Boston's history recalls revolution and transformation, and still today it is among the country’s most forward-thinking and barrier-breaking cities.
The arts have thrived in Boston ever since the 19th century, when this cultural capital was dubbed the Athens of America. Certainly, the intellectual elite enjoyed their fine paintings and classical music, but they were also dedicated to spreading the cultural wealth, establishing museums, libraries and symphony orchestras. Today the lucky residents of (and visitors to) Boston benefit from their largesse. These venerable institutions play an integral role on Boston's cultural stage, which has significantly expanded to include dynamic contemporary art and music scenes.
'Fanatic' is no idle word here. Boston fans are passionate about sports. And with the four-time world-champion Patriots, the long-overdue World Series–winning Red Sox, the winningest basketball team in history, the Celtics, and the highly successful and historic hockey team, the Bruins, there is a lot to be passionate about. Boston's college teams also inspire fierce loyalties and staunch rivalries. No less spirited is the country's oldest and most celebrated running event, the world-famous Boston Marathon, and the world's largest two-day rowing event, the Head of the Charles Regatta.
A word of advice: when in Boston, eat as much seafood as possible. Local specialties include the 'sacred cod,' fresh steamed lobster, oysters on the half-shell and thick, creamy chowder. You can eat seafood around the city, but especially in the fish-centered Seaport District, where it's accompanied by spectacular harbor views. The creatures of the sea are your top priority, but don't miss the chance to devour delicious servings of pasta in the North End and to sample spicy Asian dishes in Chinatown. Trendy fusion restaurants draw on all of these eclectic influences to present contemporary cuisine that is uniquely Boston.
For all intents and purposes, Boston is the oldest city in America. And you can hardly walk a step over its cobblestone streets without running into some historic site. The Freedom Trail winds its way around the city, connecting 16 historically significant sites. These are the very places where history unfolded: from the first public school in America to Boston’s first church building to sites linked to America's fight for independence from Britain – Boston is, in effect, one enormous outdoor history museum.