Travel Guide: One Day in Boston


Picture this - a Filipina, first time traveling solo, in a Western city she has not been to yet. Ever. All she booked in advance is an Amtrak ticket from New London to Back Bay Boston (and back). All she knew is a rough sketch of Boston's map, and notable places like Faneuil Hall, Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, and Harvard University.

That Filipina happened to be me. If not for my aching feet, I could've seen and known more of the beautiful, intellectually-rich city. Yet I had a blast anyway, and I want to share how my one-day trip went so you, hopefully, will have an easier time diving into Boston - with or without a companion.

Faneuil Hall

This will be your home base. Faneuil Hall is probably where tourists mostly congregate. Everything you'll be needing for your one day Boston tour is here - helpful customer service staff, maps, guides, ticket booths for "hop on-hop off" buses, and free walking tours!


I took the orange line subway from Back Bay Station to North Station, and I got lost. Please do not follow me. Hop off at Haymarket Station instead. It's a nearer walk to Faneuil Hall.

Revel at the beauty of the hall upon your arrival. Take time to relax by the park, take photos, and tour the building inside. Faneuil Hall is known as a shopping center to tourists, with bars, restaurants, and three historic market buildings for you to enjoy. In the early 1800's, Faneuil Hall was a marketplace, and the site where Samuel Adams, James Otis, and other influential speakers held their speeches of independence. Hence, the place is also referred to as the "Cradle of Liberty."


Walk the Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile track that passes by Boston's most significant historical sites. More than 1.5 million people tour the Freedom Trail every year, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Some visitors opt to tour the whole path in one whole day, while some choose certain areas and stay there at greater lengths.


Register for a free 1.5-hour history walk at Faneuil Hall. If I remember it right, walks are scheduled twice in the morning, and twice in the afternoon. You will be touring the Freedom Trail by foot with a group, and of course, your knowledgeable and entertaining tour guide. Tour guides of history walks are usually dressed in costumes from the 1800's, which makes the walk all the more interesting.


Learning about the history of Revolutionary Boston while actually seeing the city's historical sites by the flesh is a very enriching experience. I saw and learned about Faneuil Hall, the Old State House, the Boston Massacre Site, the Old South Meeting House, and the King's Chapel and Burying Ground. I was not able to see the Old Corner Bookstore because I lost the tour guide at that point. I also couldn't find the bookstore. I got so engrossed with the city's urban architecture and sights that I lost the whole tour group!

Old State House

The site of the Boston Massacre

Old South Meeting House

Play the piano for free at the King's Chapel

The King's Chapel burying grounds

The Freedom Trail

Harvard and MIT merchandise, anyone?

Urban Self-Tour and Street Photography

If you lose your tour group (hopefully not, though), feel free to tour Boston's urban streets on your own. Every street and corner will manage to surprise you, in some way or another. If you're a photographer, you're in for a big surprise.





I live in the Philippines, so Boston's architecture wow-ed me.

Also, take the chance to eat at any restaurant/bakery/bar that catches your attention. Do not wait for lunch. You might think, "I'll come back for it later," but honestly, you won't have the time as you're only touring Boston in one day!

Stole a peaceful second from the busy urban district

Explore Quincy Market

After reveling at Boston's sites, go back to your home base, Faneuil Hall, and explore Quincy Market! Quincy Market is a shopping center filled with food stalls, restaurants, retail stores, and souvenir shops. Grab a proper meal for $20 or less in one of their many, interesting food booths. Now's the time to buy souvenirs, too!

The Invisible Man at the Quincy Market grounds

Now is the time to buy souvenirs!

Badly craving for Asian food and rice, so I ordered chicken teriyaki!


Tourists and locals relaxing outside Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market

Boston Common and Downtown via the Silver Trolley

After lunch, purchase a "hop on-hop off" day pass from a CityView Booth located around Faneuil Hall. This day pass allows you unlimited access to hop on and hop off the CityView Silver Trolley. The day pass costs $29 per person, and I believe it's the cheapest among all hop on-hop off buses in the area.

