(c) Robert Kaiser 5/8/2022
When visiting Boston the easiest, most affordable way to get around is the MBTA (Metropolitan Busing and Transit Authority.) Referred to by locals as the “T”, the centerpiece of it is four subway lines and a special bus line with dedicated lanes, the Silver line. The MBTA connects Boston and Cambridge with much of the surrounding Greater Boston Area.
Blue Line: Connects the north shore town of Revere, through East Boston, by Logan International Airport, then to the Aquarium, and finally into Government Center. At Gov’t center you can change from the Blue line to the Green line.
Green Line: From Gov’t center trains go northbound to Cambridge. Heading south of this, there are four branches to the green line – B, C, D, and E trains. They split off onto separate routes.
Red Line: From Park Street it goes north into Cambridge, or south towards several suburban communities.
Orange Line: Connects the north of Boston suburbs Medford, Malden, and Somerville with the downtown, including North Station and the Boston Garden, Downtown Crossing, theater district, Chinatown, Huntington Ave, MFA, all the way to Jamaica Plain.
Silver Line: Rapid bus service line with dedicated lanes to the Seaport District, Airport, South Station transit hub, and Chelsea.
Commuter Rail (Purple Line) – Train service to many communities within a thirty mile radius of Boston.
The West End
The TD Garden, a massive arena, this is the replacement for the famed Boston Garden.
North Station – This is a major transportation hub – MBTA, Amtrak, located under the TD Garden arena.
The Hub on Causeway – A multi-use development featuring the Big Night Live concert venue, Cinema, Star Market grocery store, restaurants and eateries, hotels and apartments, offices, and the entrance to North Station.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Museum of Science/Mugar Omni Theater – Great for kids and families
This part of Boston is also the beginning of the Charles River Esplanade.
Charles River Esplanade -a beautiful tree filled park, seventeen miles long, along both banks of the Charles River. It extends from the Boston Museum of Science to the Boston University (BU) Bridge. It is the home of the Hatch Memorial Shell, historical monuments, recreational facilities, playgrounds, hiking and biking paths, boating docks, community boating.
On the Boston side, the Esplanade is isolated from the downtown by Storrow Drive, so one gets to it by walking over one of the pedestrian overpasses. Great for walking, jogging bicycling, boating, picnicking, fishing, kite flying, snowshoeing, and sailing. Famous for the annual fourth of July Fireworks & Boston Pops Concerts at the Hatch Shell. Charles River Canoe and Kayak, in Cambridge, offers season boat rentals.
The North End
The North End is Boston’s famous Italian neighborhood. Narrow winding streets, Italian bakeries, coffeehouses, and restaurants. From summer to autumn many people come here for the traditional Italian Catholic Feasts & Processions.
Some great photos of the North End feasts.
Waterfront/North End /Market District
Boston Public Market – indoor, year-round marketplace featuring New England artisans and food. Next to it, outdoors is the Haymarket, Boston’s oldest open air market.
Quincy Market – Housed in a massive, historic 1824 building. Houses dozens of bakeries, restaurants, and restaurants. Some offer live music. And there’s often live music, juggling, comedy, or other free outdoor performances. This is a long, two story hall, with a central rotunda and eating area.
Faneuil Hall – This historic building has a marketplace and visitor center on the first floor, and on upper floors has a military museum and armory.
Local terminology! Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market are two separate buildings, each with separate establishments. But they are located right next to each other: Bostonians refer to the two as if they are one destination. When we say that “we’re going to Faneuil Hall” (or, Quincy market), we mean that we’re visiting both.
New England Holocaust Museum – Built to pay tribute to the six million Jewish people killed and to honor the survivors. Located on the Freedom Trail, near Faneuil Hall, it offers a unique opportunity for reflection on the importance of human rights.
Boston’s Freedom Trail – This 2.5 mile trail connects 16 nationally significant historic sites.
The New England Aquarium – New England’s largest aquarium, it features three stories of exhibits. The central feature is a three story high central tank, surrounded by a spiraling staircase, that houses many kinds of sea life, including sharks and Moray eels. Don’t miss the Dolphin shows, or the free outdoor seal exhibit.
Boston City Hall and Plaza – Around the City Hall is a large public space where occasional concerts, markets, or seasonal activities, including a beer garden, take place. Government Center MBTA station is located beneath the plaza.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway – A mile long, 17 acre linear park of gardens, promenades, plazas, fountains, art. It goes through Chinatown, Financial District, the Waterfront, up to the North End.
