Last summer I started my solo travel adventure around the East Coast USA in Boston.
After getting through customs at the airport and making my way to my hostel (which was pretty easy thanks to a simple shuttle bus to the metro) I was pretty ready to sleep. I had a little walk around the area to see what was nearby and then got a good night’s sleep ready for a full day of exploring- I was only here for a few days.
So how did I spend my days?
There is a lot of history in Boston. In the UK we don’t learn much about American History so a lot of the relevance was lost on me, but I did my best to learn on this trip.
The Freedom Trail is one of the first things you will read about if you research what to do in Boston. The trail is a walking route around the city that goes to many historically important sites. It’s a couple of hours to walk and there are various tour companies who will take you through it. But it’s easy to do on your own too as it’s marked out by red bricks in the pavement so you always know where to go!
I chose to do a tour for this as I felt I needed someone to explain the significance of many of these attractions. If you’ve read my other posts you’ll know I’m about a cheap deal, so I chose to do a tour with Free Tours By Foot. This is a company I really like and used a few times on this trip (no sponsorship I just really recommend!) The tour guide was really knowledgeable and you only pay whatever you can afford at the end. I was really unfortunate that our tour was during the biggest downpour I can remember. And I live in England so that’s saying something. Despite that our tour guide stayed with us and gave us valuable insights into Boston.
This trail also includes the Bunker Hill Monument which I visited. You can go up this tower which I’m sure is great but unfortunately the weather meant that I couldn’t, but I would encourage you to, especially as it’s free!
Boston’s Famous Sites
Fenway Park is one of the few things I knew about Boston prior to researching. You can see baseball games here or take a tour around the famous stadium. Seeing as I have no interest in baseball I just went to have a look at the park itself and saw the signs and statues outside it. If you’re into sport you should definitely go here!
Boston has a few famous colleges; Harvard and MIT. I was really excited about seeing Harvard and was pleased to discover that you could get official tours around the campus (and for free). Although this was interesting and great to be able to say I’ve been there, it actually wasn’t all that exciting. So I’d only suggest visiting if it’s something you’re really interested in. The same goes for MIT, although I did go on a beautiful walk along the river to get here (the Charles River Esplanade) which is worth doing!
Boston Common and Public Garden
There were lots of lovely green spaces in Boston with ponds, bridges, fountains and all manner of pretty views. I would definitely suggest you plan some breaks in one of these spaces to soak in the atmosphere.
This is a short activity and not a free one, but it was pretty cool! This attraction has you standing in the middle of a globe with some clever acoustic tricks. You get to see the map as it existed years ago and is just really pretty to look at. I enjoyed this but wouldn’t call it a must do.
I’ve mentioned before that I love going up to the highest buildings to be able to get an amazing view of the city. Boston is no different and I would strongly encourage you to go here. Once up the observatory tower you can spend as long as you want up here and the views of the city are amazing. I would always suggest going a bit before sunset, allowing you to get a day and night view of the city and a great vantage point to see the sunset. The observatory is well set up so there are full 360 degree windows so you can see everything and can actually manage to get some decent selfies if you so wish!
A bonus is that there’s a Cheesecake Factory just at the bottom of the building!
What else do I need to know?
I walked A LOT in Boston and I’d say it is an easily walkable city. If you plan your routes/activities so you do the ones that are close together at once then it is doable. But there are metros too for the stuff that’s further afield or if you want to pack even more into your day.
I was here for 2 days and found it a city that was easy to navigate on my own. By doing the Harvard Tour and the Free Tours By Foot Freedom Trail Tour I was also able to meet and chat with some other people. I would definitely say that Boston is a place you can visit as a solo traveller and you could easily do 3–4 days here if you wanted to.
What are your Boston highlights?
Mine was definitely the Observatory and the Public Garden, but what were yours?