Wonderful Boston, there is a lot to see and do here. If it’s not clam chowders, it’s a buzzing university town home to two of the world’s most iconic Ivy-league universities. Let’s check out what’s on in the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. We shall explore what makes Boston City tick, and the sights along its famous Boston Freedom Heritage trail.
Additionally, geographically speaking, Boston city is the economic and cultural anchor of the East Coast. It is one of the oldest cities in the United States, founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630. Also, Boston is also the seat of Suffolk County. Also, the metropolitan area where we are checking out is also known as Greater Boston.
Moreover, the city core area sits under 124 square kilometres, about 5 times smaller than Singapore with an estimated population of about 600 thousand. Also, the city’s wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth-largest as such in the United States. It is the largest city in New England and the 23rd most populous city in the USA.
Boston City and University stretch
At its heart Boston is a University city. Moreover, it is home to notable Ivy League universities such as Harvard and MIT. Also, you are free to enter and explore the several city campuses, namely that by MIT and Harvard, which are situated beside each other.
Furthermore, you can roam the courtyards and gardens of Harvard University. Also, on your explorations, you can check out the bronze statue of John Harvard by Daniel Chester French in Harvard Yard.
Also, the college does walking tours of the various points of interest too, run by student volunteers themselves. They will take you through various points of interests accessible by the public.
Moreover, the MIT campus grounds are one you can explore on your own time. The campus common areas are highly accessible, allowing you to visit the ground without much hindrance.
Additionally, funky buildings to check out include building 32, there was also a science fair on the grounds with talks during my visit.
Also, not missing the iconic MIT Great Dome building and lawn at building 10. You can wrap up your university visit by popping by the shared co-op stores between the two unis, where you can snag some university memorabilia.
Check out the Boston Public Library
Additionally, Boston is also home to a couple of world class arts and science museums like the Boston Museum of Fine arts and the Boston institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) which you can visit on my separate explorations.
Furthermore, the Boston public library is quite a gem find on your visit. It offers a blends of classic and a modern a nice chill space to check out if you have a couple of hours to spare.
Even if you do not like books, the interior architecture of the public building is pretty spectacular. The domed structures and the vast work halls is a sight to behold. Just keep your voice down!
Getting around the city
Furthermore, Boston is well connected via over ground buses as well as underground train subways. Getting around is quite a no-brainer and a breeze. The “T” subway metro is where you will find yourself doing most of your commutes. Also, you get your way around using their contactless “CharlieCard”, which is similar to London’s Oyster or Singapore’s EZ-link. The CharlieCard works on both buses and trains.
Moreover, speaking of underground, interestingly there is an underground bus tram system which runs in the Silver line. It serves as an electrified subway underground connecting to the airport. Also, when the bus comes in the surface, a diesel-powered articulated bus. Moreover, notably, Boston has the oldest subway system in North America, with the first underground streetcar traffic dating back to 1897. Today the whole subway network is owned and operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).
City sights and exploring the Freedom Trail
Moreover, if you enjoy a walk-through history, the Boston Freedom Trail is one to embark on if you have an entire day to spare in Boston. Also, the Freedom trail is a historic route bringing you along several of the notable city historical sites.
You start off from the city center, going all the way and ending at Bunker Hill in Charlestown totalling about 12-15km in walking distance on foot. You can do the trail at your own pace at your own time. It typically takes at least 2 full days, though I was able to accomplish the trail in an entire day.
Also, the trail it takes on a very distinct walking path synonymous to the park connector or heritage trail networks in Singapore with paths and points of interests demarcated by signboards and maps littered along the said path. You might notice red painted strips to red tiled pavements littered around the city. All you need to do is to follow these red lines or pavements to get on the trail.
Additionally, you can find student volunteer groups doing free walking tours of the freedom trail at set timings. They usually depart from a major subway station as a meeting point. Also, the central Boston area is a great place to start off the Freedom trail from. Also, you start off from the Massachusetts state house or Park Street church, they are all within a 200-meter radius within central Boston City.
City Center and Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Hence, you could start off in the Boston city center church and city hall area. The trail takes you through several city points of interest which played a significant part of the city’s history. The walk runs through a mix of city streets, commercial, industrial and residential grounds.
Additionally, the Kings Chapel and Old South Meeting House are great spots to check out on the trail. Also, this is not only for their history but they are also home to a visitor center which you can visit for more information of the trail or cool down.
Boston city is also a pretty hot city in summer. During winter, temperatures can go as low as negative 20 celsius.
Grab a meal at the Quincy Marketplace
The city center is home to the Old state house as well as the Park Street Church. Also, the Boston North Market is a spot popular with lunch goers, buskers and locals alike. It is a chill spot with lots of bars, pubs and restaurants for a quick bite and a Boston clam chowder.
Moreover, the Faneuil hall Marketplace (or also known as the Quincy market or North market) is a cool mid-point place to chill with a drink or lunch. Also, do check out the food markets and have a yummy clam chowder as a meal.
In addition, you can join the Freedom trail at any time you see the red path at these landmarks here in Boston city. Also littered throughout the city are freedom trail standing info boards you can check-in through your journey. These boards also tell you where you are, and how you are doing on your tour.
Out skirts into Charlestown
Before headed into the industrial Charlestown, you pass by a buzzing night life street called Cross street and Salem street. Here you can find several happening pubs, and restaurants with outdoor seating and life music. Thereafter, you cross into Charlestown northbound via the North Washington Street Bridge.
Additionally, the Bridge here caters to both a vehicular and pedestrian traffic, complete with red walking pavement. Also, you can catch views of a couple of boat marinas and the Constitution Wharf from on top the North Washington Street bridge.
Moreover, the Charlestown Navy Yard and museum here is one of the last scenic spots of the trail. If you are into Naval history, this is the place for you.
This port area is home to a large Dry Dock 1, a large US navy destroyer ship called USS Cassin Young and a Galion wooden sail ship USS Constitution. Also, the displays here probably set you back about 2-3 hours per visit.
Going up Bunker hill
Moving on further into Charlestown, the Boston Freedom Trail climbs into residential streets lined with clapboard triple-decker homes and brick townhouses. A short uphill climb to the top brings you to the Bunker Hill Monument. It is site of a key Revolutionary War battle between the Red Coats and Patriots in the American Revolutionary War. Also, here. you can find a lit memorial tower and a stone hut here in the otherwise quiet and secluded residential neighbourhood up here on Bunker hill.
So that completes my day long tour and exploration of the Boston city Freedom trail. Also, the cool part is that you can do the entire 15km trail on bike or even on foot. It is largely walkable and rather easy to walk with minimal inclines except for Bunker Hill.
All in all, Boston is a beautiful city. One buzzing with culture, people, food and academia. The city is safe and definitely one to check out when you are in the East Coast of the USA. A great city to stop by and a stone-throw away when you are passing through from New York City or Washington D.C.