Written by & Photographs taken by Delia Harrington
As a lifelong local, I love sharing my favorite parts of Boston. Called the Hub of the Universe and the City on a Hill, Boston has had a disproportionate affect on this country’s history, culture and politics. A small, friendly city that we prefer to call a town, Boston is full of heart and attractions — both historical and contemporary.
Boston is practically crawling with museums. The Museum of Science in Alewife, the Museum of Fine Arts on Huntington Ave, and the New England Aquarium by the Waterfront are three of Boston’s most popular and longest-running museums. All three have a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Fan favorites include the musical staircase and the dome-shaped IMAX/3D Omni Theatre at the Museum of Science, the penguin exhibit, the 4-story Giant Ocean Tank at the Aquarium, and the new Art of the Americas wing at the MFA.
A lesser-known local favorite is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, named for a pioneering woman who travelled the world collecting art in the late 1800s. A short walk from the MFA, this museum is a local gem that achieved international notoriety after the largest art heist in history took place here in 1990. Admission is discounted if you’re wearing Red Sox apparel, or free for life if your name is Isabella!
One of our newest museums is the Institute of Contemporary Art. Previously located at Mass Ave and Newbury Street, the ICA is a hit with young Bostonians, hosting live music and cocktails for First Fridays, several Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, and free admission on Thursday nights.
The gold dome of the Massachusetts State House is one of the city’s favorite icons, as well as the starting point for all “___ miles to Boston” measurements. Inside you’ll find the Turkey Eagle, the Sacred Cod, and a memorial to Louisa May Alcott, on a free tour with the Doric Dames. Take a selfie at the General Hooker Entrance, check out the memorial to the nations first Black Regiment out front (the Massachusetts 54th, made famous by the movie Glory), and make your way through the Boston Common to follow the Freedom Trail.
Marked by a red brick stripe running through the city, the Freedom Trail is a walkable guide through Boston’s history. From the Common, you’ll see the Paul Revere House, Faneuil Hall, the site of the Boston Massacre, the Bunker Hill Monument and Old Ironsides.
Another favorite is the Boston Garden, home to the Boston Bruins and Celtics. Grab a slice at Halftime Pizza across the street, take a picture with the flying Bobby Orr Statue, and enjoy two of the teams that have made Boston into Titletown, USA.
Finally, there is Boston’s North Star, the Prudential Center, also known as “the Pru.” A short walk from the famous Newbury Street, on the lower levels you’ll find more shopping and dining. The top two floors are home to the Skywalk Observatory, a floor-to-ceiling lookout point, and the Top of the Hub, an upscale restaurant and lounge high above the city.
One of my favorite things about Boston is all of the beautiful public spaces. It’s nice to get lost in nature in the heart of the city, and efforts like the Emerald Necklace have made that easy for Bostonians. The Boston Common (no, there is no ‘s’ on the end) dates back to Colonial times and is a place for festivals, lunch breaks, musicians and protestors alike.
Nearby is the Public Garden, where you’ll find the famous swan boats and the duckling statues from the book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack get dressed up for special occasions, like Independence Day or major sporting events.
Over on the Waterfront, the Lawn on D is a fun new area that opened up on D street, hosting live music and open air festivals. The “Adult Playground” is home to an interactive art installation of large, light-up swings, lounge chairs and ping pong tables.
Over in Southie, you’ll find a local favorite in Castle Island. With its military history evident in the presence of Fort Independence, Castle Island is now a popular place to take a stroll, play outside, go fishing, and have an ice cream or hot dog at Sullivan’s.
Do you live in Boston or have you been before? What are your favorite spots around the Hub? If you’re coming to WITS ’15, what do you plan to see while you’re in Boston?