- Travel Topics
It’s marathon season and no doubt many U.S. cities host spring marathons ever year, but what other city shares a state holiday with the most widely viewed sporting event in New England?
I’m talking about the world’s oldest marathon, the Boston Marathon, and in case you didn’t know, it’s a big deal! Held on the third Monday of April every year, the 26.2-mile race is only open to qualifying runners, and the event draws a half-million spectators to the streets. Not to mention it coincides with Patriot’s Day (or, more importantly, a day off for state workers, college students and others who choose to make an extra long weekend of it).
So if you’re running or spectating, and plan to be in town on April 15, if not before and after the big day, you might be wondering what to do while you’re there. Be prepared to eat, drink and walk your way through a cool historic city.
Be advised the closer you get to the finish line, near the Copley area, the more crowded it becomes.
See Boston by land and by sea in a World War II amphibious landing vehicle and get a good overview of the city and history, see many unique neighborhoods and splash into the Charles River for a breathtaking view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines on this fun tour.
You probably will need to book your tickets in advance through Boston Duck Tours. (http://www.bostonducktours.com)
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile, brick-lined route that leads to 16 historically significant sites. You can do a guided walking tour or download an audio tour onto your MP3 player for a self-guided experience. (http://www.thefreedomtrail.org)
The starting point of the Freedom Trail, Boston Common is the oldest park in the country. The park is almost 50 acres in size. Today, Boston Common is the anchor for the Emerald Necklace, a system of connected parks that winds through many of Boston’s neighborhoods.
There’s the popular “Make Way for Ducklings” bronze statue in Boston Public Garden. It is said the ducks never need professional polishing because children sit on them so often. The Swan Boats are also a personal favorite, though not a must do. (http://www.cityofboston.gov/freedomtrail/bostoncommon.asp)
Fenway Park is the home ballpark of the Boston Red Sox baseball club since it opened in 1912 and is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium currently in use.
Game tickets are hard to come by, but you can sign up to take a tour of the stadium. No tours are offered on April 15. http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/ballpark/tour.jsp
Sam Adams or Harpoon Brewery tours
Learn all about Samuel Adams, American brewer and patriot, experience the entire craft brewing process, taste the special malts and smell the Hallertau hops used to brew Samuel Adams – and, of course, sample a few award winning beers on a Sam Adams tour. (http://www.samueladams.com/brewery-and-craft/our-brewery)
Harpoon Brewery just opened a new Beer Hall where visitors are able to sit at the bar or around long wooden tables and enjoy pints of freshly brewed Harpoon draft beer with friends old and new. In the coming months, Harpoon will also be opening a new tour path above the brewery floor. The brewery gives tours on weekends. (http://www.harpoonbrewery.com/breweries/boston)
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Located in the heart of downtown Boston, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is the nation’s premier urban marketplace. It combines the glories of the past and vitality of the present, with 49 shops, 44 pushcarts, 13 full service restaurants, and 35 food stalls. It’s a fun place to walk around, see street performers and shop for gifts.
Museum of Science
Visit more than 700 interactive exhibits; watch live animal presentations and science demonstrations; witness an indoor lightning storm in the Theater of Electricity; and a lot more at the Museum of Science. MoS also has a domed IMAX theater.
Museum of Science is part of Boston CityPASS, which is a ticket booklet that also includes admission to New England Aquarium, Skywalk Observatory, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Harvard Museum of Natural History or Old State House. The booklet is $51 for adults, $36 for kids. (http://www.citypass.com/boston)
Whale Watch Tour
On a New England Aquarium Whale Watch, you are guaranteed to see whales. Boston is just a short ride away from one of the world’s most active marine sanctuaries. If there are no whale sightings on your trip, you will receive a free ticket for a future whale watch with NEAQ. http://www.neaq.org/visit_planning/whale_watch/index.php
Over 8 million people visit Harvard Square every year. It’s a fun place of history, bookstores, ideas, learning, coffee houses, fine dining and eclectic shopping. http://www.harvardsquare.com
The marathon finish awaits at Copley Square’s Boylston Street. For the prestigious Boston Marathoners, it was certainly a painful two or six hours of running. And maybe margaritas are the last thing on their minds, but for others, it’s party time.
Get crazy at The Cactus Club, near the Pru. Runners and spectators alike can celebrate the weekend with a drink and some Tex-Mex. http://www.bestmargaritas.com
Melissa Davidson is the Manager of Social Media for CityPASS. To see several of the attractions listed above for less, pick up a Boston CityPASS. You can buy one ahead of time online at www.citypass.com or purchase one at a participating attraction.