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15 Must Sees in Boston

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As Boston gears up for the Democratic National Convention, The Boston Herald brings us...

15 Must Sees: You haven't been to Boston until you've visited...

1) The Freedom Trail - The 2.5-mile red brick path crisscrossing downtown Boston is a pilgrimage every visitor should make. How else could you pack 300 years of history into your daily exercise? You can visit the world's oldest commissioned warship, climb 294 stairs to the top of the Bunker Hill monument, and check out the final resting place of revolutionary hero and beer baron Samuel Adams, all in one afternoon. Pick up maps for a self-guided tour at The Greater Boston Convention and Visitor Center on Boston Common. Visitor's Center: 147 Tremont St., Downtown (617) 357-8300; thefreedomtrail.org. T: Red & Green lines, Park Street Station.

2) Fenway Park - Forget all the newfangled, modern behemoths that pass for ballparks nowadays. Fenway is the real deal. It may be dirty, cramped and filled with obnoxious fans, but it has a magic and charm that can only be felt in person. Smelling the fresh-cut grass of the infield while sipping a watered-down Bud Light is what Bostonians imagine the afterlife to be - well, that and celebrating a Red Sox World Series win. You can tour the park daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (except on game days, when tours stop three hours before game time.) The Sox play their archrivals, the N.Y. Yankees, at home July 24 and 25, but tickets will be nearly impossible to get... unless you're a real political heavyweight. 4 Yawkey Way, Kenmore Square; (617) 267-1700 (Tours Hotline 617-226-6666); redsox.com. T: Green Line, Kenmore Station.

3) Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge - Named for local civil rights activist Leonard P. Zakim, this gorgeous showpiece of the infamous Big Dig highway project has won universal acclaim. The widest cable-stayed bridge in the world, it begins where the underground Central Artery surfaces near the Fleet Center and carries Interstate 93 across the Charles River. While most sights in Boston reflect its illustrious past, the funky yet elegant architecture of the Zakim Bridge represents Boston at the dawn of the new millenium. The design of the inverted Y-shaped towers was intended to reflect the nearby Bunker Hill monument. Causeway Street, behind the Fleet Center. T: Green Line, North Station.

4) The North End - The Old World is alive in well in this charming urban neighborhood that celebrates its Italian-American roots. While trendy bistros and nouveau cuisines have begun to crowd out the older, family-run shops, there's still a distinctly mom-and-pop feel to the community. In the summer, an Italian street festival every weekend adds to the European charm. When Convention business gets to be too much, let the smells of veal scallopinni and mussels marinara lure you into this quaint little enclave, which is also home to the famed Old North Church. Salem Street, Hanover Street, Commercial Street. T: Green & Orange Lines, Haymarket Station.

5) Copley Square - There's so much to see and do here you may experience sensory overload. In the center of the square sits the breathtaking Trinity Church, completed in 1877 by H.H. Richardson and considered to be one of America's architectural gems. Across the street is the enormous and equally jaw-dropping Boston Public Library, whose stunning marble interior somehow manages to surpass its grand exterior. Oh, and they also lend out books. Nearby is Newbury Street, Boston's answer to Fifth Avenue, where all things chic, trendy and expensive can be found. Boylston Street between Clarendon and Dartmouth Streets. T: Green Line, Copley Station.

6) Boston Common/ Public Garden - What began as grazing land for the Puritans is now the country's oldest public park. Forty four acres of meandering paths and rolling hills right downtown will make even rural visitors feel at home. With the gold-domed Massachusetts State House at one end, and the graceful townhouses of swank Beacon Hill along the northern edge, the Common is the heart and soul of old Boston. Across Arlington Street is the Public Garden, the nation's first botanical garden, famous for its year-round botanical displays and the pedal-powered Swan Boats that cruise the pond. Boston Common: Park Street between Beacon & Tremont streets. T: Red & Green Lines, Park Street Station. Public Garden: Arlington Street between Beacon and Boylston streets. T: Green Line, Arlington Street Station.

