Florida Man on the Run

Your One Day in Boston Guide

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So, you’ve got just one day in Boston? With a city so full of history, sights, sounds, and beers, it can be hard to figure out exactly what you must do. Well, my friends, worry no longer. My week long trip to Beantown let me design a can’t beat way to spend one day in Boston. If you hit these five highlights, not only will your day be packed full but you’ll feel pretty accomplished too. You might also need a new pair of shoes as well!

Visit Old Ironsides with One Day in Boston

If you’re going to accomplish the maximum amount in just one day, you’ll need to get started early. The best place to start one day in Boston, is the USS Constitution. The facilities open up at 9am, giving you plenty of time to explore Old Ironsides without many people in the way.

Old Ironsides is a proud part of Boston and an excellent stop for anyone spending just one day in Boston.
Old Ironsides remains impressive 200 years after construction

The USS Constitution is also a great introduction to the “hands-on” history of Boston. Like many of the places throughout Boston, the USS Constitution is a historical site that you’ll be able to explore at your leisure. Take the time to ask the sailors who are stationed on the ship about its history. In fact, one of the best parts is listening to the passion these sailors have for their station.

After you’ve finished exploring the USS Constitution, check out the USS Constitution Museum just a short walk across the yard. The museum is packed with interesting naval history, not just focused entirely on Old Ironsides. Upstairs you’ll even get an opportunity to “walk” through the life of a sailor. There is also plenty of hands on activities on the first floor as well. If you’re bringing the kids, the museum will be a blast for them!

Once you’ve finished with the USS Constitution, you can continue your one day in Boston just to the north. Bunker Hill Monument is your first stop on the Freedom Trail!

Walk the Freedom Trail

The vast majority of the day’s walking will be spent on the Freedom Trail. You’ll be starting the trail at the Bunker Hill Monument. Let the inner history buff in you loose, because there is history EVERYWHERE. If you want to catch an amazing view of Boston, climb the 294 steps to the top of the monument.

The Freedom Trail is packed with historical sites, squeezed between modern buildings. The trail itself is split by the Rose Kennedy Greenway into a north half and south half. On the north side, you’ll find the Old North Church, Paul Revere Statue, and the Paul Revere House. These are all great historic sites, but I liked the dedication to historical accuracy at the Paul Revere House.

Walking the Freedom Trail is a great idea as part of your one day in Boston
Hey, its me! In front of the Sam Adams statue and Faneuil Hall

South of the Greenway, you’ll find yourself on the heart of the trail. The vast majority of historic sites exist on this portion of the trail. The site of the Boston Massacre sits at a busy intersection just behind the Old State House. Further along the trail you’ll come to the Old South Meeting House. This meeting house served as one of the key places which helped foment the American Revolution.

The final stops on the Freedom Trail will be leading you into the next part of your one day in Boston itinerary. Wander through the Granary Burying Ground to see the grave sites of a few of the biggest figures in the American Revolution. Beyond here you’ll officially come to the “start” of the trail on the Boston Common. If you want a more in-depth account of the Freedom Trail, check out the entire post I wrote on it!

Stop and Smell the Flowers

Just because you’ve reached the end of your time on the Freedom Trail, doesn’t mean you’re done walking! Now it’s time to take a stroll through Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden. These are some of the oldest parks in the country and places where Bostonians have gathered for almost 200 years.

Come visit George Washington at the Boston Public Garden during your one day in Boston.
George Washington welcomes you to the Boston Public Garden

The Boston Common is one of the largest city park’s in the United States. The Common is also the oldest such park in the US, making it another part of Boston’s long historical attractions. If you’re feeling a bit hungry, the common is a perfect place to have a picnic on your one day in Boston. Stop by the bandstand in the Common to hear some music on your way to the Public Garden.

The Boston Public Garden was created in 1837 and was the first botanical garden in the United States. You’ll be able to find the famed Swan Boats here in the garden, so if you’ve got the time, make sure to take a ride! The many paths through the garden are simply begging for a stroll. Take the opportunity here to get off your feet for a bit by sitting on a bench by the pond. After all that walking on the trail, you’ve earned a bit of relaxing! On your way out of the park, stop and look back at the George Washington Statue. On a clear blue day, you’ll get a stunning shot of the Boston skyline like the one below.

