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Touring Top Boston Museums

Not only does Boston have history and art embedded in the streets, you can also tour incredible museums to embrace the city’s rich culture. The fine variety of top attractions, from art to science and everything in between, gives travelers great variety. Let’s dig right into some of the best ones found throughout Boston to explore.

Want even more tips on visiting Boston museums? Download the Leaf Canoe app for real-time advice, photos, maps and itineraries from fellow travelers.

Museum of Science

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A great place to start or spend the entire day enjoying, the Museum of Science is for kids and adults at heart. Many exhibits have been mainstays for years, but stay prevalent in the hearts and mind of visitors wishing to learn and explore. Some of the highlights include a live lighting show and interactive animal attractions.

Museum of Fine Art

As the most famous art hub in the city, the MFA has some incredible masterpieces on display. Start with artifacts from ancient Egypt and Asia, then travel through time all the way to modern American art. Spot paintings from Gustav Klimt, Hollywood fashion jewelry, and Americana photographs, to name a few.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Also a fine art establishment, this smaller museum has big, bold character. Enjoy the beautiful courtyard covered in exotic foliage, then take a peek at the sketches and artwork on site from John Singer Sargent, Michelangelo and Raphael.

USS Constitution Museum

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Discover history on a giant battleship in Boston Harbor. Tours are given of the USS Constitution on the regular, with time allotted to peek at their interesting collection of artifacts. There are rare books, manuscripts and models that tell stories of Boston’s nautical past.

Gibson House Museum

Would you like to know what Boston fine living looked like in the 1800s? The Gibson House has been perfectly preserved to give guests a look into life more than 150 years ago. It’s a historic Boston brownstone filled with detailed furnishing, décor and even wallpaper that’s original.

Boston Beer Museum

With some of the most famous breweries in the world founded in Boston, it’s only natural the city would have a museum in honor of the trade. It’s been created by Boston Beer Company founder Jim Koch, who also spent time brewing for the Sam Adams brand.

Mapparium

More a cool attraction that a museum, this landmark at the Christian Science Center of Boston is one not to miss. It’s a giant glass globe that visitors can step inside of and view the world from a different angle. This is also the home of portrait galleries, preserved flags and exhibits on journalism.

Boston Public Library

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This historic library is a museum on itself, with more than 23 million examined items on display, making it the second largest library in the world. The rotating exhibits on display will feature anything from literary maps to love letters of the past. Catch a free concert in the courtyard or an author reading selection for an added bonus.

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Best Boston Campuses to Explore

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Boston might be a carefree and a travelers’ playground, but it is also home to hundreds of thousands of students. This city is known as one of the top academic meccas in the world for a wide variety of studies. In fact, many of these schools are now park of the historic landscape of Boston and have been featured in books, movies and legends alike. Here are some fantastic colleges and universities you can visit on your next trip to Boston.

You can also check out the extended leaf on the LeafCanoe app for eve more travel tips in Boston! Find out how here.

Harvard University

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When travelers think of seeing esteemed schools in Boston, Harvard University is usually the first to come to mind. Actually, the campus it located in Cambridge, a separate city from Boston, but still next door and reachable by car or public transportation. Unlike some of the other schools in and near the city, Harvard is prepared to welcome outside guests who are simply interested in the landmark. Here are free, guided historical tours available for the curious that examine the buildings, grounds and past of an iconic institution. Visitors can also go to the museums on campus that are small but famous, including the Peabody Museum and Sackler Art Muesum.

Boston University

As one of the biggest high educational schools in the city, Boston University welcomes more than 30,000 enrollees every year. Many of the academic buildings are located in the Fenway area. Travelers can have a fun time poking around the libraries and coffee shops full of studious co-eds. This also is a great spot to have some wallet-friendly food that caters to a younger crowd. The Mei Mei street kitchen, Gyro City, El Pelon Taqueria and Tasty Burger all are good choices steps from the MBTA. Take a tour of nearby Fenway Park after lunch

Emerson College

Known for its journalistic roots, number one college radio station and hot house for budding performers, locals love to see what students at Emerson are up to in downtown Boston. The school owns a few iconic performance centers, including the Cutler Majestic. They offer spoken word, music and acting shows by both students and professionals. There is also a visitor center on Boylston Street near the sprawling Boston Common that welcomes guests to come in for more information.

