ACS & You

Around Town: Best of Boston

Welcome to the lively city of Boston (pronounced Bah-sten by locals). Known for its food, sports teams, diversity, and history, Massachusetts’s capital city is one of the oldest cities in the United States and a place you won’t soon forget.

Here’s a roundup of places to go and things to do while you’re in town for the ACS national meeting.

What to see, do, and eat

If you want to sit back and relax on a guided tour, the Boston Duck boat tour will show you over 30 landmarks, including the Freedom Trail, famous restaurants, and the TD Garden, the home arena of the Celtics and Bruins! Tours are available from the Prudential Center, Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium.

But Boston is a great walking city, packed with beautiful parks, historical locations, museums, and delicious eateries. Here are just some examples of things you can see and do in different neighborhoods in or near the city.

South Boston

The Lawn On D: Neighboring the Convention Center, The Lawn On D is where people unwind with lawn games and live music. (Event schedule)

Are you interested in the arts? Boston Art and Society of Arts + Crafts are located right by the water.

On pleasant, sunny days when everyone wants to be outside, Fan Pier is a nice place to go for a waterfront view. And if you’re hungry, take a quick step over to The Barking Crab for some tasty Boston seafood!

If you can’t get enough exploring in South Boston, you can cross into the downtown area on the Seaport Boulevard, Congress Street, and Summer Street bridges.

Downtown & Charlestown

Freedom Trail: If you’re looking to learn about Boston’s rich history and its role in the American Revolution, tour the 2.5-mile, self-guided Freedom Trail starting right on the Boston Common. Follow the red bricks along the trail to 17 official stops, including the Massachusetts State House, the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation, the Museum of African American History, the Paul Revere House, and the Bunker Hill Monument.

Faneuil Hall: This popular central marketplace is home to dozens of shops, restaurants, carts, and performers. To get there, take the Blue or Orange Line subway line to State Street.

New England Aquarium: Aquarium exhibits spiral up around the central four-story tropical ocean tank. In addition to tropical fish, coral, and sea turtles, you’ll see penguins, seals, anacondas, sharks, rays, seadragons, and poison dart frogs. Enjoy a meal at The Reef or one of the nearby restaurants.

USS Constitution: Launched in 1797, the USS Constitution is the world's oldest commissioned warship still afloat. With 33 battles won, the ship was nicknamed “Old Ironsides” in the War of 1812 when the 25-inch oak hull was found to repel 18-lb iron cannonballs. The USS Constitution will be undergoing restoration during the national meeting, but you can still tour parts of the ship, talk to Navy sailors, and visit the museum.

Back Bay

Boston Common and Public Gardens: Boston Common is the first public park in the United States and the Public Gardens is the country’s first public botanical garden. Take a swan boat ride or spend time enjoying the beautiful scenery. You can also grab a snack at the Frog Pond Café.

Prudential Center: This center is popular for shopping and restaurants along with the gorgeous Skywalk Observatory on the 50th floor of Prudential Tower. If you’re interested in dinner with a view, Top of the Hub is perfect for you!

Newbury Street: Trendy shopping area

The Friendly Toast on Stanhope Street: Breakfast and lunch are served in a fun, retro environment at this eclectic diner (also a location in Cambridge)

Beehive Restaurant: New American fare and live music


One of the most famous landmarks in Boston is Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball team. Even if you don’t go to a game while you’re there, the Fenway neighborhood is a great place to explore for baseball fans and food lovers alike.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:Explore 500,000 works of art, from ancient Egyptian to contemporary.  


Take the red line on “the T” (Boston subway) out of Boston, across the Charles River, and into Cambridge, home of two famous institutions: Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Harvard University: You can’t pahk yah cah in the Hahvahd Yahd, but you can get a tour! This renowned university is the home of the oldest academic building in the United States. There’s much to explore around the campus, including shops and eateries on the streets near Harvard Square.

MIT: MIT gives tours too! Or, if you’re interested in art and technology, you can visit the MIT Museum.

Charles River Canoe and Kayak, Kendall Square: For a scenic, active tour of Boston, you can rent kayaks or canoes, take a guided tour, or simply explore the city from the water.

Two great places to eat are Border Cafe, a Cajun and Tex-Mex restaurant, and The Friendly Toast in Kendall Square.

Jamaica Plain

In this Boston neighborhood, Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum are popular, scenic places to visit.

Boston regional fare

Boston baked beans: This dish consists of white beans or kidney beans marinated in molasses and can usually be found on Boston menus as a side dish. Bonus: Eat them with steamed brown bread that has been baked in a can.

Lobster: “Lobstah” rolls are a favorite in New England. These seafood sandwiches are filled with lobster meat mixed with mayonnaise and lemon juice, served on a grilled New England-style hot dog bun.

Clam cakes and “chowdah”: Clam cakes are fritters often served with either red or white clam chowder. Plenty of New Englanders would recommend using the chowder as a dip for the clam cakes!

Oysters: Oyster bars abound in Boston, and what better place to get fresh seafood than this city on the Atlantic Ocean? Raw and on the half [hyphen deleted] shell, this delicacy is attainable, even on a student budget.

Boston cream pie: Declared the official dessert of Massachusetts, this dessert is a delectable combination of cake, cream, and chocolate glaze.

Getting around

Subway and bus: Popular modes of transportation include “the T," Boston’s subway system, and the metropolitan bus. Check out the MBTA schedule, get yourself a Charlie Ticket, and explore away!

Blue Bikes: Blue Bikes is the main bike share program in Boston. These are a fantastic way to get around fast and give your weary walking legs a rest while you soak in the scenery.

Boston speak

Every region of the country has its own dialect. But the accents, words, and phrases you’ll hear are unmistakably Boston. You will notice natives pronounce vowels with a "broad a" (as in father) and "short o" (as in bother), and they don’t bather to pronounce the letter “r”; It gets replaced with a short o.

Also unique to the Boston accent is the merger of the the "short o" with the "aw" phoneme. Bostonians use a long and rounded [ɒː], which means caughtcotlawwandrocktalkdoll, and wall [space added] all are pronounced with the same vowel.

You might also hear these slang words:

“Wicked”: Used for emphasis; synonym for “very.” You may also hear “wicked pissa,” which means awesome!

Beantown: Sailors of the late 1600s gave Boston this nickname after being served baked beans marinated in molasses, which are still a Boston tradition.

“Dunkies”: Bostonians love their cawfee, especially from Dunkin’ Donuts, which originated in nearby Quincy, MA. Look for one on every corner. And yes, these hearty souls drink their iced “Dunkies” even in the winter!

Good luck out there in Beantown! Boston is packed with interesting things to see and do, so don’t be afraid to get lost and explore!

About the Author

Kathryn Chalmers
gradudated from the University of New England (UNE) in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in medical biology. At UNE, she was president of the ACS student chapter.