{{title}}

{{message}}

Sign Up
Cruisetrend helps you connect and share with the people in your life.
  • Port Detail
  • Photo & Video
  • Ports Review
Boston is the gateway to New England cruises. It is filled with all of the beauty and ambience that makes New England a tourist mecca and a vacationer's haven. In the fall, it embodies the seasonal color change that is about as breathtaking as nature can get, with foliage dressed in deep reds, bright yellows, and vivid oranges. During the winter, the area evolves into a wonderland of snow and magic. Springtime finds the city teeming with wildflowers and gardens. And summer is an outdoor celebration seven days a week. Boston's cultural diversity, artistic richness, historical atmosphere and charisma make it one of the best places to see in North America. Buzzing with energy, this is home to some of the world's best colleges and universities, and it offers a vacation experience that is as rich as its academic heritage.
 
Perhaps no other city in America holds as much history of the colonial and Revolutionary War era as Boston. It's not surprising then that its main sites have become a pilgrimage trail for Americans and for others who hope to get a sense of that history. But more than that, the Freedom Trail is a good introduction to today's city, connecting or passing close to some of its best loved tourist attractions. Boston is easy to navigate on foot, as its major sights are relatively close, and America's first subway system, the T, connects its important neighborhoods.
 
Across the Charles River, a watery summer recreation area whose Boston shore is reserved as the Esplanade park, is Cambridge. Although a separate and independent city, for tourist purposes, Cambridge is part of Boston and connected by the same transit system. Here, you'll find two of America's most prestigious and important universities, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
 
Cruises leaving from Boston to destinations such as Bermuda, the Caribbean, New England/Canada, and Europe depart from the Cruise port  (Aka "Black Falcon Cruise Terminal") at the Port of Boston.
If you're stopping in Boston for a Port of Call visit during your vacation cruise, Cruiseport is where your ship will anchor for the day. Over 100 cruise ships operated by more than a dozen different cruise lines depart from, arrive at, or visit the Port of Boston between April and November each year.
 
You will find that there are endless possibilities for fun and relaxation from one end of the city to the other. This city is highly populated, but somehow remains unstuffy. It is sophisticated and poised, but hardly fussy. It is active and eclectic, but not disorderly. The people here are as diverse as the US can be, as are their interests, foods, talents and activities that they happily display in the form of restaurants, museums, concert parks and sporting areas.
 
Boston is a place of brilliant juxtaposition. The city seamlessly merges all the characteristics of an urban setting with a countrified appeal that is unlike any other city. Old World charm stands strong in the face of modern-day invention in this fully historic yet state-of-the-art city. Lush green parks are revered here, but so is the subway. And whether your pace is frenzied or leisurely, you have a choice in Boston. From non-stop shopping and sightseeing, to a tranquil day by the waters of the Charles River, you can truly create a unique experience here, and you can do so at your own speed. So unwind, or hurry up, and experience the jewel of New England!
 
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships arriving in Boston dock at the Port of Boston. From there you can take the subway, taxi, or a bus to your destination in the city. Unlike many other cruise terminals located far from the closest town or city, our Cruiseport's location in the South Boston Waterfront neighborhood lands you in the city's trendiest, most exciting area.
 
Within a 7-to-10 minute walk or a 4-5 minute bus ride after you step off your ship, you'll find excellent museums, terrific waterfront restaurants, and even one of our local breweries.Walk another 5 minutes, and you'll reach top historical sights, famed cultural and sports venues, art galleries, and excellent shopping in the heart of Downtown Boston.
 
If you want to see even more, several popular shore excursion tours take you to the most famous places in and near Boston, including Revolutionary War sites in Lexington and Concord.So whether you're here for just a few hours or a couple of days at the beginning or end of your cruise, you'll have a great opportunity to experience a bit of the "real" city.
 
With no facilities at the cruise terminal, you'll want to head straight into the city. There are plenty of ways to access the heart of Boston. Taxis and trolley tours are readily available. For those feeling a bit spry, it's a pleasant half-hour walk to the city via Northern Avenue, partly along the Harborwalk and over the Northern Avenue pedestrian bridge. You can also take Summer Street as an alternative (though less scenic) route to the Boston T (subway) at South Station. Water taxi service is also available.

Directions to Cruiseport Boston

Black Falcon Cruise Terminal 
1 Black Falcon Avenue 
Boston, MA 02210

From the North (south on I-93)
Inside the Tip O’Neill Tunnel on I-93, take Exit #23 (Purchase Street)
Turn left at set of lights (top of ramp) onto Seaport Boulevard
Continue straight on Seaport Boulevard (changes to Northern Avenue)
At the end of Northern Avenue, turn right on Tide Street and make an immediate left onto Drydock Avenue
Follow Drydock Avenue and turn right on Black Falcon Avenue
There will be signs directing you to ship locations as well as police officers to assist

From the South (north on I-93)
Take Exit 20 to I-90 East/Logan Airport
Inside the tunnel, take Exit 25/South Boston (right lane only)
At the traffic lights, continue forward onto East Service Drive
At the next traffic signal, turn right onto Seaport Boulevard (changes to Northern Avenue)
At the end of Northern Avenue, turn right on Tide Street and make an immediate left onto Drydock Avenue
Follow Drydock Avenue and turn right on Black Falcon Avenue
There will be signs directing you to ship locations as well as police officers to assist

From the West (Mass. Turnpike, I-90 eastbound)
Follow the Massachusetts Turnpike/I-90 East toward Logan Airport
In the tunnel, take Exit 25/South Boston
At the traffic lights, continue forward onto East Service Drive
At the next traffic signal, turn right onto Seaport Boulevard (changes to Northern Avenue)
At the end of Northern Avenue, turn right on Tide Street and make an immediate left onto Drydock Avenue
Follow Drydock Avenue and turn right on Black Falcon Avenue
There will be signs directing you to ship locations as well as police officers to assist

From Logan Airport (Ted Williams Tunnel/Mass. Turnpike/I-90 westbound)
When exiting Logan Airport, follow signs to enter the Ted Williams Tunnel (toll)
Take Exit #25 (South Boston) and stay in the right lane
Turn right onto Congress Street and turn left onto B Street
At the next signal, turn right onto Seaport Boulevard (changes to Northern Avenue)
At the end of Northern Avenue, turn right on Tide Street and make an immediate left onto Drydock Avenue
Follow Drydock Avenue and turn right on Black Falcon Avenue
There will be signs directing you to ship locations as well as police officers to assist

Getting to Cruiseport Boston from Logan Airport
The fastest way to get from Logan Airport to Cruiseport is by water taxi - about a 7 minute trip.  This is also the most scenic way of getting here.
 
