Bustling and multifaceted, Boston was once called "The Athens of America" for good reason. Historically, it's where the seeds of American independence were planted, and visitors can retrace the significant points on the Freedom Trail. Boston has many famous neighborhoods: The North End is the city's oldest, but Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and Fenway/Kenmore are also name-recognizable. So are its landmarks: Old North Church, Boston Common, the Paul Revere House, the New England Aquarium, and John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. You could get a week's worth of sightseeing just along Harborwalk, the promenade that traces nearly 40 miles of renovated historic waterfront. Boston is an eminently pedestrian-friendly city even the airport transfer is an attraction, thanks to the heated water taxis providing service across Boston Harbor from Logan International Airport. You wouldn't necessarily think such an intellectual city would care about sports, but in fact Boston has a loud, rough-and-tumble side to it that absolutely looooves its butt-kicking pro sports teams. Just go to any home game for Boston Red Sox baseball, Celtics basketball, Patriots football, or particularly Bruins hockey, and you'll get it loud and clear. Two other ubiquitous, Boston-produced pleasures: Boston clam chowder and Sam Adams beer.
The birthplace of the American Revolution, Boston balances rich history with youthful vitality -- the metropolitan area is home to more than 50 colleges and universities, with a reputation as the biggest college town in the world. For a historical excursion, follow the Freedom Trail past such Revolutionary War landmarks as the Old North Church, and explore the cobblestone streets and 18th-century row houses of Beacon Hill. Boston is also rich with art, particularly at the Museum of Fine Arts and the idiosyncratic Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Be sure to watch a game at Fenway Park, the nation’s oldest major league ballpark, and visit Harvard Square, the epicenter of student spirit.