11:34 AM EDT, July 29, 2011
BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - Founded in 1630, Boston is one of the United States' oldest cities. It is home to historical sites and with 50 colleges and universities in the area it has a lively, youthful feel.
Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a 48-hour visit.
5 p.m. - Boston's Children's Museum, featuring a variety of exhibits on history and culture, offers a discounted $1 admission from 5 p.m. till 9 p.m. on Friday nights. The museum is usually boisterous, particularly around the three-story enclosed climbing structure where children can burn off any nervous energy. (308 Congress Street (http://www.bostonkids.org/)
7 p.m. - Walk along the Fort Point Channel near the site of the Boston Tea Party, which is one of the events that led to the revolution of the former British colonies, toward the harbor to the Barking Crab (88 Sleeper Street,http://www.barkingcrab.com/). It is a casual waterfront fish shack that features local oysters, lobster rolls and, for picky young eaters, macaroni and cheese.
If fish is not your thing, cross the channel and walk 3/4 mile along Boston Harbor to historic Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market (between Chatham and Clinton Streets, near the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, http://www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/).
The food court, housed in a 250-year-old market building, features a variety of choices, from pizza to creamy New England-style clam chowder. The complex also offers sit-down restaurants, including a replica of the bar from the iconic 1980s U.S. television series "Cheers."
9 a.m. - Get a behind-the-scenes look at Fenway Park, the 98-year-old stadium that is home to the city's beloved Red Sox. (4 Yawkey Way,http://mlb.mlb.com/bos/ballpark/tour.jsp) The 50-minute tours run all year round, though you'll only have a chance for a look at the players on game days. Walk on the field, see the dugout and get an up-close look at one of Major League Baseball's last hand-operated scoreboards.
11 a.m. - Stroll through the Public Garden. From mid-April through mid-September, visitors can catch a ride on the pedal-powered swan boats (http://www.swanboats.com/schedules.php), which little ones might recognize from the 1941 Robert McCloskey book "Make Way for Ducklings." Out of boating season, fans of the book can walk to the northeast corner of the garden for to see a bronze statue of the heroine, Mrs. Mallard, and her eight ducklings.
Cross Charles Street and walk into Boston Common, a 50 acre (20 hectare) park where 17th century Bostonians grazed livestock. Make your way to the Frog Pond, a summertime wading pool becomes an ice-skating rink from November through mid-March. (http://www.bostoncommonfrogpond.org/index.htm)
2 p.m. - Make your way toward the Charles River, which separates Boston from Cambridge to visit the Museum of Science (1 Science Park,http://www.mos.org/). The museum has exhibits to appeal to all ages, on everything from local wildlife, to math, to a replica "Naboo Starfighter" from "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace."
5 p.m. - Cross the bridge into Cambridge, home to two of America's top schools -- Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Stroll the leafy campus of Harvard, the United States' oldest institution of higher learning (http://www.harvard.edu).
Venture out into Harvard Square, a bustling shopping district, where you'll find everything from sweatshirts bearing the school crest to high-end jewelry. If your family members are avid readers, pop into Curious George & Friends, a two-story children's bookstore. (30 Brattle Street, Cambridge, http://www.guriousg.com)
7 p.m. - Harvard Square has no shortage of restaurants, from the high-end New American fare of Upstairs on the Square (91 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, to the casual Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage, where the line often stretches down the street. (1246 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge (http://www.mrbartley.com).
If you're looking for a place where a little noise won't be noticed, amble over to Border Cafe for moderately priced Mexican food in a festive setting. (32 Church Street, Cambridge, http://www.bordercafe.com)
After dinner, splurge on a sweet at L.A. Burdick Chocolate. If it's chilly, don't miss the hot chocolate, which comes in white, milk and dark varieties. (52-D Brattle Street, Cambridge, http://www.burdickchocolate.com)
9 a.m. - If you want to catch the major sights, including the two-century old U.S.S. Constitution warship and the New Old South Church, hop on a Duck Tour. (800 Boylston Street, http://www.bostonducktours.com)
The "ducks" are amphibious vehicles first used by the U.S. military in World War Two, so after driving the streets, the tour heads onto the Charles River for a view of the skyline.
11 a.m. - After seeing the skyline from sea level, look down on Boston from the top of Prudential Tower. The 52-story skyscraper is New England's second tallest building -- the nearby John Hancock Tower is taller, but does not have a public observation deck. (800 Boylston Street, http://www.topofthehub.net/skywalk_about.html)
1 p.m. - After enjoying the feeling of freedom that comes with a 100-mile view, how about some time in prison? Head to the Liberty Hotel (215 Charles Street,http://www.libertyhotel.com), built in the city's former Charles Street Jail. Inside, the restaurant Clink serves Sunday brunch-- with a menu ranging from oatmeal to a smoked salmon, spinach and burrata cheese scramble -- till 3 p.m.
The dining room still features the brick walls and iron bars that once held prisoners.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Patricia Reaney)