Perfect Getaway: Fall is a Great Time to Walk Through Historic City of Boston

Fall colors provide beautiful accents to the historic bridges and great views in the Public Garden. Photo credit: Denis Tangney Jr.

If you’re planning a trip to see fall foliage or visit one of the many universities in the area, give yourself a few extra days in the city to take in the historic charm. Locals keep the past fresh with additions to various statues—such as jerseys for successful sports teams—and everything is within easy walking distance. It’s a good thing because tolls, bridges, and tunnels make for tricky navigation for visitors in cars.

Make Way for Gardens
Be sure to spend some time wandering through Boston Common and the Public Garden. For anyone who loves the children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings,” this is a must-visit. The swan boats, the bridges, and statues of the ducklings will be familiar representations of the story published in 1941. The foliage and open space are a welcome respite from the bustle of the city center and an idyllic spot to relax and people-watch.

Take a guided tour or just walk around on your own along The Freedom Trail. Photo credit: Freedom Trail Foundation


History Comes to Life
Even if you don’t have time to do all 2.5 miles of The Freedom Trail—encompassing 16 historic sites—pick a few highlights, such as the Granary Burying Ground and the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre and the oldest surviving public building in the city (1713). The Massachusetts state house has $500,000 worth of gold on the dome. Do you know what’s on top of Fanueil Hall? If you said no during the War of 1812, you’d be suspected of espionage. The answer: a gilded copper grasshopper on top of the weathervane.

Relax in the gorgeous lobby of the XV Beacon Hotel. Photo credit: Kristin Teig Photography


Elevate Your Digs
Treat yourself to a luxurious stay at centrally located XV Beacon Hotel ($464 and up). The Beaux Arts building is more than 100 years old, and the original caged glass elevator and marble staircase are showstoppers in the lobby. There are just seven guest rooms per floor, each custom designed to include fireplaces and marble bathrooms. Personalized service means a pillow menu, cashmere throws, and a heated towel rack.

Nourish Your Body
To hang out with locals in a comfy space and dine on delicious healthy food, head to Mission Hill and Milkweed restaurant. Try the filling and yummy power bowl with quinoa, avocado, and mixed greens in lime dressing ($13). Have breakfast any time with items available until 4 p.m., including the customizable breakfast sandwich ($5) .

A Serene Spot
Whether or not you’re religious, a visit to Boston’s Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help can offer quiet moments. The building is nearly 150 years old and provides a peaceful peek at the stained glass and impressive architecture of the time. This is the place where Sen. Ted Kennedy’s funeral took place in 2009.

Step Aboard History
Immerse yourself in history and the War of 1812 with a visit to the USS Constitution Museum (suggested $10 for adults). It’s free to step onto “Old Ironsides,” the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. After soaking in our national history, you might be up for the Pineapple Paradise smoothie ($7.25) and other generously portioned flavors from Style Cafe nearby.

Charlestown Seafood
Catch the best views of the city skyline with waterfront dining at Pier 6 in Charlestown. Everything here has a nautical vibe, including the food, of course. Savor the steamed mussels with wine, garlic, butter, and parsley ($15) or the squid-ink pasta with mussels, shrimp, and blue cod ($21) at lunch. At dinner, indulge in the pan-seared scallops with black truffle vinaigrette ($34) as you watch the downtown lights turn on.

Casablanca-Style Romance
For a unique stay in the Charlestown-Bunker Hill area, try Moroccan Luxury Suites bed-and-breakfast ($276 and up). Three suites decorated with fresh flowers and sumptuous fabrics inspired by Morocco will provide a private spot for you to rejuvenate. A courtyard fountain, high-quality art in each room, and skylights and fireplaces will make your stay elegant and memorable.

Tip From a Local
“Don’t miss Neptune Oyster in the North End. Have the lobster rolls and award-winning raw bar, then head to nearby Mike’s Pastry for cannolis. ”
–Bijon Watson, Boston resident and musician

Mark Your Calendar
Oct. 19 and 20: Rowers from around the world will compete in the 55th installment of the Head of the Charles Regatta, a 3-mile race up the Charles River. Spectators line bridges and banks to cheer on participants.

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