Explore Boston in 24 Hours

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Exploring any city around the world in less than a day is no mean feat so trying to explore one of America’s leading cities is certainly an unenviable task. Explore Boston in 24 hours? Yeah, right! However, our experience there on the final day of our New England road trip is worthy of sharing as it gives an insight into what can be achieved in such a short timeframe.

After leaving Providence, Rhode Island around 11:00AM, we made our way north to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum where we spent a couple of hours before heading to downtown Boston. We parked in the Boston Common underground parking garage which at $12 for all day parking on a Sunday is a pretty good deal for a downtown metropolis.

Lunch at Cheers

It wouldn’t be a trip to Boston without sampling the cuisine at Cheers, the restaurant famous for the TV sitcom shown around the world. Located on Beacon Hill, this famous location is just a few minutes from the Boston Common and the parking garage is actually the recommended parking spot if you are visiting just to experience Cheers.

bostin in 24 hours

Of course you are probably familiar with the exterior of the building if you have seen the TV show, but the interior was surprisingly small and compact, really a perfect location for the Cheers cast to enhance the theme “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.”

A short 10 minute wait gave us time to browse the gift shop before being seated in the back of the restaurant. Between us we sampled the Cheers Cheeseburger and Sam’s Turkey Sandwich which are both great options! Another great incentive when visiting Cheers is to pay for either a beer or a soft drink and then for an additional $6 you can take away your very own Cheers mug.

The Freedom Trail

Leaving the Cheers restaurant, we were handed a brochure highlighting the famous Cheers Trail that takes you from the original Beacon Hill location, to the newer Cheers restaurant that has been built in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Along the route, you can take in part of the ‘Freedom Trail’ which gives visitors to Boston the opportunity to see many of the leading historic sites that makes the city so attractive for tourists.

One of the best aspects of this walking tour is that it is FREE, unless you decide to visit some of the attractions along the way (e.g. museums etc.). Here are some of the leading attractions along the route that we experienced:

Boston Common

boston in 24 hours

We really felt that the Boston Common was the heart of the city. This is a location that locals and tourists alike congregate and relax among natural beauty with lakes, greenery and other natural attractions making this an eco-friendly spot to spend an afternoon. Why not grab an ice-cream or a drink from a local vendor and take a seat in front of Washington’s Memorial or the Boston Common Lake!

Park Street Church

boston in 24 hours

Park Street Church is a historic Congregational church on the Trail. Adjacent to the church is the Granary Burial Ground which is home to resting place of Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere. You can even see Adams’ grave from the sidewalk as you pass by the church.

boston in 24 hours

Boston Massacre Site & Old State House

boston in 24 hours

Probably the most famous site throughout the Freedom Trail is the Old State House which is home to the Boston Massacre in 1770. The cobbled streets surrounding this location played host to violence between colonists and British soldiers.Today, in front of the Old State House, a circle of cobblestones commemorates the Boston Massacre event!

Quincy Market

boston in 24 hours

Quincy Market, also known as the Faneuil Hall Marketplace is located at the end of the ‘Cheers Trail’ as it provides the location for the modern version of the Cheers Boston chain. The area surrounding Quincy Market and South Market is a haven for restaurants, shopping, local street entertainment and other attractions that make this a popular spot for people to wander around.

Fenway Park

When you think about the most famous stadiums in Major League Baseball, aside from the original Yankee Stadium, there are probably none more popular than Fenway Park. If you are visiting downtown Boston, why not hop on the T-Subway to take advantage of the great Boston public transportation system to visit the home of the Boston Red Sox. Alternatively, it is a short drive from downtown Boston to get to the park.

boston in 24 hours

Just being in close proximity to such an iconic ballpark was enough to make you want to return to see the Red Sox in action.

Summary

We really made the most of our time in Boston but even in just a few hours we were able to catch a glimpse of what this beautiful city has to offer. I have read many reviews about Boston, both positive and negative but everything from our experience there was a definite thumbs up! The food, the history, the architecture among many other things are all positive aspects that will likely encourage you to pay a return visit.

Stereotypically known as ‘America’s Walking City’, Boston is designed in such a way that once you have parked your car or taken public transportation to get downtown, the remainder of your time can be spent wandering around the historic streets of this city.

