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malpica3's avatar

How to see Boston in one day?

Asked by malpica3 (2points) May 15th, 2010

My sister come from Europe and we have one day to visit Boston.Never been there so I have no idea how to start and what is best?

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22 Answers

MissAusten's avatar

I’d suggest walking the Freedom Trail. This historic “trail” through Boston will take you to some famous sights, as well as to the North End (the Italian part of town) which is a great place to stop for something to eat. Following the Freedom Trail will let you see Boston Commons, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, and the Paul Revere House, as well as the Old North Church.

You can always skip the things that don’t appeal to you, and linger in areas where you most enjoy yourself. Have fun!

jlm11f's avatar

I went through this recently. Except I had a little more than a day. First, check out the responses I got to a similar Q. You can get quite a lot accomplished in a day, but you need to know what your focus is. We were all about the food and the touring and not so much the shopping. Check out Harvard and the area around it. I saw Faneuil Hall itself and was very underwhelmed. The Charles River area around it is nice though. Best tourist shopping is at Quincy place (right behind Faneuil). There’s also a self cleaning rotating bathroom which isn’t really a tourist attraction but is rather fun haha. A group of us got inside (for 25c) and it was funny.

As for the all important food: you can’t go to Boston and not check out Mike’s place for dessert. I’m not usually a cannoli fan but oh my! Their cannoli’s are simply amazing. I suggest you buy an array of desserts and try it over the night. Mike’s place is in North End which has excellent Italian food. Not to mention it’s a lovely street with a quaint, homely feeling with casually arranged lights around the road and TONS of people. The atmosphere there is truly unbelievable. You will use the T (their train system) a LOT. So definitely get a day pass. The T is the key for your one day trip being as efficient as possible. Also, Newbury street is supposed to be good for real shopping (as in non I love Boston stuff) but we walked down there during the night so the shops were closed. They have quite a few restaurants in that area though (and the streets paralleling it). If you like Middle Eastern food, I strongly suggest you try Jaffa’s Cafe in that area of downtown.

Okay, those are the first things that came to my mind. If you’re a museum fan, Boston has many, so maybe check out the one that appeals to you the most. I love museums but didn’t have the time, so I decided to spend my time walking all over town instead and I don’t regret that for a second :)

Have fun!

anartist's avatar

Have lunch near the swan boats in the Public Garden [Russian Tea Room?], maybe go on one, have dinner in the north end near the Italian Market after touring it. Fit in a tour of the US Constitution and see the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s house.
If your friend is a bargain hunter, Filene’s basement started in Boston in the basement. My father said women used to try on girdles in the aisles.

gailcalled's avatar

@anartist: Your father is right. Women used to try on anything in the aisles. It was a bargain -hunter’s paradise. I grew up with the motto “never buy retail,” and then had the good fortune to go to college just outside of Boston.

Wrestling with other women in Filene’s basement was also an aerobic exercise. I’d forget shopping there if one day is it.

Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston are wonders.

anartist's avatar

@gailcalled again you make my day. :-)

gailcalled's avatar

@anartist: You’re easy to please. But, thanks anyway.

anartist's avatar

@gailcalled Filene’s basement isn’t the same wild place or didn’t seem so when I went a few years back—not since they made it an outlet chain.

gailcalled's avatar

@anartist: Pity. Sic transit gloria mundi.

arpinum's avatar

No one suggested the Duck Boat tours. These are a classic way to see the city. They hit all the major landmarks. Take one early in the day and then decide on two or three sites you’d like to revisit for a more in depth dour.

I like eating on Newbury street, or taking food to eat in the commons.

jerv's avatar

If you do not spend at least a few minutes in Harvard Square, you really haven’t been to Boston. Sure, there are many other places, but that is on my “must see” list.

birdland33's avatar

By flying over it on the way to someplace better would be my suggestion for how to see Boston.

But if you must, I am with MissAusten that the Freedom Trail, while it is the touristy way to go, will offer you one of the most basic, efficient representations of why most people would want to come to Boston.

It depends on ‘how long is the day’ also.

gailcalled's avatar

The area around Harvard Square has been overbuilt, streets are now one-way, it has enormous traffic jams and is a crush of students, cars, and bicycles. Everyone jay-walks; the early charm is gone. If you must, take the underground to the Harvard Square stop and check out Harvard Yard and Widener LIbrary there.

Then go back to town. I second the vote for the Duck Boat tours.

jerv's avatar

@gailcalled IMO, driving in Boston in general is a sign of masochism, especially in/near Harvard Square. Personally, the only reason I ever found parking there was the fact that I had family there; one actually living in the square, and another about 4 blocks away.

If you want to get around Boston, use the T!

malpica3's avatar

Thank You All for the great ideas.They (my sister and kids)are walking the Freedom Trail this minute,will go to the Tea House and made reservations to duck tour.On the way back home they planning on visiting the Harvard Square.Thanks again

arpinum's avatar

Remember, the people of Boston don’t hate you, they treat everyone like that.

answerjill's avatar

1. don’t drive. 2. Filene’s Basement (the original) in Downtown Crossing no longer exists. 3. Def check out Harvard Square (and go to Harvard BookStore—not the Harvard Coop) if you want to check out a basement full of used books and remainders), 3. Check out one of the Boston area’s great icecream shops (such as JP Licks, Emack and Bolio, Lizzie’s).

anartist's avatar

BTW the Cheers Bar in Faneuil Hall is a fake. The original inspiration for Cheers is on Beacon Hill. When the show came out it was called the Bull and Finch. It has since been renamed Cheers.
Before you take the T, listen to the Kingston Trio’s Charlie and the MTA, a Boston political protest song over a fare increase for the T

anartist's avatar

Wikipedia. Charlie on the MTA is said to have been composed in 1948 as part of the election campaign of Walter A. O’Brien, a Progressive Party candidate for Boston mayor. As the story goes, O’Brien was unable to afford radio advertisements, so he enlisted local folk singers to write and sing songs from a touring truck with a loudspeaker (he was later fined $10 for “disturbing the peace”).
One of his major campaign planks was to lower the price of riding the subway by removing the complicated fare structure involving exit fares.

Boston loves this song: It has become so entrenched in Boston that the city’s subway system (now known as the MBTA) named its electronic card-based fare collection system the “CharlieCard” as a tribute to this song

And an old verse about Boston’s supposed snobbery
Here’s to Boston,
the land of the bead and the cod
where the Cabots speak only to Lodges
and the Lodges speak only to God

gailcalled's avatar

@anartist; I find it mildly interesting that I can sing the Charlie song and remember all the lyrics. The Kingston Trio, Tom Lehrer, Flanders and Swann, and The Limelighters were a big part of my youth.

The last two did interesting versions of “Have Some Madeira, My Dear.”

anartist's avatar

@gailcalled Me too and I love “Have Some Madeira, My Dear”

The good stuff and the good times sort of stick don’t they?

gailcalled's avatar

@anartist: It’s really much nicer than beer.

@jerv: Until recently I used to visit a friend who lived off of Mass. Ave. just past the Law School. It took me 2 hrs. to drive from just E. of the NY/ MA. border on the Pike to the end of the Pike, and then another 40 minutes to cross the Charles, manoeuvre around the square and get to her house.

And don’t get me going on the parking (and needing an overnight guest permit).

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