Boston for a Day

By Lisa Hong, SED’19

Recently, I’ve had some good friends drop by Beantown to visit. Considering home is more than 1000 miles away from here for me (I’m from Minnesota), every time one of my friends takes the time and energy (and not to mention, money) to come to town, I can’t help but grin from ear to ear and get excited to show them around this wonderful city I’ve been lucky enough to make my home. But with so many things to see and places to go, how does one navigate the city on a limited budget and time frame? This is a challenge I’m repeatedly faced with, considering most of my friends visit for very brief amounts of time.

Here are the top locations I would recommend for a taste of Boston in under 24 hours. My favorite thing about this city is how accessible everything is. You can walk to all of the locations I’ve listed, but they’re also all available by public transportation. Don’t just take my word for it, though- go see for yourself!

Boston University’s CampusBU Campus

BU Campus







One of my favorite things about our campus is that it essentially follows a straight line down Commonwealth Avenue, so it’s super easy to get around (and hard to get lost, for directionally challenged folks like me). We have some beautiful buildings (I highly recommend Marsh Chapel, the BU Castle, and the Questrom School of Business) and the campus runs right along the Charles River.

The Charles River Esplanade


Speaking of the Charles, did you know there’s a scenic path just steps from campus? A pedestrian bridge tucked behind the George Sherman Union and near BU Beach will take you to this trail, which has access to multiple docks, gorgeous views of Boston and Cambridge, an outdoor gym and playgrounds. This location is extremely popular in the fall, when the leaves change color and Boston hosts the world’s largest two-day rowing event, the Head of the Charles Regatta.

Newbury & Boylston Streets


Featuring cute outdoor cafés, chic boutiques and well-known brands that range from Forever 21 to Vera Wang, Newbury and Boylston (which run parallel to each other) are easily my go-to for an afternoon of shopping. If you start on the end near the Hynes Convention Center T stop and keep walking towards downtown, you’ll end up at locations 4 and 5 on my list. One thing to be wary of: the farther away you are from campus, the more upscale and expensive the stores seem to get.

The Boston Public Library & Copley Square








In my opinion, the Boston Public Library and Copley Square have some of the most intricate architecture in Boston. The library features a beautiful study room (see above), as well as galleries and a picturesque outdoor courtyard. Besides the Public Library, Copley Square is also home to the Old South Church, Trinity Church, and the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. Fun fact: The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel is rumored to be where The Suite Life of Zack and Cody was filmed.

Boston Common & The Public Garden


These two parks lie adjacent to each other, and are both iconic destinations in Boston. Boston Common (often referred to as “The Commons”) marks the south end of the famous Freedom Trail, and includes a Frog Pond as well as numerous monuments and memorials. The Garden features beautiful floral arrangements, various statues, and is also home of the popular Swan Boats attraction.

Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market


Open year-round, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market are great examples of the rich cultural history of our city. Faneuil Hall was the site of several speeches by famous speakers like Samuel Adams, and Quincy Market is a vibrant marketplace, featuring delicious regional specialties as well as food from around the world. The surrounding outdoor area is equally colorful, often hosting public performers and street peddlers.

Boston Harbor


Easily one of Boston’s most recognizable locations, this is a go-to for me and my friends when we are out and about. There are a couple docks you can walk down or sit on that will bring you extremely close to the water, and quite a few spots where you’ll probably want to take photos.

The North End

North End

Often referred to as Boston’s Little Italy, the North End is home to a seemingly endless array of family-owned restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries. I always have trouble deciding where to eat when I’m there, because all of the food is so good. If you’re a fan of any kind of Italian food, whether it be pasta, cannoli, or gelato- this is the best place to go. The lines can get long, though- I would recommend making a reservation if you’ve got a specific restaurant in mind.

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