Berklee College of Music

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In the heart of the Theater district, this trendy and cool college houses some of the biggest performance based talents in the country. Their main building line Boylston Street and Mass Ave, emblazoned with proud Berklee namesakes and colors. While you can take a tour of the city campus if interested in its history or attending, but the real draw to Berklee is the great shows students host year-round. Many are free and some are open to the public, which can give a look into the lives of these rising stars. Alumni have received 239 Grammy awards, so it’s well worth checking out the concerts put on by co-eds. For instance, seniors will perform their final recitals at Café 939, and bigger orchestras and bands usually take over the Berklee Performance Center, which also features music professionals.

New England School of Photography

Along the same lines as Berklee, this school loves showcasing its incredible students by gallery showings and more throughout the city. Check out the main campus right near Fenway Park, then discover places to see stunning photographs. There is also the Garner Center on campus, open six days a week, which acts as a real exhibition hall with rotating showing of student work.

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Top 8 places to see on Boston’s Freedom Trail

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Top 8 places to see on Boston’s Freedom Trail

History and the city of Boston go hand-in-hand. With a place so steeped in the past, it has found a beautiful way to blend together modern accomplishments with those accomplished by the country’s forefathers. Any traveler journeying to Boston should not overlook the historical landmarks this destination takes pride in and protects.

One of the easiest ways to explore Boston’s history is a walk along the famous Freedom Trail. There are 2 and a half miles of red brick marked along the streets of the city that highlight some of the coolest homes, state houses, statues and even spooky cemeteries worth visiting.

How about even more ideas for exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail than the ones below? Sign up for the list to gain exclusive access to the LeafCanoe app. See the great itineraries locals and travelers have posted of their adventures!

Paul Revere House

The midnight ride of Paul Revere is said to have staved off British devastation during the American Revolution. He rode through the night warning locals of an impending battle. Nowadays, travelers can visit his original homestead, built in 1680, which has been converted into a museum.

Bunker Hill Monument

Standing tall at one of Boston’s highest points, this honors those who lost their lives during the Revolutionary War. It looks like the Washington Memorial with a tall base and pointy top, standing more than 220 feet tall. If feeling adventurous, all 300 steps can be climbed for a sweeping view of the skyline.

Faneuil Hall

Not many shopping malls can claim to have been around for more than two and a half centuries. Faneuil Hall is one of the busiest parts of Boston, with hordes of visitors shopping, dining and enjoying the gaggle of street performers. The area has both indoor and outdoor spaces for a range of activities, shows and fun. It looks prettiest around the holidays when a formal tree lighting ceremony takes pace every year.

Massachusetts State House

When it’s time to see some bling, make a stop on the Freedom Trail at the state house. Topped with a massive gold dome gilded in 23 karat gold, the building is an iconic part of the city. Tours are given on the regular by professional guided to help with its history, dating back to 1798.

Old North Church

This is the oldest church in the city that still stands and has a lively congregation. Legedn has it this was a stop on Paul Revere’s Ride and where he got his famous lantern lit. The Episcopal church stand in the middle of the North End, which is a fun hub also known as Boston’s Little Italy.

Granary Burial Ground

A city so full of old wars and history is bound to have a few ghost stories. Take a look at this burial ground that was created in 1660 to house locals after their untimely deaths. More than 5,000 people are laid to rest in this spot, many who fought in the Revolutionary War. Relatives of Ben Franklin are buried in the graveyard too.

USS Constitution

Away from the hubbub of downtown, the USS Constitution is an impressive tall masted ship docked in Boston Harbor. It was once used by the United States Navy and was built in the late 1700s. To this day the ship is the oldest in the official Navy fleet still afloat and is manned by 60 sailors on a given day.

