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Boston Vacation

Sightseeing tours of Boston, Cambridge and Charlestown.
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Tours Introduction Maps

Way back in the 20th century, the most prominent structure in downtown Boston was an ugly elevated highway that separated downtown from the water. Motorists fumed in gridlock, and getting around on foot was both disagreeable and a little dangerous.

Fast-forward to today. The expressway is gone, and parks and pathways are springing up on the waterfront real estate where pedestrians once fled ill-tempered pigeons. A gorgeous bridge spans the Charles River. It took over 15 years and cost $14.6 billion, but the Big Dig highway construction project is looking like a success. Traffic flows through a tunnel beneath downtown (as does leaking water, but repairs are under way and -- well . . . out of sight, out of mind).

The new highway runs beneath a modern metropolis that's also a relentlessly historic destination. Throughout the Boston area, you'll see buildings of all ages and styles, from colonial-era to Frank Gehry's latest brainstorm. On the South Boston waterfront, once a wasteland of parking lots and industrial buildings, hotels and restaurants are springing up to accommodate visitors to a new-ish federal courthouse, an enormous new convention center, and a dazzling new art museum. The ongoing building boom may overshadow Boston's famous 18th- and 19th-century architecture, but even rampant development can't change the colonial character of the central city.

It's not perfect, of course. Nightmarish traffic, daredevil drivers, and grating accents don't help any city's reputation. Although Boston is the biggest college town in the world, it doesn't have much of a late-night scene. And far from gone is the inferiority complex epitomized by the description "like New York, but smaller." Still, as it has for over 375 years, Boston offers cosmopolitan sophistication on a comfortable scale, balancing celebration of the past with pursuit of the future.

Here's hoping your experience is memorable and delightful.


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