Marriott’s Custom House Observation deck, 3 McKinley Square
Boston Harbor Islands (TBA) and the Ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands
Harborwalk – A near-continuous, 43-mile linear park along Boston’s shoreline. Starting in Charlestown, then to the downtown and North End, across bridges to the Fort Point Channel and Seaport Districts, to Castle Island, and then to Neponset River in Dorchester
The Boston Common and Public Garden
These two, large, side-by-side parks form their own region within Boston. They lie adjacent and south of the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood; the Back Bay is mere feet away to the west, and a few steps to the east lies the Downtown Crossing area.
Established in 1634, the Public Garden was the first public botanical garden in America. Also created in 1634 is the Boston Common, the oldest city park in America. These parks are the starting point of the grand Emerald Necklace system of parks that encircle Boston.
During the spring and summer bands play at bandstands, and the Public Garden is planted with dozens of species of colorful plants and bushes. Numerous monuments dot the parks, and in spring and summer people flock to take rides on the world-famous Swan boats of the Public Gardens. The Frog Pond.
Along the northwest side of the Public Gardens lie several commercial establishments, including the Bull & Finch Tavern, the inspiration for the television show “Cheers”. The nearest T station is Park Street, on either the Red or Green lines.
The Boston Common, dating from 1634, it is the oldest city park in the United States.
Massachusetts State House Tour, Beacon and Park Street
The Old Granary Burial Ground, The Old State House (now a museum and MBTA stop)
Charles Street, home to chic boutiques and antiques shops.
A major shopping and eating district along Washington Street, including the side streets. Street vendors ply their wares while street musicians play for the entertainment of the shoppers. The main street is blocked off to commercial traffic, so the streets are filled with people.
• Old South Meeting House,
• Millennium Tower includes Primark, with facade of the historic Burnham Building 1911. This used to be Filene’s.
• Macy’s (used to be Jordan Marsh)
• Omni Parker House Hotel and the Last Hurrah bar.
• Roche Brothers, Cafe Nero, Brattle Book Shop, Orpheum Theater
The Theater District
Home of the Schubert Theater and Boston Ballet. There are some plays that play here concurrently with showings in New York’s Broadway district; ticket prices are a bit lower in Boston.
The Back Bay
Museum of Fine Arts – Houses one of the most important collections of classic and modern art in the United States.
This is near the world-famous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, an eclectic museum of classic and modern art.
In the early part of this century the city hired the firm of Frank Olmstead Law to design an 1,100-acre park – a chain of nine parks linked by pathways and waterways. The result became the famed Emerald Necklace, linking Boston’s Back Bay down through Dorchester. It is anchored in Franklin Park, a partially wooded 500-acre parkland in Jamaica Plain.
This green space hosts some one million visitors each year. One may walk, jog, bike, hike, see the flower gardens; in some places there are opportunities for fishing, sailing, golf or softball.
One of the largest parks here is near Northeastern University, by the MFA – called the Fens, or Fenway. As you can guess from the name, on the other side of the Fens lies Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.
• Westin-Copley Place- Entrance into a small shopping all within the hotel building complex. Next, a glass sky bridge leads us to the much larger Copley Place.
• Copley Place – Hotels and a two story mall along a promenade. Then there’s another glass covered walkway that lets you cross over a street into the Prudential Building mall.
• Prudential Center – Large indoor mall and Eataly. Outside are the Duck tours, a great tour for anyone new to the city.
• CLOSED for now – We used to have the Skywalk Observatory and Top of the Hub restaurant, at the top of the Prudential Tower. They were unfortunately closed for many years, but now finally being renovated by Boston Properties. They eventually will have both interior and outdoor observation areas.
• The Boston Public Library – One of the largest and oldest libraries in the country. Book sales are on the first Saturday of each even-numbered month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Central Library in Copley Square. Lower level of the McKim Building, Dartmouth St entrance. Free tours of the BPL’s grand art collection. The walls and ceilings of many halls are a painted with world famous murals. Free art tours. Tours highlight the architecture of Charles McKim and Philip Johnson, as well as the many works of famed sculptors and painters.
• Newbury Street – Known for its dozens of art galleries, fashionable clothing stores, and outdoor cafes. It stretches from The Public Gardens to Massachusetts Ave,
• Berkeley College of Music and the Berkeley Performance Center.
Kenmore Square neighborhood
Walk along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, styled after a grand Parisian boulevard, between Kenmore Square and the Public Garden and see all the monuments and statues as well as the beautiful residences on both sides of the street.
