For most travelers, flight delays and layovers are annoying, but the extra time doesn’t mean you have to confine yourself to the airport’s duty-free shops. It may only be three hours, but consider this your vacation bonus to see Beantown.
First Hour: Public buses stop at each terminal and whisk passengers to the T, Boston’s subway. Take the silver line route SL1 (Logan Airport — South Station via Waterfront) to the T’s red line at South Station. From there, take the red line to Park Street Station. The trip to downtown takes 30 to 40 minutes each way.
Second Hour: Park Street Station stops beneath Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park. Boston Common is not only a great place to people watch, but the 44-acre park is also the start of The Freedom Trail.
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile trail marked by a red line on the pavement that guides visitors along 16 of the American Revolution’s most iconic sites. Brisk walkers who stop only to take a picture here and there can walk the entire trail in about an hour, but those on a short layover in Boston should aim to be less ambitious, as the trail is not a loop. Aim to walk from Boston Common to Faneuil Hall and take time for two brief detours for Boston cream pie and beer.
After passing the Freedom Trail’s second stop, the State House, take a left on to Beacon Street and go in the opposite direction of the Freedom Trail. Take a quick stroll through historic Beacon Hill on Boston Common’s northern edge. Pause to take in the sights of the adjacent Public Garden before pulling up a stool at the Bull & Finch, now known as "Cheers," as the tavern’s exterior served as the iconic setting for the television show. Have a quick pint before retracing your steps back to the Freedom Trail.
Third Hour: Pick up the Freedom Trail at the State House and continue on past Park Street Church, the Granary Burial Ground where Paul Revere is buried, King’s Chapel, and King’s Chapel Burial Ground. After passing the Boston Latin School, America’s oldest public school, which has a statue of Benjamin Franklin, one of its alums who later was a high school dropout, grab a Boston cream pie at Parker’s Restaurant on School Street.
Originally called Washington pie, the sweet pie made of sponge cake, pastry cream, toasted almonds, and chocolate fondant was created at Parker’s Restaurant, where Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh served as a baker in the bakeshop and Malcolm X was a busboy.
If time permits, continue on to the Old Corner Book Store, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre, and Faneuil Hall, where Americans first protested against the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act, before heading back to Boston Logan Airport.