The historic district of Downtown Crossing in Boston caters to foot traffic along its picturesque streets. A plethora of businesses blanket the area and serve as a casual locale to dine, shop, or simply stroll. The area is home to a blend of chain stores, specialty shops, street vendors, jewelry stores, department stores, and historic sites.
As Dentists in Downtown Crossing (located in Chauncy St) we love the area in which we live and work and wanted to showcase this beautiful part of Boston to our patients who may not have fully explored downtown Boston.
Exploring Downtown Crossing in Boston
Downtown Crossing offers exceptional shopping opportunities. Fill an unhurried afternoon going from one of 200 retail stores to another. Any type of jewels can be found at the 300 jewelers in the area. The art deco Jeweler’s Exchange Building is one of the most popular places to shop for all kinds of jewels. Find unique gifts at the various specialty stores. The plethora of restaurants will meet any gastronomic requirement. Start the day with breakfast at one of the many restaurants and coffee shops before beginning your exploration of the Crossing.
Some of the oldest establishments in the country are found along the Freedom Trail. For those who care to walk it, it takes about three hours and begins at Boston Common, where visitors can observe 250 years of history. One interesting aspect about these sites is that they are intermingled among the modern buildings and attractions.
The Freedom Trail is comprised of 16 historical sites starting at Boston Common and ending at the Bunker Hill monument. The important landmarks along the trail are a feast for the historian. Discover its rich history independently or take one of several tours in which the Freedom Trail is included. The two-and-one- half mile red brick path of the Freedom Trail will take you back in history. Stop at the Old State House. Built in 1713, it houses the quintessential collection of artifacts from the American Revolution that allows visitors to relive that period in our history. Continue on to assorted historical documents in the Library and Archives.
The interactive exhibits in the galleries are sure to provide a noteworthy history lesson for adults, as well as children. Especially engaging is the sound and light demonstration of the “Boston Massacre” from 1770. Another exhibit that is particularly enlightening is the re-creation of Boston’s colonial past and the depiction of what life was like during that time in history.
After the State House, continue along the Trail to Old South Meeting House, which stands as a testament to the fight for freedom from British rule. Today it is heralded as a place for free speech, and its history is vivid through the unusual artifacts and 3-D model of early Boston.
One of the sites along the Freedom Trail is the Granary Burying Ground, which was founded in 1660, and holds the remains of many distinguished loyalists, such as Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. Benjamin Franklin’s parents are also buried there. Some of the tours that include this site are the Walk into History Tour, The Historic Holiday Stroll, and the African-American Patriots Tour. Of course, once again, you can do an independent excursion.
Some historic sites are merely inscriptions on walls, but the significance of the locations is compelling. The off-the-beaten-path explorations are valuable for history buffs who want to feel the presence of figures from a bygone era. Especially significant is the commemoration of the original site of the Puritans, who were Boston’s first pioneers. View the commemorative plaque that designates the residence of the British authorities who ruled the colony.
The bust of Benjamin Franklin stands at the site of his birthplace. See the statue of Robert Burns, who favored us with “Auld Lang Syne.” Many hidden treasures are scattered throughout the area, so, unless you are hale and hearty, you might want to divide your walking tour into more than one day.
When you think you have had enough history for the day, return to the center of the Crossing and shop until you drop. Macy’s is the anchor store and is well worth a stop if you love shopping. From there, meander throughout the area and delight in the numerous book stores, offering both contemporary and vintage selections. If you grow weary of walking, take in a movie at the delightful AMC Loews Boston Common, which showcases an IMAX and nineteen other screens.
Visitors enjoy a fascinating day wandering in and through the district. They can stop at any of the numerous restaurants for a quick bite or experience a more upscale establishment. The Crossing is beautified with lights, flowers and banners to enhance the whole experience of the area. The visual feel of the streetscape, as people stroll through the region, gives them a sense of enchantment that will be remembered long after they have gone.
Downtown is a stroller’s paradise. This New England gem is condensed and has several subway stops that allow riders to get to and from downtown easily and inexpensively. Its small scale has an intimate quality and makes the environment calming and unrushed. Even though the streets are bustling, you do not feel cramped or crowded. Its walkability rivals La Rambla in Barcelona.
It is also bike-friendly, offering numerous bike racks and bike-sharing stations. The Boston Bike program has all of the information for full enjoyment of this trail blazing activity. For those who prefer to drive, the area has 13 conveniently located parking garages with over 6,300 spaces.
Nightlife includes theaters, night clubs, bars and restaurants. Seven different venues for concerts, opera, cinemas and art comprise the belly of the area. Eleven night clubs provide entertainment and social gathering places for those who want to enjoy evenings out. Twenty-seven different bars and restaurants round out the fun which makes it a rich entertainment magnet for pleasurable activities. Teeming with life, downtown offers exciting, adventurous evenings.
Flourishing Downtown Crossing has something for both daytime and nighttime visitors. The many hotels offer restaurants and bars ranging from inexpensive to ritzy. If you enjoy playing pool, Felt is a favorite nighttime destination where you can have a meal or a drink as well as play a sporting game of billiards.
Exploring this iconic heart of the city brings visitors into contact with some of the most beautiful parks in New England. Visitors can skate on the Common’s Frog Pond in winter and swim there during the summer. The kids will love the playground, and parents can enjoy free presentations of Shakespeare in the summer. Ride around the lagoon in a Swan Boat, observe the beautiful gardens from the footbridge, or enjoy a romantic picnic.
The upscale hotels are meccas for the discerning guests from all over the world. Surrounding the Common and Public Garden, the hotels are centrally located so guests have the best of both worlds. Small nooks and crannies house some of the cozy shops that visitors are sure to find appealing. Dancing, dining, drinking and sightseeing are all reasons to check out Downtown Crossing.
The annual Taste of Downtown Crossing showcases the various cultures and foods of the region. The festival features cooking demonstrations, artists, games and music. All of the restaurants in the district participate with samples of their cuisine.
Guests, who visit downtown Boston in March, can register for the Irish Pub Challenge or the annual Evacuation Day Party, an all day party that takes on two floors of food and music and more beer types than you will probably see in one place at any other time.
Though the Crossing is only a small portion of the downtown area, it is packed with an assortment of shopping, dining, and sightseeing pleasures that will impress the most discerning visitors. Its location is generally closed to vehicles, so pedestrians can walk easily and can go back and forth without restrictions. It is one of the most ingenious uses of downtown spaces in the country. For nonstop action and stimulating experiences, feel the character of the busy streets with al fresco cafes and street vendors selling everything from souvenirs to clothing.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace is home to 40 businesses selling a cornucopia of items that are locally sourced. See street performers delight the crowds and take advantage of free tours that describe its rich history. Enjoy the festive ambience of nighttime strolling in the marketplace, and, in February, enjoy free family movies in this historic landmark.
The celebrated Boston Opera House first opened in 1928. It presents such productions as The Nutcracker, The Lion King, and other performances that originate on Broadway. For a fun activity, try Escape the Room Boston on 3rd Street or one of the other nearby Escape Rooms, where you can stretch your mental muscles as you attempt to “escape” within the allotted time.
This grand promenade, along with its many historical sites, continues to entice visitors to the area. New businesses are opening every month, and the downtown area is abuzz with excitement. Numerous events take place throughout the year that keep residents and visitors busy with things to do. The pedestrian traffic gives it an active feel and offers the delightful ambiance of a city that never sleeps.