Whether you're a Boston resident or a visitor, you'll find a tremendous variety of things to do in Boston Harbor.
From exploring Boston's maritime architecture and historic exhibits, to taking a harbor cruise; there's something for everyone at Boston Harbor.
So whether you are at the aquarium and museum with the kids or taking in spectacular views of the Boston skyline from the piers and parks you'll leave
with an experience of a lifetime.
Today's Port of Boston has been virtually transformed since the stagnation of the immediate postwar years.
The port's rebirth began in 1956, when an ineffective, locally-controlled port commission was replaced by the autonomous, self-supported,
Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport). Massport immediately began the difficult job of buying up and rehabilitating abandoned or deteriorated property,
updating rail and road links and, in general, preparing the port for changes in the world shipping industry.
With more than 550 playful exhibits, Boston's Museum of Science makes science not only palatable but fun for kids, science-phobes and even jaded adults.
There's so much to do, this museum feels like a theme park. On the waterfront, the New England Aquarium is another perennial favorite.
Highlights include the ever-popular penguin exhibit, a 200,000-gallon coral reef display and an outdoor tank for harbor seals.
On the Avenue of the Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has all the Manets, Monets, Picassos, Rembrandts, Renoirs, Sargents and Whistlers you'd expect to find at one of the country's premier art venues. I.M. Pei designed the west wing. Nearby is the Venetian-style palazzo of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with its private collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture and textiles.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is another example of I.M. Pei's architectural vision. This dramatic glass and concrete structure at Columbia Point honors the Boston congressman who became the 35th president of the United States. Adams National Historical Park in Quincy preserves the birthplaces of presidents John and John Quincy Adams, along with their homes and the churchyard containing their graves.
Boston means history, and the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail will lead you past dozens of famous sites. The Boston Massacre occurred in front of the Old State House, where John Hancock was inaugurated as first governor of the commonwealth. Stirring speeches and passionate pleas echoed within the walls of Faneuil Hall, ultimately leading to revolution. Lanterns hung in the steeple of Old North Church signaled Paul Revere's celebrated midnight ride. Revere forged the original copper sheathing for the warship USS Constitution, nicknamed Old Ironsides during the War of 1812. Bunker Hill Monument marks the site of a critical battle during the British occupation. In the nearby town of Lexington, you can stand on the bridge where war began with “the shot heard 'round the world” in 1775.
With one of the highest concentrations of colleges and universities in the world, Boston is a college town of the highest order—and Harvard University is its most venerable symbol. The Ivy League campus exemplifies the history of American architecture, representing styles from Colonial to ultramodern. There are half a dozen art galleries surrounding Harvard Yard, and the Harvard Museum of Natural History displays an impressive collection of minerals, gemstones, fossils and botanical specimens. Cambridge is also home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This hotbed of high-tech innovation features a museum with holography displays and other technology-centered exhibits. Eero Saarinen designed the stark, windowless MIT chapel to represent “spiritual unworldliness.”
Spiritual enlightenment drew 19th-century intellectuals and writers to Boston, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Concord Museum displays the contents of Emerson's 1882 study and a large collection of Thoreau's possessions, including his bed, desk and chair from Walden Pond. Longfellow's Wayside Inn of Sudbury, made famous in his series of poems published in 1863, includes a 13-room museum, a chapel and formal gardens.
In Salem, you can visit The House of the Seven Gables, actually a collection of six historic buildings including Nathaniel Hawthorne's birthplace and the seven-gabled home that inspired his classic novel. The nearby Peabody Essex Museum, noted for its maritime art collection and 24 restored houses, boasts more than 400,000 art objects. Five generations of the Phillips family filled the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust House with objects collected during their world travels, including Asian porcelain, rare Persian rugs and English furnishings.
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