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1 Frommer's Favorite Boston Experiences
A Sky Full of Fireworks. Twice during Independence Day festivities and again as the New Year begins, the firmament flashes in celebration. The Fourth of July fireworks are over the Charles River; the Harborfest display (in early July) and the First Night exhibition explode above the Inner Harbor. See chapter 2.
A Meal at Durgin-Park. Dinner at this Boston institution (it opened in 1827) might start with oysters. It might also start with a waitress slinging a handful of napkins over your shoulder, dropping a handful of cutlery in front of you, and saying, "Here, give these out." The surly service usually seems to be an act, but it's so much a part of the legend that some people are disappointed when the waitresses are nice (as they often are). See chapter 6.
A Lunch Break with a Water View. Head for the harbor or the river, perch on a park bench or a patch of grass, take off your watch, relax, and enjoy the spectacular scene. Whether it's sailboats or ocean liners, seagulls or scullers, there's always something worth watching. See chapter 6.
A Ride on a Duck. A Duck Tour, that is. Board a reconditioned amphibious World War II landing craft (on Boylston Street in front of the Prudential Center) for a sightseeing ride that includes a dip in the river-for the Duck, not you. See chapter 7.
A "Ride" at the Museum of Science. The Mugar Omni Theater, a five-story wraparound auditorium (or torture chamber, if you're prone to motion sickness), inundates you with sights and sounds and doesn't let go. Whether the film is on sharks or Antarctica, the larger-than-life images will draw you in. The museum proper (separate admission) is also a great place to explore, especially if you're traveling with children. See chapter 7.
A Bird's-Eye View. On a clear day, you can see for at least 30 miles from the John Hancock Observatory or the Prudential Center Skywalk-not exactly forever, but an impressive view nonetheless. On a clear night, especially in winter, the cityscape looks like black velvet studded with twinkling lights. See chapter 7.
A Few Hours (at Least) at the Museum of Fine Arts. Whether you're into Egyptian art or contemporary photography, furniture and decorative arts or the Impressionists, you're sure to find something at the MFA that tickles your interest. See chapter 7.
An Afternoon Red Sox Game. Since 1912, baseball fans have made pilgrimages to Fenway Park, the "lyric little bandbox of a ball park" (in John Updike's words) off Kenmore Square. The seats are uncomfortable and too close together and the Red Sox last won the World Series in 1918, but you won't care a whit as you soak up the atmosphere and bask in the sun. See chapter 7.
A Vicarious Thrill. Without so much as lacing up a sneaker, you can participate in the world-famous Boston Marathon. Stretch a little so that you won't cramp up. Drink plenty of fluids. Stake out a slice of sidewalk on Commonwealth Avenue and cheer as the runners thunder past. Then relax and put your feet up-you've earned it. See chapter 7.
A Walk Around the North End. Boston's Little Italy (but it's never called that) has an old-world flavor you won't want to miss. Explore the shops on Salem Street, wander the narrow side streets, perhaps enjoy some pasta, and be sure to stop for coffee and a pastry at a Hanover Street caffé. See chapter 7.
A Spring Fling in the Public Garden. Eight square blocks of paradise await you, filled with flowers, ornamental greenery, and flowering trees and shrubs. Pass through for a quick pick-me-up, take to the lagoon for a swan boat ride, or just enjoy the ducklings. They're on view in the flesh seasonally and in bronze year-round. See chapters 7 and 8.
A Newbury Street Safari. From the genteel Arlington Street end to the cutting-edge Mass Ave. end, Boston's legendary shopping destination is 8 blocks of pure temptation-galleries, boutiques, jewelry and gift shops, bookstores, and more. See chapter 9.
A Weekend Afternoon in Harvard Square. It's not the bohemian hangout of days gone by, but "the Square" is packed with book and record stores, clothing and souvenir shops, restaurants, musicians, students of all ages, and so many people that it's a wonder there are any left at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. See chapter 9.
A Visit to Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Specialty shops, an enormous food court, street performers, bars, restaurants, and crowds from all over the world make Faneuil Hall Marketplace (you'll also hear it called Quincy Market) Boston's most popular destination. See chapter 9.
A Free Friday Flick. Families, film buffs, and impoverished culture hounds flock to the lawn in front of the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade for free movies (The Wizard of Oz or Tarzan, for example) on Friday nights in the summer. Bring something to sit on, and maybe a sweater. See chapter 10.
A Concert Alfresco. Summer nights swing to the beat of outdoor music by amateurs and professionals. A great spot for free jazz is Christopher Columbus Park, on the waterfront, where performances take place Fridays at 6:30pm. See chapter 10.
A Concert Indoors. The lights go down, the crowd falls silent-you get a little thrill even if you're waiting for an Adam Sandler movie to start. If you're waiting for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the thrill is more of a chill. See chapter 10.