The MBTA Silver Line bus transports passengers to the South Station, while the airport also offers a free shuttle to Blue Line Airport T Station, which then takes passengers to North Shore, East Boston, and downtown.
By car, visitors traveling from the north and south often take I-95 or I-93, and vacationers from the west generally arrive on I-90. Other vacationers choose to travel to Boston by charter bus to the South Station in downtown Boston. This station welcomes Greyhound and Peter Pan buses, along with other regional bus companies traveling from nearby areas in New England.
Amtrak provides another means of transportation to Beantown, as Amtrak trains arrive in the South Station, North Station, and Back Bay.
Getting AroundVacationers often enjoy booking car rentals so they have the freedom to explore the Boston area at their will. As a general rule, they often avoid driving in the actual city due to the congested streets and expensive parking.
For those without their own sets of wheels, The MBTA, also called The T, offers both a metro and bus system to areas within the city as well as neighboring towns. The T is one of the most common ways of traveling around Boston as it is both reliable and affordable.
Once in the city, however, many vacationers decide to take to the streets on foot as many of the attractions are within walking distance of one another, such as Copley Square, Boston Public Library, and Trinity Church.
Things to Do
Because Boston played such a role in the nation’s history, a stroll along The Freedom Trail is a must do for any Bean Town visitor. The Freedom Trail, linking together 17 historic sites in downtown Boston, represents the metaphorical path colonists followed to gain their independence from Great Britain. This two-and-a-half mile trek includes stops at famous landmarks such as Faneuil Hall, which was the meeting hall during colonial times; the Paul Revere House where the famous patriot lived, and even the site of the Boston Massacre.
Every Boston visitor will want to take a trip to the Public Garden after walking the historical path. The Public Garden was America’s first public botanical garden, which was designed for peaceful strolling in 1837. Various statues stand scattered around the grounds, including the “Equestrian Statue,” of George Washington; a September 11th memorial; and the garden’s very first statue, Anna Coleman Ladd’s Triton Babies Foundation placed in 1927. However, the garden is perhaps best known for its Swan Boats, which float along on the pond and offer boat rides. Robert Paget invented the Swan Boats in 1877, and the iconic vessels still operate on the pond during the spring and summer months.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace is another favorite attraction among visitors who have book multiple days in the city on their Boston vacation. Back in 1742 the nation’s forefathers called Faneuil Hall the “Cradle of Liberty,” but now-a-days you might call this the “Cradle of Entertainment.” Street vendors, food stalls, restaurants, shops, and street performers fill the cobblestone walkways attracting tourists from all around the globe. The street performers must audition before entertaining at the festival marketplace, so the market guarantees top notch talent. Browse the shops, nosh on Boston specialties, and delight in the live entertainment at Faneuil Hall Market Place.
Touring Copley Square is another popular thing to do while visiting Boston for a few days. Copley Square, located in Back Bay, features a number of prominent landmarks. For one, the John Hancock Tower, which is New England’s tallest building, stands tall within the Copley Square neighborhood, along with the prominent Boston Public Library housing some of the country’s rarest works. Copley Square visitors are also welcome to tour the Trinity Church, founded in 1733, and the U.S. Historic Landmark, the Old South Church, built in 1874.
Arts & Entertainment
A violinist’s vibrato and the pluck of a cellist’s strings resonate off the walls of the Symphony Hall’s auditorium. Both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra call Symphony Hall home, where they perform flawless concerts to packed audiences. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1881, is one of the country’s top orchestras, while The Boston Pops, which is an extension of the Boston Symphony, is highly regarded for its performances of famous classics and show tunes. Visitors who plan on treating themselves to a showing of the symphony look into nearby Back Bay hotels for convenient accommodations.
The Walking City also features a Theater District with a number of performing arts centers, such as the Orpheum Theatre, Colonial Theater, and the Cutler Majestic Theatre. The Orpheum Theatre, established in 1852, is one of the oldest theaters in the U.S. and a concert hall where The Police recorded part of their Live! album in 1979. Meanwhile, the Colonial Theatre is popular for Broadway touring productions and pre-Broadway shows, and the Cutler Majestic Theatre is home to the Opera Boston. These theaters offer some of the finest aspects of Boston’s art and culture scene.
