The Best of Boston: 10 Essential Experiences

Charlestown Ferry

There are plenty of options to get a good view of the city skyline, but locals have recommended the Charlestown Ferry to me. During my last visit, I took them up on it, and quite enjoyed the ride (pun intended).

The trip is very cheap (I believe we paid less than $5 each round trip), and you get a good look at the main skyline and the North End. The ferry can drop you off at the U.S.S. Constitution, but if you want you can stay on board and just return to the main wharf. The whole round takes about forty-five minutes.

If it’s nice out, definitely take advantage of the open top deck! And keep your cameras ready for the stellar views!

Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work

Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work

USS Constitution and Museum

Aside from its yearly trip around the harbor, the USS Constitution is docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard. This historic ship has seen many a battle, and is quite fun to explore. Nearby you’ll find the USS Constitution Museum, which is one of my favorite nautical-themed museums in the country (and I’ve visited many). The hands-on exhibits make it fun to interact with history, from hoisting a sail to swinging in a hammock.

Check ahead of your visit to see if the ship is in repairs. (As of this writing, it’s closed to the public–but the museum is still open.)

Boston Tea Party Museum

If you have ever wanted to show your patriotic spirit by lobbing tea into a harbor, you’re in luck. This museum is one part displays, two parts re-enacting. You’ll learn about the tensions in Boston leading up to the Boston Tea Party, and then you’ll get to board the recreated ships and throw some tea yourself. (Well, some boxes that are tied to the boat that look like they may contain tea, anyway.)

I’m not going to lie: The gift shop and the tea shop are great on their own. The gift shop has a variety of really nice items, at a surprisingly acceptable price. In the tea shop, you can sample several different blends from the late 1700s, which is basically crack to a tea and history lover like myself. The tea rooms were relaxing to rest in, with views of the ships and the water. Also, there were plugs by many of the tables–a minor but important detail.

Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work

Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work

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