As one of the most historic cities in the US, Boston has many interesting sights and iconic buildings dating back to colonial times. Boston is a metropolis that has a town-like quality, making it easy to walk or take the MBTA to many of the photo destinations. Some tourists only spend a weekend here, but I recommend allocating more time to properly delve into the history behind each monument. I spent four days total, but felt like I could spend at least a week to fully experience the city and surrounding areas.
Boston is a city with personal significance to me as I spent two years living in the Boston area as a youngster in my pre-photography days. I finally revisited the city this past May thanks to a work conference. I am surprised at how much it has changed and also remained the same. Since my last time here in the late 80s, the city underwent a bit of a makeover with the completion of one of the largest public works projects called the Big Dig.
The iconic swan boats are still here but the central artery has been replaced by a beautiful park, making the city less congested and even more picturesque. The city is spirited and invigorating. The Bostonians are friendly and their accent started coming back to me as I toured the wicked smaht universities in Cambridge to the harbah-front historical buildings. Below are the top sights to photograph.
Explore the streets of Boston in our behind the scenes video:
Music Credit: Fun! "Some Nights" | All videos shot with iPhone 6 | Editing: iMovie
Here are the top sights to photograph in Boston:
1. Acorn Street
Located in the Beacon Hill area of Boston are charming row-houses, and the most famous street for photography: Acorn Street. It is a cobblestone street that feels like time stood still.
2. Boston Common & Public Gardens
The Boston Common is the oldest urban park in the US, great for people watching and with plenty of photographic opportunities. I visited in Spring when the tulips were in bloom and the swan boats were cruising the lake. There are excellent photo opportunities at sunset when the cityscape is reflected in the Frog Pond.
3. Freedom Trail
It is one thing to study US history in class and another experience to see the history come alive in the location where the real events took place. The city provides many historical re-enactments of the events that shaped America and led to our independence. Considerably the most famous historical tour is the Freedom Trail, which is a walk through Boston's major historic monuments.
The walk can be done alone or with one of the spirited guides - many of whom dress in the fashions of 1700's Boston and provide interesting stories about each site. The Freedom Trail can be done in as little as an hour and a half for some people, but for me it took about a full day to get the most out of each site. The walk is not only fascinating, but each stop made for excellent photo opportunities. All you have to do is follow the red brick trail.
4. Charles River
The Charles River divides Cambridge and Boston and is very picturesque. The riverfront has a walkway which offers many photo opportunities of the skyline and sailboards, as well as great people watching. During the regatta season in October, the river is filled with boats which makes for an interesting photo shoot.
5. MIT - Stata Center
Being one of the top schools in the world for the sciences, it is no surprise that the MIT campus also offers some of the most interesting modern architecture. Aside from the most famous building on campus (the Great Dome), the Stata Center is my personal favorite. Built by Frank Gehry, it is geometric, colorful, puzzling, and glorious.
6. Harbor - Water taxi
For about $12, I took a water taxi which lead me to some of the coolest skyline views of the harbor.
7. North End
The North End is Boston's Italian community filled with family owned restaurants, delicious cannoli shops, and coffee bars. Compared to other US cities, the Italian food is well represented and a visit to these eateries is a must. The architecture and row-houses looks like a movie set, perfect for photographing. The streets here are narrow, so there are no tour buses on this part of the city. By the way, the Freedom Trail crosses right through the North End, so plan to spend extra time here for food.
8. Harvard and Harvard Square
The Harvard campus offers some interesting architecture sights. Some of my favorites were the Harvard Lampoon Building- a domed shaped building with windows that look like a face, the Le Coubossier Building, and the Library are all standouts. I took the Harvard tour (which was about $10) which is a student-run tour which covered all the major sites on campus in under an hour.
However, the tour did not come with access to the interiors of the campus buildings. If you have some student or faculty friends, they may be able to let you in to see the interior of the library and the freshman dining halls (think Hogwarts), which are both stunning.
9. Observation Decks
Boston features many skyscrapers, roof-decks, and towers which offer a bird's eye view of the city. The Prudential Tower has an observation deck, as well as the Custom House Tower, and the Bunker Hill monument. If you choose Bunker Hill like I did, be prepared to walk up 294 steps in a dizzying spiral staircase which leads to an enclosed observation room. Although, the view at the top did not disappoint.
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