If you need to store your luggage for the day while you explore the city, choose Rowes Wharf Water Taxi and take advantage of their locked storage room - free to their round-trip water taxi passengers - in their office next to the Boston Harbor Hotel.  More about Boston's water taxis. You can also take a land taxi, although this will take longer - perhaps 10-15 minutes, if you don't hit any traffic snarls.  Taxi fare from Logan to Cruiseport runs about $25, plus tip.  For one person, a water taxi will be cheaper, but for two or more people, a land taxi is a more economical choice. The least expensive option is to take the MBTA's Silver Line bus, if you can manage your own luggage.
 
Parking
If you are parking in the EDIC Parking Garage you may drop off your luggage and your party at the cruise terminal before parking your vehicle. Continue straight on Black Falcon Avenue, turn right at the stop sign onto Design Center Place, turn left onto Drydock Avenue and then make an immediate right into the garage.

Getting Around from Cruise port
To get to the heart of the South Boston Waterfront neighborhood by public transportation, you can hop onto the Silver Line bus (considered part of the Boston subway system, since it uses underground tunnels at times) right outside Cruiseport.  You can pay the $2.65 bus fare as you board (you'll need exact change).  When you return, be sure to take the SL2 bus, as it is the one that comes back to the port.
 
The Silver Line makes several stops in the South Boston Waterfront neighborhood, where restaurants, hotels, a brewery (yes, you can tour and taste), museums, a concert pavilion, shops, and spectacular water views will provide you with plenty of sightseeing opportunities.
 
More about what to see and do near Cruise port in the South Boston Waterfront.If you want to explore this area, get off at the centrally-located World Trade Center stop.  You can even walk over to Fish Pier and watch fresh catch being unloaded right at the dock.
 
Rather than take the bus to this area, you can also walk.  The distance is short - perhaps half a mile, depending on which way you go.  If you decide to do this, print out the map at the bottom of this page, as the streets are not very well marked and wind around a bit.  The area seems rather industrial until suddenly, all of the boutiques, restaurants, museums, and hotels appear in front of you.
 
Alternately, you can take a water taxi to other points along Boston Harbor if you want to visit Faneuil Marketplace on the Freedom Trail, Charlestown (Bunker Hill, USS Constitution), or the picturesque North End.
During summer months, a local water shuttle service called the "Cultural Connector" departs several times a day from Fan Pier (near the Institute of Contemporary Art) to the Downtown Waterfront and the Boston Tea Party Museum and Ships in Fort Point Channel.
 
Attractions near the Cruise Terminal -- From the World Trade Center area, you can continue on the bus for another mile or so (another 5-7 minutes, depending on traffic), and you'll reach South Station in Downtown Boston.  From here, you can either walk or take the T (subway) to many of our famous historical and popular sites.
 
Alternately, on Port of Call days, the Beantown Trolley provides frequent shuttle service to several of the city's most popular destinations, including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the New England Aquarium, and Copley Square in Back Bay.
If you plan to visit several museums or other destinations, getting a Boston Discount Card will save you money and even more important, time.  The cards let you go straight to the front of most lines, and enter free of charge.
 
Things To See and Do
 
Freedom Trail
The three-mile Freedom Trail leads you past - and into - 16 of the city's principal historic monuments and sites. It's easy to follow, by the line of red bricks in the sidewalk and by footprints at street crossings. Begin by picking up brochures on the attractions at the Visitor Center in the Boston Common before heading to the State House. The trail will take you to Old Granary Burying Ground (where Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock are buried), King's Chapel Burying Ground (Boston's oldest cemetery with the graves of Governor John Winthrop and two Mayflower passengers), Old South Meeting House (where the ringing speeches of patriots spawned the Boston Tea Party), and the Old State House. This is Boston's oldest public building and the site of the Boston Massacre.
 
In the North End, Boston's lively Italian neighborhood, are the Paul Revere House and Old North Church, where lanterns were hung in April 1775 to alert Paul Revere that British troops were headed to Lexington to arrest the patriot leaders and confiscate the munitions supplies. The trail ends across the bridge in Charlestown with the 54-gun frigate USS Constitution -nicknamed "Old Ironsides" in the War of 1812 - and the 220-foot granite Bunker Hill Monument. Official site: www.thefreedomtrail.org

Faneuil Hall
Known as the "cradle of liberty," Faneuil Hall was built in 1740-42 by Huguenot merchant Peter Faneuil as a market hall and presented to the city on condition that it should always be open to the public. The ground floor is still occupied by market stalls; on the upper floor is a council chamber, which in the 18th and 19th centuries was the meeting place of revolutionaries and later, of abolitionists. On its fourth floor is the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Museum, with weaponry, uniforms, and paintings of significant battles.
 
