Things to do in Boston, USA: The three-minute guide

36 Hours in Boston

Bosto­n has emerg­ed from its brain­y, intro­verte­d shell to offer a livel­ier mix of cultu­ral offer­ings, not to menti­on an explo­ding food scene­.


No American city has a history as strong and as long as Boston. Founded in 1630, Boston boasts a string of US firsts – from the first public school to the first park. It was also the city that kicked off the American Revolution when patriots dumped tea into the harbour in protest against taxation without representation. The history combines with handsomeness – the city is blessed with street after street of gorgeous brownstone housing – and unparalleled (in the US, anyway) walkability.


Many of Boston's key historic sights are along the Freedom Trail – a four-kilometre route marked out by red bricks. Sites include the Old State House, where the museum inside goes into the events leading up to the Boston Tea Party, and the Old South Meeting House, where the revolutionaries met on the night of the infamous tea-chucking. See


The wonderfully OTT Cuchi Cuchi has wait staff in burlesque costume and a small plates menu that gleefully hops all over the world. That can mean ceviche, stroganoff, tagine and empanadas washed down with shamelessly fruity cocktails. See


Charles Street in Beacon Hill is a fabulous place for shopping – all antiques stores, little boutiques and chocolate shops. It doglegs into Newbury Street in Back Bay, which has a glorious mixture of high end, mainstream chain and indie fashion, plus cracking bookshops and record stores squeezed into the photogenic brownstone buildings.


The best views of the city come from the water. Boston Harbor Cruises runs 90-minute boat trips around the islands in Boston Harbor, throwing in plenty of history via the commentary. There's also a good ratio of "I didn't know that" snippets about the islands – such as the one where deer hid from wolves and another where a giant rubbish tip was turned into a park. See


The Colonnade is in a handy position between the hip South End and Back Bay areas, has a rooftop pool (which is rare for Boston) and marvellously comfortable beds. There's a bit of history to it as well – a plaque out the front boasts of president Gerald Ford staying there when launching the nation's bicentennial celebrations in 1975. Rooms cost from US$256. See


The up-and-coming area is Somerville, just to the north of Cambridge on the northern side of the Charles River. Bars and restaurants congregate around the already gentrified Davis Square, and the slightly more dog-eared Union Square. Both are great bet for an in-the-know night out.

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Disclosure: David Whitley was a guest of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.