Boston is the home of Irish America and proudly shares its roots with visitors. This year's St Patrick's Day Parade is the best chance to share a little of the spirit of the Old Country. Boston is also a strong base of American art and culture, and has more than its share of off-the-beaten-path attractions in which to rub shoulders with the locals.
Boston is the heart and origin of New England and is considered the epicenter of the American Revolutionary War. From its Puritanical beginnings emerged a defiant population that refused to be subjected to the British taxation of its thirteen American colonies. The Boston Massacre, Boston Teaparty and several battles, including the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston all contributed to Boston's reputation as 'The Cradle of Liberty.'
Things to See and Do
These, and other major historical moments in US independence are preserved in The Freedom Trail, a popular tourist drawcard that take visitors on a 2.5 mile walk to some of the most historic points, starting at Boston Common.
The Common is in itself one of the high points on a tourist's Must-See list of Boston attractions: Fifty acres of public gardens that were once used for military drills and are now more commonly used by picnic-makers, joggers and families, the Boston Common is good down-time and a great spot for people-watching.
Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox and with tickets starting at just $4, its the best place to join the cheering (and crying) fans of the Sox. The stadium was built in 1912 and houses a small museum devoted to the history of the game, and of course, the Red Sox.
Irish and Italian Culture
The development of Boston culture and infrastructure was shaped by the arrival of Italian and Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Bringing with them the spirit and traditions of their homelands, these groups have helped make Boston the third largest population center of Roman Catholics in the United States, and their food and culture is everywhere.
South Boston was the first enclave of Irish immigrants and is still the best place to share the Irish-American heritage. The yearly St Patrick's Day Parade (March 14, 2010) is free to attend and is the city's best party day of the year. A tip: Wear green, preferably in the form of a 'Kiss Me, I'm Irish' T-shirt. Green beer flows freely, the streets are decorated and lit up and the bars have special dispensation to stay open later than usual. Learn a few folk songs, make friends with strangers, and try not to be in bed before dawn.
Off the Beaten Path
To get off the beaten path, stay in South Boston. Here you will find narrow alleys and hole-in-the-wall stores, bars and art galleries that house the quirky characters and interesting art that give Boston its slightly underground flavor. The best bet in this part of the city is to walk down the streets you would normally avoid. This is where the heartbeat of the city can be found. Take a lunch break at Salsa’s Mexican Grill (118 Dorchester Street) where, despite South Boston's Irish heritage, you will find some of the best Mexican food in the city.
Accommodation in Boston ranges from cheap-and-cheerful to all-out luxury. With prices ranging from $160 a night, visitors can easily book a double-suite (sometimes with breakfast included) in historic hotels like The Lenox, in popular Back Bay.
Use the Hotelsio Rate Finder on the left to find cheap hotels in Boston.