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Updated by List Mixed on Mar 22, 2016
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Best Places to Visit & Things to Do in Boston

Best Places to Visit & Things to Do in Boston

Freedom Trail

RThe Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile stretch hosting 16 sites pertaining to the Revolutionary War. You could take a costumed guided tour or, more appealingly, download a map and follow your own itinerary. If you have limited time, concentrate on those sites in and immediately around the North End, which is also Boston's Little Italy.

South End

In the 1980s, this neighborhood was considered dangerous and remote. In other words, cheap, which is why people on the front lines (i.e., artists and gay men) started moving in. As these things inexorably go, the area quickly gentrified, becoming too expensive for the early adopters.

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

Opened in December 2006, the Institute of Contemporary Art in South Boston is arguably more interesting for its architecture than its art. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the museum is all glass and sharp angles, a stark departure from the city's presiding aesthetic.

The Back Bay

The eight-block shopping stretch of Newbury Street in Back Bay conforms to an easily deciphered grid: at Mass Ave., where the strip begins, you find the more downmarket stores (e.g., Urban Outfitters).

Charles River Esplanade

Along the Boston side of the Charles River, which separates the city from Cambridge, is a roughly three-mile leafy path known as the Esplanade. To take in its full charm, begin your walk near the Museum of Science (at Monsignor O'Brien Highway and Storrow Drive), which, not incidentally, is a great place to occupy kids for several hours.

Fenway Park

As even the most casual baseball fan knows, the altar that is Fenway Park sits smack in the middle of the city. This sucks for anyone interested in moving around Boston on a game day, but it's a convenient place for everyone else to gawk at and ponder the mythic Red Sox fan.

Harvard Yard

The streets of Harvard Square are overrun with Au Bon Pains and Gaps, and nary an independent bookstore remains, but once you walk inside the gates of the country's most storied university, it's easy to tune out all the noise and forget everything but your own bitterness at not getting accepted.

Jamaica Pond

Well known to locals but somewhat off the beaten path for visitors is Jamaica Pond which sits at the base of Jamaica Plain (J.P., familiarly), a neighborhood about 5 miles south of Boston that was one of the city's original "streetcar suburbs."

Boston Public Library (Copley Square)

While it may feel overly academic to visit a library on vacation, a trip to the BPL need not feel like a chore. Situated on one side of the impressively imposing Copley Square (which also houses Trinity Church) the library was designed by the New York firm McKim, Mead, and White and opened in 1895 (a Philip Johnson-designed addition was added in 1972).

Black History Trail

Walking along the narrow, red-brick sidewalks of Beacon Hill, with its gas street lamps and stately Federal-style row houses, it's easy to understand why Brahmins past (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Cabot Lodge) and present (John Kerry) have chosen to live here.