Founded in 1630 by Puritan colonists, Boston became a major player in the fight for American independence from the British. Boston was responsible for a number of significant events leading up to the Revolutionary War including the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre. The city was then later the site of major key battles: the Battle of Bunker Hill and Siege of Boston. Post the Revolution, Boston thrived as a manufacturing and international trading port, while simultaneously urging the abolition of slavery during the Civil War.
The city of Boston has always been focused on making history, and inventor Alexander Graham Bell was no different. In 1876, Bell uttered just six words to his assistant in his Boston machine shop forever changing the world. “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you,” Bell spoke during the world’s first phone call. Following this monumental invention, Boston has since answered to other calls, focusing on the realm of art, literature, and philosophy, with an emphasis on higher education. Into the 20th century, Boston encouraged urban renewal projects, and the city is now a part of the northeast megalopolis, boasting a highly urbanized region with boutique hotels and resorts. Today, Boston is a popular city remembered for its history, but still regarded for its strong intellectual and political views in modern day.
Visit Fenway Park on any game night and expect to swim through a cheering sea of red and white at the nation’s oldest Major League Baseball Stadium. Since the stadium opened in 1912, the Boston Red Sox have called the ballpark near Kenmore Square home. The Red Sox team has made the city proud over the years, winning a total of seven World Series titles. Book a hotel near Fenway Park when the Sox play the New York Yankees to witness undoubtedly one of the greatest rivalries in sport’s history and root on the Boston team since the lifted Curse of Bambino.
While the Red Sox may garter much of Boston’s attention in the sports realm, the New England Patriots and the Boston Bruins certainly hold their own. In fact, the NFL team has taken home the Super Bowl Championship title three times since 2001. Nicknamed “The Pats,” the football team has played in the Super Bowl eight times, making them one of the most successful teams in NFL history. Meanwhile, the Bruins, Boston’s professional ice hockey team, have won six Stanley Cups. Only one other team in the National Hockey League has won more Stanley Cups, landing the Bruins in the number two spot for most Stanley Cup wins ever.
While the key players in our nation’s history met in Faneuil Hall to strategize during the Revolutionary War era, modern Bostonians gather in this area for another common interest: sports. The Faneuil Hall complex presents various pubs and clubs for cheering on Boston’s pride and joy, the Red Sox, Bruins, or Pats, depending on the season. The nightlife spots around Fenway Park also offer bars and venues to celebrate game day victory or wash down defeat.
Although it may seem like blasphemy, surely not every local or visitor lives and breathes sports, and Boston, believe it or not, caters to these non-sports fanatics. Lounge at the swanky roof top bars overlooking the city and harbor, sip on local suds at the breweries, or try not to embarrassingly snort at the hysterical comedy clubs and improve shows. Or for a true one-of-a-kind nighttime experience, find your sea legs and climb aboard one of the cruises from Boston for a booze cruise around the harbor.
Boston might be called Beantown for its affinity for baked beans, which dates back to the city’s early colony days, but the Hub serves up so much more than this pork flavored side dish. One major example of this is the city’s recent fondness for food trucks, as Boston has begun hosting a collection of mobile food vendors in its various neighborhoods. These food stalls serve up Asian-inspired cuisine, twists on the traditional grilled cheese sandwich, bacon apple crepes, and fresh-picked organic salads, among countless other delectable treats.
As appealing as the food truck choices may be, Boston certainly doesn’t skimp on stationary dining options. Indulge in true authentic Italian fare in the North End or savor traditional escargot appetizers at an assortment of French restaurants in Back Bay. And when it comes to seafood, there’s no shortage of fresh crustaceans, from the famous New England lobster dinners to the creamiest of Boston clam chowder. Stay at Boston Waterfront hotels for easy access to restaurants serving up some of the freshest seafood in town.
