Boston is the capital of Massachusetts, perhaps best known to the average person for the Boston Tea Party, one of many key American Revolution events to take place in the city.

One of the oldest towns in America, it was formed in 1630, and has developed into a centre of scientific research, education, sports, and film.

Must sees for free

Boston Public Garden was the first botanical garden in America. Now, it’s renowned for its warmer season swans and ducks, and its swan boats. The boats cost a small fee to be pedalled round in, but the gardens themselves are free. Take a picnic, have a stroll, and check out the Make Way for Ducklings statue, based on the classic children’s book.

If you want to make sure you see as much of the city as possible, try walking the Freedom Trail. Covering 16 historical sites over 2.5 miles, you can even download a free audio tour onto your phone to listen to whilst you walk by going to your podcast library on your phone.

On Wednesday evenings, you can attend one of Boston University’s Coit Observatory’s open nights, where you can use their telescopes and observe the sky for free. Weather permitting, you just need to book a ticket for free in advance.

Swan boats

Top sees for a fee

The home of iconic authors including Louise May Alcott (Little Women), Dennis Lehand (Shutter Island) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter), you can’t leave Boston without checking out a bookstore. Open since 1825, Brattle Book Store offers more than 250,000 books and texts for sale, with so many available that it overflows into the street outside. Books can be purchased for as little as $3, so why not stop by for a bargain?

The Mapparium is a three-story, stained-glass globe that you look at from the inside out. Housed in the Mary Baker Eddy Library, entry is only $6, and offers a less distorted perspective of the continents, lit up with LEDs. The curved glass walls also reflect sound, leading to the ‘whispering gallery’ effect where people one end of the bridge can hear people whisper at the opposite end.

Get out onto the water with Boston Harbor Cruises on one of their whale watching tours. Travelling out to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary, they say there’s a good chance you’ll see a few different species of whales. At $55 for adults and $35 for children, it’s not the cheapest option, but it’s an experience you won’t forget.

The Mapparium

Getting around

Boston has extensive public transport, including railways, buses, ferries, subways, and their Bluebikes public bike share programme. Bikes are $2.50 for a single ride, or $10 for unlimited 2-hour rides in 24-hours. CharlieCards can also be purchased to cover 24-hours, or seven days.

Boston's Bluebikes

Eating out and going out

The first Italian cafe in Boston, Caffè Vittoria is spread over four levels, three liquor bars, and a cigar room. Offering a variety of Italian options, including cannoli, gelato and tiramisu, the cafe is on Hanover Street, at the centre of the city’s Little Italy, and is renowned as being ‘Boston’s best cappuccino and cannoli’.

Based out of an old-fashioned cinema is Empire Garden Boston; a Chinese restaurant with high ceilings and an air of grandeur. Serving a wide variety of Chinese and Dim Sum dishes, there can be a wait for seating, which means it must be something worth waiting for.

For a voluntary donation, you can take a tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery. You’ll even get a complimentary tasting glass to keep and three beer samples. There are other tours on offer too, including The Bierkeller, where you also get to sample cheese.

Boston at night


Luxury:Boston Park Plaza is a four-star hotel boasting a $100 million renovation, a presidential suite with full bar, and package deals with neary tourist attractions. 50 Park Plaza. From £96 per night.

Mid-range:The Bostonian Boston is a four-star hotel offering a redbrick facade, a restaurant serving fresh seafood, and a juliette balcony with deluxe rooms. 26 North St. From £73 per night.

Budget:The Boston Fenway Inn by FOUND is a three-star hotel boasting a community centred design, games room, and both private and shared rooms. 12 Hemenway St. From £31 per night.

Boston Public Garden

The facts

Currency: United States Dollar ($) £1=$1.24

Time zone: GMT-4

The flight: From £230 return with one stop, nine-13 hours depending on stopover time, with Virgin Atlantic.

Best time to visit: November has cheap flights but a cold weather forecast; wrap up warm and save some money, or spend a little more and go for the sun in June.

Visas, injections and precautions: No visa needed for trips less than 90 days.

Boston Common