Boston Common

After a day exploring Boston’s finest historical sites, having a rest at this sprawling, green park is a perfect way to end the day. As the world’s oldest city park, established in 1634, it still reigns today as a great meeting place for sports enthusiasts, theater lovers and skaters on the cheery Frog Pond. Over time, the space has been used as a meeting ground for revolution and change, even through modern history. For instance, Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II both gave speeches on the Common.

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Top 5 Places to Catch Good Tunes in Boston

Rappers and country singers, undiscovered and huge stars, Boston is equipped to host all the hottest musical acts of our time. There’s beautiful venues strewn about the city that can host everyone from rockers to jam and lovers and people in between. This time of year is perfect to purchase tickets and cozy up in one of the best Boston music venues, big and small.

Want even more ideas for Boston music hotspots than the ones below? Sign up for the list to gain exclusive access to the LeafCanoe app. See the great itineraries locals and travelers have posted of their adventures!

Paradise Rock Club

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Rockers, this is the place for you. It boasts a deep, rich history in the city that dates back to 1977 and has welcome classic bands like Phish, REM and even U2 to its stage. Due to its intimate setting, many students will wander into Paradise for small shows and the chance to see bands right before they hit it big. It underwent a big makeover in 2010, but still hold on to its original vibe with a black interior and small front stage.

Middle East

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There’s several ways to enjoy this iconic venue located in Cambridge. They technically have four different venues rolled into one, with several floors of space and plenty of areas to jam. Grab dinner at the restaurant first, then wander up ro downstairs to listen to fantastic DJs, up and coming acoustic artists and old favorites.

TT & the Bears

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Right next door to the Middle East, it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. This venue often features smaller acts that re edgy, eclectic and love to get people moving. If you dig local music, this is where you will find it, seven nights a week. Usually multiple bands are booked for one evening, so you can enjoy a sample of great tunes covering rock, hip hop, punk and more.

Wang Theater

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Time to get a little classier and head downtown. As one of Boston most aesthetically impressive music venues, this feels more like going to a Broadway show than a concert. Completed and opened to the public in 1925, the Wan Theater has been remarkably maintained and remains one of the top five largest stages in the country. See legends play from John Mellencamp to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Alongside the music performances, you can catch comedians, radio personalities and the Boston Ballet.

House of Blues

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An institution in its own right, the House of Blues is fairly new to the Boston scene compared to other venues. Opened in 2009 right across the street from Fenway Park, it has brought sold out shows to the city consistently and shows no sign of slowing down. There used to be a 200-seat House of Blues in Cambridge that closed in 2003, so this new spot is much bigger and better. Coming up, you can catch any and all hit performers, including country singer Sam Hunt, rocker Marilyn Manson and funky George Clinton.

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Exploring Boston’s North End Neighborhood

Although most people wander into this neighborhood for some Italian cuisine, there’s so much else to enjoy outside of a spaghetti dinner. Explore a little further to discover even more great things about this European spirited corner of Boston.

Step Back in Time

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Start at the Old North Church when checking out the North End for its past historic significance. This is where Paul Revere was said to light lanterns that triggered his famous midnight ride during the American Revolution. On one side of the church down the street is the Copp’s Hill Bury Ground, filled with more than 10,000 graves of notable Boston figures, such as the man who designed the USS Constitution battle ship. Another block or two away is Paul Revere’s home that has been resorted and converted into a small museum.

Grab a Few Sweets

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You are in the perfect spot for satisfying a sweet tooth. The North End is loaded with wonderful bakeries and sweet shops to please any palette. The most famous is Mike’s Pastries, featuring authentic cannoli and lobster tails for sale if you are willing to wait in line. For a slower paced experience, cozy up to a table at Caffé Vittoria that looks and feels like a real European watering hole. They serve strong coffees, liqueurs and gelato alongside the pastries.

Finish with a Laugh

Although it’s not a tradition or historic mark in town, the North end does boast some stellar entertainment that has been a mainstay in the North End for years. After dinner, dessert and drinks, you can wander to the Improv Asylum for a one-of-a-kind show almost every night. On weekends shows run early evening and at midnight. There is a rotating seasonal cast that performs skits pertaining to current events and pop culture that is hilarious. Some of the material is a little risqué, so be aware this is not for the faint of heart. But it can be a perfect way to conclude a fun day strolling through Boston’s scenic and fascinating North End neighborhood.

