Boston’s red-brick Freedom Trail leads the way to 16 historically significant sites, starting at Boston Common, where children will want to stop to splash in the summer or skate on the ice in the winter at the famous Frog Pond. Copp’s Hill cemetery is worth the climb for the excellent view. Next stop? The Old State House, where the Declaration of Independence was first read. The trail ends at Bunker Hill in Charlestown across the Charles River. Little Italy in the North End is a great stop for brunch on your Boston short getaway. But be sure to save room for cannoli
Start: Boston Common
Nearest subway stop: Park Street
From North Station, Harvard in Cambridge is only a 15-minute subway ride. Harvard Yard is the place to get a taste of the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. From Harvard Square, take the subway back to downtown in time for a sunset stroll along Boston’s Harbor Walk. Families may want to skip Harvard and visit the waterfront’s New England Aquarium, renowned for its penguin exhibit and coral-reef display before heading back to their Boston hotel.
Start: Salem Street, North End
Nearest subway stop: North Station
Those hungering for local specialties should head to Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Beloved Boston dining institution, Legal Seafood, serves up New England clam chowder, baked scrod and, of course, lobster. A taste of Boston’s Celtic heritage is on tap in Ned Devine’s Irish Pub. And the chic lounges and cool cafés of Newbury Street in Back Bay, southwest of downtown, attract the late-night crowd.
Start: Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Nearest subway stop: State
Bostonians get their art and culture fix at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, south of Back Bay, a treasure trove of art and trinkets. A few minutes’ walk away is Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, packed with American Colonial art and, overhead, John Singer Sargent’s ceiling murals. Strolling along leafy Fenway past Boston’s beloved baseball park is a worthy pastime.
Start: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Nearest subway stop: Museum of Fine Arts
In temperate months, an alfresco lunch on Back Bay’s Newbury Street is just the ticket. Stroll (and shop) along its shady promenades and past its stately brownstones. Or get cozy inside a bookstore. Later, walk to Copley Square to admire Trinity Church reflected in the gleaming John Hancock Tower before cocktail hour calls for Boston Beer Company’s Samuel Adams Lager.
Start: Newbury Street
Nearest subway stop: Hynes/ICA or Copley
Asian eateries vie with antique sellers for space on Chinatown’s bustling streets, where roasted ducks and links of sausage hang in shop windows. Even the names of the restaurants in Chinatown, east of Boston Common, will make you hungry--Gourmet Dumpling House, Chau Chow City and Eldo Cake House.
Start: Washington Street, Chinatown
Nearest subway stop: Chinatown