The CityView Silver Trolley stops by 9 stations around Boston, namely:
  1. New England Aquarium / Quincy Market / Faneuil Hall
  2. Paul Revere House / "Little Italy"
  3. North End / Old North Church
  4. USS Constitution  "Old Ironsides"
  5. North Station / TD Banknorth Garden Sports Museum
  6. Old State House / Faneuil Hall / Boston Massacre Site / Government Center
  7. Boston Common / Public Garden
  8. State House / Beacon Hill
  9. South Station / Convention Center / Children's Museum
You may hop on at Station 1, hop off from Station 2, tour "Little Italy" and its surrounding areas to your liking, return to Station 2, wait for the Silver Trolley, and hop on again!

Pick another station to hop off to, tour the new area, wait for the Silver Trolley in one of their designated stations, wait for it to arrive, and hop on! It's that simple. If I remember it right, a Silver Trolley passes by a station every 30 minutes.

Also, the driver acts as a tour guide! He will tell you everything he can about the places you're passing by, which gives life to the scenery around you.



If you only have one day in Boston, especially if you're traveling alone without a car, and you know nothing about the place, I highly recommend the CityView Silver Trolley. It's reliable, practical, time-efficient, and cost-efficient! Here are some of the places I enjoyed with the help of this trolley:

Boston Common

Boston Common

Downtown District

I was not able to utilize Silver Trolley that much, as I was able to discover it late in the day. I also was not able to tour most of the places it catered to as my feet were badly aching, to the point that I could not walk anymore. Hence, please rest your feet before your one-day tour, and wear your most comfortable pair of shoes as you travel Boston.

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One day in Boston is certainly not enough, especially for a first-time solo traveler. I wanted to visit Harvard University, the Beacon Hill neighborhood, drink at a local sports bar, and experience more of the city.

However, one day is Boston is definitely better than none! If you happen to have an extra day to spare, visit this city. I highly suggest for you to make use of Silver Trolley or any "hop on-hop off" bus of your choice to experience the most of Boston in one precious day!

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SUMMARY

8 AM
  • Arrival in Boston Back Bay Station via Amtrak
  • Got lost finding the entrance to the subway
  • Morning coffee at Flour Cafe
  • Found the subway; boarded the subway (orange line) to North Station (TIP: Choose Haymarket Station instead. It's nearer Faneuil Hall.)
  • Got lost again, but finally found my way to Faneuil Hall after a few tries
~ 10 AM
  • Explore Faneuil Hall
  • Freedom Trail Walking Tour
  • Urban Self-Tour and Street Photography
~ 12:45 PM
  • Explore Quincy Market
  • Lunch at Quincy Market
~ 2:45 PM
  • Silver Trolley Tour. Hopped on at Station 1, hopped off at Station 7. (TIP: Utilize this. This is really helpful. Start earlier if you can.)
  • Rest and people-watch at Boston Common Park
  • See a bit of Downtown
~ 5:00 PM
  • Boarded the subway (orange line) at the Downtown Crossing Station to go back to Back Bay Station
  • Arrived at Back Bay Station after about 5 minutes
~ 5:10 PM
  • Studied the train station to figure out where I'm boarding my 7 PM Amtrak back to Connecticut
  • Tour the nearby neighborhood with nice brick apartments (as soon as I figured out the Amtrak station)
  • TIP: Arrive early to give you some time to figure out where you're boarding. It's a really busy station catering to numerous lines. There aren't much "customer service assistants" in place whom you can ask for directions too.
~ 6:20 PM
  • Went back to the station to rest my crying feet and wait for my train
  • Got bored and found a Dunkin Donuts stall. Tasted the original Dunkin Donuts coffee (Dunkin was born in Boston!). It was so good.
  • Stayed by the tracks some minutes before 7 PM to wait for the Amtrak (TIP: Do not be late. Do not even be 1-minute late. The train arrives on time. It also departs at once so you have to move fast.)
7 PM
  • Rode the Amtrak at Back Bay Station back to New London, Connecticut


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