After I finished up my classes a few weeks ago, I found myself in somewhat of a depressing predicament: I didn’t know how to spend my time without having homework to do. I would find myself sitting at home bored after work and on the weekends. It took me longer than I would be comfortable admitting to remember, “Wait a second…I live in Boston!” Thus began the rediscovery of my touristy agenda.

I was able to get a lot of sightseeing done last September before classes really got going and even throughout the academic year—a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts makes for a fantastic study break. Before the school year ended I’d seen that, the Boston Commons, a good chunk of the Freedom Trail, the Boston Public Library Architectural Tour, Salem, the North End, and the Sam Adams Brewery. The task this month was to determine what was left and see all I could before classes started up again.

Luckily, a boost in motivation came my way in the form of a visiting friend. Katie and I had 3.5 days to see as much of Boston as possible. I found out early on that she’s not really into history or museums, which at first induced panic in me: what can we do in Boston that’s not dripping in history?? Despite the panic, I ended up being able to plan a trip that was light on historical narrative and, conveniently, filled with activities I had yet to experience.

We skipped the Freedom Trail, the MFA, and the BPL tour and favored the New England Aquarium, a tour of Fenway Park, Quincy Market, the North End, the Sam Adams Brewery, and a ferry trip out to Spectacle Island, part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. I would highly recommend any of these attractions for anyone visiting or hosting someone in Boston.

I’ll leave you with a few Boston Sightseeing Pro Tips:

  • If you live in Boston, join the public library (I realize I’m preaching to the choir on that one). As a library cardholder you have access to free museum passes for various museums and walking tours. Be sure to plan ahead, though, and reserve the passes early: they go fast!
  • When you visit the North End, you absolutely must brave the line and get a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry. It’s just what you do.
  • The tour of Fenway Park is really fun for baseball fans, of course, but it’s even a neat experience for people who aren’t constantly immersed in the world of baseball. Fenway is the oldest ball park in the US, so the tour is great for anyone with an interest in history (and for those without one, as Katie enjoyed it!)
  • Spending time on the Harbor Islands is a great way to get away from the city for awhile and soak up some rays. Spectacle Island is the one with a swimming beach, but don’t expect to get in that water if you go in May! Brrr!

[caption id="attachment_1397" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Fenway Park"][/caption]



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