As a first-time visitor to the States, you could take a map of the USA, close your eyes, stick a pin in it and you’d have chosen somewhere awesome to go. However, if you want to be more scientific and kind of less pin-based, Boston Massachusetts simply has to be one of the places to go if you’ve never been Stateside before.
So, what’s the deal with Boston?
How much time do you have?! Boston is one of the oldest cities in the USA. Founded in 1630, Boston has always been high profile. Prominent in War of Independence, Boston gained a well-earned reputation for liking a party early in its history. One of the largest cities in the USA, it is steeped in history, culture and a feel-good factor unlike many places around the world, let alone the rest of the United States.
Getting to Boston
Boston’s biggest international airport is Boston Logan, tucked away to the east of the city. Like so many American airports, it’s an absolute hive of activity. This is though good practice as it gives you a taste of what to expect in Boston – the hustle, the bustle and the pulse of life that’s waiting for you.
The paperwork and all that jazz…
Sounds obvious, but your passport is a given. You won’t be getting far without it.
For most of the world, you will need to get a visa in advance of your trip. A B1 visa covers those visiting for business, whereas a B2 visa is for those who are entering the USA for recreational or medical purposes. You will need to get both of these secured well in advance of your journey and may well entail a trip to your country’s American embassy or consulate to get approval.
That said, you may be fortunate enough to come from an “ESTA country” – Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This is a nifty arrangement that the USA has with 38 countries around the world where, subject to approval before you fly, you can gain entry into the USA without a visa. You need to apply online before you travel and costs a more than reasonable $14.00 USD to complete.
Countries covered by the ESTA arrangement include the likes of Australia, the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand. ESAT overage takes in a large number of European countries and elsewhere.
Pro-tip for travelers: Always check ESTA status well in advance. While things stay largely static, you can’t rule out the possibility of things changing from time to time!
What to do and see in Boston
So, you’ve made it through Logan airport, and Boston is ready and waiting. Here are some of the great sights to see and things to do in Boston. You will seriously need to have your camera to hand. So, breathe in, be suitably thrilled, and get ready for a truly eye-opening experience!
The Museum of Science
If you have got a taste for knowledge, you can’t go far wrong here. Bostonians have a pedigree history of innovation and the museum celebrates this fact with over 700 eye-widening exhibits, including a planetarium, live animal center, and butterfly farm.
The Freedom Trail
Boston was at the heart of the American Revolution. If you’re a history buff, then Boston won’t disappoint. The Freedom Trail is a tour of the city covering 11 historic sites that were significant in America’s fight for independence. While you won’t get to see crates of tea bobbing about in the harbor, still very much worth taking in.
The Boston Red Sox
There can’t be anything much more American than baseball. And with the Red Sox, you have one of the most famous team’s in the country. A trip to Fenway Park to see them play is an experience that will stick with you for a lifetime – even if hot dogs aren’t always your thing!
The JFK Presidential Library and Museum
As American names go, there really isn’t any bigger than this one. The museum and library hold the world’s largest collection of items relating to both JFK and his family. Take a few hours to take in an icon of human history – time well spent. There is also a particular focus on the Kennedy family’s close ties to Boston and Massachusetts.
Found throughout the city, these handy buses are there to show you around the heart of Boston. Each ticket you buy is good for two days and allows you to customize where you go and what you see in downtown Boston.
Eating and drinking in Boston
Nestling on the Atlantic coastline, with a rich maritime history, it’s no surprise that Boston offers a wealth of seafood-themed places to eat. If there’s only one thing you eat while you there, check out lobster roll. You won’t regret it. Oysters out on one of the many waterfront restaurants is also a tempter.
Boston is also incredibly diverse, so you can indulge yourself in an array of international cuisine. From Brazilian to Thai to Greek, whatever tickles your taste-buds, you will find it here in Boston.
Just like New York a few miles away, Boston also never really sleeps. Check out an endless number of bars and late-night haunts. You can also find some great jazz venues – adding to that authentic Americana feel in one of America’s most iconic cities.
Whatever your tastes, Boston will cater for you. Bostonians love to meet with new visitors to their city and let have their take on where’s best to go and see. Boston is both charming and intriguing, a modern twenty-first-century city that has never forgotten its past and what made it what it is.
Enjoy your time in Boston. Again, don’t forget your camera – you’ll kick yourself if you do!