Spring break for most public schools begins the week of April 16, which coincides with Patriot’s Day. Here are four options with a historic bent that allow affordable ways to get out and enjoy the city and surrounding towns.
Monday, April 16 is Patriot’s Day, which means the Boston Marathon will take place – for the 122nd running. Beginning in Hopkinton, the marathon is a 26.2-mile long party for the spectators who line the route from the western suburbs into downtown Boston. Prime spots for free viewing include downtown Framingham and Natick – approximately miles 6 and miles 10 respectively. In addition to spirited crowds, these spots offer entertainment and restaurants. Wellesley along route 16 also is a great spot to watch the runners go by – provided you can withstand the screams of Wellesley College students who famously cheer on the runners right in front of the campus. Newton along Commonwealth Avenue, where many runners welcome encouragement as they push up Heartbreak Hill, is another great spot to watch the runners. Boston College, Coolidge Corner and Kenmore Square – where the Red Sox play nearby – are also terrific vantage points to catch the action. Read about the history of the Boston Marathon, how to get to the race, and who’s running here.
Prior to the marathon, head out to Lexington to see a FREE battle reenactment at the Lexington Green. The proceedings start early at 5:30 a.m., but it is worth the early hour to see Colonial and British reenactors up close as they reenact a battle that took place 243 years ago. A bit later in the morning and just down the road, at Minuteman National Historic Park in Concord, watch British and Colonial reenactors commemorate the “Shot heard round the world” with a battle demonstration that begins at 8:45 a.m. and is followed by the Concord Patriot’s Day parade. Throughout the week, the park hosts free events that commemorate the Revolutionary War and its history. Learn more here.
Historic Activities in the City
In the heart of Boston, take a leisurely ride in a swan boat while visiting the Boston Common. The swan boats are available for rides from April to Labor Day and operate daily weather permitting. The boat rides are perfect for small children (under 2 are FREE), but anyone with a hankering to take part in a city tradition dating back to 1877 will enjoy the short excursions as well. And the price can’t be beat with adult tickets $4.00, children from 2 to 15 are $2.50; and seniors are $3.50. More information is available here.
Take a self-guided and FREE historic tour in Boston and nearby Charlestown along the Freedom Trail. The 2.5-mile trail, marked by red lines, takes visitors past the most historic spots in town – the Massachusetts State House, the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church – just to name three. For those who want expert guides and commentary, tours are available throughout the day with discounted tickets ranging from $6.50 for kids, $10 for students and seniors, and $12 for adults. Find out more here.