It’s easy to enjoy Boston in a day when you only have 24 hours to spare. I had a wonderful week in the state of Massachusetts as I embarked on a road trip across the state. From Hampshire County in Western MA to Johnny Appleseed Country in North Central MA, I savoured the sights, sounds, and tastes of the region. My road trip ended in the great city of Boston. While I only had a little over 24 hours there, I made the most of my time by wandering around the city.
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Here are some ideas on how to do Boston in a day. With just 24 hours in Boston, you can cover a lot of ground. While it would be ideal to have more time than a day in Boston, I still managed to visit quite a few places. At the end, I was still left wanting more.
HOTEL IN DOWNTOWN BOSTON
I managed to arrive in Boston during Friday afternoon rush hour traffic. I don’t recommend this. I am used to driving in Toronto city traffic, which can be terrible at the best of times. However, Boston was on a whole other level. By the time we reached the hotel, I was feeling beyond stressed out.
Thankfully, the staff at the Lenox Hotel immediately eased my tension. They helped us with our luggage and the valet whisked my car away. I was happy to bid farewell to my car for the duration of my time in Boston. Between Uber and walking everywhere, there was no reason to deal with traffic jams and finding parking spaces.
The Lenox Hotel is the complete package: it’s romantic, luxurious, and has a prime location. Lindsay and I had an enormous room had two beds, a sitting area, a desk, and even a fireplace. From one window, I looked beyond our brick hotel over the rooftops. From another window, we watched the most gorgeous sunset.
Summer sunsets in Boston are incredible, and it was such a treat to view it so perfectly from our hotel room. One of my favourite things about the Lenox was how easy it was to walk everywhere. It served as the best home base as it was right in the middle of town. I loved being able to leave the car behind and not worry. You can easily explore Boston on foot, too.
We stayed for two nights at the Lenox Hotel, although I could have easily stayed for longer. It’s the best accommodation, even if you are only discovering Boston in a day. Book your stay at the Lenox Hotel or read more reviews by fellow travelers who have spent the night.
Want more choices? There are lots of incredible hotels in Boston and Airbnb accommodations. Here’s a handy booking tool where you can see all of the Booking.com accommodations and Airbnbs in one place. It’s easy to compare prices and find the best rate for your trip to Boston.
Dinner at By Chloe
While we had a pretty busy day in Johnny Appleseed Country earlier that day, we didn’t plan too much for our first evening in Boston. After watching the sun go down from The Lenox Hotel, it was time to go out for dinner. We walked down towards Fenway Park to By Chloe.
By Chloe has two locations in Boston. The restaurant is 100% vegan and plant-based. The menu items contain no meat, dairy, eggs, animal products, and they’re free of artificial flavours, preservatives, cholesterol, and animal saturated fats. However, that doesn’t mean that the dishes are tasteless or lacking flavour.
There are a wide variety of menu options, including burgers, sandwiches, pasta, sides, baked goods, ice cream, and more! You order at the front counter and the food is made fresh and fast.
I ordered the Mac N Cheese – shell pasta with a sweet potato cashew cheese sauce, topped with shiitake bacon, and my travel buddy ordered a vegan hot dog with all the fixins’.
What to Do in Boston in a Day
Waking up feeling completely refreshed at The Lenox Hotel, we headed out for breakfast. Unfortunately, I had an epic blogger blunder and brought my camera…without its battery. The battery was still charging in the hotel room! Thank goodness our breakfast place was a five minute walk from the hotel. I jogged back and grabbed the battery and made it back for breakfast shortly after it was prepared.
Breakfast at the Juice Press
Start the day off right! The Juice Press has two locations in Boston, and over 70 shops across the country. They’re vegetarian, but mostly vegan with the exception of honey in a few menu items.
I ordered the Acai Blueberry Bowl, which was nutritious and delicious. Made with banana, acai berry, blueberry, coconut nectar, maple, granola and maple toasted coconut flakes, it was satisfying and healthy.
Boston Harbor Cruises
To start the day off, we boarded a boat to see Boston by sea. With Boston Harbor Cruises, you’ll view an entirely different side of Boston from the water. Cruise around for 90 minutes to view the city’s skyline and surrounding islands. We heard some interesting historical tales about Boston that you’ll just have to hear for yourself on the trip.
The cruises depart at set times throughout the day, so be sure to take a peek at their schedule before you head out. I recommend arriving early to make sure you ensure a spot on the boat, and also to get one of the best seats in the house.
All of the chairs face the same direction and for good reason – so you’re looking at the best view! Snag some seats in the front row like we did for the best viewing (and photo) opportunities.
Tip: We booked our cruise with the Boston CityPASS. This card saves you up to 45% on top Boston attractions, including a trip with Boston Harbor Cruises. Present your CityPASS voucher at the ticket booth to board the cruise.
Boston Public Market
By now, you might be feeling a little bit hungry again. Head on over to the Boston Public Market, home to over 35 vendor stalls and open 7 days a week. In this land of seafood, there are a few vegan options.