Fine Arts Galore For One Day in Boston

At this point, it’s time to take the fun inside. You need to head to the corner of Arlington and Boylston Street to catch the train. You’re going to be in search of some fine arts, so make sure you get off at the Museum of Fine Arts stop. From here you’ve got two options to explore. The first is the creatively named Museum of Fine Arts. You’re other option is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. If you’re particularly ambitious, you could try to squeeze both in!

Let’s start with the Museum of Fine Arts. The extensive collections here span countless years and topics. The museum is separated into the original locations of the art. The Art of the Americas wing is the newest and one of the largest at four full floors. You’ll also find art from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Ancient World. When you first enter make sure to pickup a guide and look on the back for the 12 highlights picked by the curators themselves!

The Isabella Steward Gardner Museum is the far smaller of the two. However, I think I preferred my time spent here than the larger museum. The smaller collection at the Gardner Museum feels more intimate, and for good reason. The pieces on display here were curated by Isabella Gardner herself. In fact, the entire museum was designed by her making the space a unique and distinct way to appreciate the art inside. One of the more interesting aspects relates to the theft of thirteen pieces in 1990. The museum leaves the frames of these works hanging in their original spots, unwilling to disturb the layout of the museum’s art.

The Gardner Museum is a fantastic place to spend part of your One Day in Boston
How could you not want to spend part of the day here?

If you’re choosing between the two, go with the Gardner Museum. It’s more intimate atmosphere will allow you to complete it. I promise you won’t be disappointed by your visit there.

Nighttime at Fenway

Regardless of your attachment to baseball, a trip to Fenway is a must. Truthfully, nothing brings Bostonians together more than the love of the Red Sox. I honestly can’t think of a better way to end one day in Boston than a night game at historic Fenway Park.

Seeing a game at Fenway Park is a must if you're only spending one day in Boston
Welcome to Fenway Park!

It’s really no coincidence that the best time of year to visit Boston is during baseball season. Fans descend on Fenway Park for nearly every game. The best way to experience Fenway is under the bright lights at night. The park will be lively with no one at work. The streets outside will be full of people brimming with excitement. Stop into a bar on Landsdowne Street before the game to enjoy a few cold ones.

Ticket prices at Fenway can vary based on the opponent and time of year. During my visit in late September, I scored two center field tickets for $60 total. They were playing the Orioles. The following night the Yankees came to town and those tickets were $70 a piece. I really enjoyed our center field seats which gave us a great view of the action and let me touch the Green Monster.

Picture from my seats in center field

After you’ve enjoyed so much history and culture in Boston, ending the night at Fenway is the best. Sit down, enjoy the atmosphere, and sing Sweet Caroline in the 8th. Experience Boston in the best way I know possible.

Why One Day in Boston Isn’t Enough

Let’s be honest, though. One day in Boston is certainly not enough. In fact, of the week I spent in Massachusetts, four days were entirely in Boston. Harvard and its surroundings are a perfect way to expand your culture dive. Downtown is packed with more to do than just the trail and parks. Exploring the Charles River or venturing out into Boston Harbor if you’re inclined to spend time on the water. I didn’t even get a chance to talk about the food, so check out this post on the best places to eat in Boston for some great dishes! There is simply so much to do and 24 hours is too little time.

If you’re looking to expand your trip outside Boston, there are a couple options. I ventured to walk among the echos of the revolution in Lexington and Concord. You can also take a short drive or train ride to the spooky town of Salem. Take your chances by heading to Cape Cod for the sunrise (though beware poor weather).

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8 Responses

  1. That’s a lot to do in a day, My kind of day! When we visited Boston, we inadvertently ended up in the park during a hemp fest! It was a great travel story.

    1. Sam Adams is a bit far to walk, so I couldn’t include it. We stayed in Jamaica Plains which is just down the road from the brewery and the tours there are awesome!

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