Boston on the 4th of July

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#1
Glendale, AZ
23 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
We'll be in Boston on QM2 on the 4th (full day till 10pm), have never been there. Traveling with 80 yr old mom. I imagine public trolleys and HOHO's will be crazy. Would appreciate ideas on places to go. Some interest in history but not a priority on a day when a zillion folks have the same idea, so we're not looking to do much, just enjoy the atmosphere. Taxis, Subways are fine, some walking is OK but not a big hike, stairs are bad.

Would like to maybe stroll around some festival type area (commons? downtown? harbor area?), find some good street food? listen to some bands? Maybe harbor cruise?

I know the busy day will offer both unique opportunities and crowds, not sure the best way to attack the question. Ideas appreciated from folks who know the area and the celebration.
#2
Boston area
17,735 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Why don't you look at a harbor lunch cruise to see the Constitution turnaround? Here's a schedule of events http://www.bostonharborfest.com/monday.html You will definitely be out of the crowds if you are on a ship in the harbor. If you leave from Rowe's Wharf, you can hang out along the Harborwald and then take a cab back to the ship. Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall is likely to be mobbed.
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Carol


#3
Timonium, Maryland
3,834 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
You can book in advance for the Duck Tour, which is an amphibious tour of the city starting on land, then a little water ride and a nice panoramic tour of the city. You just go to Duck Tour Boston and you buy the tickets there. They pick up near where the ships dock- in front of the Boston Aquarium. I really like it because I had never been in a real Navy amphibious vehicle. My sons liked it. After that, you can take a taxi to Little Italy where they have lots of nice restaurants and bakeries. We enjoyed this. As for the fireworks- I am sure the best spot will be from the ship once it gets dark around 9PM
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#4
lynnfield ma
239 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Boston will probably be busiest around the Esplanade for the Pops concert and fireworks. People get there hours and hours earlier. I think the duck tour option is good as well as a harbor cruise. The trolly tours would also be good and you could pick and choose which sights you would like to see, just not sure what sights would be open. Quincy Market was pretty dead/disappointing last time I was there. What is the cruise line offering for tours?
#5
Glendale, AZ
23 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Thanks. The harborfest celebration is more what we're looking for. The ship is offering 8 tours, three of which are long coach tours (one 4 1/2 hour and two 7 1/2 hours). Of the other 5 one is too much walking (freedom trail). Two are general 2 to 3 hour bus tours of the sights, I'm just very skeptical that on the 4th, a big bleeping bus is going to just be able to tool around Boston and stay on schedule.

The duck tour is one of the others, and the last is a combo 45 min harbor tour and bus tour that is supposed to take about 3 hours. I think that's what I found a bit disappointing. There is no difference in tours to account for the fact it's the 4th of July. Nothing to take advantage of the festivities in the city.

I'll check into the duck tour. The only one we have seen was in NYC and frankly, it was really loud with quacking etc. We are two women, 54 and 80, so peace and few kids are valued. The various harbor cruises are probably a better fit. If you have a favorite among those listed on the harborfest site I would love to hear. Also if there's a favorite spot along the waterfront Thanks all.
#6
Boston area
17,735 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
There were many cruises listed and I didn't look at them all to see what they offered in terms of length, meals, price, or departure point. Take a look to see what appeals and I can then give you some advice.

Downtown may have a lot of people on the 4th, but perhaps not so much traffic - offices will be closed. You may be able to get cabs since most folks will do the walking instead. If you go on a harbor cruise, you can take a cab afterwards to Quincy Market to see what is going on there. If it doesn't suit, then you can just go back to the ship.

I'm not a big fan of the duck tour - it's departure points are not convenient to Black Falcon and the tour is short - 80 minute I believe. You pay a lot to have the "amusement park" experience of the boat splashing into the Charles River and cruising around a bit.

I would make a decision quickly - these cruises will book up after Memorial Day. I know from experience with my elderly mother and the tall ships in Boston that you will need a plan that suits her - it could be very hot that day, so having some sort of shade available would be important.
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Carol


#7
Timonium, Maryland
3,834 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
If I went back to Boston I'd probably do the museums that are near the waterfront- they look interesting. My favorite parts of the city were Beacon Hill and Little Italy. Little Italy because it has retained some of its Italian roots and there are great bakeries there. I am not a "foodie" but do enjoy a good old fashioned Italian bakery. This was a real treat. I took our goodies with us and enjoyed them later.
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#8
PA
75 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Does anyone have a suggestion for a nice restaurant that would be open on July 4 for lunch? Not interested in the casual eateries at Quincy Market or the Italian places in the North End, as we have already been there many times.
#9
Boston, MA
1,217 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Take a swan boat ride. The swan boats are in the Public Garden. Area will be busy but the ride (about 5 minutes) is lots of fun and very relaxing. (Re-read "Make Way for Ducklings").
Be prepared for Boston to be nuts on the 4th. The Pops concert and the fireworks are on the Charles River Esplanade. If you want to see the crowds from afar take the Red Line subway (called "The T") from Park Street to Harvard in Cambridge. You are underground until you get to the river. The view of the river and the city is just lovely. No matter how jaded we in the Boston-area get...that view still takes my breath away.
Lunch? Try Jasper White's Summer Shack. It's in the Back Bay across the street from the Hilton (Dalton Street?). Not sure if it is open on the 4th but it has very good seafood.
#10
Arizona
1,407 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
I took an out of town guest on the Duck Tour when I lived in Boston and she thought it was great, but I thought it was kind of silly. You see a little bit of the sights downtown while stuck in traffic, and the water part is a few minutes in and out of a nondescript ramp area.

I worked for the National Park Service, so I am a little biased, but I would suggest walking the Freedom Trail, strolling around Quincy Market, taking the water shuttle to the Charlestown Navy Yard and Bunker Hill Monument, and eating at one of the great Italian restaurants in the North End.
#11
Arizona
1,407 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Just saw the restaurant question -- have you been to the Warren Tavern in Charlestown?
It is on Pleasant Street near the Bunker Hill Monument. It is supposed to be the oldest tavern in Massachusetts (1780).
#12
Boston area
17,735 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Originally posted by klauer
I took an out of town guest on the Duck Tour when I lived in Boston and she thought it was great, but I thought it was kind of silly. You see a little bit of the sights downtown while stuck in traffic, and the water part is a few minutes in and out of a nondescript ramp area.

I worked for the National Park Service, so I am a little biased, but I would suggest walking the Freedom Trail, strolling around Quincy Market, taking the water shuttle to the Charlestown Navy Yard and Bunker Hill Monument, and eating at one of the great Italian restaurants in the North End.
I'm so glad to hear someone else say that about the duck tour - I describe it as an overpriced amusement park ride. You've given essentially the same advice that I give. IMO if you want a water experience in Boston, the $1.70 water shuttle to the Constitution in Charlestown is a great deal.
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Carol


#13
367 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
I disagree about the duck boat tour -- I've taken out of town people there twice in the past 6 months and really enjoyed it myself. Each time it was different; each time I was impressed by how beautiful our city was - by land and sea

4th of July is a real tough one. Ordinarily most activity would be centered along the Charles River (and still will be) but this year is the anniversary of the War of 1812 and there will be a lot of tall ships/Naval vessels visiting to honor the USS Constitution. That could make for a lot of harbor/waterfront traffic.
#14
Norwood, Mass. BOSTON PROUD
2,110 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Lots lots of traffic roads closed and if the Red Xox are playing more people. you will be back on ship for fire works as there go off betwen 10-11. I would stay away from any moving vechile and walk. Be prepaired for lots of people

Mary
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