Welcome to Massachusetts - Boston/Cambridge
Colonial history, fine arts, and urban delights are everywhere to be found in Boston and Cambridge
Every year, thousands of visitors from around the world flock to Boston, a world-class city brimming with urban and cultural pleasures, natural beauty, and so many sites of Colonial and Revolutionary history they always seem to be just an arm’s length away.
Start with the arts and entertainment: the city is home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops, which perform as Symphony Hall, known the world over for its magnificent acoustics. It is easy to find excellent art museums like Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Art. Boston and Cambridge have several top colleges – Harvard and Boston universities, the Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and many more – which naturally surround themselves with visual and performing arts, bookstores, and dynamic youth culture.
Boston can lay a claim to being the cradle of the American Revolution, and many of the mementos, names, and places that appear in the story of America’s founding are visible along the streets and byways of the city. A good place to begin re-learning some Revolutionary history while also seeing city landmarks is on the Freedom Trail. This three-mile walking tour begins at the greensward of the Boston Commons and passes 16 sites of historic importance in downtown Boston and Charlestown, including the State House, the Granary Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House, Fanueil Hall, and the ship USS Constitution.
The Boston Public Garden and Boston Common also is part of the “Emerald Necklace,” a series of city parks created from 1878 to 1896 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. that extends five miles from the Charles River to Dorchester and comprises more than 1,000 acres of green space. Boston has been nicknamed “America’s Walking City,” and the pleasures of walking only begin with the Freedom Trail and the parks. The Charles River Esplanade is a grassy swath along the Charles River where people walk, jog, lounge, watch the university rowing teams practice on the river, and, on the Fourth of July, gaze upward at the fireworks that always close the annual concert by the Boston Pops at the Hatch bandshell. Walking also is the best way to visit Boston’s North End, the traditional Italian neighborhood that is thick with awning-covered sidewalk cafes, Italian eateries, and street life that mimics the daily life of any relaxed Italian city. Other outdoor adventures in or near Boston include picnicking and swimming at the Boston Harbor Islands, a 17-island state park that is only 45 minutes by ferry from downtown.
Activities for children can be found everywhere. Start, if you wish, with the Boston Children’s Museum, the Franklin Park Zoo, the Museum of Science, and the USS Constitution Museum, the New England Aquarium, and Boston Duck Tours (a part-land, part-river tour in an amphibious vehicle). If shopping is your version of vacation fun, there are several shopping hot spots, including Newberry Street, Prudential Center, Copley Place, Fanueil Hall (especially for Boston memorabilia), and Quincy Market (with scores of different and many ethnic food kiosks). Another place to shop is the legendary Harvard Square, in the neighboring city of Cambridge. A famous newsstand located on the triangle of land smack in the center of Harvard Square sells magazines and newspapers from around the world. An arm’s length away is the Harvard Coop, with any merchandise a college dorm or hip urban apartment could need. Whether or not you end up laden with shopping bags, step out of the Square and into Harvard Yard and look around. This august place is arguably the heart of the Ivy League with some dorm buildings that date from the 1700s.
Events - Find Out Where and When
- “Private Lives” by Shakespeare & Co. -- Lenox, MA
- Big Apple Circus presents Luminocity -- Boston, MA
- The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts -- Clinton, MA
- Island of Lemurs: Madagascar 3D at IMAX New England Aquarium -- Boston, MA
- Ventfort Folk by the Fire Concert Series -- Lenox, MA
- April Play-Cation at Lowell National Historical Park -- Lowell, MA
- April School Vacation at Franklin Park Zoo -- Boston MA
- April School Vacation at Stone Zoo -- Stoneham, MA
- "Welcome to Our Home" Living History Tour -- Concord, MA
- Disney On Ice presents Princesses & Heroes -- Worcester, MA
- The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) -- Lowell, MA
- Robin & Linda Williams & Their Fine Group -- Shelburne Falls, MA