If you’re thinking about visiting Boston, go this weekend: Sox fans are cheering, fall leaves are peaking, and the Head of the Charles Regatta rows into town.
Boston offers visitors both a busy river and a gorgeous harbor, so join the regatta’s 7,500 athletes on—or near—the water. It’s easy if you follow in the footsteps of some wicked smaht IgoUgo members who have explored Boston’s waterways.
Watch regatta events from the Charles River Esplanade, an expanse on the river’s Boston side that boasts great views of Cambridge boathouses behind the rowing action. Even post-race, the Esplanade is a must-see; former locals jennandwes tip us off to their favorite stretch “between the Harvard Footbridge and the Eliot Bridge, including Artesani Park.” If you’re faster on foot than with an oar, they also recommend signing up for one of the “increasing number of road races that take place along the river.”
Cimmaron, meanwhile, includes the Esplanade in his picks for Boston’s Best Views: “It’s a great place for nice views, exercise, people-watching, and reflection.” It’s also where you’ll find the Hatch Shell of Boston Pops and July 4th fame (return to it in the summer, Cimmaron says, for “free music and movies”).
All the regatta views are sure to inspire your own boat outing. Even without access to the event, Idler’s view of the Charles and its activity from her hotel room made her “long to get out on the river.” Her vessel of choice was a 64-foot Charles Riverboat Company boat called the Henry Longfellow, which cemented her notion that “for messing about in boats, there are few places that rival Boston.”
If you’ve had enough of the spectators crowding the river, head harborside to the New England Aquarium. Idler also went there, and declares it “a stunner, all giddy angles, soaring open spaces, arching bridges, and a huge central fish tank, dramatically lit and viewed from surrounding spiraling ramps.” After you make your way through the exhibits, take a cue from longwayfromhome and end your visit on one of the aquarium’s whale-watching boats. “When you see your first whale,” the Boston student says, “it really grabs you. There are things THIS BIG living in the ocean, right under our nose?” This enthusiasm prevails despite the fact that he lost his hat to the ocean.
There are two more boating options IgoUgo members highly recommend, and both require a sense of adventure. To board the first, Old Ironsides, you can’t scare easily: as gatorgirl1977 says, “for a ship this old, it is hard to believe it not only still keeps water out, but continues to actively sail around Boston.” And to take a ride with Boston Duck Tours, according to leah_chandra, “you have to be willing to quack.” We didn’t say it would be easy—but it will be worth it.