7) Sam Adams Brewery - We might all still be drinking watered-down domestic beer or pricey European imports if it weren't for the Samuel Adams Brewing Company A tour of this groundbreaking beer company, which introduced the term microbrewery to America, includes a beer-tasting lesson and the all-important commemorative pint glass. 30 Germania St., Jamaica Plain MA. (617) 522-9080; samadams.com. T: Orange Line, Green Street Station.

8) Harvard Square - You don't need a 1600 on your SATs to enjoy Harvard Square. Its bohemian charm has been diluted in recent years by commercial retailers of the Abercrombie & Fitch persuasion, but plenty of independent spirit remains. Street performers attract crowds most warm nights, and the diversity of ethnic eateries can cause decision-making panic attacks. Be sure to also check out the storied, ivy-covered interior of Harvard Yard, pronounced by tourists and non-Bostonians around the globe as Hahvahd Yahd. Massachusetts Avenue and JFK Street, Cambridge. T: Red Line/Harvard Station.

9) Museum of Fine Arts/ Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - These two art museums, which are nearly next-door neighbors, exemplify the Boston Brahmin cultural tradition. The MFA houses an awe-inspiring array of ancient, classical and modern works, including one of the world's best collections of Egyptian art. The Gardner is home to the eclectic collection of founder Isabella Stewart Gardner. The gorgeous building modeled after a 15th century Venetian palace, and features one of the sexiest courtyards in the world. The Gardner was made famous, regrettably, by the still-unsolved theft of 13 works of art in 1990. Museum of Fine Arts: 465 Huntington Ave., Fenway. (617) 267-9300; mfa.org. T: Green Line (E branch), Museum stop. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: 280 The Fenway, Fenway. (617) 566-1401; gardnermuseum.org . T: Green Line (E branch), Museum stop.

10) John F. Kennedy Library and Museum - What Democrat would come to Boston for a party convention and not visit the JFK Library? Situated at the tip of Columbia Point in Dorchester, this architectural jewel (designed by I.M. Pei) is a fitting tribute to Boston's favorite son. The museum offers a first-rate look at Kennedy's life and presidency, along with a changing schedule of exhibits on American history. Kennedy's 26-foot sloop Victura is displayed on the lawn, facing the entrance to Boston Harbor. And the ocean-view sunsets are breathtaking. John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Columbia Point, Dorchester. (617) 514-1600; jfklibrary.org. T: Red Line, JFK/UMass station.

11) Arnold Arboretum - Need an escape? Head for the verdant hills of the Arnold Arboretum -- 265 acres of woodlands and meadows designed by the famed Frederick Law Olmsted in 1879. The Arboretum is a tranquil oasis just a few miles from downtown, with one of North America's finest collections of trees, shrubs and flowers. 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain. (617) 524-1718; arboretum.harvard.edu. T: Orange Line, Forest Hills Station.

12) MIT Museum - You don't have to be a nerd or a Mensa member to enjoy the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's showcase of innovation, with exhibits of all things robotic, technological and seemingly impossible. 265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. (617) 253-4444; mit.edu/museum . T: Red Line, Kendall Station.

13) Christian Science Center - Who'd have thought that concrete and stone could be so beautiful? The sweeping expanse of the Christian Science Plaza, home of the Christian Science Mother Church, is the closest thing white-steepled New England has to the Vatican. In addition to the spectacular Romanesque Mother Church, the complex also includes a 670-foot reflecting pool and the gorgeous Mapparium, where you can walk inside a three-story stained-glass globe of the world. 175 Huntington Ave., Back Bay. (617) 450-3790; tfccs.com

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Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market is a puzzling omission from that list. Sure it's touristy, but this is a list for tourists. It's a genuinely historic site, as well as the launchpad for the idea of an outdoor urban 'festival marketplace'.

I'd also put Mt. Auburn Cemetery on the list.

And how can you recommend Copley Square without even mentioning the John Hancock Tower?

Edited by Ron Newman

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Well I would say that the Mt. Auburn Cemetery isn't Boston, but they did list Harvard Square, so I guess we're not nitpicking. You'll hit Quincy Market on the Freedom Trail, but I agree, it's worthy of it's own spot. It could take Fenway's spot, I hear Fenway is suspending tours the week of the convention. I'm sure some of the higher level VIPs will get tours however.

