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Itinerary for a Short Visit

Someone recently asked me for some ideas for their short visit in Boston. I hope these ideas are useful for you.

Boston is a walking city, dressing for comfort is a good idea. It's also a city of neighborhoods, which fortunately are well connected by an old, but reliable subway system.

Beacon Hill
For early stops in your trip I'd recommend visiting Beacon Hill and/or Copley Square.
The draw of Beacon Hill is that it is quintessentially New England. Of great interest is the Massachusetts State House (which is open to the public and has interesting exhibits, even though the exterior is undergoing some repair). Walking down Beacon Hill to the East you can walk by the Boston Commons, or stay a few blocks back on Mt. Vernon St. and walk by Louisberg Square - a cobblestoned street of quaint and very expensive townhouses.

This leads to Charles Street, which again is an attractive neighborhood with opportunities to shop, eat or watch the locals. (recommended restaurants include: local favorite - the Paramount, and Lala Rokh which has exotic, subtle Persian cuisine set in a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. It is at 97 Mount Vernon St.

Copley Square
A subway stop removed from Beacon Hill is Copley Square - which becomes more desirable in bad weather as it is full of historic building you can enjoy from inside. Trinity Church is beautiful inside and out, across the street is the Boston Public Library, which has museum exhibits - since most of the library functions out of a less beautiful but more functional annex.

Also, Boston's tallest building, the John Hancock Tower is in Copley Square - and for a fee visitors can go to its top and survey our area. On a clear day mountains 70 miles off are visible. This is a good getting oriented activity. If you are looking for a dinner with an impressive view, I recommend the "Top of the Hub" which is sufficiently good food served on top of Boston's second highest building, the Prudential Center. They have jazz, a great view - and I always prefer to overpay for a nice drink, rather than an old elevator ride in the Hancock. ;>

Freedom Trail
If you want to get a does of Boston History walk the downtown part of the Freedom Trail, which begins at a national park station by the State St. subway (or as Bostonians say "T") on the orange line. This will take around the downtown - by Faneuil Hall (hot spot for tourists) and into Boston's Italian "North End". Besides being the home of patriots, it also has over an excessive number of fine Italian restaurants. Also near by is Union Oyster House, Boston's oldest restaurant, which often serves good seafood.

If you are an art enthusiast, consider visiting either Boston's Museum of Fine Arts - their varied collection is strong on the impressionists. Nearby is the more personal and enjoyable Gardner Museum, the personal collection of one of Boston's richest and most self-styled women. The museum is located in her Italianate mansion, which has a wonderful courtyard and greenhouse…..and a very nice café.

Higher Learning
Finally, though Cambridge is technically out of town, Harvard University is a short "T" ride away. Its campus, Harvard Yard is open for visitors to walk through. There are a plethora of university museums along Oxford Street. For info call 617.495.1910. Harvard Square is a lively neighborhood, and an enjoyable visit.

I suspect than in all this you'll find more than several days of enjoyment, and hope that you will pick an choose your way to a wonderful time. Please let me know if I can offer further advice.

All the best, Dave Wieneke

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