Thursday, 12 July 2012 8:32 AM
Visiting Boston is guaranteed to be a highlight of any East Coast USA tour, as the city is packed with history and culture. There are a number of famous attractions you will not want to miss during your trip, but you may be surprised by the range of other activities available.
No holiday in Boston would be complete without walking the Freedom Trail, a self-guided 2.5-mile walk that takes in 16 historic sites. The route features a series of signs that explain the significance of the landmarks you will see, so you should learn plenty about American history on your way round. Among the places you can call in at are Bunker Hill Monument, Old State House, the Boston Massacre Site and USS Constitution.
Boston Harbor Islands
This national recreation area located across the islands in Boston's harbour is a great place for outdoor pursuits. Some of the isles have excellent hiking trails, while the protected waters surrounding most of them are ideal for sailing and kayaking. The area is also perfect for wildlife lovers, with seals, foxes, raccoons and a host of bird species to spot.
Boston is a sports-mad city and, if you can get a ticket, going to watch the Celtics, Bruins, Patriots or Red Sox in action is sure to be a highlight of your holiday. You can also walk the Sports Trail – a GPS tour that you can download to your mobile phone for free. The route will take you to landmarks including Fenway Park, TD Garden, Nickerson Field and the Sports Museum.
Institute of Contemporary Art
The eye-catching Institute of Contemporary Art on Boston's waterfront is one of New England's most important galleries. It stages touring exhibitions by some of the world's leading artists, together with a spectacular permanent collection. It features paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations from people of the calibre of Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Gerard Byrne, Nan Goldin and Arturo Herrera.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace street performers
There's no need to pay for entertainment while in Boston, as watching the superior street performers at Faneuil Hall Marketplace will not cost you a cent. They include musicians, magicians, comedians, circus acts and acrobats, so there really is something for everyone.
Boston has nine public parks that form what is known to locals as the Emerald Necklace, an 1,100-acre swathe of green that runs for 7 miles through the city. It includes Boston Common, where residents gather to relax and play games, and Franklin Park, which features a zoo and golf course. You can also stroll along the Riverway and through the tranquil Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
New England Aquarium
If you have even a passing interest in wildlife, you will not want to miss New England Aquarium. It is home to an extensive collection of creatures, which includes bonnethead sharks, cownose rays, African penguins, sea lions, seals, green sea turtles and jellyfish. You can also learn about the centre's conservation and research work, as well as board its Voyager III vessel for a whale watching trip at Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts Bay.
Boston has one of the finest collections of public art to be found anywhere in North America, which means you can look forward to some unusual sights as you tour the city. Some of the works are to commemorate specific events or groups, such as the New England Holocaust Memorial and Sergio Castillo's Free At Last sculpture, which celebrates the life of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Others are just for fun, including Night And Day, a huge child's head made by Antonio Lopez Garcia.
President John F Kennedy was one of Massachusetts's most-famous residents and he spent a lot of time in Boston. Download the JFK Trail to your mobile phone and you will be presented with a route that will take you to some of the places he frequented. You will visit a selection of his favourite bars and restaurants, venues where he gave speeches and the JFK Presidential Library and Museum.
Kayaking on Charles River
If you love to get active while on holiday, you can do some sightseeing from the Charles River. It is possible to hire a canoe or kayak and paddle along the waterway at your own pace to get a different perspective on Boston's attractions. There are also guided moonlight kayaking tours available if you want to try something a little out of the ordinary.