a guide to fall in love with the capital of Massachusetts
LATAM's newest North American destination, the capital of the state of Massachusetts best symbolizes the United States – from sports to good food, from its rich history to academic excellence
The American Dream starts with liberty. Conquered in battles and revolutions, it was led by the states on the U.S. East Coast. This also includes knowledge, represented by the strength of some of the world's best learning institutions, like Harvard and MIT. It's also encompassed by the passion for sports that galvanizes multitudes whenever the Red Sox hit a home run or the New England Patriots score a touchdown. It's expressed by the cuisine comprised of ingredients that come from the cold, plentiful ocean waters. And finally, it can be toasted with an artisanal beer, the fruit of a tradition brought over by Irish immigrants. If you're looking for a city in America capable of combining all these elements, Boston is its name, LATAM's newest US destination.
Paths of history
Any history lesson recounting the American independence includes a passage about one iconic place: Boston Harbor. The year is 1773, and the patriotic movement is flourishing. Until one shipment of tea is thrown into the sea in a protest against taxes, provoking the closure of the local port and triggering the conflicts that led to liberty. A path of red bricks through the city’s streets known as the Freedom Trail covers the most fascinating points of this historical period.
The park Boston Common, the heart of the city at that time, and to this day, is where the trail begins. The next block over, a stop at the Granary Burying Ground to pay homage to some of those responsible for the movement. There, you'll find the gravestone of John Hancock, the state's first governor, who signed the Declaration of Independence to provoke King George III and convinced George Washington to become the first US president.
Further on, the Old State House contains the balcony upon which the declaration was first read to the city's residents – every 4th of July, the act is reenacted. The well-conserved building boasts gold replicas of a lion and a unicorn, old symbols of British royalty whose originals were torched in the heat of the moment. Today, it functions as a museum with a collection that includes clothing, weapons, and documents from the era.
The brick path leads visitors to the city's North End and Old North Church. The church tower turned on a light warning of British soldiers marching toward the district of Concord to steal ammunition. Thanks to the church light, they were intercepted, and the first battle in the War for Independence took place. Near there, in the neighborhood of Charlestown, the Warren Tavern is the pub where George Washington stopped in 1789 to have a cold one. Located inside a corner house, the bar is frequented almost exclusively by locals: the perfect place to wrap up the day hoisting a glass to liberty.
Good Will Huntings
If we were to add up the Nobel Prizes awarded to former students and professors from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the grand total would be 135. This number explains why the two universities are a source of great pride for Boston. “When I got the acceptance letter, I cried,” recalls Samuel Huang, 22, a fourth-year economics major at Harvard. As one of the many projects in which they're encouraged to participate, Sam and other students take visitors on walking tours of the college that was founded back in 1636, when the US was still a British colony.
Getting into Harvard doesn't have to be so hard – just go through the main entrance, Johnston Gate. But, to avoid bad luck, students are only supposed to cross its threshold twice: on the occasion of enrollment, and then graduation. In between, they take the smaller door to the right. The statue of John Harvard, who donated a fortune to found the institution, stands by the entrance, and his gold feet indicate the tradition of rubbing them to receive the wise patron's blessing.
Almost all 6,000 students live in the 12 student residences, housed in red brick buildings. Graduation day is celebrated in the garden between the Widener Library and Memorial Church, always including the presence of celebrities who show up to make speeches, like Hillary Clinton.
The younger MIT, founded in 1861, is another institution that's famous all over the world. On an average morning at the entrance hall, inspired by the Roman Pantheon, students present robotics projects. If you'd like to visit the five schools, you can download a tour guide app to your smartphone. The largest garden, Killian Court, has a view of the dome, Greco-Roman columns, and a small lawn. Decorating the environment is a sculpture by none other than Henry Moore, and there are works by Anish Kapoor and Alexander Calder, among others, scattered around campus.
On exam days, the hardest thing to do is actually find the students. They stay cooped up in study rooms, and some of the nicest are located downtown, inside Boston Public Library. The neoclassical building which dates from 1848 is open every day to the public who wants to access the collection of over 20 million items.
