Boston in a day, things to do and see

About a year ago, I was visiting friends up in the Northeast area and was supposed to meet a friend in Boston later in the evening. My friend told me there was a lot to experience by myself and I should make a day of it while I’m there until he arrived later. I didn’t think I would get to experience much on foot by myself, but I saw a full day’s worth of this city and was extremely impressed. 

Here are a few things I enjoyed and what I want to return and see more of. 

This is a guest post from Maria.

How to spend one day in Boston

Boston Public Garden 

Boston public gardens - Boston in a day

When I first arrived, this was where I found myself. The Boston Public Garden is incredibly popular and proudly holds the title as the country’s first public garden. This setting will put you right in the elegant mood with its Victorian style. I was blown away by the number of gorgeous flowers and winding paths that wound along the park. 

It was fairly warm when I visited, so I hopped on the Swan Boats and rode around the pond. Since Boston is known for its rich history, you’ll, of course, see different statues of significant political figures but also beloved characters from different stories like the Jungle Book. 

I’d love to come back to this spot with a book and a picnic basket as it had such a relaxing, but beautiful feel about it.

Once I needed a new location that still felt similar to the garden, I headed over to the Boston Common right across the street to take in more gorgeous views and sites. You’ll find gorgeous flowers and plants along this pathway as well. 

Public Gardens in Boston - One day in Boston

Bonus: Are you a lover of ‘80s television like I am? If so, you may be just as pleasantly surprised as I was when I looked across the street and found the actual Cheers bar used for the outer shot of the building. You can even go inside for lunch and a beer. But don’t expect the bar to look exactly as it did in the show. There isn’t a large chance people will shout “NORM!” as you walk through the door either. 

Museum of Fine Arts 

When you’re on vacation, it’s only necessary to get a little bit of art and culture in your life, right? You can find that at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Whether you’re searching for art from the Americas or West Africa, you’re going to find it here. One of the most breathtaking areas I discovered was the Japanese art section. This gallery holds the largest collection of Japan artwork in the country. 

I only spent a few hours inside of this museum, but with over 500,000 pieces, I could have easily spent a whole day there. From impressionists to modern artists, they really had everything. 

Boston Public Library 

If you or anyone in your family or friend group love architecture, you can’t miss stopping at The Boston Public Library. It houses one of the largest lending collections in the country and contains more than 20 million items for people to borrow.

This library isn’t just for reading though, they have different tours offered throughout the week where you can learn more about the Renaissance-style architecture and become dazzled by the gorgeous art, paintings and murals hanging on the wall. Book lovers, as well as book lover’s friends, will love exploring this beautiful building. 

The Freedom Trail 

Freedom Trail - things to do in Boston in a day

When I first arrived in Boston, I had heard about the Freedom Trail but considered avoiding it as I didn’t want to pay for a tour company to follow around all day.  Since the trail is actually a brick line that traverses the city, you don’t really need to hop on a tour, though they are available. There are maps available in the visitor’s center of the Boston Common for you to engage in a self-exploration trail along with the sixteen different sites along the way. 

The trail is around two and a half miles long, so I hope you brought your calorie tracker because you’ll be getting your steps in along this tour. Each stop will have a bronze marker located beneath you on the sidewalk as well as plaques that describe the events in history that took place at these locations. 

I found the self-guided tour more enjoyable, as I could start and stop whenever I wanted on the walking trail and could even veer off path if I found something else in the city that caught my eye.

Along the tour, you’ll enter the north side, which was one of my favorite spots. It makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to a different time period as you experience an older feel when you view the Paul Revere House and the Historic Old North Church. A lot of these buildings were from the 1600s, and I was fascinated by the older architecture. 

Boston Harbour

Bunker Hill Monument 

I don’t consider myself a giant history buff, but being in this city made me want to become one. I went and visited the Bunker Hill Monument and learned all about this battle held between the British and Colonial forces.

I Googled more about this battle while I was here so I could learn more about the significance of the monument. This is when I learned how it used to be one of the bloodiest battles of the revolution. 

You can climb to the top of the monument and witness the gorgeous view for yourself by grabbing a pass from the Bunker Hill Museum. So, you should of course head into the museum to learn more about the war itself after you’ve witnessed the gorgeous view. 

Whether you’re exploring with friends or have a day to yourself, this city is one of the best to walk around and explore. You’ll learn more about different historical figures and take in the breathtaking views. There is so much more to see in Boston, as this was just one day of exploring. 

You can find many more free things to do in Boston, whether you are here for a few days or even a week. I’ve already started planning my next trip to spend a week venturing through and learning more about the historical significance this city has to offer. 

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