Boston is as famous for its hospitality as it is for the accent of its 3.7 million residents. The 18 million visitors that arrive each year rather expect the “r’s” to be missing in conversation. Only in the capital of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will a stateside tour guide greet the group with a welcoming “Hahwhaya?”instead of “How are you?”

Founded in 1630, Boston’s early English settlers reportedly didn’t pronounce r’s either. Over the centuries, the blending speech patterns from the continuous arrival of immigrants slowly erased any English inflection to create the Boston accent as it is known today.

Modern-day Boston thrives as a unique blend of cultures, a world-class city with New England charm.

Stacy Shreffler, group sales manager for the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, invites groups to uncover Boston’s past while enjoying its modern edge, appreciate both the old masters and the brew masters, relax on pedal-powered swan boat rides or watch whales from a high-speed catamaran.


Shops along Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass.
[/media-credit] Shops along Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass.

In the spring, Boston’s parks and greenways invite groups to tour the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Public Garden, where statues of a family of bronze ducks greet visitors. Photos of Mrs. Quack, Zack, Mack, Oack and the rest of her brood have been tweeted around the planet.

The warmth of summer brings the fans and visitors to Fenway Park for a tour or a baseball game.

Because the city is built on the Atlantic Ocean and backs into the Charles River, water tours are an easy way to cruise by landmarks, view the skylines of both Boston and Cambridge or venture out onto the ocean on a whale-watching excursion.

In winter, the Beacon Hill neighborhood provides picture-postcard views along cobblestone streets and decorated shops.

Boston’s shops and galleries are inviting any time of year whether members of the group are seasoned bargain hunters or window shoppers.

Shop ’til you drop

Window shopping on Charles Street in Beacon Hill neighborhood, Boston
[/media-credit] Window shopping on Charles Street in Beacon Hill neighborhood, Boston

In Boston, shop artisanal markets, centers or chic boutiques without worrying about missing an important tour stop; most are found near historical attractions. Many shopping areas and malls offer pre-arranged tours for groups.

Window-shopping along Charles Street in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood is a contender as a free-time option. Only a ½-mile square, Charles Street is lined with boutiques, specialty shops and the occasional upscale resale store.

Shops along Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square located in Cambridge provide a feast of world-renowned shopping with the added plus of fine dining and cultural institutions.

Streets in Cambridge are lined with a variety of stores from high-end to funky. Shopping and browsing is made even more fun because of the ambience created by street musicians and performers.

Copley Place is located in historic Back Bay near Old South Church. An indoor mall and part of a mixed-use complex, it offers two levels of high-end shopping at more than 75 stores. Neiman Marcus is one of the retail anchors.

Copley Place shopping bags are available at guest services; the $1 charge benefits the Simon Youth Foundation. A glass walkway connects the mall to the Prudential Center shops.

Quincy Market, part of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston
[/media-credit] Quincy Market, part of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston

The Shops at Prudential Center is also an enclosed mall. Consider a stop at the top for a view of the city from Prudential Tower’s Skywalk Observatory.

Each night in December, the top of Prudential Tower is lit as part of “31 Nights of Light,” a recognition program that spotlights the work of 31 community organizations.

For a day trip, consider an outing to the Kittery Outlets, The Outlets at Assembly Row or Wrentham Village Premium Outlets Center. All provide bargain seekers with a wide variety of shopping experiences.

Located in the heart of Boston at the waterfront, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is only a five-minute walk from Paul Revere’s House. The marketplace offers a history lesson along with shopping, dining and entertainment venues. Founded for merchants in 1742, it remains an important part of the Boston landscape. The marketplace houses 125 shops and kiosks, and 21 restaurants. The appearance of musicians and street performers keeps the ambience light both inside the hall and outside along the pedestrian walkways.

In Boston, remember there is no sales tax on clothing valued under $175 and only a 6.25 percent sales tax on other purchases, including meals.

Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau