The Athens of America does a good job at living up to its title through the excellent preservation of its charming historical buildings and Ivy League institutes. Conceived before the invention of cars, the citys winding streets are remarkably pedestrian-friendly and give way to modern museums and galleries, centuries-old architecture and more than 100 colleges and universities. If there is one place you visit in New England, make sure its Boston.
History: founded by the British in 1630, by the mid-18th century Boston had grown from its humble origins into the biggest city in America, and it became the British Empires third busiest port after Bristol and London. Boston was among the first cities to resist the English crown, with events such as the Boston Tea Party and Boston Massacre preludes to the Revolutionary War and then independence. With the citys beginnings as a Puritan centre, it is no surprise educational institutes flourished here - including Harvard University, established in 1636, and the city remains a patron of the arts.
Sightseeing: history from the Revolutionary War can be soaked up along the downtown Freedom Trail, marked by red bricks in the pavement. The trail will take you past some of the citys most significant buildings, including the Old South Meeting House and the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre, while the alternative Black Heritage Trail celebrates local black history. Art buffs will not want to miss pictures by Hopper, Degas and Gaugin at the Museum of Fine Arts; while an assortment of history museums provide informative entertainment.
Shopping: Quincy Market is Bostons shopping highlight, with more than 100 outlets and dozens of artisans selling their wares. Downtown Crossing is where you will find the likes of Macys and Borders; while Harvard square is known for its excellent bookstores. The citys largest shopping malls Cambridgeside Galleria, Copley Place and Prudential Center offer department stores and numerous eateries; however, a more memorable shopping experience can be had on the exclusive and extremely expensive Newbury street.
Eating and drinking: most of the citys major shopping centres have extensive food courts, while Quincy Market is known for its fantastic selection of brasseries and restaurants. If you are looking for somewhere to enjoy a more atmospheric meal, Boston has some top-notch seafood restaurants as well as dozens of Italian eateries in the North End district and a whole host of late-night dining venues in colourful Chinatown. Irish style pubs dominate the bar scene with plenty to choose from on Landsdowne street and near Fenway Park.
Where to stay: while downtown is the most convenient area in which to stay, its rooms come with a high price tag. There is however an excellent selection of mid-range inns and guesthouses to choose from that offer good-quality accommodation at more reasonable prices. If youre willing to travel, Cambridge and Brookline are located close to downtown and also offer lodging choices.
Getting there: Boston Logan International Airport is the main gateway into the city and serves direct flights to most major European cities. The airport has good facilities and adequate transport links into the city. If you are arriving from a domestic destination, Boston is served by Amtrak trains, which arrive at South Station. Greyhound Bus Lines offers connections with most other major US cities, while the I-93 and I-90 highways provide easy access for drivers.