The adjoining Faneuil Hall Marketplace includes three long halls (Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market), dating from the early 19th century, now occupied by a lively assortment of shops, restaurants, and exhibitions. In good weather, you'll find street performers and buskers putting on shows in the square around the market, and along with the numerous food stalls, there are also shops selling jewelry, clothing, gifts, and souvenirs.
Address: Faneuil Hall Square, Boston, MA Official site: www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com
 
Boston Common and Public Garden Swan Boats
In the heart of the city is Boston Common, America's oldest park and the start of the Freedom Trail. In this large green space, which is much used by locals year-round, are various monuments and the Central Burying Ground of 1756. You can rent skates to use on the Frog Pond from November through mid-March, enjoy the spring blossoms and fall foliage colors reflecting in its surface, and in summer, watch youngsters splash about in the wading pool.
 
Adjoining it on the west side of Charles Street, is the 24-acre Public Garden, America's oldest botanical garden, as well as Victorian-style monuments and statues, including an equestrian statue of George Washington and popular modern bronzes of a family of ducks immortalized in Robert McCloskey's children's book Make Way for the Ducklings. One of Boston's most iconic experiences for all ages is riding around the lake in the garden's center on the famous Swan Boats, first launched in the 1870s.
Address: Public Garden, Boston, MA, Official site: http://swanboats.com

Beacon Hill
One of Boston's most beautiful neighborhoods and right in the center of the city, the south side of Beacon Hill has traditionally been the home of Boston's "old money" families, known locally as "Brahmins." Well-kept brick homes in Federal and Greek Revival styles line its tree-shaded streets, and at its heart is Louisburg Square, where homes face onto a leafy private park. Author Louisa May Alcott lived here from 1880 to 1888. The Nichols House Museum, a Federal-style home by Boston architect Charles Bulfinch, shows how Beacon Hill's upper class residents lived and is filled with collections of 16th- to 19th-century furnishings and decorative arts. At the western foot of Beacon Hill, Charles Street is lined with boutiques and shops that have traditionally catered to the neighborhood and are popular with visitors as well. Beyond Charles Street, facing the Public Garden, The Bull and Finch, established in 1969, inspired the popular television program, Cheers.
 
The north side of Beacon Hill is far more modest, and has been home to immigrants, including a sizable African American community, since the early 19th century. National Park Service Rangers offer free guided tours of the Black Heritage Trail from April through November and you can follow the trail on a self-guided tour year round. The Boston African American National Historic Site includes 15 pre-Civil War homes, businesses, schools, and churches that give a picture of Boston's 19th-century African American community. The Museum of Afro-American History operates the African Meeting House, the country's oldest (1806) church built by and for Black Americans and now restored to its 1854 appearance. The 1834 Abiel Smith School was the first public grammar school for African American children. Displays at both include artifacts, films, art, and sculpture related to the black experience in Boston and New England.
 
Harvard Square and Harvard Art Museums
Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and is widely considered one of the world's leading academic centers. Go to the Harvard Information Center to take a spirited and entertaining free walking tour of the campus guided by a student who will share history, Harvard lore, and personal perspective. Or you can download a tour from their website. Harvard Yard sits right in Harvard Square, a lively hub for students, "townies," and visitors, filled with shops, bookstores, and allegedly more places to buy ice cream than any other U.S. city.
 
Adjoining Harvard Yard is the Renzo Piano-designed home of the Harvard Art Museums, including three formerly separate collections, each of which ranked high as major U.S. art museums. Few universities have such enviable collections. Fogg Art Museum concentrates on Italian early-Renaissance art, the Busch-Reisinger on Expressionist art of central and northern Europe, with Bauhaus objects and paintings by Kandinsky and Klee. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum has one of the world's best collections of Chinese jade, as well as Chinese bronzes, Japanese prints, Indian art, and Greco-Roman antiquities, especially vases and sculptures. Address: 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA, Official site: www.harvardartmuseums.org

Harvard Museums and the Glass Flowers
Although the four museums that make up this complex contain treasures such as the artifacts brought back by Lewis and Clark, for most people, the highlight is the more than 3,000 models of 830 species of flowers and plants, some with insects, and all so realistic that you will have trouble believing they are made of glass. Created between 1887 and 1936 by artisans Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, the flowers are unique in the world, and their secret process has never been replicated. These are part of Harvard's massive research collections, shown under one roof in the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, the Mineralogical Museum, the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the Botanical Museum.
 
Particularly strong in Native American exhibits, the Peabody shows artifacts and art interpreted as part of a living culture, even when that culture has vanished. You can admire some of the finest examples of Native American arts from many periods and tribes, and also see how these changed as Europeans provided a new market for their goods. Those who like the Victorian "Cabinet of Curiosities" feel of old traditional museums will love the Pacific Islands balcony - it's like stepping back a century. The Museum of Comparative Zoology, founded by Louis Agassiz in 1859, contains an extensive collection of fossils, including a 25,000-year-old mastodon. The mineralogy collections include a dazzling display of rough and cut gemstones, a world-renowned meteorite collection, rocks, ores, and minerals from around the world.
Address: 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA, Official site: www.hmnh.harvard.edu
 
Copley Square
The main square of the Back Bay area is surrounded by both old and ultra-modern buildings. Its architectural highlight is Trinity Church, a red sandstone building designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson in his distinctive style, known as Richardson Romanesque. Trinity is widely considered to be his finest work. The murals, frescoes, and painted decorations inside are by John La Farge and much of the fine stained glass is by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. Facing it, across a grassy lawn where you can enjoy a picnic lunch with neighborhood office workers, is the Boston Public Library founded in 1848 as the first publicly funded lending library in the country. Architect Charles Follen McKim designed the present building in 1895. Go inside to see the library's Renaissance Revival architecture and murals by John Singer Sargent and Edwin Abbey.
On a third side of the square is the venerable Boston institution, the Copley Plaza Hotel, now a Fairmont property; these three buildings, backed by the sheer glass wall of a skyscraper, create a stunning cityscape. A block down Boylston Street, look for the finish line of the Boston Marathon, run each April on Patriot's Day. Just beyond is the Prudential Center, a 32-acre complex of apartments, shops, restaurants, and a 52-story tower. On its 50th floor you can visit the Skywalk observation deck for 360-degree views of Boston and its surroundings.
 
