One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston is at once sophisticated, stylish and off-beat. Comfortable in its many guises, the capital of Massachusetts is a centre of excellence for learning, a cultural hub, an international port, an industrial zone and a sporting mecca – all while maintaining an easy charm. It has its share of history too; from key moments in the shaping of modern America like the Boston Tea Party to being home of the infamous Kennedy family.

Language and Currency

Boston is a multicultural place, with large populations of Irish, Italian, Chinese and Vietnamese descent, along with a lot of other nationalities being represented. So don’t be surprised to hear many languages making up the soundscape to the city, but English is without doubt the ''lingua franca''.

The currency in the USA is the American Dollar. In January 2016 there were 1.43 dollars to every one Pound Sterling.


As a true maritime town of the Eastern Seaboard, Boston has a fairly wet climate with cold (but rarely extremely so) winters, warm humid summers and mild springs and autumns (fall). Average temperatures in the high twenties are normal for July and August. Stiff sea breezes and fog are a regular occurrence.


Boston’s many diverse neighbourhoods and its cultural and historical riches afford endless opportunities for sightseeing. A good way to get into the history of the place is the Freedom Trail – a three-mile walk around key sights and monuments that tell the tale of how the city came to be what it is today.

Famous for its elegant swan boats that punters can guide around the peaceful pleasure lake, Boston Common is the green core of the city and was America’s first park – a delightful place to wander around and take in the atmosphere. The botanical Public Garden is next door to the Common and has many statues and monuments to complement its array of interesting plants.

Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is one of the most revered sporting arenas in the country. In operation for more than a century, it still looks much the same as it did when it first opened and has been the scene of countless unforgettable baseball matches.

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the original academic institution in the USA. It is possible to go on a guided tour led by a current student – surely a fantastic way to get a different insight into life in the city.

The list goes on… if you have time, the Museum of Fine Arts will not disappoint, while the vast and intricate Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum showcases an eccentric and unique collection of art. The Boston Public Library is America’s oldest lending library and a place of great elegance.


Boston has a wonderful choice of upmarket shopping outlets, so make sure your pockets are full before you head out. Copley Place, Newbury Street and the Prudential Center all hold concentrations of boutiques and designer shops. The restored grandeur of the historic Faneuil Marketplace houses a wide range of artisan stores and eateries. Take a look at the Beacon Hill area too if independent and quirky are more your cup of tea. Meanwhile, Haymarket is a historic and lively open air market featuring all manner of local produce.

You could also head over to the neighbouring Cambridge to check out the options there with CambridgeSide Galleria and Harvard Square.

Nightlife and Dining Out

Boston is blessed with excellent food culture, from casual diners to world-class restaurants. Not surprisingly seafood features heavily, and Boston is home to yet another historic record: the Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in the land.

There are some other unmissable local delicacies to try, including:
  • Clam ‘Chowdah: a thick and creamy soup containing potatoes, onions, usually pork and – of course – clams
  • Massachusetts is well-known for its orchards so it’s worth sampling the cider, great coupled with tasty cider donuts
  • As well as orchards there are cranberry farms in the vicinity and cranberry jelly is another local speciality
  • For international flavours head to Chinatown or go to North End for authentic Italian cuisine.

Boston has more than its fair share of cool places to have a drink. Try Deep Ellum or Drink for classy cocktails, or Stoddard’s for the historic Bostonian pub experience. If you really want to properly chill out then head to the Frost Ice Bar, the largest ice bar in the world. Down by the water, Legal Harborside has a retractable roof that makes it an idyllic spot in summertime.

After hours Boston will not disappoint either. The Good Life is a firm favourite with locals, while the atmospheric Royale or The Estate may well keep you dancing until dawn.


New England is a gift to the explorer because there are many attractions and towns clustered within a relatively small area (in USA terms). Hiring a car is an ideal way to get around stress-free, and these helpful hints are useful to be aware of:

  • When hiring a car you will need a credit card that matches your driving license
  • Most car rental firms require a minimum age of 25, or may charge a higher fee to younger drivers. If you are over 70 years of age it might be more difficult to hire a vehicle as well
  • It is illegal to drink any alcohol and then drive
  • It is also worth keeping an eye out for one of the designated Scenic Byways through the region, especially if your visit coincides with the autumn leaves’ display of glorious colour.
    • Tourist Information

      Boston has two Visitor Centers to dispense information. The Boston Common Visitor Center (Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 5pm) can be found at 139 Tremont Street, while an additional Visitor Information Booth (Monday – Friday 9am – 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 6pm) is located at 800 Boylston Street.


      The dramatically positioned Boston Logan International Airport is situated adjacent to East Boston on one of the peninsulas that comprise Boston harbour, just across the bridge from downtown Boston itself. It is very well connected globally.

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