Published September 15, 2012
Boston, one of the oldest cities in the United States, has played a crucial role in shaping the history, politics and culture of the nation. The city's contribution to the American Revolution earned it the nickname, the “Cradle of Liberty."
In the two centuries since, Boston’s well-educated denizens have found themselves at the helm of civil rights movements like feminism and abolition, earning it a reputation as the most progressive city in New England.With its historic lore, some travelers are surprised to find that Boston is a sprawling, modern and bustling town. The city is home to scores of colleges, universities and learning institutions, and the young and vibrant population has left an indelible mark on Boston's constantly evolving culture and politics. It's this blend of history, architecture, and attitude that gives Boston its unique and intoxicating atmosphere.Here are three great places to start your tour of this great city:
Originally purchased by pilgrims in 1634, Boston Common is America’s oldest city park. Located at the center of downtown Boston, the park is a popular site for all types of demonstrations, musical performances and public gatherings. Various memorials, plaques and statues pepper the Common's 50 acres and commemorate some of the city’s social and military milestones, from the American Revolution to the 1888 Boston Massacre. The Common is arguably at its most beautiful in late spring, when its flowers are in full bloom. During winter, the park’s sole water feature, the Frog Pond, is converted into an ice skating rink.
Stretching from the Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument, Boston’s renowned Freedom Trail allows visitors to retrace the steps of the American Revolution. The 2.5 mile walk passes by some of Boston’s most impressive historic landmarks, including the Old North Church, the Paul Revere House and Faneuil Hall. A tour on the Freedom Trail is an ideal way to survey Boston and the surrounding areas, and get acquainted with the geography and history of the city.
Boston Museum of Fine Art
With the recent addition of a 250,000-square-foot expansion, the MFA is one of the largest and most respected art museums in the United States. The newly constructed Art of the Americas Wing features artistic tributes to United States history in works such as Gilbert Stuart’s iconic portrait of George Washington and Thomas Sully’s Passage of Delaware. The city of Boston is also paid homage in paintings like Childe Hassam’s Boston Common at Twilight. Works by visionaries like Rembrandt, van Gogh, Renoir and Monet adorn the walls of this magnificent building. The museum’s permanent collection comprises over 450,000 works, which are complimented by an ongoing schedule of special exhibitions.