How to be a tourist in your own city?
Every year, one of my friends goes on a staycation in Boston. They stay at a hotel and become tourists. Because I have never lived in Boston, I’ve always felt a little disconnected from and the city. I used to live in Washington, D.C. and I could tell where you to go to dinner, or a great cafe to read a book, or directions to any place in the capital. So, this item of staying in the city and spending more time exploring it was really appealing. If you follow me, you know we LOVE to travel but because we just bought a house we are sticking to some smaller trips this year.
In the thick of busy season, I blocked off Veteran’s Day Weekend for our staycation. Fall is a busy time for me and I could tell my schedule was impacting the household so I thought blocking off a weekend, despite my work might do everyone some good. Once I got around to looking at hotels they were too expensive for Friday and Saturday, so we opted for spending the day in the city on Saturday, coming home, going back in on Sunday, and spending Sunday night in the city. After the dates were secured, I bought tickets to the BYSO and then looked up which museum passes were available at the library. The plan was starting to form.
We recently moved and don’t take public transportation as often but the kids always seem to enjoy it despite their looks of despair below. We spent the morning with friends at the BYSO’s performance of Peter the Wolf. The kids had a chance to attend the instrument zoo first testing out a few string instruments. My kids are really into a podcast called Circle Round, so we thought they would enjoy this performance of storytelling accompanied by music.
After the BYSO’s performance of Peter the Wolf, we grabbed boba tea with our friends, ate lunch and set off for the main branch of the Boston Public Library. This has been on my to do list since moving to Boston but I’ve never blocked off the time to go. Does anyone else have lists like this? Places that want to see but never make the time for it to happen? In the local photography circles, there was always talk of how beautiful the building is (and also the high fees to shoot there, which I completely understand) so I wanted to check it out.
We toured the library and then camped out in the Children’s section for awhile. Ezra who loves reading was off with a book.
Before heading home on the T, we stopped at Eately for a quick snack and just to look around.
On Sunday, we packed our suitcases and started our on day two of our adventure. We took public transportation to the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. It was another local gem that I’ve heard a lot about. The library had a museum pass so we were sold.
If you have never been, the museum Isabella Stewart Gardner built is quite stunning especially the courtyard which is very calming and peaceful. There is a live exhibit where a singer gives someone the gift of song. They select one person walking by, bring them into the courtyard and sing directly to them, one-on-one. It is quite moving and even the kids were captivated. Online I saw that on Saturdays there are activities for children which would have been a better for kids since they were not entertained by much else. Sadie did say Isabella must have been rich because this place must have cost two thousand dollars.
After the museum, we walked by to our hotel, the InterContinential Hotel for some swimming and then dinner in the North End. The pool was a requirement of the kids but they didn’t really spend much time in it. I will say, that I really loved the location of the hotel. It was convenient to the majority of our activities.
There wasn’t much to do in the hotel so first thing Monday morning we walked over to Flour Bakery in Seaport for breakfast and then spent some time at Martin’s Park next to the Children’s Museum. Ezra hadn’t been to the park yet so it was fun watching them explore a new place. We were at the Children’s Museum two weeks earlier for a Circle Round performance – an amazing podcast for kids – so we elected for the New England Aquarium (library passes, yay!) for the afternoon.
Sadie is walking through some new art outside the aquarium.
Ezra loves the aquarium so it was a great place for us to spend the afternoon. We grabbed lunch and some food trucks and then spent hours at the exhibits. It has been at least a year since we have gone and noticed a few new changes to the exhibits.
What places in Boston are on your must see list? Or, your if I had a free afternoon I’d go to this place list?
Beth Ann Fricker is a Boston newborn and family photographer. Looking for an alternative to family photos? Let me capture your next family adventure into Boston or your favorite weekend activity.