Even though it's been nearly 250 years since Boston's infamous Tea Party, this northeastern hub is still just as revolutionary. Discover how to experience the best of Beantown, from fluffernutter festivals to floating swan boats.
Boston feels like a small town disguised in the trappings of a metropolis. Locals can be a bit closed off at first, but once you spend some time here, you'll find that there's an unspoken camaraderie that permeates through the city.
When to Go
Boston is best-dressed in the summer or fall. Warmer months bring the swan boats in the Public Garden out of hibernation, and the sun thaws New Englanders' stereotypically chilly hearts. In autumn, the city vibrates with creative energy and excitement, thanks to the massive influx of college students. Oh, and the saturated yellow, orange, and red hues of the trees in the fall aren't bad either.
Every year, on the third Monday in April, Bostonians take to the streets and cheer on the runners of the Boston Marathon. The sporting event always falls on the statewide holiday of Patriots' Day, colloquially referred to as Marathon Monday. Watch from the high-energy sidelines in Kenmore Square, where athletes, college students, and Red Sox fans make up the quintessentially Boston crowd. More interested in fluffernutters than finish lines? Every September, the neighborhood of Somerville pays homage to its hometown treat of marshmallow Fluff, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2017. Feast on Fluff-filled macaroons, s'mores tacos, and bacon fluffernutter pierogies.
What to Eat
Enjoy a slice of the city's history in the form of sponge cake, vanilla custard, and chocolate icing. Boston cream pie was created in the kitchen of the city's Parker House Hotel, now the Omni Parker House, in 1856. You can still enjoy the original recipe for Massachusetts' official state dessert in the hotel's wood-paneled dining room, a popular hangout spot of another local favorite: JFK. Try an updated version of the classic cake, made with brewed coffee, at Flour Bakery, or its doughnut reincarnation at Union Square Doughnuts.
Souvenir to Take Home
New Englanders take their apples very seriously. Luckily, there's an orchard outpost in downtown for locals to get their fix. Your English muffins will never forgive you if you leave town without a jar (OK, a few jars) of fresh apple butter from the Red Apple Farm stand at the Boston Public Market. While you're there, fuel up for further sightseeing with an apple cider doughnut and iced apple cider (if you're looking for a twist on the classic, try their ginger, hibiscus, or honeycrisp hops versions).
Sustainable Travel Tip
Take advantage of Boston's subway, known as the T. Built in the late 1800s, this public transit system was the first of its kind in America and still has a vintage feel in comparison with other cities' subway systems. It's not without its quirks, but that's part of the charm. Bonus: You'll be able to hear authentic examples of Boston accents over the train intercom.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Snap the best shot of Boston's skyline from the Cambridge banks of the Charles River. Look out for the Prudential Center, the Hancock building, and the Citgo sign-the 60-by-60-foot neon advertisement that serves as a beacon for Bostonians. Any spot along Memorial Drive offers great views, specifically from MIT's boathouse.
For a classic colonial view, stop at Acorn Street in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. The cobblestone alleyway, lined with quaint brick brownstones and traditional gas lamps, transports visitors back to the era of Paul Revere.