I opted for a falafel pita at Inna’s Kitchen, which serves traditional Jewish cuisine from around the world. Super flavourful falafels, stuffed inside a pita with veggies and topped with tahini – you can’t go wrong with this one.
Wander across the market to Jennifer Lee’s allergy free bakery to indulge in some vegan desserts. From cookies to donuts, Jennifer has got your cravings covered. There are also sandwiches and paninis, too, although these sell out as the day goes on. Get your favourite while it lasts!
Time for Coffee: Thinking Cup Coffee Shop
The Boston Public Market was very busy around lunchtime and there weren’t many places to sit. We actually stood at the only free table to eat our lunch. In need of somewhere to rest our legs (and, as always, the desire to sip a cup of coffee), we walked across the way to the Thinking Cup coffee shop.
This cute and charming cafe was the perfect place to pause on a day of adventures. The coffee was strong and there were even some vegan and gluten-free options for food. Even though I was really full from lunch, I’d consider going back for more dessert here if I had more time in Boston.
Stroll Through North End Park
On a hot day, don’t you wish you could run through a sprinkler like when you were a kid? Well, fear not. North End Park is a grassy patch in the middle of the city where the young and young at heart can go for a roam through the fountains.
Well, maybe it wasn’t designed for two grown-up travel blogging ladies to go prancing through…but, why not?
I also adored the urban garden bursting with greenery and flowers in the middle of the park. It’s a great picnic spot, or even just an area to cool down from the summer heat.
Who wouldn’t love wandering around an enchanting, historic neighbourhood? As you stroll around the streets of Beacon Hill, you’ll notice colonial row houses, brick sidewalks, cobblestone streets, antiquated iron fences, and painted front doors.
On Beacon Street itself, walk past the captivating Massachusetts State House with its majestic pillars and impressive golden dome.
Then, take a detour towards Acorn Street, one of the most photographed streets in the United States. You can’t help but immediately fall for this neighbourhood.
Take a Stroll at the Public Garden
The Public Garden quickly became one of my favourite finds in Boston. When visiting Boston in a day, you must add the Public Garden to your travel plans. Established in 1837, it was the first public botanical garden in the USA. Free for everyone to roam about, the garden showcases over 80 species of plants and flowers initially cultivated in local greenhouses.
From paddling around in a Swan Boat to admiring the fountains and statues, a jaunt around Boston’s Public Garden is something you simply must do.
While you’re there, say hello to the adorable “Make Way For Ducklings” statues and greet the real ducks that grace the lagoon. Relax beneath a weeping willow tree on a warm, summer day, and you might never want to leave this oasis in the city.
The Freedom Trail
Although we didn’t spend a lot of time exploring the Freedom Trail, I’d start here upon my return to Boston. Start at Boston Common, America’s oldest public park, founded in 1634. Prepare to be fascinated by 16 historically significant sites, from churches to burying grounds.
For more information, including a detailed map, please check out the Freedom Trail’s official website.
Dinner at Artbar Cambridge
After a day of wandering, we were pretty starving. Enter ArtBar Cambridge. The chef prepared a special vegan meal for the both of us, and it was incredibly delicious. On the menu, everything that’s vegetarian is marked with a “V”. Be sure to inquire in advance if you follow a vegan diet, as I’m sure you can savour an equally magical dining experience to the one that I did!
This meal matched the summer patio weather so well, starting with a chilled peach and watermelon soup. From there, we were served a flavourful pesto vegetable flatbread, topped with artichokes and arugula.
The main course was falafel served over couscous. At the end of the meal, we devoured a tart fruit sorbet with ripe berries. To drink, what could be better than a watermelon sling?
The view was almost as good as the food, as we admired scenery of the sun setting over the harbour as we dined.
Cocktails at Cafe ArtScience
Not ready to go home yet? We met a blogger friend of ours, Brianne, at a cocktail bar around the corner called Cafe ArtScience. Located on the MIT campus, Cafe ArtScience serves experimental beverages in a creative environment. You know when a vapour machine called “Le Whaf” is used to create “sensory clouds” in your drink, you’ve found a bar that’s truly one of a kind!
Stay for Breakfast
Before heading out the next morning, Lindsay and I went for breakfast at a nearby restaurant with the best name ever, The Friendly Toast. It’s a pretty popular place and often difficult to get a table right away. Fear not: the restaurant puts you on a list, and they’ll text you when your table is ready. Pretty cool, eh?
The Friendly Toast has a wild, eclectic design. There are lots of kitschy knickknacks on the bar, shelves, and hanging from the ceiling. Even our table had a little ceramic owl on it.
The menu has a few vegan breakfast items, including a breakfast burrito and a tofu scramble. I ordered the vegan pancakes with a side of home fries. It ended up being way too much food, although I don’t regret the decision as both the pancakes and potatoes were very yummy.