With the Hancock's observatory closed, I recommend the Pru over it.

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Sure, people should go to the top of the Pru.

But if you're going to recommend Copley Square for the architecture, it make no sense to ignore the Hancock.

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Boston's Modern Must-Sees

By Norman Dalager / Boston.com

Boston is well-known for colonial history, but a lot has happened in the Hub since the beginning of the 20th Century as well. Here's a list of some more modern landmarks and hidden sights that you'll find around town.

Bird.jpg

Larry Bird's Bronze Sneakers

Boston Celtics legend and NBA superstar Larry Bird reached a monumental milestone in 1998 by entering basketball

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They are telling people to go see the gas tank :blink: , they may be slightly disappointed after the subway ride to Broadway like they recommend and the 5 mile walk to the tank. This happens because the friggin Globe has hired every New Yorker in the business. I mean the Globe is closer to the gas tank than Broadway and you would take Savin Hill or Columbia or even Fields Corner to get there before Broadway.

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The Globe suggesting people ride the Ashmont branch. Are you mad!? :o

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If you're trying to find the Skinny House, "North End" isn't going to help you much.

Is it possible to see the gas tank from inside a Red LIne car? If so, where?

Edited by Ron Newman

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Is it possible to see the gas tank from inside a Red LIne car? If so, where?

I used to ride the redline to Quincy everyday, and I can't remember if you can see the gas tanks (it was plural back then) from it. If you could it would be between JFK and North Quincy on the Braintree Branch.

---You MUST be able to, I just can't picture it.

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Yes, you can see it from the Quincy train and commuter rail trains where they cross over Morrissey Blvd at Lamberts Fruit and the Swiss Chalet and again at the Neponset River crossing. On the Ashmont branch the train is elevated from Savin Hill to Fields Corner and the tank is visible most of the way.

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Very well put together thread:

A few sites that I can think of(hopefully not already posted): the Museum of Science, NE sports Museum which I think relocated from Cambridge to the Fleet Center, old stadium site at Northeastern, Boston Fire Museum, State House, USS Constitution(the old Hancock Observatory exibits should be set up there).

I watched a segment on NECN about a new book that list free sites to visit in the Boston Area. There were many great places that I have never heard of. I will try to buy the book and post the link and some of the sites here.

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what about the cheers bar? that has to be a must see

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It's only a MUST see if you ARE a tourist. I hated when they actually changed the name to Cheers from the former Bull and Finch pub.

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Great thread! Thanks for putting this together. We'll be there next month... Driving up from Columbia, SC for a week or two. I've been to Boston before, but have never really done more than a drive-through tour. We're planning on hitting Providence, then Boston and some scenic rural areas like the Blackstone Valley.

I'm a big fan of modern achitecture and funky residential neighborhoods, so if anyone has any suggestions for checking those type of things out in the Boston area. (I'll post a similar question in the Providence forum.) Thanks!

Edited by emerging.me

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I'm a big fan of modern achitecture and funky residential neighborhoods, so if anyone has any suggestions for checking those type of things out in the Boston area. (I'll post a similar question in the Providence forum.)  Thanks!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There's that new crazy looking MIT builiding.

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I'm a big fan of modern achitecture and funky residential neighborhoods, so if anyone has any suggestions for checking those type of things out in the Boston area. (I'll post a similar question in the Providence forum.)  Thanks!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It's kind of the wrong part of the country for modern architecture. :lol: But yes, there is the funky MIT buidling, the Stata Center at 32 Vassar Street in Cambridge.

StataCenter001.jpg

StataCenter002.jpg

Also at MIT is Simmons Hall at 229 Vassar Street in Cambridge.

SimmonsHall001.jpg

SimmonsHall002.jpg

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wow, i've never seen simmons hall before. that first picture is not only a great picture of simmons hall, but also a great photograph altogether

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

They're not mine, I Googled them up.

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Custom House Tower is a must-see. Not only is it an awesome building architecturally but there are free tours daily to the top floor observation deck with incredible views of the North End, harbor, downtown, Fanueil Hall, Govt center, Central Artery, Haymarket etc.

I believe the tours are at 11am & 4pm, I went on the 4pm tour.

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