42 COMMENTS

  1. This post really makes me nostalgic for that “dirty water” from the Standells’ song about Boston–there’s nothing dirty about this city, I love Boston! (Also a line from the song!) The Tara half of Outbound Adventurer (that is me) grew up there. Awesome post! Fenway is just off the Kenmore stop on the Green Line of the T subway.

    Please enjoy our post on dinosaur footprints (which, incidentally, can also be found not far from Boston…!)

    • Feel free to click on the link-up at the bottom and add the post to our link-up 🙂 Ok enough of my advertising there guys! Thanks so much for your kind comments and I definitely agree with you just from our very brief encounter with Boston that it is anything but ‘dirty’. It is such a cool city to just wander around and find cool, new attractions.

  2. You really made the most of your time there but I still think that Boston is too nice of a city not to stay a bit longer. I love this city, it is one of my favourites in USA… been many times and never have enough 🙂

    • I would definitely agree with your Marysia that spending just a day in Boston really doesn’t do it fair justice. But whenever you have a hectic schedule and various other spots on a road trip to experience, you have to do whatever you can and as you mentioned we really made the most of our time there. I think that Boston has shot up near the top of our favorite US cities even after such a short time there. Along with NYC and San Francisco, it was a really cool city that I would encourage everyone to explore 🙂

    • It really was a great day Angela, thanks! We spent a great afternoon in downtown Boston and as you can see really saw a whole bunch which is a credit to this city because apart from parking our car in the Boston Common garage, we did everything else on foot (aside from Fenway Park which was our early evening visit on the way out of Boston city center).

      Thanks for being the first person EVER to link up their post in our #WeekendWanderlust series!!

  3. I’ve never been to Boston, but always wanted to go. It looks like a great city. And I love that you went to the Cheers restaurant! Such a great show.

    • We would both highly recommend visiting Boston Cory because you would have a great time there. There is so much history and culture in this city worth exploring and as you rightly mentioned, Cheers is a great spot to have a bite to eat and a drink!

      Thanks for sharing your post with us in our #WeekendWanderlust series! You are really helping us get off to a great start with this link-up and hopefully you will benefit with some extra visitors also 🙂

    • Thanks so much Bianca for your kind comments! Yes, we did only have a short time and honestly the post title is a little misleading because we didn’t have 24 hours at all to spend in Boston. We spent all afternoon downtown and then headed to Fenway Park early evening which was a cool way to end our visit to Boston. A trip to Boston just wouldn’t be the same without experiencing the original Cheers bar 🙂

      Thanks for adding your article to our link-up by the way, we will certainly take some time to check out your post shortly!

  4. Wow there is so much to see and do that you definately worldn’t be getting bored in Boston. A few of those things like visiting Cheers and Quincy Market were already on my list but I have a bunch of new things to add to my someday Boston itinerary.

    • Boston is one of those cities that you could quite easily develop a never-ending list with so many cool things to experience. Check out our JFK Presidential Library and Museum post that Heather wrote about also for some other ideas on things to do in this beautiful city. I love the fact that you can walk around the Freedom Trail and see so many cool, historic attractions along the way.

      Thanks for linking up with us also in our debut #WeekendWanderlust post! Look forward to checking out your post.

    • Look forward to hearing about your experiences in Boston Corinne! Cheers was a great spot for lunch, the food was good and of course just the iconic symbol that it provides makes it a must-visit place for anyone heading to Boston.

      Thanks also for linking up your post for #WeekendWanderlust, will head over and leave you a comment later!

    • Great idea for a #WeekendWanderlust Sarah-Jane but would probably recommend spending a little longer there despite us writing about a 24 hour dash around Boston! We really felt comfortable there, probably because it was so walker-friendly! Hopefully you get to go there and explore for yourself sometime soon!

      Thanks so much for linking up with us by the way!

  5. I’ve heard that Boston has the best coffee and donuts. Is that true? These are great tips and I can’t wait to make it there. I’m a big fan of museums and churches, so I would love this place, that’s for sure!

