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Can't get my head around Boston

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Can't get my head around Boston

We are two sisters who travel together frequently and have time to travel mid October 2011. We are the museum/history site seeing type people as opposed to adventure type travelers. We just can't get our heads around Boston. What area is the best to stay in? Our criteria is usually safe, clean, close to public transit, and affordable ($200/night or less). We are also having trouble figuring out what to see, the Freedom trail looks promising, but what else?

Baltimore, Maryland
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1. Re: Can't get my head around Boston

Check out the Boston sub forum. there are top questions which will probably answer most of what you are looking for and then it is easier to tweak. There are many, many museums in and around Boston of all types. And you can't walk a block without hitting something historical.

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2. Re: Can't get my head around Boston

Hi, Ann!

Truth is, there is no "best" area to stay in Boston.

Boston is a big city with a small city feel to it. Most all the neighborhoods, or areas in which tourists roam, are small, and easily walkable. Walking between neighborhoods is very easy to do, and if you don't feel like walking, chances are there's a subway station very close by to take you there.

That said, there's a few areas that most visitors prefer to base themselves, and that's the Quincy Market/Harbor area, the Downtown, and the Back Bay area.

These areas offer everything a tourist needs for their visit. There's hotels in which to stay, restaurants in which to eat, subway stations for getting around, and plenty to look at in the surrounding area. All three of them are very walkable areas, have plenty of things to "check out", and have a nice feel to them in general.

Just because most people bed down in those areas, there's absolutely nothing wrong with staying in another area of town. Remember, it's really easy to get around this city.

Some other areas that are used as bases to take on Boston are the North End, Beacon Hill, Kenmore Square/Fenway, South End, Financial District, Charlestown, Seaport, and many even decide to base themselves across the river in Cambridge.

If you are interested in History, then Boston will blow you away. Definitely do the Freedom Trail. You can start at the Boston Common Visitors Center and take a shortened tour focusing on the "heart of the Freedom Trail" or you can grab a booklet and a map, and go walk thye entire 2.5 miles yourselves. If you are really fascinated by history and hope to get the most out of your Freedom Trail experience, then I would suggest walking it yourselves. This will allow you to go at your own pace, go inside the sites that really interest you (the tours don't go inside any of the sites) and complete the whole Trail. I would plan a full day for this adventure if you wish to go inside places and take your time looking at the displays, etc. Plan to have lunch around Faneuil Hall Marketplace, or the Italian North End.

If you do the whole trail all the way to Charlestown, then you can take a water shuttle called the Inner Harbor Ferry back to the main harborfront area for just $1.70 each.

Boston has plenty of museums to check out. It really just depends on your interests. There's no doubt that the Museum of Fine Arts is a fantastic Art museum, and their new, 1/2 billion dollar addition has many people buzzing about it. The MFA is HUGE, and could take you a couple of days if you really want to see all of it at a slow pace.

The beautiful Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a 5 minute walk from the MFA, and another big favorite with Art enthusiasts.

The ICA (Institure for Contemporary Art) has a beautiful building down on the waterfront.

The Gibson House Museum is nice if you want to see how a wealthy, Bostonian family lived back around 1860. It's a tour of their home and costs around $6.

Of course, Boston has a very well received Science Museum and also a pretty good Aquarium. Across the river in Cambridge is such notable museums like the Museum of Natural Hisory with it's amazing Glass Flowers exhibit.

In short, Boston is like a living museum around every corner. I'm almost 100% certain that you will really enjoy your visit.

Mid October is considered prime time Fall Foliage viewing in the area, and this pushes hotel prices up and availability down.

I'm not sure if you can find a really nice hotel in a good sightseeing location for $200 or less, but I'll be more then happy to work with you to see if it's possible. You'll need to throw out some possible travel dates so I can help you out. Booking early is the key. The longer you wait, the more likely any good deals will be long since dried up, and that will most likely push you well above your budget.

Get back to me with some travel dates and any hotel requirements you have (I assume you'll need 2 beds?) and I'll see what is out there.

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3. Re: Can't get my head around Boston

If you are "museum people" , I think you will be very happy. The Freedom Trail will give you a good sense of the history of Boston, but Neslaw is right, you can barely go a block in Boston without encountering history. I would visit the Freedomtrail.org website which will give you an overview and information on all the sites. This will give you a better appreciation for what you are seeing once you get here and help you plan your tour.

Also, I am partial to the MFA and the Harvard Museum of Natural History. If you decide to visit the latter, then by all means check out the Harvard Square area as well.

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4. Re: Can't get my head around Boston

The "Best Area" is a personal thing and it comes down to, what is best for you.

I think it is important to give thought to where you will be staying. If a quick commute to and from Logan is important, then the seaport area and waterfront is where to stay. If spending time in the North End and Faneuil hall is high on your list, then this area is also the pick.

If you want to stay in a hotel which has history with Boston, then pick the Omni Parker, Copely Plaza or even The Taj or park plaza.

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5. Re: Can't get my head around Boston

Back Bay has many hotels, you can generally find good specials, it's a great walking neighborhood and will be a convenient home base. A short ride on the Green Line T will get you to the major art museums (MFA, Gartner). It's also easy to get to Cambridge on the Red Line.

Walking the freedom trail is partly about history, but it also gets you into different neighborhoods that you will probably want to revisit. Beacon Hill, the North End, Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market. You will want to return and explore them more fully and they are all a pleasant walk from Back Bay (though hopping on the T for a few stops is an option too)

In addition to museums, you may enjoy taking the Red Line T to Harvard Square and exploring the campus. Harvard has some great museums, but it's also fun to just wander around and explore.

Consider taking a Whale Watch trip. I recommend the one run by the New England Aquarium. You can book online. You may also want to visit the Aquarium.

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6. Re: Can't get my head around Boston

You've gotten great advice. While I agree that a whale watch is good to do, don't book it far in advance. Bad weather and/or high seas can make for a miserable trip.

7. Re: Can't get my head around Boston

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