What Is Boston Best Known For?
Boston is well known for many things, and some of the most iconic symbols are Boston cream pies, Fenway Park, and the Boston Tea Party. However, those are just the start of what has made this Massachusetts capital famous. In today’s post, we’ll share some of Boston’s most famous items and landmarks to give you more insight into our city’s rich history.
Boston Cream Pies
The Boston cream pie is a dessert delicacy that was first concocted in 1856 at the grand opening of the Parker House Hotel in Boston, now known as Omni Parker House. Before it became known as the Boston cream pie, it was also called a “cream pie”, “chocolate cream pie”, and “custard cake”. This delicious dessert consists of two French butter sponge cakes filled with thick custard and brushed with rum syrup. Its sides were coated in the same custard overlaid with sliced almonds, and the top was coated with chocolate fondant.
This delicious dessert grew in popularity because, although other custard cakes may have existed at that time, baking chocolate as a coating was a new process, making it unique. As a result, it drew crowds as the most popular menu item and lasted the test of time. In 1996, it was declared the state dessert of Massachusetts. The Omni Parker House still ships its original Boston cream pie nationwide, so you can experience this authentic dessert even if you can’t make the trip to Boston yourself.
Did you know that Boston’s nickname is Beantown? The popularity of Boston’s baked bean recipe put it on the map because of its special addition of molasses and cured pork or bacon. In the 18th century, Boston was a prominent exporter of rum, which is produced by the distillation of fermented molasses. The molasses was added to local baked bean recipes, creating a style of baked beans unique to New England. So when you enjoy baked beans at your next summer cookout, you can thank Boston for its delicious contribution.
Boston Tea Party
If you’ve ever spent time in a middle school history class, you will surely have heard of the Boston Tea Party. Although the name gives the impression of early colonists meeting around a porcelain teapot, there is much more to the story. In reality, the Boston Tea Party was a precursor to the American Revolution.
In December 1773, the American colonies were still under the control of the British. The colonists were growing tired of being taxed without any representation in parliament. The tea tax sent them over the edge — literally. They protested by boarding British ships and tossing all the imported tea overboard. All told, 342 chests of tea were thrown into the Boston Harbor. Today, visitors to Boston can watch reenactments of this event at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum.
The Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park
No trip to Boston would be complete without a trip to see the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park. This historic landmark has welcomed millions of spectators since 1912 and is the oldest active baseball stadium in Major League Baseball.
One of the first games ever played in the stadium was held on April 20, 1912, and led to a victory over the New York team that would someday become the Red Sox’s most infamous rivals, the Yankees. After a fire destroyed the left field bleachers in 1926, the owner decided to leave a formidable empty wall to stop non-paying spectators from watching games. Years later, the imposing wall was painted green, eventually earning the nickname Green Monster. The inside walls of the Green Monster are covered in players’ signatures from over the years.
Founded on September 8, 1636, Harvard University was the first college in the American colonies. The Massachusetts Bay Colony started the university to educate the growing population in what would one day become the United States. It relied on generous donations to get it started. The school’s most generous benefactor, John Harvard, became its namesake. If you visit the beautiful campus today, you can still see the statue of John Harvard standing in Harvard Yard.
The Freedom Trail covers 16 historic sites over 2.5 miles. Because Boston was such an integral part of the American Revolution, it is also full of history. The “shot heard ’round the world” started the American Revolution at the Battle of Concord in 1775. With so many historical landmarks in such close proximity, the Freedom Trail was created to show the city’s important history.
Marked with bricks and a red-painted path, the trail starts at Boston Common, the oldest park in the United States. As you head up the trail, you will stop at Boston Latin School — the oldest school in the United States. Then travel onward to Old South Meeting House, the site of the Boston Massacre, and past Faneuil Hall. Further on, you’ll come upon Paul Revere House, Old North Church, the USS Constitution, and finally, complete your journey at the Bunker Hill Monument.
When it first opened in 1826, Quincy Market was an indoor pavilion designed for vendors to sell food and goods to the people of Boston. Today, it still sells food, though it has changed from grocery items to food stalls, fast food, and restaurants. It’s a busy and popular lunch spot for downtown workers. Surrounding the market is a large shopping center where you can pick up souvenirs, jewelry, shoes, clothing, and more.
The Boston Marathon
The Boston Marathon is famously one of the most grueling marathons in the United States. Starting 26.2 miles outside of Boston, marathon runners traverse a challenging course of rolling hills that takes them to and through the city, ending in Copley Square. Because the Boston Marathon requires participants to have run another marathon with a specific qualifying time, only the best runners can qualify to register. Spectators can show support by gathering along the running route with signs and banners to cheer on marathon runners.
So, there you have it, our list of Boston’s most famous places and things. But of course, it’s hard to do justice to all of Boston’s specialties when there are so many. Did we forget any of your favorites? Let us know. If you’re interested in even more things to do with your family, we compiled our top picks for kid-friendly activities in the Boston area.
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