1.The Freedom Trail
We visited Boston for two days last October (it was part of our two week East Coast Road Trip- read more about that here). There were so many fun and historical things to see in this amazing city. Following The Freedom Trail throughout Boston was one of our kids favorite and most memorable activities our entire trip.
I’m not even sure they realized how far they walked because of how much fun they had.
2. The Old North Church
One of the 16 official sites along the Freedom Trail is the historic Old North Church. On April 18, 1775 Paul Revere met up with the sexton Robert Newman to tell him how to signal the advancement of British troops towards Lexington and Concord. Newman then met fellow Sons of Liberty Captain Pulling and Thomas Bernard. Leaving Bernard to keep watch outside, Newman opened the church and he and Pulling climbed the stairs and ladders up eight stories to hang two lanterns for a few moments. It was long enough for patriots in Charlestown to learn what has been immortalized by the phrase “one if by land, two if by sea” in Longfellow’s poem. The British advanced by boat across the Charles River.
Be sure to take a peak inside this gorgeous church. Note: The lanterns are on display at the Concord Museum.
Behind the back of the Old North Church is this little shop, Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop. Be sure to stop by and sample some of this unique chocolate.
And if you’re lucky, you just might run into a filming of Wheel of Fortune.
3. Paul Revere House
We were so glad we made time to tour Paul Revere’s home. Children are $1, Seniors and Students $3 and Adults $3.50. Hours vary, depending on the season, but it opens at 9:30 am daily and closes by 4 or 5 pm daily. It only took an hour to tour and we learned so much about the life of Paul Revere. Paul Revere purchased it in 1770, when he was 35 years old. He and his second wife (his first died after giving birth to their 8th child) lived here when Revere made his famous messenger ride to Lexington on the night of April 18-19, 1775. Note: They don’t allow photography inside.
4. Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market
Faneuil Hall played a vital role in revolutionary politics. Built by wealthy merchant Peter Faneuil as a center of commerce in 1741, this is where the Sons of Liberty proclaimed their dissent against Royal oppression. It has served as an open forum meeting hall and marketplace for more than 270 years and has continued to provide a forum for debate on the most consequential issues of the day. You can go inside and tour this historic building. It is open daily from 9am-6pm. There are little souvenir shops and free historic talks every 3o minutes.
Adjacent from Faneuil Hall is Quincy Market. Filled with just about every eating option ever (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, sweets etc) there is something for everyone and if you leave hungry, well- it’s just not possible!
Of course we had to try a Boston Creme Pie whilst in Boston!
The iconic Cheers is also located here.
We always try to eat authentic and local on vacation. Living in a desert, seafood isn’t really a Utah standard. Fry sauce, however… Whole other story.
Located in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, we decided to eat at Durgin Park. We had the BEST waitress. Such great customer service. We ordered the Surf N Turf and man. Everything was seriously SO good. Our waitress taught us how locals eat ‘Lobstah’ and our kids (especially our oldest) loved it! AND it was a kid friendly environment.
We ate an early dinner at 4 and completely beat the rush. When we left an hour later, it was jam packed.
6. Bunker Hill Monument
We had plans to climb the 294 steps to the top of this historic Monument, but our Whale Watching Tour (more on that below) left most of us feeling a little sea sick so it didn’t quite work out as planned. We still walked around the grounds of the first major battle of the Revolutionary War (on June 17, 1775), which looked beautiful lit up at night. The last climb in the Fall is at 4:30pm. The monument and museum are free to tour and hours vary, so be sure to check here and plan accordingly.
7. Boston Common
Oh wow- this park was so beautiful and is another stop along the Freedom Trail. It is America’s oldest park and was training ground for the Redcoats in 1775. We were sad the famous Swan Boats were closed for the season, but loved seeing the gorgeous Fall leaves as we walked along the trails.
8. Whale Watching Cruise
This was a huge bucket list item for us. To see whales, in their natural environment. It almost didn’t happen though. The cruise had been cancelled for several days due to a hurricane hitting the Florida coast earlier in the week. Red level 4 meant nothing to us. In hind sight, we should have loaded up on the motion sickness medicine! haha!
We went with the only Whale Watching Cruise out of Boston, Boston Harbor Cruises which partners with the New England Aquarium. The boat has three levels. We suggest trying to snag a seat outside or on the bottom level, near the back (especially if you are prone to motion sickness). It did get pretty cold (we went in October) while the boat was cruising out to the Stellwagon Bank Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary is basically a spot in the middle of the ocean that is a rich feeding ground for several different species including whales, fish, birds etc.
When the boat arrived after an hour’s ride, we immediately saw a big spiral bubble net formed by 6-7 Humpback Whales. It more than made up for the rough ride. It was incredible! For the next hour we watched over 20 whales swim, blow bubbles, flip and feed. Something we won’t soon forget! Read about our unique trip here on BHC Blog. There are several ticket options available, but first check with Groupon or similar websites for discount passes. We’ve seen these BHC on there before! Otherwise, you can purchase tickets directly from BHC for $53 for adults and $33 for children. They do tend to sale out, so if this is high on your list, be sure to buy tickets at least a few days in advance. Also plan to arrive early if you want to snag a good seat, as it is general seating.
9. Skywalk Observatory at Prudential Center
And our final destination was taking in the Boston views from the top of the Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center.
We suggest timing it so you can see the city at both day and night- arriving 30 minutes before sunset was perfect.
Hours vary, depending on the season and it is open 7 days a week (although it does periodically close for private functions.) Tickets cost $18 for adults and $13 for kids. It is also part of the cityPASS, which includes the Skywalk plus 3 more Boston attractions: New England Aquarium, Museum of Science and Museum of Fine Arts OR Boston Harbor Cruises. Valid for 9 days. Cost: Adult $55 (value $96.25); Child (ages 3-11) $42.
Of course we ran into another taping of Wheel of Fortune. Vanna was SO sweet, she came over and said hi and took a picture with our kids.
We made a quick stop at Harvard on our way into Boston. Very cool to see this historic University.
We loved our time here and can’t wait to go back.
What do you like to do in Boston? What are your favorite places to eat??