Traveling Solo in Boston | Whole Widen World

Traveling Solo in Boston

Traveling solo in Boston, or anywhere for that matter, for the first time anywhere can feel intimidating. I had never had the opportunity to travel to a new city alone and I was eager to prove to myself that I could do it.

 

I found Boston incredibly walkable and tourist friendly. Between all the beautiful architecture, the historic landmarks, and the easy to use public transportation, it’s easy to get around Boston in just a few days.

 

What surprised me more was just how friendly all the people were. People usually hear the stereotype that Bostonians are blunt and speak their mind, but everyone I came into contact with offered up a wealth of knowledge and friendly conversation.

Boston Common

Boston Common Park

139 Tremont St, Boston

 

Boston Common is alive with visitors and locals enjoying the good weather. Children squeal in glee, splashing each other, as they wade into the 1-foot pool. Ducks waddle by the edge of the pond at Boston Public Garden, unfazed by the tourists creeping closer and closer with their cameras. The willows dip their long limbs like tassels into the still waters, drawing intricate patterns and swirls. The humidity is heavy in the air, but does not detract from a perfect afternoon in the park.

Boston Common Park Pond
Boston Public Garden Pond
Boston | Whole Widen World
As the park ends, the red brick buildings come into view.
De Luca's Market
20th Century Limited, Boston | Whole Widen WOrld

Twentieth Century Ltd.

73 Charles St, Boston

 

It’s easy to overlook this small, basement level gem on Charles Street. You really have to be looking for it but if you spot the entrance, take the stairs down into the shop and enter a world of floor-to-ceiling displays packed with vintage jewelry, hats, and tiaras.

 

There is so much to look at and every piece has a story. If you ask the shop owner, he’ll likely tell you what he knows about it, with warmth and passion.

 

I quickly gravitated toward a display with a large crab pendant. It sat there dead-center, standing out against the silver and bronze bug pieces surrounding it. The shop manager began to tell me who made it and how it came to be in the shop. As he opened up more cases, I felt so welcome and really was touched by his willingness to talk to me and share his stories.

 

I left thanking him for the information and looked forward to coming back on a day when I could spend more time deciding on a vintage souvenir to take home. I recommend visiting Charles street and if you do, make sure you stop in and say hello at Twentieth Century Ltd.

20th Century Limited, Boston | Whole Widen WOrld
Twentieth Century Ltd. Vintage Jewelry - Crab - Boston | Whole Widen World Travel Blog
Visiting to Boston | Beacon Hill Chocolates | Whole Widen World Travel Blog

Beacon Hill Chocolates

91 Charles St, Boston

 

From the street, you may confuse this with some sort of gift shop or stationery store. Vintage style art boxes in the window pique your curiosity. Upon entering, however, you are delighted to discover that this place not only sells the pretty boxes, but you can buy artful chocolates to go inside!

Boston | Beacon Hill Chocolates | Whole Widen World Travel Blog
Visiting to Boston | Beacon Hill Chocolates | Whole Widen World Travel Blog
Boston | Beacon Hill Chocolates | Whole Widen World Travel Blog

It took me nearly 5 minutes of staring at the display to decide on my 4 chocolates to take home.

Boston | Beacon Hill Chocolates | Whole Widen World Travel Blog

I opted for the traditional vintage Boston box, though the mermaid one was a close contender.

Boston | Beacon Hill Chocolates | Whole Widen World Travel Blog

My chocolate choices: Banana (yellow), Mint (leaves), Toffee (regular), and their famous Caramel Sushi Swirl

Visiting to Boston | Quincy Market | Whole Widen World Travel Blog

Quincy Market

206 S Market, Boston

 

Quincy Market and Faneuil hall seem to be interchangeable. A local told me they are right next to each other and often get confused for one another. This whole area is full of food, shopping, and street performers. Most locals will tell you it’s a tourist trap, but not being from here, I will say that it’s still fun to walk around. I recommend a short visit, get food amongst any one of the stalls, and take it outside on a nice day.

Visiting to Boston | Quincy Market | Whole Widen World Travel Blog
Visiting to Boston | Quincy Market | Whole Widen World Travel Blog
Visiting to Boston | 1630 Store | Whole Widen World Travel Blog

1630

4 S Market St, Boston

 

At the edge of South Market building in Quincy Market, the store 1630  stands out with gold script lettering on the windows. Inside you can find unusual Boston-centric “curiosities”. Unlike any other gift store in Boston, it marries old American history with a contemporary twist to create unique and memorable gifts. It’s difficult to pick out just one thing to buy. I ended up circling the room so many times that the store associate, a lovely lady named Anna, asked me if she could help me with anything. We got to talking and I learned that she actually makes the pins they sell at the counter. When she said that, I knew I had to have one. It doesn’t get any more personal and authentic Boston souvenir than that.

