1/3 of a Grand Time
Whether you're on a mini vacation, making a pit stop, or just simply short on time, here are 10 activities you can do in "Bawstin" within 30 hours. You'll have a wicked time, trust me.
1. Visit Harvard
Harvard was the only thing on my "list" of activities to do while in Boston, but that may or may not have been because my favorite movie was (sorta) shot there. Harvard is located in Cambridge, a 15 minute train ride from Downtown Boston. You can book a tour with Harvard students, or stroll the area yourself. Be sure to head over to Harvard Square and get your hands on an $80 Crimson sweatshirt inside the Harvard Bookstore. You know, so everyone will think you attend the university. V smart.
2. Eat a cannoli
I'm only not plant-based when I'm 1. not plant-based, and 2. traveling. Every service journalism article I read stated I "must try a cannoli" while in Boston - so I did the damn thing. I settled on Cafe Bella Vita for my cannoli of choice while wondering the streets in Beacon Hill. It wasn't all that great, but I suggest hitting up famous joints such as Maria's Pasty Shop or Mike's Pastry.
3.Walk through Boston Public Garden
Boston Public Garden is a free garden stroll filled with lots of beautiful tulips, history and money shots. I spent my afternoon first sitting near the lagoon, watching people pass by on Swan Boats, followed by touring the garden on foot.
4. Visit Acorn Street in Beacon Hill
Acorn Street is a notable spot along Beacon Hill, one of Boston's most historic neighborhoods. It's quite often mentioned as the "most photographed street in the United States." The cobblestone path, a rare sighting today, is well-suited for amazing perspective shots or photoshoots, whichever you're feeling.
5. Snag an Airbnb in a photogenic neighborhood
I absolutely love booking Airbnb's for solo excursions. I like to choose homes where there are locals on the premises to help me if I want to learn more about the area, or visit a secretive local gem. I chose Dorchester, a cute and quaint neighborhood in South Boston filled with Victorian style homes. Dorchester is 15 minute train ride south of Downtown Boston, easy to navigate along the "T." While I didn't have time time to chat with my hosts, the porch room I stayed in was absolutely darling. I even woke up to freshly made muffins the next morning from my host, Barney.
6. Take the "T" all around the city
The "T" is much more than Millennial slang for some good ol' gossip, it's Boston's abbreviation for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). In my opinion, Boston has one of the easiest-to-navigate transportation systems. You can purchase single fair passes (CharlieTicket), or fill up a CharlieCard to use daily for both lightrail and bus services. Simply load, insert and hop on. If I could safely make it back to my Airbnb after barhopping around an unfamiliar city, it can't be too troublesome.
7. Admire Boston architecture
Maybe I'm a sucker for Boston architecture because I spent six months overseas studying the subject, but I LOVE Boston's architecture. British influences, granite-laden monuments and the well-known Federal style (as shown here) make up Boston's historically influential buildings. It's free, and there's lots of it! If you're from the West Coast where architecture is heavily modernized, I definitely recommend keeping your eyes peeled while walking through the city.
8. Drink with the locals
Boston has some nice little pubs, jutting out of corners around the city. I ended up at a summer-style outdoor beer pop-up called Boston Seasons with some friends I met during a history tour (gone wrong - see #9). While this particular beer event was as hipster-craft-beer as ever, it was fun to mingle among the locals. Plus, I've never been to a beer event with views like this.
9. Book a Boston history tour
One of the newer additions to Airbnb is their "Experiences" section, allowing you to book reasonably priced activities in whichever city you're exploring. I booked an "Underground History Tour" the night I arrived in Boston. For $9, the tour was a 1.5-hour led guide of historical Boston events - the Boston Massacre, the Kennedys and the Revolutionary War. A couple of us couldn't make it to the first stop in time, so we decided to wait for the group to meet us at the Old State House (pictured). Communication from our tour guide was not up to par, so me and my new Nicaraguan friends ventured on without our group. In Boston, I do recommend guided tours, as there is quite a bit to see, but much more to learn.
10. Peruse Fairmount Copley Plaza
Spontaneous outings are not something I'm usually fond of - I like plan, order and direction. The friends I made during the history tour mishap were actually in Boston for a wedding. The three of them were meeting up with the wedding party at Fairmount Copley Plaza, the most exquisite landmark hotel in the city, later that night. They urged me to come with them, so I did! Fairmount Copley Plaza is a great stay if you're willing to drop the extra cash, but I was more intrigued by its ornamental details, chandeliers and high ceilings, true to Boston's assumed "elite status." Next door sits the adjacent OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, perfect for an upscale dinner or cocktail - or like me, wedding party crashing!
The only thing I missed out on during my brief excursion through Boston was attending a Boston Red Sox's game at Fenway Park, the oldest baseball stadium in the country (1912). For picture-worthy drink service, check out Bleacher Bar, a pub with immaculate (and free) views of Center Field.
No matter what you decide to do, Boston is packed with activities, events and history. It's nothing short of a grand time, regardless of how much time you have left to spend.