Fenway Park
Known as "America's Most Beloved Ballpark", Fenway Park is one of the most fabled sports complexes in the country, and even if you're not a sports fan, a tour of it is both fun and interesting. The home of the Boston Red Sox looks much the same as it did when it opened on April 20, 1912. One of its most recognizable features is the Green Monster, the 37-foot green wall in left field, and the park still maintains some of the remnants of "old time" baseball such as the hand-operated scoreboard. It also has the lowest seating capacity in the Major Leagues holding only 33,871 spectators (a fact that makes tickets exceedingly scarce). Address: 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA

Museum of Fine Arts Boston
One of the leading art museums in the country, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts excels in its collections of Impressionist paintings, ancient Egyptian treasures, Asian and Persian fine arts, and works from ancient Greece and the Middle East. But its newest and crowning achievement is the construction of an entire American Wing to house, integrated in chronological order, outstanding collections of American paintings, furniture, decorative arts, folk art, silver, glassware, and design dating from pre-Columbian arts to the Art Deco and Modernist eras. Highlights elsewhere include a 12th-century lacquered-wood sculpture of a Buddhist Bodhisattva and Korean painted screens, the ivory and gold statue of the Minoan Snake Goddess from 1500 BC, and a statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Mycerinus and his queen from 2548-2530 BC.
Address: 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, Official site: www.mfa.org

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Set in a building its eccentric creator modeled after a 15th-century Venetian palace, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum displays its collections in rooms surrounding a four-story central courtyard filled with flowering plants and fountains. The priceless 2500-piece collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, decorative arts, books, and manuscripts reflect the personal tastes and considerable expertise of Mrs. Gardner herself, whose own flamboyance further adds to the charm of the museum.
 
Behind the palazzo, a 70,000-square-foot glass-clad building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano creates new viewpoints for the original palazzo and stunning spaces for music and visual arts, allowing the museum to showcase exceptional contemporary works and artists. Rather than clash or compete with the original building, Piano's wing simply provides a new glass through which to view Mrs. Gardner's palazzo. From almost anywhere in the new building are uninterrupted prospects of the palace and gardens through transparent walls. After you tour the museum, stroll through the Fens, a long green space where you'll find a beautiful rose garden in bloom from June through October.
Address: 280 The Fenway, Boston, MA, Official site: www.gardnermuseum.org

Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its inaugural concert in 1881 at Symphony Hall, one of the world's most acoustically perfect concert halls, opened in 1900. Over more than a century of history, its conductors have included greats such as Pierre Monteux, Serge Koussevitzky, Charles Munch, Seiji Ozawa, and James Levine. In addition to its regular symphony season, the hall is home to the Boston Pops Orchestra, which sets an international standard for performances of lighter music. For many visitors, the highlight of a trip is a Pops concert, either in Symphony Hall or at the Hatch Memorial Shell, an Art Deco outdoor music shell on the riverside Esplanade that has become a Boston landmark. The shell hosts a regular program of concerts and other special events, and is especially famous for the Boston Pop's yearly performance of the 1812 Overture on July 4th. Audiences sit on the lawn in front of the shell with views of Cambridge, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill. You can go behind the scenes on a tour of Symphony Hall where you'll hear the history and traditions of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, its musicians and conductors. Address: 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA, Official site: www.bso.org

Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park 
The Boston waterfront has seen many changes since its early beginnings as a colonial shipping port. After a period of decline for much of the 20th century, new life was breathed into the area in the mid-1970s with an ambitious redevelopment plan. Today, this interesting mix of residential and commercial space is connected by HarborWalk, an attractive walkway along the waterfront, with parks, public art, benches, cafés, interpretive signs, and access to several means of exploring the harbor by cruise boat, ferry, or water taxi. A shuttle-boat also runs to the Charlestown Navy Yard.
 
Although it extends from Charlestown to South Boston - and will expand considerably farther - the part you won't want to miss goes from the North End through the wisteria-draped pergola of Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, past Commercial Wharf, India Wharf, and Long Wharf, and by Rowes Wharf before curving along the harbor into the vibrant Seaport District to the Institute of Contemporary Art, an art museum dramatically cantilevered above the water. The Boston Tea Party Ship, a replica of one of the original ships from which the Sons of Liberty dumped tea overboard the night of December 16, 1773, offers tours with a participatory reenactment of the event.
 
At Rowes Wharf, you can board an Odyssey cruise through Boston Harbor from Castle Island to George's Island, then east to the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, and back north to Charlestown Naval Yard before returning to the wharf. You can enjoy lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch as you savor the views of the Boston skyline from the water.
 
New England Aquarium
Overlooking the waterfront, the New England Aquarium features more than 20,000 fish and aquatic animals representing over 550 species. A man-made Caribbean coral reef houses a large variety of tropical fish and underwater life including sharks, turtles, and moray eels. The Edge of the Sea touch tank allows visitors to handle small invertebrates like crabs, starfish, and urchins. Outside the aquarium, visitors can watch harbor seals play, perform, and live in their enclosed habitat. The New England Aquarium also sponsors educational programs and whale-watching tours outside of Boston Harbor, and the adjacent IMAX Theater shows 40-minute films on nature subjects. Address: Central Wharf, Boston, MA, Official site: www.neaq.org

Museum of Science
Exhibits in this extensive science museum encourage learning through hands-on exploration of science and technology, but the museum is not just for children. Physics, biology, chemistry, ecology, zoology, astronomy, computers, and more are explored in more than 700 permanent, hands-on exhibits that are enhanced by stage presentations and interpreters. Highlights are a 65-million-year-old fossil discovered in the Dakota Badlands, an electricity dome with continuing programs, the Butterfly Garden where you can walk among free-flying butterflies in a conservatory filled with exotic plants, a live animal center, a chance to join local meteorologists to learn weather forecasting, and ComputerPlace, where you can operate a robot and explore how your computer stores information. The planetarium presents daily laser and star shows, and the Mugar Omni Theater has a five-story domed screen. Address: Science Park, Boston, MA, Official site: www.mos.org

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
The Kennedy family legend is alive and well in Boston, and nowhere can it be felt more than at the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site (83 Beals St., 617/566-7937, www.nps.gov/jofi) in Brookline. This is the 1917 birthplace and childhood home of JFK. Today it is an elegantly restored house where visitors can partake in guided tours. The Paul Revere House (19 North Sq., 617/523-2338, www.paulreverehouse.org) is the oldest home in downtown Boston. Dating back to the 1680s, this was once a stop on the Freedom Trail. Tours are offered to provide visitors an in-depth look into the life and mission of the famous revolutionary.
 
