Whenever I visit a new city, I take it upon myself to learn what makes it tick. Long, meandering walking tours punctuated by bouts of photo-taking and people-watching; finding that corner cafe tucked on a city side street; sitting on a park bench with a good book (weather permitting!) and listening to the chatter of native city-goers. New destinations are an escape from the monotony of your day-to-day activities, and as we all know, variety is the spice of life. However, what happens when we escape into other destinations so much, we forget to appreciate where we’re currently living?
I live in the city of Boston, right along the final miles of the Boston Marathon route. I’m from a small suburb of the city originally, and apart from some short stints abroad and some college years in the neighboring state of Rhode Island (affectionately thought of as Massachusett’s little brother), this area has always been my home base. It’s easy to forget how incredible one’s surroundings are when they aren’t new. Boston has so much to offer–nearby beaches, accessible museums, walkable, and that lovely Masshole charm–but because I’m not a Boston newbie, I’ve been walking around with my head in the proverbial sand. My recent trip to Dublin, a city I’ve visited on many occasions through the good times and bad, reignited my curiosity for my native city. In Dublin, I saw every street and every shop in a new light. I visited the Natural Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, went to my favorite coffee place at the George’s Street Arcade, and people-watched like mad. I’ve resolved to look at Boston in the same light: with appreciation and curiosity.
Here are a few activities in Boston I’m hoping to do over the spring and summer. What new things will you try in your native city?
- Duckboat Tour. I’ve heard good reviews about the Duckboats from both tourists and Native Bostonians, so they must be good!
- Ride the Swan Boats in the Boston Public Gardens. I did this when I was a little kid, but at $3 a pop, it’s criminal I haven’t gone since.
- Go to the Haymarket Farmers’ Market.
- Visit one of the Boston Harbor Islands. I grew up going to Castle Island in Southie and have taken the ferry to the New England Aquarium. I visited George’s Island once when I was younger; it’s time for a comeback!
- Climb Bunker Hill Monument. Don’t climb until you can see the whites of their eyes…
- Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Love me some art.
- Go to the Waterworks Museum in Brighton. The history of Boston’s water systems + water conservation are actually quite interesting. Plus, it’s close to me. Double win!
- Have a drink in every bar in my neighborhood. You know, for research purposes. Even if it’s just one drink. How else will I know where to bring visitors?
These are just a handful of cool, relatively cheap adventures you can have in the city of Boston. From experience, I also endorse finding cheap, spontaneous Boston sports tickets on StubHub.com, walking the Freedom Trail (you don’t need to book a tour–just grab a map!), visiting the Museum of Science, checking out Club Passim in Cambridge for good food and good folk music, and much more.
I’ll be doing a post on activities on the South Shore (from Quincy down to the Cape) and North Shore (Beverly, Gloucester, Ipswich, etc.!) of Massachusetts soon. I’ll try to do Western Massachusetts as well, but I’m less familiar with that area. Any suggestions, let me know!