What to Know Before You Visit Boston

Updated July 21, 2020.

Heading to Beantown soon? Why is it called “Beantown”, anyway? Before you go and “pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd,” take a quick look at these things to know before you go to Boston!

1. It’s Very Walkable

Colonial-era cities are awesome for walkers. Before cars, everyone pretty much had to walk or take a horse anywhere they needed to go. That meant that important sites in cities of the time period had to be close together. So bring your walking shoes, pack a water bottle, and set out on a walkable adventure!

Bring those walking shoes!
It’s also runnable! How to Take a Running Tour of Boston

2. For Farther Distances, Take the T

That said, places like the airport and Fenway park are better accessed via the T, which is Boston’s metro or subway system. It’s easy to use, inexpensive, and surprisingly efficient! If you’re not sure which station to go to or exactly how to go about using the T, just ask someone. I found people to be very helpful and glad to help tourists enjoy their city!

3. The Freedom Trail is Not Free

Okay, so walking the Freedom Trail itself is in fact free, but after adding up all the charges for each site that requires an entry fee, I was quite surprised at just how not free the full experience is. I have a whole post coming soon about the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, so stay tuned for all the details! (And make sure you have about $40 per person on hand if you want to visit each site!)

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The Freedom Trail
All the details are here: The Ultimate Guide to Boston’s Freedom Trail

4. It’s Older than Our Country

Boston was founded in September 1630! Our country, on the other hand, was not officially declared its own independent country until 1776.

5. Wicked is a Good Thing

If you hear someone describing a place or event as “wicked,” you know it’s going to be great! It’s true.

6. Fenway Park is the Oldest Baseball Field in Major League Baseball

Boston is nothing if not historic from every angle! The park opened in 1912 and has been in use ever since. You can even take a tour of the stadium, which I highly recommend!

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Fantastic Fenway!
More here: 10 Things to Do in Boston

7. Hearty New Englanders are Friendlier than You May Think

Coming from the South, I was honestly not expecting to find such friendly people on my first solo trip to Boston 8 years ago. Since then I’ve visited three times, and on each visit I’m delighted to find friendly, helpful people! You will likely have to approach them first, but once you do, you will find them happy to help a tourist in need.

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My tour guide from Fenway–such a sweetheart!
Keep reading: Solo Travel: Boston

8. The Boston Marathon Takes Place the Second Monday in April

Unless you are running the race, plan your visit for a different date! The race is historic and a tremendous money maker for the city, but that comes with large crowds and closed streets. General tourism will be better a week or so before or a week or so after the marathon. Want to run in Boston without the crowds? Take a running tour!

At the Boston Marathon Finish Line!

9. Beantown is Nicknamed for Baked Beans

The story I heard is that Boston baked beans became famous with sailors who came into the port. The beans were slow-cooked in molasses, making them sweet and hearty, and sailors actually started calling it “Beantown,” but the locals did not! Try as I might, I did not see baked beans on any menus, but there were plenty of “baked bean” jelly beans and other treats in every gift shop. Eat your beans!

More here: What to Eat in Boston

10. Boston Common and the Public Gardens are Oases in the City

Need a break from the cars, narrow roads, noise, and hustle of the city? Take a break in the Public Gardens or on Boston Common. They are right across the street from each other, and they are truly lovely. Finding greenspace in modern cities is incredibly difficult, but historic cities will usually have some sort of public gathering space that can’t be built on because… it’s historic! You can take a ride on the swan boats, watch the swans and ducks, have a picnic, or just sit on a bench enjoying the flowers.

Swan boat ride in the Public Gardens

Are you ready to take on Boston? Tell me below! And get everything you need to plan your trip on my United States Page!

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2 responses to “What to Know Before You Visit Boston”

  1. Did the Fenway tour go inside the left field wall? Players have been autographing the inside of it for 60 years. One of the iconic American destinations.

    1. quickwhittravel Avatar

      Honestly I don’t remember! I did that on my last trip 8 years ago. 😳

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