Dedicated to the memory of the thirty-fifth U.S. President, the museum is the official national memorial to JFK, designed by noted architect I.M. Pei and opened in 1979. The museum, which stands on the shore south of the city, features three theaters, personal memorabilia, photographs, and historical exhibits that document the life of JFK and his presidency. Exhibits cover the presidential campaign trail, the Oval Office, First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and the Kennedy family.
Address: Columbia Point, Boston, Official site: www.jfklibrary.org

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The 150-acre MIT campus is of special interest to fans of modern and postmodern architecture, a living museum of works by noted architects including Alvar Aalto, Eduardo Catalano, I. M. Pei, Frank Gehry, and Eero Saarinen. In addition, the campus displays hundreds of sculptures and art installations that you can see with the help of a self-guided walking tour map, by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Jacques Lipchitz, and Auguste Rodin. In the Hart Nautical Gallery are ship models, and the Compton Gallery shows contemporary art. Address: 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA -- Official site: www.mit.edu

Children's Museum
The Boston Children's Museum contains exhibits and hands-on activities designed for children up to age 10. Its three floors offer something for every child, from aspiring artists and actors to budding engineers and scientists. Some of the museum's highlights include a complete Japanese house to explore, a room filled with ways to make bubbles, Arthur's World featuring characters from the popular children's book series, and Raceways, where children explore the laws of motion by rolling golf balls along different tracks.
Address: 308 Congress Street, Boston MA, Official site: www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org

Gibson House
Here is a chance to tour a Victorian row house built in 1859, when Boston's Back Bay was just starting out as the city's upscale residential neighborhood. The house is filled with original Gibson family period furnishings: black-walnut woodwork, imported carpets, and 18th-century decorative arts. The kitchen, scullery, and butler's pantry, as well as formal rooms and private family quarters provide a glimpse into the lives of a well-to-do Boston family.
Address: 137 Beacon Street, Boston, MA, Official site: www.thegibsonhouse.org

Longfellow National Historic Site
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived in this 1759 Georgian-style house near Harvard Square from 1837 to 1882 and wrote several of his most famous poems here. Prior to this, the house was George Washington's headquarters from July 1775 to April 1776 when he was planning the siege of Boston. Inside, you can see a museum with 18th and 19th century painting and decorative arts; Longfellow's library; and letters from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens, and Abraham Lincoln.
Address: 105 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA, Official site: www.nps.gov/long

Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
Learn about the activities offered on these 30 islands at the Boston Harbor Islands information center on the Greenway, across from the New England Aquarium. Buy boat tickets here, and enjoy touring a Civil War-era fort, exploring tide pools, climbing to the top of the historic lighthouse, hiking the trails, camping, fishing, picnicking, and swimming at Spectacle Island. Park Service rangers give kayak lessons and walking tours of the island every day in summer. Address: 408 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 228, Boston, MA, Official site: www.nps.gov/boha
 
You could easily spend an entire day visiting the fine museums and galleries of Boston, but if you can only see a couple, here are the winners. The Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum (Congress St. Bridge, www.bostonteapartyship.com) is a replica of the original, where, in 1773, independence-minded Bostonians gathered for their historic tea dumping party. This museum now houses an historical tour of that evening's events, and recreates the atmosphere of the ship they were aboard. The Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Ave., 617/267-9300, www.mfa.org) houses one of the most eclectic assemblies of art in the world. From Renoir and Degas to art of Africa and Asia, this museum leaves no area of the globe or time period of art history underrepresented.
 
For a delightful stroll or picnic, go to the Public Garden, (Boylston and Charles Streets) whose name hardly does justice to its gorgeous ambience. This is a botanical paradise filled with foliage, flowers, grass and greenery. Nearby Boston Common (Information at 146 Tremont St., 617/536-4100) is a park that buzzes with nature lovers, athletes, and bookworms in the spring and summer. During fall and winter, this is the place to ice skate and make snowmen. In the same neighborhood, you will find historic Beacon Hill, where houses from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries remain gloriously preserved, giving the area the feeling of a museum brought to life.
 
The best photo opportunity can be found at one of the city's highest points. Go to the 60th floor of the John Hancock Observatory (617/572-6429) and marvel at the stunning panoramic view that awaits you here. The observatory also offers tours and exhibits of Boston's history and achievements. Music lovers should hear the sounds at Symphony Hall (310 Massachusetts Ave., 617/266-1492, www.bostonsymphonyhall.org), home of the Boston Pops. Classical concerts abound here as symphonies and orchestras from around the world perform.
 
Cambridge is home to the world-famous Harvard University. Take the T's Red Line to Harvard and follow along Quincy Street, and you will soon arrive at the bustling think tank that is Harvard. Walk around Harvard Yard to soak up the aura of learning and history that the university exudes.
 
And for the ultimate sunset, perch yourself anywhere along Boston Harbor and join the crowds that gather to applaud the sun's nightly performance.
 
