Now that I’ve spent almost 6 weeks out in New England, I’ve had lots of time to explore the area. Although I’ve only stayed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, there are endless opportunities to explore and sightsee right around me! Here are some of my favorite must-sees from the area (most of which are free):
1. Boston Public Garden
When I went to visit Boston for the first time, everyone told me to visit Boston Common. It’s a neat little area, very historical, but the Boston Public Garden absolutely blew me away. It is absolutely gorgeous! There’s trees and wildlife and tourists and music and water and everything else you might want in a park…smack dab in the middle of Boston. It’s pretty small (think, a fraction of Central Park in NYC), but way worth the stroll through just to look.
2. Fenway Park
I’m not a huge baseball fan, and I halfheartedly root for the Red Sox because I’ve always wanted to live in Boston. That being said, Fenway Park is easily #2 on this list for so many reasons. The history in this field – the oldest in the MLB – is so obvious. It’s actual a historical landmark, and the upkeep of it was very interesting. The best part is that very little has changed in the last century, as Boston loves their history. My family and I took the 60 minute tour, and it was well worth it!
3. Newbury Street
Newbury Street is adjacent to the Boston Public Garden, and it’s a really great area to walk through. Basically it’s home to high end fashion shops, cute cafes, and niche little boutiques. It’s long enough and pretty enough that you could spend an hour just window shopping down the street. Some of my favorite stops were the antique/jewelry shops that are sometimes hidden amongst all the other storefronts. It’s also nestled right beside Beacon Hill, the most historic Boston neighborhood, which gives it great architecture to take in while you walk!
4. “Mile of History”
This is a walk down Benefit Street in Providence, one block over from Brown University. It’s a hill full of beautiful architecture, and most of the houses have plaques denoting their original owners along with the year it was built. This is a beautiful neighborhood, and at every intersection you can see a peek of the canal running alongside it. Even if you’re not into history and don’t know who these people are, it’s such a cute street that it’s still worth it. You’ll also find the Athaeneum, a beautiful public library that Brown students use a lot for studying. It has close ties with Edgar Allen Poe and a super neat aesthetic, and it’s worth a stop to take a look around.
5. Boston Esplanade/Beacon Hill
The Esplanade is a gorgeous little park right on the Charles River Basin in Boston. It’s such a relaxing area and gives you great views of the city while surrounded by nature! Lots of people walk, run, bike, skate, etc. along the little path through the Esplanade, and you’re sure to see tons of sailboats in the water on a nice day. After a long morning of touring Boston, this is a great place to go and relax while still taking in the sights and sounds of the city. It’s also right beside Beacon Hill, which I mentioned earlier. Beacon Hill is just a neighborhood in Boston, but it has the iconic brick townhouses that are beautiful and so historical. It’s worth it just to walk through the area to look at all the beautiful houses.
6. Providence Downcity
I’m a sucker for old fashioned architecture, and Providence is the perfect city for that! I was so taken aback by its looks that I even looked up some history on it. Providence was a poor city in the late 1900s when other U.S. cities were redesigning their buildings (think NYC skyscrapers) and tearing down the older ones. Since Providence couldn’t afford to do that, their buildings are now these gorgeous pieces of history! Downcity is an area of Providence that doubles as the downtown and historic district of the city. It’s really neat to walk through here on a weekday and see all the modern professionals walk out of buildings that remind you of the 1950s. I especially love the Providence Performing Arts Theater (still functioning!) that looks like it’s for a movie set.
7. Newport, RI
Newport. That’s it, that’s the whole suggestion. This whole city is just gorgeous. It’s known for its mansions – which are able to be toured if you want – and its cliff walk. The mansions are neat, especially those on Bellevue Ave, but the cliff walk took my breath away. The view of Narragansett Bay from these cliffs is incredible! The rest of Newport is also so cute. There’s a line of shops, restaurants, and cafes running right along the harbor where you can find cute hidden gems. I found a homemade ceramics shop and a café that serves a delicious s’mores drink. Along Bellevue Ave is the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Audrain’s Automobile Museum (I highly recommend), and a ton of other shops and cafes. Not to mention Easton’s Beach, which is really nice and has its own aquarium for injured/sick sea animals.
Lastly, some honorable mentions: Freedom Trail in Boston; Prospect Terrace in Providence; Brown University Rooftop Conservatory.
No matter what you do, this area is so fun to explore. If you’re from the Midwest like me, the geography alone here will blow your mind! The best advice I can give for someone in a situation like mine (moving out here and knowing no one) is to branch out and explore places by yourself. It’s great to just be able to take in the sights and sounds, plus you’re a great tour guide when someone comes to visit! I can’t wait to explore the rest of New England as my summer goes on.