West of downtown Boston, strung out along the Charles River, lies fashionable Back Bay, its boutique hotels a popular choice when deciding where to stay in Boston. South of the tree- lined boulevard of Commonwealth Avenue is Newbury Street, where, in season, alfresco wining and dining is a favorite pastime. Shoppers love its quirky galleries and upmarket shopping. Nearby, in Copley Square, admire the fresco-laden Trinity Church and the Renaissance-style Boston Public Library. Nearby, the best views of Boston are from the top of the John Hancock Tower, Boston’s highest structure. Back Bay’s Amtrak station offers good links to surrounding areas. Southwest of Back Bay is Fenway Park’s baseball ground, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.
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Between downtown Boston and Back Bay is the 50-acre Boston Common, the oldest park in the United States, and the gateway to Boston’s Freedom Trail historic walk. In winter, ice skaters flock to the Frog Pond, while in the spring, the Public Gardens burst into bloom. In downtown Boston, east of the Common, sample clam chowder, lobster rolls and Boston cream pie in Faneuil Hall Marketplace. To the north lies the gold-domed State House, and leafy and affluent Beacon Hill. To the south are the lively Chinatown and Theater districts.
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North of downtown along the waterfront, café culture and preRevolutionary sites define the North End, one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods. Dubbed ”Little Italy,” the bustling restaurants and cafés along Hanover and Salem streets serve up homemade ravioli and sweet cannoli pastries. The Freedom Trail extends into the North End with sites including Revolutionary hero Paul Revere’s House and the Old North Church. Across the Charles River is the oldest commissioned warship afloat, the USS Constitution.
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East of downtown Boston is the gleaming Financial District and the revitalized waterfront, where Boston hotels overlooking the Inner Harbor offer exceptional views and access to the Boston Harbor Walk. The New England Aquarium, dedicated to marine research and conservation, and the hands-on Boston Children’s Museum are favorites for those with families. The waterfront provides easy access to the greenery and wildlife of Boston Harbour Islands National Park and to Boston Logan International Airport via the airport water shuttle.
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Across the Charles River is Cambridge, the intellectual heart of Boston, home to Harvard University and MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In Harvard Yard, every tourist seems to want to get a snapshot of the John Harvard statue. Walk among the red-brick buildings, eavesdropping on lively student debates. Find luxury boutique hotels on the streets off Harvard Square, convenient to book shops and student cafés. Downtown Boston is a short subway ride away.
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