Sporting
Golfers will enjoy the Fresh Pond Golf Course (691 Huron Ave., 617/349-6282, www.freshpondgolf.com) in nearby Cambridge. This is an inexpensive and lush course that Bostonians recommend. Or, kayak on the Charles River. Rental locations and lessons can be easily found along the river. The Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park (877/REDSOX-9) are a fun sight to see for all ages. Catch an afternoon or evening game if you are lucky enough to visit during baseball season, between April and October.
 
Eating Out
Fish & Chips and Guiness, oysters, fried clams, the ever popular New England Lobster Rolls, and lobster bisque are just a few of the favorites in this venerable town... People have been brewing beer here since well before the Revolutionary War, so your chances of finding some local brews tend to be quite good! Boston also boasts a thriving Chinatown!
The days when restaurant snobs in Boston sniffed that they had to go to New York to get a decent meal are long gone. Especially in warm weather, when excellent local produce appears on menus in every price range, Boston-area restaurants hold their own. Celebrity chefs and rising stars spice up the dynamic scene, students seek out good value at countless ethnic restaurants, and traditional favorites -- notably seafood -- occupy an important niche. And year-round, many visitors just want to know where they can get a lobster. This guide aims to help every visitor find something that hits the spot.
 
Price Categories
Very Expensive $41 and up
Expensive $31-$40
Moderate $20-$30
Inexpensive Under $20
 
Go Straight to the Source
The tiramisu at many North End restaurants comes from Modern Pastry, 257 Hanover St. (tel. 617/523-3783). The surreally good concoction ($3.50 a slice at the shop) makes an excellent picnic dessert in the summer. Head 4 blocks down Richmond Street to eat in Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, off Atlantic Avenue.
 
Weekday breakfast & Weekend Brunch
 Several top hotels serve Sunday brunch buffets of monstrous proportions -- outrageous displays that are outrageously expensive. They're worth the investment for a special occasion, but you can have a less incapacitating a la carte experience for considerably less money. Dine on a weekday to get a sense of the neighborhood and mingle with the regulars.
 
My top choice is in Cambridge: the S&S Restaurant, a family-run operation that never sends anyone away hungry. In Boston, the Elephant Walk and Hamersley's Bistro are excellent Sunday brunch destinations. Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, 429 Columbus Ave. (tel. 617/536-7669), is a longtime South End favorite not far from the Back Bay -- just the right distance to walk off some blueberry-waffle calories -- that's closed Sunday and doesn't accept credit cards. The Paramount, 44 Charles St., Beacon Hill (tel. 617/720-1152; www.paramountboston.com), is a classic for pancakes and eggs with a side of neighborhood gossip. At the Centre Street Café, 669 Centre St., Jamaica Plain (tel. 617/524-9217; www.centrestcafe.com), locals tough out long weekend waits for strong coffee and delicious specials made (when possible) with local and organic ingredients.
 
Boston Restaurant Weeks
During Boston Restaurant Week, dozens of places serve a three-course prix-fixe lunch for the decimal equivalent of the year -- in 2012, $20.12 -- and many offer dinner for an additional $10 to $13. The third week of August was the original Restaurant Week; it's now 2 weeks, as is the March incarnation. I find the latter less enjoyable because late winter's seasonal ingredients are dull, but the price is right. Popular restaurants book up quickly, so plan accordingly. The Convention & Visitors Bureau (tel. 888/733-2678; www.bostonusa.com/restaurantweek) lists names of participating restaurants and individual numbers to call for reservations. Ask whether the menu is set yet, and seek out restaurants that really get into the spirit by offering more than just a couple of choices for each course. If you don't, you're going to experience more chicken, salmon, and begrudging service than anyone deserves.
 
The Lunch Line
 Try to be near Downtown Crossing at lunchtime at least once during your visit and seek out Chacarero, 101 Arch St., off Summer Street (tel. 617/542-0392; www.chacarero.com). It serves other things, but the lines are so long because of the scrumptious Chilean sandwiches, served on house-made bread. Order chicken, beef, or vegetarian, ask for it "with everything" -- tomatoes, cheese, avocado, hot sauce, and (unexpected but delicious) green beans -- and dig in. The lines are long but move fairly quickly, and for less than $9, you feel like a savvy Bostonian.
 
Dining Gluten-Free in Boston & Cambridge
I turned to the parents of young acquaintances who have celiac disease in search of suggestions for Frommer's readers who are in the same boat. Perhaps most important is not forgetting to do what you do at home: Be sure your server knows that a diner or diners at the table can't eat gluten. Check out the Elephant Walk; Davio's; Nebo, 90 N. Washington St. (tel. 617/723-6326; www.neborestaurant.com), an Italian restaurant on the edge of the North End; and the funky Other Side Cafe, 407 Newbury St., off Mass. Ave. (tel. 617/536-8437; www.theothersidecafe.com), which also has numerous vegan options, outdoor seating in fine weather, and deafeningly loud music inside at night. The Legal Sea Foods and Bertucci's chains have gluten-free menus. Other dependable choices are branches of two national chains: P.F. Chang's China Bistro (www.pfchangs.com), 8 Park Plaza (tel. 617/573-0821), and in the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St. (tel. 617/378-9961); and Wagamama (www.wagamama.us), Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace (tel. 617/742-9242); in the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St. (tel. 617/778-2344); and 57 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge (tel. 617/499-0930).
 
Yum, Yum, dim sum --- Many Chinatown restaurants offer dim sum, the traditional midday meal featuring appetizer-style dishes. You'll see steamed buns (bao) filled with pork or bean paste; meat, shrimp, and vegetable dumplings; sticky rice dotted with sausage and vegetables; shrimp-stuffed eggplant; spring rolls; sweets such as sesame balls and coconut gelatin; and more. Waitresses wheel carts laden with tempting dishes to your table, and you order by pointing (unless you know Chinese). The waitress then stamps your check with the symbol of the dish, adding about $2 to $3 to your tab for each selection. Unless you order a la carte items from the regular menu or the steam table off to the side in most dining rooms, the total usually won't be more than about $10 to $12 per person. On weekends, the selection is wider than on weekdays, the turnover is faster (which means fresher food), and you'll often see three generations of families sharing large tables.
 