    • I can tell you that from our experience the best spot for coffee and donuts in North America is Tim Horton’s for sure that are mainly found in Canada though a few spots in Maine and other North East USA states. We did try Dunkin Donuts in Boston which despite being a chain still offers some good options, so yes I would say that this part of the world is a great spot for both!

      Thanks for your kind words about our review of Boston Agness! The Freedom Trail is a must if you are interested in history and learning about the local culture. Whenever we go back, we would love to experience all of the trail rather than just the ‘Cheers Trail’ portion but when you only have 24 hours, there is only so much you can see! But it does give you the inspiration and desire to want to return!

  6. Chris, you did a great job capturing some of the best of Boston. I’m from MA, and when playing tour guide, these are at the top of my list. I also like going for lunch in the North End, or strolling through the Public Garden. The Kennedy Museum has some great views. Fabulous overview.

    Kelly
    http://www.alovelylifeindeed.com

  7. Bostons high on my list for when we get back to the states! It is actually one of Jason’s favorite cities, but I have never been. I would love to visit the Cheers bar. Looks like its possible to cram quite a bit in!

    • I would highly recommend checking out some of these spots Hannah if you are lucky enough to get to Boston next year. There is so much more to see there than even we were not able to visit but that just gives us the incentive to head back again 🙂

      Let us know if you head there because we will certainly want to hear all about your experiences there!

    • Thanks so much Alli! Yes, we certainly saw quite a bit of ground in a short space of time which is pretty typical of many of our trips but when you are time ravaged, you have to make the most of the short weekend getaways.

    • Cheers Jessica, we appreciate it! We were fortunate to have a gorgeous day to stroll around downtown Boston but there was still so many other attractions we wanted to check out but we will just have to make a return trip there to write part 2 of our guide 🙂

  8. Very fun. I see you had a good 24 hours in Boston too. 🙂 Ours was certainly centered around the aquarium and whale watching. We really kept to that part of the city, since our hotel was right there. Some dear friends recently moved to Boston so I am always getting ideas of more things I want to see and do there for when we go visit them someday. 🙂 Looks like you had a great time! -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  9. I really missed out when two of my best friends lived in Boston but they both moved away two years ago. I keep hearing great things about it and you can definitely do a lot in 24 hours! I actually heard Boston is quite small, or at least I had always imagined it to be almost New York City size since it’s one of the most famous cities in the United States so I always had that image.

    • LOL, we didn’t but hopefully next time 🙂 We really have a fun-filled adventure wandering around Boston even in such a short time! It really does show how much you can do in a day if you set your mind to it.

    • Thanks Christine! I can’t believe it took us that long before we went to Boston but it was definitely worth the wait. I can assure you that you will have a great time whenever you get to Boston and there are certainly plenty of other things to see dependent on your interests aside from what we have listed here.

  10. Brilliant post! This makes me want to go to Boston. So many things to see and of course Cheers 🙂 I’d also love to take part in WeekendWanderlust which I think is a great idea and very much part of my kind of travelling. Thanks for sharing

  11. I came really close to driving to Boston when I was in Manchester, NH a few years back, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t go. Boston looks like an amazing city, and we would have only had time to spend a couple hours there. Seems like I would need at least 24 hours there.

    • If you have the opportunity to spend more time in Boston Alouise, I would highly recommend it! For us, we didn’t have any other choice but to spend only 24 hours there simply because there was so many other spots we wanted to explore on the hectic road trip. It truly is an amazing city and one that we look forward to heading back to in the near future hopefully.

      However, I will say that the beauty of most cities is that if you organize your day effectively, you can see an awful lot in just 24 hours and Boston is no different, primarily because it is so “walker-friendly”!

  12. You guys saw quite a bit of Boston in 24 hours. About as much as I covered in yearly field trips to the city in grade school (although Cheers was not allowed at that age). Not a lot of US cities have such a rich historical background and you captured it nicely. I really like your shot of the Samuel Adams grave site. The chain in the foreground conveys a colonial feel.

    • Cheers Dave! We appreciate your comments and yes, I really think we did a great job at capturing a lot of Boston’s history in such a short space of time! Of course in hindsight it would have been better if we could have spent more time there but sometimes you just have to make the most of your opportunities and I am really happy with what we accomplished in less than 24 hours.

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