Jets road trip 2011: Boston

BOSTON Freedom Trail, Boston Opera House, the city

BOSTON
Freedom Trail, Boston Opera House, the city
... During the day, Boston's historic tours and landmarks offer a history lesson. At night, the city is spewing with nightlife, especially around Fenway Park when the Sox are playing.
(Credit: Freedom Trail Foundation)

The Jets play the Patriots on Oct. 9 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., a town with fewer than 17,000 residents.

There's not much to do there on a road trip, so Jets fans headed to the game against their team's fiercest rival have two choices of where to stay -- Providence, R.I. (26 miles away) or Boston (29 miles). We vote Boston.

Here's a quickie travel guide of 10 things to do, places to eat and sites to see while in Boston. Use the comments field below to share your favorite things to do in Boston.

1. Freedom Trail
99 Chauncy Street
617-357-8300
thefreedomtrail.org

Boston is loaded with American history, and the Freedom Trail takes you to 16 significant historic sites. It's a 2.5-mile red-brick walking trail that includes museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, a ship, and historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution and beyond. Among the sites on the trail, which is free (and in theory can begin anywhere along the line you wish): Boston Common, Old State House, Granary Burying Ground, Bunker Hill Monument, USS Constitution and the site of the Boston Massacre.

2. Boston Common and Boston Public Garden
Bound by Tremont, Beacon, Charles, Park and Boylston streets
617-357-8300

Sort of like Central Park, with the big gold-domed Massachusetts State House building in Beacon Hill visible from just about anywhere. It may be chilly in October, but definitely walk through here. The Common's history is impressive: British troops camped here before the Revolution, Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II gave speeches here, too. If the weather holds, take one of the famous swan boats for a ride through Public Garden, the first botanical garden in American history. It's a tradition that dates to the 1870s.

3. Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall
75 State St.
faneuilhallmarketplace.com

When you're there, you'll think it's a tourist trap. It's not. Bostonians flock here as well for good restaurants and pubs, street performances, some history and, of course, the United Nations of eateries inside. Hard to go wrong with anything here.

4. Trolley tour through the city
bostonsupertrolleytours.com

There are quite a few companies that run tours and each has different pricing and different rules. We vote for the Boston Upper Deck Trolley Tour (it's a bus, not an actual trolley), because a ticket is $38 and is good for two days. You can hop on and off any of the 21 stops throughout the day. Among the stops on the narrated tour are Paul Revere's house, the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), Harvard Square and quite a few of the places on this list. Be smart and use it as a one-way cab ride on the second day. Other tour companies include bostonducktours.com and superducktours.com.

5. Fenway Park
4 Yawkey Way
617-226-6000
boston.redsox.mlb.com

There's a chance the Red Sox will be in town for the American League Championship Series. If so, fork over a few bucks and enjoy baseball excitement in one of the best venues in America. It's the oldest baseball stadium in the nation, too. Enjoy the bars and restaurants around Fenway. A fun vibe, assuming you hide your Yankees gear. If there's no game, take a stadium tour.

6. Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Ave.
617-267-9300
mfa.org

Take in a little culture to help balance out the tailgate and in-stadium craziness you'll partake in with Patriots fans. The cost is $22 (free for those under 17) to get educated in Manet, Degas, Van Gogh, Gauguin and ancient Egyptian artifacts and statues, including that of King Menkaura and his queen. 

7. Old State House
206 Washington St.
617-720-1713
bostonhistory.org/?s=osh

Remember "No taxation without representation" from your history classes? Samuel Adams said that in this little red-brick building that is now surrounded by modern-day traffic, architecture and life. It's a fascinating visual dichotomy. From the balcony of the Old State House, the Declaration of Independence was first read to the people in Boston in 1776. Just outside this building, Crispus Attucks and four others were shot and killed by British troops, an event that became known as the Boston Massacre and is credited with being the catalyst for the American Revolution. Go inside and enjoy the history refresher.

8. Union Oyster House
41 Union St.
617-227-2750
unionoysterhouse.com

Open since 1826, it's America's oldest restaurant in continuous service. Inside, it's exactly what you'd imagine a New England restaurant to be -- dark wood, colonial history on the walls and good food. Get the clam chowder.

9. North End
Hanover Street
northendboston.com

"They're all good," locals tell tourists when it comes to picking a restaurant in Boston's Little Italy. Maybe that's true, and maybe it isn't. All depends on your particular tastes. So go pick one (or two or three) and find out. We recommend having a calamari meatball (seriously) at the Daily Catch first, then hitting up any of the 70-plus other restaurants. Save room for dessert so you can join in the debate over who makes the better cannolis -- Mike's Pastries or Modern.

10. The "Cheers" bar
4 Beacon St.
617-227-9605
cheersboston.com

See the bar that inspired "Cheers," a classic sitcom from the late 1980s and early '90s. Originally the Bull and Finch Pub, it's now decked out like the show's set. You may feel touristy, but hey, you are.

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