Looking to confirm a hunch, I asked a Hong Kong native to name Boston's best dim sum restaurant, and we agreed: Hei La Moon, 88 Beach St. (tel. 617/338-8813). It opened in 2004 and has since eclipsed a pair of solid competitors: China Pearl ?, 9 Tyler St., 2nd floor (tel. 617/426-4338), and Chau Chow City ?, 83 Essex St. (tel. 617/338-8158). To order off a sushi-style menu and have dim sum prepared just for you -- a good tactic on weekdays -- head to Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant, 61-63 Beach St. (tel. 617/426-8899), or Winsor Dim Sum Cafe, 10 Tyler St. (tel. 617/338-1688).
 
Where's the Beef?
Say "Boston," think "seafood," right? Apparently not. Branches of most of the national steakhouse chains dot the city, and they're all at the top of their game -- a rising tide lifts all boats, as the seafood folks say. Make a reservation, and have a light lunch.
 
The local favorites are Grill 23 & Bar; the Oak Room, in the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel, 138 St. James Ave. (tel. 617/267-5300; www.theoakroom.com); and Abe & Louie's, 793 Boylston St. (tel. 617/536-6300; www.abeandlouies.com). Devotees of the national chains can choose from the Palm, in the Westin Copley Place Boston, 200 Dartmouth St. (tel. 617/867-9292; www.thepalm.com); the Capital Grille, 359 Newbury St. (tel. 617/262-8900; www.thecapitalgrille.com); Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 217 Stuart St. (tel. 617/292-0808; www.flemingssteakhouse.com); Morton's of Chicago (www.mortons.com), 1 Exeter Plaza, Boylston St. at Exeter Street (tel. 617/266-5858), and World Trade Center East, 2 Seaport Lane (tel. 617/526-0410); Ruth's Chris Steak House (tel. 800/544-0808; www.ruthschris.com), in Old City Hall, 45 School St.; and Smith & Wollensky, 101 Arlington St. (tel. 617/432-1112; www.smithandwollensky.com).
 
Boston Tea Party, Part 2
In Boston, the only city that has a tea party named after it, the tradition of afternoon tea is alive and well. Reservations are strongly recommended; at the Four Seasons and Taj Boston hotels, they're pretty much mandatory.
The best afternoon tea in town is at the Bristol Lounge in the Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston St. (tel. 617/351-2037). The gorgeous room, lovely view, and courtly ritual elevate scones, pastries, tea sandwiches, and nut bread from delicious to unforgettable. The Bristol serves tea ($28) every day from 3 to 4:15pm.
 
Taj Boston, 15 Arlington St. (tel. 617/598-5255), serves tea in the celebrated Lounge at 2 and 4pm; it's available Saturday and Sunday in the winter, Friday through Sunday the rest of the year. The price is $25 for tea and pastries, $33 to add sandwiches.
The Langham, Boston, 250 Franklin St. (tel. 617/956-8751), serves afternoon tea ($31) daily from 3 to 5pm in Bond Restaurant & Lounge. The chain's flagship is in London, and as you'd expect, this is a proper British experience. The Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, in the Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf (tel. 617/856-7744), serves tea daily from 2:30 to 4pm in a lovely room overlooking the hotel marina. It costs $19 to $30. The Mandarin Oriental, Boston, 776 Boylston St. (tel. 617/535-8800), serves tea in the Lobby Lounge Thursday through Sunday from 2:30 to 4pm. It prices food ($27) and drinks ($6-$9) separately. Swans at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, 50 Park Plaza (tel. 617/654-1906), serves tea Friday through Sunday from 3 to 5pm and offers meatless and dairy-free options. The price is $30 to $32 for adults, $17 for children.
 
Two non-hotel destinations are worth considering. The Courtyard restaurant at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St. (tel. 617/859-2251), serves tea ($23) Wednesday through Friday from 2 to 4pm. And across the river, beloved Cambridge restaurant Upstairs on the Square, shown here, makes a wonderful destination. Zebra Tea ($28) is a three-tiered wonder that lets the inventive kitchen cut loose on a small scale. Food and drinks are also available a la carte, and the Grand Peppermint Tea ($18) combines minty sweets and a pot of the headliner. Tea is served Saturday and Sunday (Thurs-Sun in Dec) from 2 to 4pm.
 
And if you just want a well-prepared cuppa, head to Harvard Square, where Tealuxe, Zero Brattle St., Cambridge (tel. 617/441-0077; www.tealuxe.com), has been delighting tea aficionados since 1996. It serves and sells more than 100 varieties and serves light fare and desserts.
 
Quick Bites & picnic Provisions
If you're walking the Freedom Trail, pick up food at Faneuil Hall Marketplace and stake out a bench. Or buy a tasty sandwich in the North End at Volle Nolle or Il Panino Express, 266 Hanover St. (tel. 617/720-5720), and stroll down Fleet or Richmond street toward the harbor. Eat at the park on Sargent's Wharf, behind 2 Atlantic Ave., or in Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, overlooking the marina (which is also an option if you stocked up at Faneuil Hall Marketplace).
 
Two neighborhoods abut the Charles River Esplanade, a great destination for a picnic, concert, or movie. In the Back Bay, stop at Trader Joe's, 899 Boylston St. (tel. 617/262-6505), for prepared food. At the foot of Beacon Hill, pick up all you need for a do-it-yourself feast at Savenor's Market, 160 Charles St. (tel. 617/723-6328). Or call ahead for gourmet thin-crust pizza from Figs, 42 Charles St. (tel. 617/742-3447).
 
