From its classic downtown skyline to the Atlantic waterfront, Boston is a city of beauty, energy and diversity. Boston, the capital of the state of Massachusetts, is a wonderful blend of stylish urban sophistication and historic New England charm. You can easily uncover the city’s past while enjoying its distinctively modern edge. Boston area attractions provide you with more compelling things to see and do than any other convention city in North America. From America's history found along the Freedom Trail to world-famous museums, musical institutions, local and international cuisine, and spectator sports, this is a city unlike any other. Add easy access to the beaches of Cape Cod, the coast of Maine, the mountains and lakes of New Hampshire and Vermont, the gaming resorts of Connecticut and the world-famous mansions of Newport, Rhode Island -- Boston has it all!
Boston's history is the history of America. Boston was founded in 1630, ten years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. Boston grew as a harbor town and has always been strongly linked to the sea. The Freedom Trail links 16 historically significant sites of the Revolutionary Era by a red brick path. Highlights include the site of the Boston Massacre, the house of Paul Revere, the Old North Church, and the U.S.S. Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides.” Located along Boston’s scenic waterfront, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum tells the story of the Boston Tea Party, which took place on December 16, 1773 and led to the beginning of the American Revolution. The Nineteenth Century Victorian Era is reflected in the gaslit streets of Beacon Hill and Back Bay. At the center of Boston is the country’s oldest public park, the Boston Common, as well as the world-famous Swan Boats at the Public Garden. Best of all, many of Boston's historical landmarks are within easy walking distance of the Hynes Convention Center (Hynes) and Westin Copley Place Boston (Westin.)
Art and culture
Boston’s culture is world-renowned. Boston is home to two famous musical institutions, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops, as well as great museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Harvard and MIT Museums in Cambridge, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, and many more. Boston's Theater District hosts Broadway plays and musicals, while Kenmore Square is home to Fenway Park, the oldest professional baseball stadium in the United States. Each of Boston’s vibrant neighborhoods offers a world of cultural discoveries and treasures.
Shopping, dining and entertainment
Boston shopping has something for everyone. Shopping opportunities range from upscale establishments in the Back Bay such as Gucci, Tiffany's and Saks Fifth Avenue to discount shopping at Downtown Crossing. The Hynes is connected to two world-class shopping destinations – The Shops at Prudential Center and Copley Place Shopping Galleries. Newbury Street, known for its eclectic shops and sidewalk cafes, is just steps away from the Hynes and Westin.
Boston dining is marked by astonishing diversity, ethnic variety, and proximity to the Hynes and Westin. Boston’s neighborhoods are known for their distinctive cuisines. The Back Bay neighborhood, home of the Hynes, offers hundreds of restaurants from steakhouses to sidewalk bistros, all within easy walking distance. The Seaport District has famous waterfront seafood restaurants serving lobster, chowder and other New England favorites. The North End features charming Italian restaurants and summertime street festivals. Boston’s Chinatown is the third largest Chinatown in the United States with outstanding Chinese cuisine. And Boston’s South End is home to some of the city’s hottest new restaurants.
Nightlife in Boston thrives with its many theatres, bars, pubs and clubs. Whether you enjoy a lively night-on-the-town or simply sitting cozy at a piano bar, Boston provides you with a rich variety of off-hours activities to choose from.
The City of Cambridge is situated just across the Charles River and is an easy subway ride from Downtown Boston. Cambridge is known as a hub of education and innovation. In the European tradition, the “Squares” of Cambridge are charming neighborhoods rich in fine dining, eclectic shopping, theaters, museums and historical sites. Most famous is Harvard Square, home to Harvard University, which was founded in 1636 and was the first college in the United States. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is located in Kendall Square alongside some of the most innovative technology and biotech companies in the world.
Boston is the gateway to the six New England states: Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Each state offers a beautiful and diverse ambiance all within a two-hour drive of Boston. Maine is famous for its rocky coastline and discount outlet shopping. New Hampshire is home to the natural beauty of the White Mountains and lakes region. Other nature lovers can travel to the rolling hills and quaint villages of Vermont. New England’s largest casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, are less than two hours from Boston in Connecticut. For sailing and great mansions of the Gilded Age, there’s no place in America like Newport, Rhode Island.
Visit massvacation.com to learn more about things to see and do around Massachusetts.
The currency in the United States is the U.S. Dollar ($). Major credit cards are accepted at most businesses.
In Boston, English is the primary language. As one of the United States’ most internationally diverse cities, you will hear many additional languages spoken around the city.
Boston enjoys four distinct seasons. The sea breeze keeps Boston cooler in the summer and more moderate in winter than its latitude might indicate. Summer temperatures range from highs of 79°F/26°C to lows of 63°F/17°C. Summer is the time to be outdoors in New England, where you can enjoy numerous festivals, outdoor concerts, sailing on the Charles River, Boston Harbor cruises, beach activities and more. You can find up-to-date information on the weather in Boston at http://www.boston.com/weather/
Sales tax and tipping
Sales tax (VAT) in Boston is 6.25%. The hotel room state tax rate is an additional 8.45%.
Tips are not included in restaurant bills, except for larger parties as designated by individual restaurants. 15-20% is the recommended tip for servers.
Banks and exchange offices
You can exchange currency in an exchange office or bank. Exchange offices are located upon your arrival at Logan International Airport. An additional currency exchange station is conveniently located on the second level of the Copley Place Shopping Galleries. The Shops at Prudential Center offer three full-service banks, multiple ATM machines, and a post office.
U.S. outlets require a 120v connector with an A or B plug. Remember to pack adaptors and only bring electrical equipment with a voltage change facility!
To start planning your trip to Boston, visit the Explore Boston section of SignatureBoston.com. There you will find a comprehensive list of visitor resources.