Discover more gems in the North End neighborhood on the Leaf Canoe app!

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Spending the Holidays in Boston

It’s the season to bring about cheer around the whole world. What better way to ring in the new and enjoy the love of your favorite people then with a trip to Boston. This vibrant city loves throwing grand holiday events, encircled in wintry weather, celebration and lots of exciting traditions. Find out what the best things are to experience this year for Christmas in Boston and beyond. These are only a few suggestions, but grab some more insider tips with the corresponding ‘leaf’ posted on LeafCanoe! You sign sign up as a beta tester here.

Pain D’Avignon’s Holiday Pop-up at The Fairmont Copley Plaza

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Boston really loves its farmer’s markets, but hates to say goodbye to them when the warm weather passes. However, the famous Fairmont Copley Plaza is hosting the Pain D’Avingnon’s Holiday Pop-up to the delight of market goers. This great Cape Cod bakery is bring its’ tasty pastries, breads and more to the hotel in the city, selling its wares on Fridays until December 19th. It’s worth visiting just to see the spectacular light display and tree as well.

Hearth Shares

What can be better than eating and also giving back to the local community? This year, countless restaurants are taking part in the “Hearth Shares” program, which allows patrons to add donations to their bill to benefit NGOs fighting hunger in Boston. Everything from Asian fusion to fresh seafood restaurants are participating for the last week of December.

The Back Bay Chorale

See this popular musical ensemble belt out classic Christmas tunes for a local look into the holiday spirit. See them accompanies by an orchestra of musical talent, specially organized for this special time of year. They seamlessly blend together old and new with favorite songs and some modern renditions as well.

First Night

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Carrying on through the New Year, this is one of Boston’s biggest winter gatherings. The First Night celebrations take place in December and January, featuring local performers and giant displays of holiday spirit, like professionally carved ice sculptures. There’s also some great concerts and an unforgettable midnight firework harbor cruise.

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Lunchtime in Boston

It’s the middle of the day, and it’s time to eat. If traveling through the great city of Boston, you might be saving fancy establishments for dinner to empty out your wallet. But what if you still want to explore some culinary delights in the city and not break the bank? We have four great places to grab a tasty bite throughout Boston.

Make sure you check out my ‘leaf’, naming even more great places to nosh throughout the city on the LeafCanoe app! Filled with photos and tips, it’s the perfect way to map out meals while on the road.

Anna’s Taqueria

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There’s burritos, then there’s Anna’s. These hotspots for real authentic Mexican fast food are scattered throughout the city, but all offer the best burritos, quesadillas and tacos around. They have fresh vegetables and perfectly spiced meats to stuff them all. Pair these hearty lunch items with one of their signature Mexican drinks, such as the Horchata, similar to a sweet almond milk.

Shake Shack

Originally a famous chain in New York City, Boston has now welcomed a few restaurants of its own. The interior is much classier than other burger joints and the ingredients used are fresh. Although a little more costly then the golden arches, it’s well worth a few more dollars for their signature crinkly fries, burgers and a ‘concrete’. These milkshakes are so thick they need a spoon, thus the namesake. Choose one mixed with red velvet cake or a lobster tail pastry made in the nearby North End.

Figaro’s

It’s a standard sandwich shop with a delicious twist. Everything is made to order and massive, satisfying the cravings of those working in the financial district and tourist alike. Most of their hot subs, rollups and deli delights are named after famous Italians. Take with you the steak and cheese “Al Capone” or the imported prosciutto “Pavarotti”.

Pho Pasteur

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It can be a hit or miss when wandering through the Chinatown neighborhood, but many of these places offer hot, quick lunches for affordable prices. This place borders the Theater district, but is easily found on Washington Street. There pho bowls range in size, but a small is plenty fo even a large lunch. Fill it with beef, chicken or a mix of tasty items, smothered in flavorful broth and noodles. They have great chicken wings or shrimp cakes to start as well, fried up crispy.

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