It's Friday night and Boston is taken over by a wave of yellow and black. In the subway, bars, and the TD Garden, love for the local hockey team, the Boston Bruins, is expressed through the uniform's colors. Going to a game will help you understand the excitement that moves so many people. Fans jump to their feet every time a player checks another into the acrylic walls or launches a slap shot.
It's no different when the New England Patriots take the field in Gillette Stadium, some 40 minutes outside of Boston. Having won five Super Bowls (the NFL's final, championship game), the team has fans all over the country and even the world. The Patriots' modern temple opened in 2004 and is home to an interactive museum known as The Hall, with trophies and a gift shop that sells all the licensed products a fan could ever dream of.
The sports attraction that draws fans from all over the US is Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. Opened in 1912, it's the oldest baseball stadium in the country. Unlike in football stadiums, here fans get to sit close to the field – you can even hear the players talking during the games. A portion of the seats is preserved in wood, following a renovation that took place in 1934. Meanwhile, the locker rooms date from 1946, when they were separated because of a certain temperamental Yankee who used to make trouble behind the scenes.
Like the Pats, the Red Sox have won their respective championship five times, with a drought of 86 years between one in 1918 and the next in 2004. Part of their history can be seen in the museum, with items from championship teams, among other objects. From the ballpark's highest seats, you can see the entire city, a reminder that Fenway is also one of Boston's most illustrious sons.
Pearls of the coast
Don't trust a coastal city whose cuisine isn't based on seafood. Fortunately, Boston serves some of the best oysters and lobsters on the planet. Fanueil Hall, a trading post built in 1742, is where the best goods are delivered. Quincy Market, one of the three markets added to the locale in 1826, is a local reference in quality food. There, you can try some tasty lobster rolls, a sandwich made with the shellfish that's a big hit with the public. The best lobster roll in town, however, is found at Row 34. There, you can also try a variety of oysters from Massachusetts and the neighboring state of Maine. Another stand-out in the same vein is Waypoint, located in Cambridge, which serves a contemporary menu. The scallops appetizer served with nuts and chili is to die for.
If shellfish aren't your cup of tea, the restaurant Cultivar follows the farm-to-table philosophy. The house keeps its own hydroponic garden, often serving organic vegetables and roasting tubers like no one else. The bar menu specializes in gins and proudly features liquor produced by micro distilleries in the region.
The most ordered
In American bars, Boston Lager is synonymous with quality beer. The secret, according to what they say on tours of the Samuel Adams Brewery, the most famous in region, is in the ingredients. German hops, malt toasted to the point of caramelization, and extremely pure water account for the reputation of the beverage that gained force mainly due to the arrival of Irish immigrants in the 19th century.
Since then, the brand has grown a lot, and the warehouse which is open to visitors, in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood, is a laboratory for tests. After seeing the manufacturing processes, visitors end the excursion with a tasting of three of the house products, being that one of them is always a new experiment.
Other artisanal brands can be found in the city's pubs, but Lulu’s Allston boasts an enviable menu with some 50 beer varieties, half of which are regional. Another icon, Wally’s also serves good brews and has excellent music. The oldest club in town dedicated to jazz, it opened in 1947 and was one of the first racially integrated establishments in the country. Its stage once welcomed Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, and even today young musicians put in high-caliber performances at the venue. Time flies in between sips of beer and blasts from a trumpet, impeccably tuned with Boston's charisma and diversity.
When to go
Every season has its own particular charm. And though Boston may be in full party mode in spring and summer, the chilly fall and cold winter feature landscapes adorned with colorful foliage, white snow, and crisp blue skies.
The city's public transportation system works very well, easily covering the majority of the most important attractions. During the hotter months of the year, bikes are the best option for exploring the flat streets. Avoid driving, as parking can be difficult and expensive.
Any neighborhood near Boston Common will do. The hills of Beacon Hill comprise the most charming area, and the sophistication of the Back Bay will please those who enjoy a good stroll.
With the look of an urban hotel, it has inviting prices, a restaurant/bar whose drinks have won awards, and a good restaurant.
Starting July 1, LATAM will have direct flights to Boston from São Paulo.
Special thanks to: Boston USA Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
On your way to this destination, you can try the new Economy Class menu that LATAM now serves on flights longer than seven hours. It features several options of international and vegetarian dishes, made with local ingredients, created to offer you a better experience. A new menu to make your senses fly high.