48 Hours in Boston
See all of Boston in 48 hours? Challenge accepted.
Boston ranks third as the most walkable city in the US for 2016. Meaning, it is relatively easier for people in the city to move around from one point to another. Surely it would not be that hard to go to different attractions, right?
However, there are numerous locations worth seeing in Boston. The city is home to top universities, historical spots, artistic and cultural places and an amazing number of Dunkin’ Donuts, how can one squeeze seeing all of those in just two days?
Here is a guide to help you navigate through Boston and experience all its charm in 48 hours:
First, decide how you want to arrive. Check the pros (speed) and cons (expense) of each mode of transportation.
Going to Boston
Going to Boston from New York over the weekend is possible. You can get there by car, train, bus or plane. If you are in for a road trip and you fancy driving 216 miles via Massachusetts Turnpike, then go ahead and grab a car. Be warned that although you may not be sharing space with strangers in a car, bad traffic may cause you to be on the road for at least 5.5 hours, plus, like NYC, you do not really need a car in Boston and parking may be costly as well.
A cheaper way to go is by bus at $19 to $35 fare. Although, like cars, you may get stuck in traffic.
For faster and stress-free trip, ride a train. Acela Express trains can reach Boston in less than 4 hours although it is much more expensive than regular trains.
The fastest, most convenient way is still by plane, it can be more expensive but the flight only takes an hour.
As a walkable city like New York, people here do not ride cars to go to nearby places.
However, if you do not feel like walking, you can ride the train or the “T.” The railways are colored coded depending on where you are going, so check if you are on the right track.
Consider using a Charlie Card if you plan on using trains throughout your tour. You may save some money this way because it will not charge any if you transfer from train to bus within 90 minutes.
Keep in mind that although it’s fun to experience “T,” trains operate on certain schedules and it may take you longer to reach a destination because all lines pass downtown.
You may want to try riding a bike. You can rent a bike in Boston for 24 hours and leave it in any bike station near your last itinerary for the day.
If you want more comfort, hail Uber or Lyft car services. This way, you’ll get around safely and at the same time rest your tired legs, ‘cause for sure there is a trek somewhere.
Now it’s time for the itinerary:
Almost all tourists start from the Freedom Trail. It is a good overview of the whole city and by following the 2.5 mile red brick trail, you will be able to see eleven of the sixteen sites important to the American Revolution. Yes, everything we know as America now, all started in Boston.
After the 2-hour trek, walk around or maybe have a picnic lunch at the park called Boston Common. The Freedom Trail actually starts from here.
Right across the park you will see the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House that sits on Beacon Street right on Beacon Hill. Stepping on here is a charming experience. Everything from the buildings, the houses, the alleyways, the road and even the old trees will transport you back to a time before the modern architecture designs that we are used to seeing. If you are still not impressed by now, pass by the cobbled Acorn Street for that back in the olden days feel.
If you need a little more excitement, go to Quincy Market. Shop, dine and be entertained by the many different and fun attractions here. Also, there are around 33 different places to eat from – all from different countries.
While in Quincy Market, you should not miss the oldest restaurant in all America, Union Oysters.
All the walking can make anyone hungry. Have dinner in this National Historical Landmark built during to the pre-revolutionary times.Its years in business surely perfected their recipes. Of course, oysters here are absolutely delicious and the whole ambiance is great.
Another gastronomical adventure can be found on the city’s North End. Hopefully you did not stuff too much oysters because this place is Boston’s Little Italy.
There are several Italian restaurants here and everyone will have their own favorite but if you are having a difficult time choosing, try cannoli’s at Mike’s Pastry Restaurant. You won’t miss the restaurant since there is usually a long line of people waiting outside.
Next stop is Boston’s Public Library. This is the first public library in all America. It’s not just all books though, the whole building is an architectural treasure that’s surely worth visiting.
Near the library is Copley Square, “where it all comes together.” If you join marathons, this place may be familiar to you as this is where the run usually concludes. It can be a good place to rest your legs and people-watch. If you have extra time, you can visit the Trinity Church built in 1700.
A few steps from Copley Square is the Skywalk Observatory. It is worth visiting this place to have a view of the whole city from 700 feet high. The observatory has a 360 degree view and you can see everything up to 100 miles away.
Being close to the ocean and having a bay in the area gave way to fishing and sailing activities in Boston but if you do not have the time or resources to ride a boat then enjoy the harbor just by walking around. This may be the best way to unwind and absorb all of the day’s experience.
Now that we’ve finished day 1, let’s welcome the second day with more anticipation!
Sam Adams Brewery
A tour of Boston would not be complete without visiting some of its brewery. Sam Adams Brewery is a brand named after Founding Father Samuel Adams. Free toursare available for visitors to witness how the beer is made. Also, each participant can taste the beer in this test kitchen. This is no ordinary beer, whatever the staff made for the day may be something you will never see in the market or maybe not in a year or so.
After warming up with some beer, time to head to a restaurant for brunch. Try the Legal Seafood because, as their tagline goes, “if it isn’t fresh, it’s not legal.” Their steamed lobsters are really good, a must-try if you ask me.
Home of two biggest universities in Boston – Harvard and MIT. Grab a T ride and be welcomed by students, restaurants, bookstores, vintage shops, museums, theaters and more. When in Boston, do visit its backyard city, Cambridge.
While in Cambridge, try some Mexican food cravings in Olè. CEO, Co-Owner and executive chef, Erwin Ramos, is the recipient of several “Best of Boston” award and also an award from Mexico for having contributed to “Mexican Gastronomy.” More on this restaurant in our previous post.
Back in Boston, enjoy new art work on display while having drinks at Liquid Art. The original concept for this restaurant is a “gallery-restaurant” and it is now surely one of the coolest bars around.
Sunset Boat Ride
After seeing the city on foot and from 700 ft high, see it from the sea. Buy a ticket for a boat ride or a cruise to experience Boston’s harbor. It’s the perfect way to see Boston’s skyline and it is even more magnificent at sunset.
A violinist at a Courtyard of Isabella’s Garden
Lastly, relax in the beautiful courtyard garden or view some exquisite collection of paintings from different artists like Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, and many more at the Isabella Gardner Museum.
This museum first started as a private family collection then later became a public museum according to the wishes of the owner, Isabella Stewart Gardner. A three-story venetian-style palace was created to house a collection of paintings, sculptures, tapestries and decorative art from all over including Europe, Asia and America.
If you are lucky, you may even come by a day when a concert featuring the Boston Symphony Orchestra is on.
There you have it, a list of places to see and things to do in Boston, all in 48 hours.
Boston is a place rich in history and culture. They have a diverse population and are inclusive to all kinds of people. You may be able to squeeze in everything in two days, but for sure there is a lot more to see, do and taste if you have more time.