Boston 101: Exploring Boston beyond campus

While most of us are aware that, Boston is a city overflowing with cultural and historical landmarks, the fact remains that a great number of students have yet to explore the city that exists beyond the walls of Tufts. Whether you’re a freshman who hasn’t had the chance yet or a senior who simply hasn’t given it much thought in four years, there are plenty of sights to see and locales to explore in Boston. Here, the Daily break down the best of the best Boston attractions, perfect for an outing with friends or a visit with the ‘rents.

You’ll find Boston’s version of the yellow brick road if you follow the Freedom Trail, that mysterious red line you may have seen running through the city. Funded by various private foundations and government agencies, the three-mile trail covers Boston’s numerous and varied historical monuments. Free guided tours leave from the National Park Service Visitor Center located at State and Washington Streets, but feel free to roam the path on your own.

Sights to see include King’s Chapel and Burying Ground, the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum, the Old South Meeting House and the USS Constitution. A perfect outing for cool, autumn day, this trip will also cost you next to nothing _ many of the sites are open to visitors free of charge.

For $20, you can catch the sights by duck instead of on foot. Boston Duck Tours combines sight-seeing with pure amusement, as you’ll ride through such historic areas such as Back Bay, Beacon Hill and North End. This 80-minute ride concludes with a cruise along the Charles River, where passengers are encouraged to quack at passers-by. Ducks depart every half hour from the Prudential Center.

If you’re looking for a combination of historical value and, well, shopping, head to Faneuil Hall, located at Faneuil Hall Square between Congress and North Streets. This marketplace was once the site of the first town meeting in America, anti-slavery assemblies during the 19th century, and women’s suffrage rallies in the 20th century. Part of the notorious Freedom Trail, it houses the museum of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in its attic.

The actual marketplace, referred to as Quincy Market is located in three long buildings across from Faneuil Hall on Chatham Street. It offers visitors everything from takeout to bath and beauty supplies. You can shop at such national chains as Crabtree and Evelyn or Abercrombie & Fitch, then order some takeout from Bangkok Express or sit down to a meal at Trattoria Il Panino. Merchants also roam the marketplace grounds, selling various gifts and trinkets. You can finish off your fun-filled day of feeding and shopping at the Comedy Connection, located on the second floor of the Quincy Market Building. Far from plush or posh, this is where you’ll find some of the most recognized names in stand-up.

You’ll find even more shopping along Boston’s famed Newbury Street, accessible by T. Not for the faint of high price tags, this stretch of sidewalk features some of the most upscale shopping in town. Among the big-name shops are Armani and Calypso. You can also get a high-priced, swanky haircut at one of the posh salons, such as Bella Sante or Salon Mario Russo. Also lining the street is an array of contemporary art galleries like Gallery Naga and Chase Gallery. But even if you can’t afford to spend the cash that Newbury St. demands, it’s one of the area’s premiere sites for walking, people-watching and window shopping. And everyone can always afford one of the decadent ice cream creations at J.P. Licks.

With winter months fast approaching, perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy Boston sights outdoors is to wander through Boston Common. Located at Beacon Street, the Frog Pond is transformed every November from a huge wading pool to an outdoor ice-skating rink. Admission will run you a mere $3 if you have your own skates; otherwise, for an addition $5, you can rent skates from the park. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem cold enough for the ice to be solid _ the city uses ice-making equipment to ensure that any possible mishaps are avoided.

Boston also offers plenty of ways to get back in touch with your childhood. Located off the Blue Line’s Aquarium T stop, the New England Aquarium gives visitors a sneak peak into the lives of all kinds of underwater creatures. The space is small, but you’ll find everything from a 500-pound sea turtle to jellyfish to penguins to sea lions within the aquarium’s walls. Getting there early will ensure that not only will you beat the crowds, but you’ll also have a chance to catch all the special animal presentations and feeding times that make this outing more exciting and interactive.

The Children’s Museum, located conveniently at South Station, is all about hands on activities. You may be one of the oldest people there, but everyone loves that giant soap bubble activity. The museum is comprised of four floors of varied activities. Head over to “Construction Zone” to try your hand at solving the infamous Big Dig dilemma.

Hands-on activities are also a prominent feature of the Museum of Science, located at Science Park. Check out the Light House to experiment with optics, or the Human Body Connection, where you can witness the hatching of baby chicks. The biggest draw here is the Mugar Omni Theatre, where you can catch thrilling movies on a 180-degree screen.

Whether you’re looking for a taste of history, a shopping spree, or way to be five years old again, Boston is jam-packed with attractions to meet all your needs. These are just a few of the many reasons why you should hop on the T and expand your horizons off the Hill.

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