Home of Harvard and MIT as well as over 100 other colleges and universities, Boston may be the only city in the world where you can overhear total strangers discussing research-level mathematics on the subway.
There are plenty of fun things to see and do while you’re here, many of which are truly unique to Boston. Here are a few of our favorites.
The Freedom Trail Explore all or part of this 2.5 mile red trail through Boston, which takes you on a journey through the American Revolution, stopping at 16 historically significant sites.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840–1924) was a prominent collector and patron of the arts. At the museum, you can see works by masters such as Titian, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Manet, Matisse, Degas, Whistler and Sargent, displayed in an intimate fashion. Thirteen pieces were stolen from the museum in 1990. The crime remains unsolved and the whereabouts of these works of art remain unknown.
Harvard Museum of Natural History The “Glass Flowers” exhibit, in particular, is unique and incredible. Over 4,000 glass replicas of flowers and their component parts created by a father-and-son team, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, from Dresden, Germany. The models are lifelike and stunningly beautiful.
Harvard’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments: This is another really cool and unique-to-Boston collection. According to the website, the Time, Life and Matter exhibit contains “such items as a geometric sector designed by Galileo, electrical experimentation apparatus purchased on Harvard’s behalf by Benjamin Franklin, a suite of clocks illustrating the development of modern synchronized time-keeping, medical apparatus designed, in part, by Charles Lindbergh (yes,that Charles Lindbergh), and the artifacts of top-secret research conducted by Harvard scientists during World War II.”
Shakespeare in the Park The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company will be performing Love’s Labour’s Lost for free on the Boston Common from July 20 – August 7.
Boston Harbor Islands Go to the beach! Take a ferry to explore the islands of Boston’s harbor.
Walden Pond: Take a break from the city and relax by the pond that inspired Henry David Thoreau.
Salem, MA is an excellent site for a short vacation on the Wednesday off day, at just a few commuter rail stops away. It has an okay witch story tourism business going on and the Peabody Essex Museum, which is a genuinely good art museum that never gets enough credit. One of its features is the Yin Yu Tang house, a Chinese merchant’s family home imported to the area and rebuilt brick by brick. The sailing ship Friendship should be docked at Salem and open for tours during the Congress.
Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) (free on Wednesday, 4-10 pm)
Boston Public Library at Copley (First free big library in the US, don’tcha know)
****-Faced Shakespeare: For an operation that hinges on one of it’s members being stupid drunk all the time, ****-Faced Shakespeare in Davis Square has it’s act surprisingly together. The site I saw only had the schedule published through July, so I don’t know what is going on during the Congress. But these guys are quality Shakespearean actors, just one of them is blasted at all times.
Boston City Pass:This pass allows you to go to the Aquarium, the Sky Observatory and the two big museums (Fine Art and Science).
The appropriately named Boston Go Card:Available in 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 day passes, you can choose from 41 top Boston attractions.
Duck Tours (the Prudential one is the only one with multi-language guides)
Other Cruises: Salem, Provincetown ($88 round trip), Boston Harbor Island e.g. Spectacle Island ($17 round trip), etc.
Take the Commuter Rail to places: Rockport, Gloucester (nice beach), Walden Pond and sculpture park and museum, Providence in RI, etc.
Take the Bus to places: You can take bus to Falmouth and take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, or you can take the train or bus to Plymouth and take the ferry to Nantucket or Provincetown.
Recommended Shows: Blue Man Group (all actions, so everyone can understand), Shear Madness show, Kurios by Cirque du Soleil
Mapparium:ll Walk inside a globe!