Boston — one of the oldest cities in the United States — is a scenic four hours by train from Penn Station. Here’s how to see the Massachusetts capital in a weekend.
Attractions old and new
Boston is easy to explore by foot thanks to its compact layout. Stroll through Beacon Hill, a central neighborhood known for gaslit streets and Federal-style rowhouses, before heading to Boston Common, the city’s landmark park.
From there, follow the red lines painted on the ground that trace the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail (617-357-8300, thefreedomtrail.org), which leads to 16 historic sites, including the popular Paul Revere House and the Old North Church.
For a scenic route, the Charles River is lined with paths for cyclists and runners. From Allston, book a one-way canoe excursion at Paddle Boston (from $15/hour; 1071 Soldier’s Field Road, 617-965-5110, paddleboston.com) across the river to Cambridge, home to Harvard and M.I.T., independent bookstores and museums.
Once dominated by warehouses, Boston’s waterfront Seaport District is flourishing, with new residential high-rises and cultural attractions, including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (admission $15, $13 seniors, $10 students, FREE ages 17 and younger, closed Mondays; 25 Harbor Shore Drive, 617-478-3100, icaboston.org), which hosts rotating exhibitions and performances; and Harpoon Brewery (306 Northern Ave., 617-456-2322, harpoonbrewery.com), where you can tour the original factory and sample brews in the tasting room.
Boston abounds with markets. Highlights include the South End’s long-running SoWa Open Market (Saturdays and Sundays, April through October; 530 Harrison Ave., sowaboston.com), which features food trucks and stands selling designer crafts and local produce, while downtown’s year-round, indoor Boston Public Market (100 Hanover St., 617-973-4909, bostonpublicmarket.org) is home to vendors selling products from all over New England.
If you time it right, you will be able to catch a game at Fenway Park, the oldest stadium in baseball and since 1912 the home of the Boston Red Sox (4 Yawkey Way, 877-733-7699, boston.redsox.mlb.com). Seats atop the left field wall, aka the Green Monster, are still among the most coveted.
Start the day at Pavement Coffeehouse (multiple locations, pavementcoffeehouse.com) for drip coffee and kettle-boiled bagels, or downtown’s George Howell Coffee (505 Washington St., 857-957-0217, georgehowellcoffee.com) for cold brew and Union Square Donuts.
At Saltie Girl in Back Bay (closed Mondays; 281 Dartmouth St., 617-267-0691, saltiegirl.com), sample sustainably sourced seafood such as fried oysters and charred octopus. In the burgeoning Seaport District, Committee (50 Northern Ave., 617-737-5051, committeeboston.com) serves Mediterranean meze. In Fenway, Hojoko (1271 Boylston St., 617-670-0507, hojokoboston.com) offers a late-night spot for fresh takes on sushi.
For dessert, get cannoli from Mike’s Pastry (300 Hanover St., 617-742-3050, mikespastry.com) or dairy-free ice cream in flavors including cold brew at FoMu (655 Tremont St., 617-982-7955, fomuicecream.com).
The Envoy Hotel (70 Sleeper St., 617-338-3030, theenvoyhotel.com), the first hotel to open in the Seaport District, has a rooftop bar overlooking the harbor. The new Godfrey Hotel Boston (505 Washington St., 617-804-2000, godfreyhotelboston.com) is near Boston Common.