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Boston MA vacation ideas...

Guest lorrigail

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Guest lorrigail

We are planning a trip to Boston MA for a vacation the end of May. I was wondering if anyone had any must see for us to consider. We are already looking at the Freedom Trail and doing a duck tour.


We are also looking for a hotel. We are looking for a Holiday Inn (we have some free nights!).


I have looked online but don't have a clue which would be best for our family.


I have looked at Holiday INN Brookline, Somerville, Beacon Hill and the one on Atlantic Ave.


What are the pros and cons of staying downtown? Would you recommend any of the ones I listed above or is there another one that would work better. We don't mind being out of town either.


Thank you all for your help!



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The Holiday Inn in Brookline is a great place to stay because of its location. I lived two blocks from there for 8 years. It's located in Coolidge Corner which is both a shopping and urban residential area. You can walk to tons of restaurants, book stores, drugstores, and specialty shops from there. There is a playground nearby, too. It's a mile or two from the Boston line and it all blends in together as one big urban area.




Here's a link to reviews of Boston hotels on Trip Advisor, and from that site you can search for reviews of any hotel you desire:




The "T" which is kind of like a trolley/subway is located on the same street, so it is easy to get anywhere in Boston from there. I urge you not to drive in Boston. Getting around on the T is not that hard and is much easier on the nerves. Plus, parking is at a premium and walking around in Boston is fun.






The Green Line of the MBTA runs into Boston and from various stations you can switch to other lines and go virtually anywhere.




Here's a website that will tell you about tons of things to do in Boston.




The Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium, The Boston Children's Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts are fun places to go.










There are tons of places of historical interest, as well.




It's also fun to go to the North End (the Italian section) & to Chinatown:






It's also fun to walk down Newbury Street and end up at the Boston Public Garden. We like to buy a "to go" lunch and picnic there.






Faneuil Hall is fun to visit:




The Old State House is right around the corner. I thought the tour was boring, but the building is beautiful IMO. I love the lion and the unicorn.




The BPL is also interesting to visit:




Canobie Lake Park is lots of fun, too: http://www.canobie.com/


I guess it is obvious by now that you will never run out of interesting and fun places to go and things to do in Boston in particular, and in New England in general. If you want to go to places outside Boston, Salem and Cape Cod are nearby and there are ferries to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.


When you get to Boston, check the newspaper for the Red Sox schedule. Any time they have a home game is a good time to stay out of the Kenmore Square area and off the T. Also, the T is super crowded during rush hour. The key to getting on the train is not to be polite and stand back to let other people go ahead of you. Pile on there with everyone else or you will be left standing on the platform.


It will also help if you get a new street map and stay out of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. Stick with the business/financial district and tourist areas and mark those areas on the map and don't stray from them. My husband did that for me when I first moved here, and it was a big help. Boston in small in land size and you can be safe on one street and unwittingly walk 2 blocks over and be in gang territory.










I have looked at Holiday INN Brookline, Somerville, Beacon Hill and the one on Atlantic Ave.


What are the pros and cons of staying downtown? Would you recommend any of the ones I listed above or is there another one that would work better. We don't mind being out of town either.


Thank you all for your help!



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would get you close enough to walk to many places - Boston Museum of Science, Boston Common, State House, Faneuil Hall http://www.nps.gov/bost/historyculture/fh.htm


but if not, stay someplace you can walk to the T and take the train & buy a T pass so you don't have to stand in line to get a token to get on the train at popular stations (gov't. station).


Atlantic Ave. may get you close enough to walk but it's not a great location (unless it's very close to the Aquarium/Marriott longwarf).

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We went a couple of years ago and stayed in a hotel out in the suburbs between Boston and Plymouth, as we planned to go to both. I think it was a Residence Inn or some such, and I believe the town was Brockton. Nothing in Brockton that we particularly wanted to see, but it was about halfway between and we were able to get a suite with a separate bedroom and a kitchen for a reasonable rate. This was important at the end of a two week driving trip!:) We took the train into Boston (very convenient) and had no problems, but drove down to Plimoth Plantation. We were lucky enough to be there during homeschool days.




We loved the Children's Museum of Boston, and it was one of the best children's museum I have seen. They have an entire traditional Japanese house inside that was moved over from Japan and put back together by traditional craftsmen (btw if anyone knows how to get a copy of the video of the project, please let me know, we've been looking for it for years). The whole thing is in a three story warehouse--it's huge!