Boston - 1630 store - Jewerly | Whole Widen World
Boston 1630 Store Jewelry | Whole Widen World
Everywhere you turn, there’s something new to admire.
Travel to Boston - 1630
Anna's Pins - made from pages of vintage books

Anna, The store associate, told me she reclaims old vintage books and recycles their pages by turning them into these pins. I picked one that had North America on it and she told me it came from an old astrology book. She then pulled out a bag behind the counter and offered me a free one-of-a-kind bottle opener shaped like a big pin. I chose one that I thought screamed my dad and knew it would be the perfect gift for his birthday. Check out her facebook page!

Boston Architecture

Marveling at Architecture and Landmarks

Downtown Boston is a hodgepodge of modern and old buildings. The city is littered with historic landmarks and from a map view, they all seem so easily identifiable. But when you’re actually in the middle of it all, you’re walking around and you might be standing right next to a historic building and miss it because you can’t back up enough to see what you’re looking at.

Visiting to Boston | Whole Widen World Travel Blog
Beacon Hill, Boston | Whole Widen World

The old grain exchange building

As I was taking a photo of this building from right under that tree, a man came out of the building and approached me. He started telling me the building’s history and significance. He told me that it was made in 1891 and used to be the old grain exchange building. The went on to tell me all about how they remodeled the interior lobby and offered to take me up to the 7th floor to see some of the original interior. I would have loved to go, but being a solo female traveler, I was hyper aware that it would be better not to walk off with some stranger, no matter how nice he is. He was a lovely man and I could tell how much pride he had sharing that piece of history about this building. I could see it in his eyes and hear it in the friendliness in his voice. He disclosed to me that he had been managing this building for 30 years. He really made my day by taking the time to share his knowledge.

Cemetery in Downtown Boston
Traveling Solo in Boston | Church in Backbay, Boston | Whole Widen World Travel Blog

Old South Church, Backbay

Traveling Solo in Boston | Boston Library
Happy travels
28 Comments
  • I feel envy, I wish can travel solo too when I have all the courage to do it, hahah! I love all your your photos, they are amazing Especially the black & white exchange building and church.

    August 31, 2017 at 4:42 am
  • I love the blue and white plate/decor. It is an integral part of Goa or rather the old Goa that we knew. I’ve seen it in Netherlands too. I think we got it from our Portuguese ancestory.

    August 31, 2017 at 5:33 am
  • Liz
    Reply

    I have never been to Boston but it looks beautiful. It kinda reminds me of London… Really beautiful pictures and great advice, thanks!

    August 31, 2017 at 6:11 am
  • What an awesome idea, using old book pages to create pins. Beacon Hill Chocolates looks so pretty (and yummy). All your photos of your trip are very pretty 🙂

    August 31, 2017 at 7:21 am
  • your photos are spectacular 😀 Thank you for this amazing virtual tour of Boston 😀

    August 31, 2017 at 9:38 am
  • I had no idea there was so much beautiful architecture in Boston! It looks like you found great unique shops to look around in! Lovely photos, thank you for sharing!

    August 31, 2017 at 3:20 pm
  • I love Boston! I love all your beautiful photos of the city! I can’t wait to visit again!

    September 1, 2017 at 1:48 am
  • I am ready to book a flight from D.C. to Boston right now, just to get some of those Beacon chocolates!!!!! I have never been to Boston, but it is on my long list, especially since I just moved to the East coast. It is amazing to see so much culture and history there compared to other cities found in the U.S. Lovely post.

    September 1, 2017 at 2:44 am
  • Great post! It’s awesome to hear stories about other solo female travelers. Thanks for including a variety of different activities. Great info!

    September 1, 2017 at 4:15 am
  • I haven’t been to Boston since I was a kid and now I have been really wanting to go! I met someone on my travels who raved about Boston and these pictures definitely help sell me on the idea of traveling to Boston soon! Thanks!

    September 1, 2017 at 4:02 pm
  • I would really love to go to Boston, especially in Autumn/Fall! You take lovely photos.

    September 2, 2017 at 10:29 pm
  • I think you have truly captured the essence of Boston in this post. And your photos are amazingggg! I know how daunting it can be to go out somewhere for the 1st time. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. If you ever go back make sure to check out Chinatown on a weekend. You won’t be disappointed

    September 2, 2017 at 10:56 pm
  • Boston has been on my list for awhile and it looks like a great spot to explore solo. Thanks for this guide, will save so I can check out some of these spots when I go!

    September 3, 2017 at 12:03 am
  • Love your photos! I was just in Boston for the very first time and loved every minute of it. Thanks for sharing your story and photos!

    September 3, 2017 at 2:09 am
  • Gorgeous photos, they really give a sense of what it’s like walking around Boston. Wandering around new cities on my own is possibly my favourite thing to do in the world. And that chocolate place looks AMAZING!

    September 3, 2017 at 10:41 am

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