Boston CityPASS » Things To Do In Boston
Few U.S. cities can claim the history that Boston offers as a matter of course. From the clock tower that sent Paul Revere on his midnight ride to neighborhoods that have changed little for generations, Boston has much to offer. And for those who want to immerse themselves both in Beantown's history and modern points of interest, below is a list of Boston's top things to do. Wise travelers will take advantage of the "T," the nation's first subway line, as well as heeding Boston\'s moniker as "America's Walking City."
New England Aquarium
With the four-story Giant Ocean Tank as its centerpiece, the New England Aquarium features more than 40,000 creatures, including Myrtle, a 500-pound (227 kilograms) green sea turtle that reigns within. Elsewhere, penguins and sea dragons beckon, while Atlantic harbor seals romp in a natural setting. Be sure to visit the Edge of the Sea touch tank, the East Coast’s largest hands-on tidal pool experience, with bonnethead sharks and cownose rays.
Museum of Science
Three levels of engaging exhibits showcase the museum’s theme: "Science is an activity." Discovery Center is a haven for children under the age of 8, with activities designed just for them. Savvy older siblings can visit with Ada and Grace, the two virtual guides in Cahners ComputerPlace. Everyone can enjoy the indoor lightning show created by the world’s largest Van de Graaff generator and the Charles Hayden Planetarium which reopened in early 2011 after a $9 million renovation.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Opened in 1998 to become the public face of three research museums, the Harvard Museum of Natural History boasts more than 12,000 specimens, including the spectacular Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Flowers, astonishing both for their beauty and botanical accuracy. Before leaving the museum, be sure to see the 42-foot (13 meters) skeleton of Kronosaurus, a prehistoric marine reptile; the 1,600-pound (726 kilograms) amethyst geode; and the Great Mammal Hall.
As New England’s tallest vantage point, Skywalk Observatory offers 360-degree views of Boston and its surroundings from 750 feet (229 meters) above the ground. "Acoustiguide" audio players provide age-appropriate facts while detailing the view below, while the on-site Dreams of Freedom Museum celebrates the contributions of the city’s many ethnic groups. Wings over Boston, a video aerial tour of the city, lets visitors soar above their surroundings.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
With an art collection that spans the globe as well as the history of mankind, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, features works by Degas, Gauguin, Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt and Renoir, to name a few. The new Art of the Americas Wing, which opened in November 2011, adds 51,338 square feet (4,769 square meters) to the museum, doubling the number of works from the collection that can be on view at a single time.
RevolutionaryBoston℠ at the Old State House
Built in 1713 to house the offices of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Old State House is the city’s oldest surviving public building. It was just outside the building’s doors that five civilians were killed by British troops in 1770, an event known as the Boston Massacre. On July 18, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read publicly from the Old State House’s second-floor balcony. Today, visitors can see tea from the Boston Tea Party and John Hancock’s coat or take a themed tour, offered every afternoon.
A choice bit of real estate set off in 1634 to serve as a "cow pasture and training field," Boston Common is now an integral part of the city’s life, attracting picnickers in summer and ice skaters (who flock to Frog Pond) in winter. Public gatherings are – literally – common; well-known speakers include Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II, and Gloria Steinem. Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ famous sculpture honoring the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment is located at the park’s northeast corner.
The Freedom Trail
Established more than 50 years ago, those who follow this 2.5-mile (4 kilometers) path will take themselves past 16 nationally significant historic sites. Well marked by either red bricks or red paint, the trail includes the USS Constitution, launched in 1797; Faneuil Hall, where plans for the Boston Tea Party were laid; the Old State House; Boston Common; and the Bunker Hill Monument, where the reward for a mere 294 steps to the top of the obelisk is a spectacular view. This is one of the top things to do in Boston for all history buffs.
Use a Boston CityPASS and save nearly half off combined admission at most of the attractions listed above. Plus, CityPASS holders avoid some ticket and entry lines, which means less time waiting and more time doing. Boston CityPASS includes admission to the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Skywalk Observatory, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a choice between either the Harvard Museum of Natural History or RevolutionaryBoston℠ at The Old State House. Some special exhibits are not included with the CityPASS and may require an extra fee.
Passes can be purchased online or at any attraction that accepts CityPASS. Use CityPASS and discover the best things to do in Boston.
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Boston CityPASS is a ticket booklet that saves 46% on admission to the 5 best attractions in Boston.
My husband and I were in Boston for just four days and CityPass was a great way to see the sites. We enjoyed skipping the lines to purchase tickets. The Harvard Museum glass botanicals were a highlight!
by Monica Forget