Near the end of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and near the bridges to Seaport District.
South Station – Major transportation hub and a food court.
High Street Place, 100 High Street, which is part of 160 Federal Street , an Art Deco National Historic Landmark. Has 20 restaurants and bars in indoor atrium space. It was created to meander like a Parisian street. Closed on Sundays.
My Thai Vegan Cafe, 3 Beach St #2. Authentic Chinese food without meat, caters to vegetarians, vegans, and as it happens, to observant Jews and Muslims who want authentic Chinese food in accord with their dietary rules.
The largest intact Victorian row house district in the country with 11 residential parks.
No MBTA trains run through the South End but it is close to Copley, Symphony, and Prudential.
Boston Center for the Arts/Cyclorama, 539 Tremont Street
The Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts (Wed-Sat) 551 Tremont Street
Boston Art Book Fair, November, inside the Cyclorama
SOWA (South of Washington Area)
SOWA Open Market (May-Oct) https://www.sowaboston.com/sowa-open-market
SoWa Vintage Market, Sundays
SoWa Winter Festival 2022 https://www.sowaboston.com/sowa-winter-festival
and International Poster Gallery, 460C Harrison Ave. Suite C19
Midway Artist Studios, 89 work-live studios, Fort Point in Boston
Near the Lawn on D,
Fort Point Arts Community Gallery – Check for events. 300 Summer Street
FPAC The Gallery at Atlantic Wharf 280 Congress Street
Boston Children’s Museum
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
The ICA (Institute for Contemporary Art) http://www.icaboston.org
USS Constitution, USS Cassin Young, Constitution museum, Navy Yard tourist center
Boston National Historical Park (National Park Service) http://www.nps.gov/bost
Boston National Historical Park includes the Charlestown Navy Yard. In downtown Boston, it includes the Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Paul Revere House and Old North Church.
Charlestown Navy Yard
USS Constitution, USS Cassin Young, Constitution museum, Navy Yard tourist center
A separate city from Boston, it lies just across the Charles River, and can be reached on either the Red or Green line of the MBTA. The population is a bit more liberal and politically active than most, and the city was jokingly nicknamed “The People’s Republic Of Cambridge” during the 1970s. Cambridge is the home of Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard Square.
The population of Cambridge reads more books per person, on average, than the population of any other city in the nation. Thus, Harvard Square contains the largest amount of new and used book store in one place in the world! There are a large number of music and clothing stores. There are coffeehouses and ethnic restaurants, and many places offer live music. Street musicians inhabit every corner of the square, playing every kind of music from folk and jazz to rock and roll. It is much like The Village in NYC, though it is a bit smaller and cleaner.
T station: Red Line (Alewife train) – Harvard Square station
Harvard University Museums http://www.harvard.edu/museums/
Harvard Art Museums https://harvardartmuseums.org/
The Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler Museums.
The Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, at Harvard University
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology http://www.peabody.harvard.edu/
One of the oldest museums in the world devoted to anthropology and houses one of the most comprehensive records of human cultural history in the Western Hemisphere.
Cambridge Galleria – Across the street from the Museum of Science lies the newly built, three story Cambridge Galleria, a grand shopping mall with an enormous open space atrium that reaches over fifty feet high.
MIT Museum, Building N51, 265 Massachusetts Ave
The Middle East restaurant and music stage, at the corner of Mass Ave and Brookline St.
Pandemonium Books and Games Sunday noon – 6 pm “Greater Boston’s Science Fiction Specialty Bookstore.” Moved here from Harvard Square.
Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and Dorchester neighborhoods
Frederick Law Olmsted designed Franklin Park in the 1890s. This 485-acre park is Boston’s largest open space.
Arnold Arboretum http://www.arboretum.harvard.edu/
Designed by famed architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the Arboretum is a research institute and living museum dedicated to the study of botany and horticulture.
Franklin Park Zoo http://www.franklinparkzoo.org/
MassArt Art Museum (MAAM), contemporary art
Functionally this town acts like part of Boston, and is easily accessible on the Green line. However it is its own autonomous town which borders many of Boston’s neighborhoods: Brighton, Allston, Fenway–Kenmore, Mission Hill, etc. Brookline is a cultural hub for the Jewish community of Greater Boston. This town is also the home of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and has a large Irish community.
Larz Anderson Park and the Larz Anderson Auto Museum – America’s Oldest Car Collection.