Regardless of whether vacationers are staying in Boston airport hotels or hotels near Boston University, there are plenty of shopping venues in between for the savvy shopper and bargain hunter. Vacationers with a knack for shopping treat themselves to designer goods, handmade crafts, and everything in between while visiting the various Boston malls and markets. From upscale boutiques to affordable consignment shops, the city of Boston is a shopping paradise for every fashionista at heart.
A visit to Copley Place opens the doors to shopping at its finest with designer shops and luxury retailers, while Newbury Street features eight blocks of high-end boutiques, chic stores, and quaint bookstores. Don’t miss the SoWA Open Maket, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and Greenway Open Market, which sell eccentric and quirky finds, including handcrafted jewelry, artwork, accessories, and even fresh fruits and veggies. These markets, though only operating during certain seasons and days of the week, present vendors, artists, and farmers who showcase their masterpieces, crafts, and goods for eager shoppers to browse and purchase.
It’s no wonder Boston is called the Walking City as it features a pedestrian friendly town with historic tours and plenty of sights to see from your own two feet. When you’re hitting the pavement to explore the city, do yourself and everyone you’re traveling with a favor and leave your flip flops and stilettos back at the Boston hotels. Boston is notorious for its uneven cobblestone roads, which are a recipe for twisted ankles and achy feet. Skip the pain and all the complaining, and pack a pair of comfy sneakers to protect your tootsies, so you can enjoy some of the finest sites in New England.
As charming and inviting as Boston may be to both visitors and locals, just as it is the case in any bustling metropolis, the possibility of crime does exist. To avoid seeming like an easy target, keep a strong hold on your backpack or purse at all times, and travel with your wallet in your front pockets. Use common sense when walking the streets at night and riding the subway, stick to well-lit areas, travel with others, and don’t hop on empty trolleys or trains. It’s also a good rule of thumb to ask for directions inside hotel lobbies or restaurants instead inquiring on the sidewalks outside.
Personalities & Culture
A word of advice to Boston bound vacationers is to avoid asking a local to say the phrase, “park the car in Harvard Yard.” And while you’re at it, resist the urge to attempt the phrase yourself in your own Bostonian rendition. Yes, Boston locals have an accent unique to their hub, an endearing combination of a dropped pronunciation of the letter “R” at the end of words and the substitution of a soft “I” sound for an “ar” spelling. Though vacationers are often tempted to mimic the accent themselves, there are few things which annoy locals more. Stick to your own speech and silently admire the Bostonian accent for the best chances of making friends with the locals.
Bostonians have a reputation for being direct, much like the New Yorker stereotype, and they are also known for driving aggressively. Locals tend to be passionate individuals who lack patience, especially when it comes to slow drivers. Though of course not all Bostonians behave this way, simply respect the locals and their cultures for the most positive experience and opportunity to make friends. Also realize this is a big city, which by virtue attracts a variety of different cultures and people from diverse backgrounds who temporary stay at Boston hotels or take up residency. So always remember to keep an open mind while sightseeing in this eclectic city.
Weather & Climate
The weather in Boston, and New England in general, can be tricky, as it can vary greatly from morning to afternoon. For some of the best weather and temperatures though, the months between June and November are a prime time to visit. Summer temperatures sometimes reach the 80s and bring humidity, while the autumn months are slightly cooler and more pleasant and comfortable. Because Boston is a walking city, you may want to take advantage of these warmer months as the winters can be frigid.
If you’re planning to visit Boston during the winter months, don’t forget to pack boots, a warm jacket, and even scarves, mittens, and hats. Winter temperatures range between the 20 and 40 degree Fahrenheit range, and snowflakes are a common occurrence. If you’re not a fan of snow, we recommend holding off visiting until summer or autumn to potentially avoid trekking knee-high in the white stuff! Though you may need to bundle up for a visit during winter, this season sees fewer tourists, so it’s the best time to snag Boston hotel deals and packages.
Boston caters to the weather, serving up New England chowder to warm you up on a chilly day, offering breezy swan boat rides on those muggy afternoons, and providing you with a comfortable stay regardless of what season you book your Massachusetts getaway.
Need some more ideas for your next trip here? Our Expedia Viewfinder bloggers have recommendations for your next visit. See some of their latest blog posts below about what to eat, where to drink, what to see, and what to do.