On the Cambridge side of the river, Harvard Square is close enough to the water to allow a riverside repast. About 5 minutes from the heart of the Square and well worth the walk, Darwin's Ltd., 148 Mount Auburn St. (tel. 617/354-5233; www.darwinsltd.com), serves excellent gourmet sandwiches and salads. Take yours to John F. Kennedy Park, on Memorial Drive and Kennedy Street, or right to the riverbank, a block away. Nowhere near the Charles, there's a branch at 1629 Cambridge St. (tel. 617/491-2999), between Harvard and Inman squares.
 
The Great Outdoors: alfresco Dining
Cambridge is a better destination for outdoor dining than Boston, where an alarming number of tables sit unpleasantly close to busy traffic, but both cities offer agreeable spots to lounge under the sun or stars.
 
Across the street from the Charles River near Kendall Square, both restaurant patios at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, 5 Cambridge Pkwy. (tel. 617/491-3600), have great views. The hotel's ArtBar is casual; Dante is fancier. On one of Harvard Square's main drags, Shay's Pub & Wine Bar, 58 John F. Kennedy St. (tel. 617/864-9161), has a small, lively seating area. More peaceful are the patios at Henrietta's Table and Oleana.
 
On the other side of the river, try the airy terrace at Miel (tel. 617/217-5151), in the InterContinental Boston hotel, which overlooks Fort Point Channel. Most bars and restaurants in Faneuil Hall Marketplace offer outdoor seating and great people-watching. In the Back Bay, Newbury Street is similarly diverting; a good vantage point is Stephanie's on Newbury, 190 Newbury St. (tel. 617/236-0990). A popular shopping stop and after-work hangout is the Parish Cafe and Bar, 361 Boylston St. (tel. 617/247-4777), where the sandwich menu is a "greatest hits" roster of top local chefs' creations.
 
The Scoop on Ice Cream
No less an expert than Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's has described Boston as "a great place for ice cream." That goes for Cambridge, too -- residents of both cities famously defy even the most frigid weather to get their fix. I like Cambridge better: Try JP Licks, 1312 Massachusetts Ave. (tel. 617/492-1001; www.jplicks.com); Ben & Jerry's, in the Garage mall, 36 John F. Kennedy St. (tel. 617/864-2828; www.benjerry.com); or Lizzy's, 29 Church St. (tel. 617/354-2911; www.lizzysicecream.com) -- all in Harvard Square -- or Christina's, 1255 Cambridge St., Inman Square (tel. 617/492-7021; www.christinasicecream.com). Favorite Boston destinations include Emack & Bolio's, 290 Newbury St., Back Bay (tel. 617/536-7127; www.emackandbolios.com), and 255 State St., across from the New England Aquarium (tel. 617/367-0220); and JP Licks, 352 Newbury St., Back Bay (tel. 617/236-1666), and 659 Centre St., Jamaica Plain (tel. 617/524-6740). Ben & Jerry's also has stores in Boston at the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St. (tel. 617/266-0767); 174 Newbury St., Back Bay (tel. 617/536-5456); and 20 Park Plaza, a block from the Public Garden (tel. 617/426-0890). Check the JP Licks and Emack & Bolio's websites for addresses of locations in Somerville and Brookline.
 
Shopping
Popular shopping in Boston can be found near the Common are the expensive shops of Newbury Street, shopping Nirvana (more shops, including Neiman Marcus, can be found a few blocks away in the mall settings of Copley Place and the Prudential Center). For distinctive, one-of-a-kind antiques and contemporary crafts, we love the Beacon Hill area's boutiques. Parallel to Newbury is retail-rich Boylston Street.Stretching from Boylston Street past Huntington Avenue are two high-end malls, the Shops at Prudential Center and Copley Place (linked by an enclosed walkway across Huntington Ave.), which bookend a giant retail complex. Here you'll find the posh department stores Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, and Saks Fifth Avenue. A branch of Barneys New York, the luxe fashion wonderland, is in Copley Place. The adjacent South End, though less commercially dense, boasts a number of art galleries and quirky shops; it's a great destination for strolling, shopping, and snacking.
 
Another popular destination is chain-heavy Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The shops, boutiques, and pushcarts at Boston's busiest attraction sell everything from candles to costume jewelry, sweaters to souvenirs. Nearby, the North End has augmented its dozens of Italian restaurants with a limited but fun retail scene. Venture beyond the main drag, Hanover Street, and you'll find worthwhile stops on Salem, Parmenter, and Richmond streets.Beacon Hill is a classic shopping destination. Picturesque Charles Street, at the foot of the hill, is a short but retail-heavy street noted for its excellent gift shops and antiques dealers.
 
One of Boston's oldest shopping areas is Downtown Crossing, a traffic-free pedestrian mall along Washington, Winter, and Summer streets near Boston Common. With construction ongoing at the site of the old Filene's building (and the century-old Filene's Basement flagship on hiatus), the center of this area can be something of a mess. But you'll still find Macy's, Swedish fashion phenomenon H&M, tons of smaller clothing and shoe stores, food and merchandise pushcarts, and a Borders bookstore.
 
Harvard Square in Cambridge, with its bookstores, boutiques, and T-shirt shops, is about 15 minutes from downtown Boston by subway. Despite the neighborhood association's efforts, chain stores have swept over "the Square." You'll find a mix of national and regional outlets, and more than a few persistent independent retailers.For a less generic experience, stroll from Harvard Square along shop-lined Massachusetts Avenue toward Porter Square to the north or Central Square to the southeast. About 10 minutes up Prospect Street from Central Square is Inman Square, home to a number of vibrant independent retailers.
 
Stay on the Red Line subway for one stop beyond Porter Square and you'll come to Somerville's Davis Square, where the relatively reasonable rents have helped create a hipster mecca with plenty of retail options. Another neighborhood with a well-deserved reputation for shopping variety is Brookline's Coolidge Corner, which is worth a trip (on the Green Line C train).



Captcha Challenge
Reload Image
Type in the verification code above