My sister just started graduate school and moved a couple states away from our family, so to celebrate her big move and as one last sister-trip, we decided to go to Boston over the July 4th weekend! She had been briefly before and I had always wanted to visit, so this was the perfect opportunity! We found inexpensive, roundtrip nonstop flights directly into Boston Logan airport and got there Friday night to start the weekend early.
We were departing the following Tuesday morning, which meant we had a solid 72+ hours to enjoy the city to its fullest. How can two broke sisters avoid going bankrupt in Boston?
A place to rest our heads.
First, we stayed at Hostelling International Boston for about $50/per/bed. While it could a been a little closer to the main sites in my opinion, it was perfect for our price and was decent walking-distance to just about everywhere we needed to go. We stayed in an 8-bed female dorm and the hostel included free continental breakfast of toast, waffles, coffee, and fruit. For a safe bed to sleep in, it was fine, although I do have to say that it was hard to climb up a bunk bed since I’ve grown up and upgraded a bit from my hostelling weekends in Europe! Ah well 🙂
Lobtah and chowdah for days!
We’re both seafood lovers and knew going into Boston that they are known for their awesome seafood – and the city didn’t disappoint! From trying fresh oysters to crab cakes and everything in between, Boston fed us well. I do have to shout out to the mega-touristy-but-so-worth-it $30 combination of lobster roll and clam chowder – as $$$ as it was (we split it), it was so worth it and was the most memorable meal of trip. Hot, buttered lobster on a fresh roll with a cup of chowder on the side… omg.
Okay, so we may have splurged on food, but activities were cheap!
We soon realized that unless we really wanted to, there wasn’t much reason to spend money on actually doing things – a lot of sites were free or inexpensive! The first full day we went up to Harvard and walked around the campus, where our grandpa had actually gone to school. The spirit of the campus was amazing and made me wish we had more time there! I’d love to attend a college fair just to walk around and pretend I was going there 🙂
We did visit the Harvard Museum of Natural History, which was pretty kick-ass and I highly recommend! It has the best gemstone/mineral/rock collection that I’ve ever seen (my secret obsession – I wanted to be a geologist for the longest time). I felt like a kid in a candy store! Rocks are so cool.
Another trip highlight was visiting Ward Maps, an antique map store just north of Harvard. Everywhere I go I look out for map stores, and here I found an old 1901 original map of Boston, but the extra cool part about this map is that it’s turned 90 degrees to the right – so north is pointing east! I don’t have the space right now, but I envision having a wall of antique maps someday and I can put up all these awesome pieces I’ve been collecting 🙂 I also found an amazing small map of old town Santiago de Compostela, as well as the cathedral, which is where I studied abroad! I could have spent all day in that store!
So the majority, if not all, of the first day was spent on the Harvard campus and getting our bearings of the city (okay, and shopping at Primark, because obviously). The next two days were spent exploring the sites on the Freedom Trail, including Boston Common, Quincy Market, and lovely Little Italy. We did take a Freedom Trail tour starting on the outskirts of the Boston Common, but honestly I didn’t feel it was worth the money – we could have just walked around and learned about sites without having to try and keep up with a guide, which is what we ended up doing anyway. I like moseying along on my own or having a podcast guide right in my ear 🙂
Anyway, if you didn’t know, the Freedom Trail a brick trail all throughout Boston that highlights the historic sites in the city. It’s easy to walk along and follow, stopping at various buildings and spots to learn more about what happened there. Pretty cool! We even took a ghost tour on our last night and walked through oh so many cemeteries (and learned that the entire city is basically one big burial ground!
We even found time to explore the Museum of Fine Arts, which contained waaay more than we could see in just a short afternoon! We ended up splitting up halfway through due to me wanting to rest my tired feet. It was pretty cool to see the Passage of the Delaware, though!
Our last great meal in Boston was at Bell in Hand Tavern, a must-visit in my opinion. Right in the heart of the Freedom Trail and old-fashioned American food with local lagers. I had a lobster BLT (pictured above), which was amazing! Last bit of lobster for the trip 🙁
Ultimately, Boston is not a city if you have foot (or wallet) problems! We were totally worn out each evening and the mornings got harder and harder to go out as we didn’t feel fully recovered from how much walking we did the day before!