Here's a list of the other museums in the area



We had a somewhat limited time and chose to go to the science museum rather than fine arts based on the Star Wars exhibit that was there at the time (something my husband wanted to see and we were meeting someone there). I had wanted to take my daughter to see a real mummy, and both places were supposed to have one. Unfortunately, when we got to the science museum, they told us that the mummy had only been on loan and had gone back, which was disappointing since we didn't have time to go to the fine arts museum as well. I wish we had done the fine arts one instead, as we found the science museum nice but not really special.


A place we wanted to go but did not have time was the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester.



I found places like http://www.bostonkids.net/ and http://travelwithkids.about.com/od/bostonwithkids/Boston_With_Kids.htm to be useful in finding out about things to do.


Depending on your time frame and ability to travel (ie will you have a car), you might consider driving down to Cape Cod, etc.

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I took my oldest three boys on a trip to Boston in May, 2005 while we were studying American history. They were 10 (almost), 7, and 5 at the time. I'd been there several times before and couldn't wait to share it with them; Boston is such an awesome ~ and easy ~ place to visit. I plan to go again in a few years and am looking forward to it even more as my older guys will be able to appreciate new aspects of it.


We stayed at the Park Plaza, just next to the public gardens. I booked online through Priceline and got a very good rate. This is an absolutely perfect location, imo, right in the heart of the city and across the street from a T station. (You can get all over the place in Boston simply walking and/or taking the T.) We meandered through the Public Gardens and Common as well as many historic neighborhoods and, of course, the Freedom Trail. We did not take a duck tour; that really isn't my kind of thing and it's so easy to take it all in yourself. We took the little ferry across the harbor to Charlestown and toured the USS Constitution. I would encourage you not to over-schedule your trip. Simply walking and stopping to explore historic sites is so enjoyable. If you enjoy art museums and the weather is sketchy (we were there during one of the coldest Mays in recent history), do visit the MFA. It's well worth it. On the other hand, I wouldn't take time for the aquarium or science museums; to me, those places are too similar to what I find in any city.


Our excursions beyond Boston included a coach tour to Lexington and Concord. I love those areas and of course the boys were interested in them, too, having just studied the American Revolution. I was a bit leery of doing a coach tour, but I didn't particularly feel like renting a car and the bus left from just outside our hotel. It worked out fine, but next time I will drive myself so we can linger as long as we'd like in various spots.


Getting down to Plimoth Plantation was a bit of a challenge. I discovered that the tour busses do not start the rounds until June, so I decided we'd take the train. I didn't realize until being deposited in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart ~ in Plimoth, of all places ~ that upon arrival we'd still have a good distance to go to the actual plantation. So we called a cab and it all became rather tedious and pricey. I also thought the Plimoth Plantation itself was rather hokey ~ or I should say, the people "acting" as historical figures were rather hokey. I'd go back, but if time were of the essence I wouldn't mind skipping it.


If your children are old enough and interested, you might take in a baseball game at Fenway Park. We were able to get good seats for a decent price right outside the stadium. It was Mother's Day and afterwards we got to go down on the field and see the World Series trophy. Woo hoo!


Well, let me know if you have any questions. Just writing this has gotten me all excited to go back there again. I have two friends who live right in Boston so I might get out there with just one or two of the boys sooner rather than later.


Have fun!

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stay someplace you can walk to the T and take the train & buy a T pass so you don't have to stand in line to get a token to get on the train at popular stations (gov't. station).


Haven't tokens been discontinued? Isn't it cash or a smart card (pre-paid card ~ whatever it's called!) now?

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The T pass is called a Charlie card. They are sold at ATM-like machines. I was really confused the first time I took the T after they switched from tokens, but there was someone right there to help.

RoughCollie seems to have covered a lot of ideas. Personally, we love the science museum and the aquarium. Have a great time. Boston is a fun city.

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Two additions that I didn't see listed so far are the World Famous glass flowers exhibit at Harvard. This is a MUST SEE; you cannot see these anywhere else that I know of. The entire musuem is fun to see, but the glass flowers are a must-see.


There are tons and tons of things to do in Boston but outside of Boston this is my first favorite spot to take vistors (back in the days when we lived in Mass) --


Lowell National Park The early story of America's Industrial Revolution is commemorated at Lowell National Historical Park in the midst of this lively city. The Park offers visitors an in-depth look into the past that brought the 19th century textile industry to tap the waterpower of the Merrimack River while also revealing cultural connections to the present and visions for the future.


And Higgins Armory --- I'm so glad someone mentioned this place. My kids want us to travel back to Worcester just so they can visit it.


Oh, and the Willard Clock Museum --- at the very least jump on over to their website to see a typical New England house. It is just unbelieveable what this place has inside that house.

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