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Should we go to Boston?

Old Apr 14th, 2008, 12:48 AM
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Should we go to Boston?

we are coming to New York for Christmas this year from NZ. We have two boys age 10 and 12yrs. We have booked into the rand Hyatt on 42nd St from 25th till 29th ( the room rate goes crazy), then we thought of moving to the Hyatt at New Jersey and doing all the downtown activities from there, using the PATH train. The other option we thought of was to get the train to Boston. Would that be a good idea? If so, how much time would you allow in Boston. The Grand Hyatt gets cheap again on the 1st of Jan. We will get the train to DC on the 2nd. Any feedback appreicated. Regards Kate
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 01:04 AM
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As a Boston resident, I vote for Boston. New Year's Eve in Boston is great - they were the first city to do a big First Night celebration with fireworks, arts activities for all ages, street performers. Also lots of ice sculptures - remember, it is winter here and can be quite cold.

"The room rate goes crazy" is going to be the case in Boston as well, however. You will find that in downtown of almost any city over New Year's Eve. Also, there will be availability and minimum stay issues. You could then fly to DC from Boston, if budget and timing allowed.

Either option, have a good time.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 01:44 AM
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Dear Gail, yes the 31st in Boston is expensive, however the 29tha nd 30th are cheap at the Hyatt in Boston. We are Boston Legal fans and my children love The Suite Life of Zac and Cody, unfortunately that is all we know about Boston. What would we do if we came, would one night be enough? cheers Kate
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 03:22 AM
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If you took train from NYC - about 5 hours - and then stayed just one night before taking train next day to NYC that leaves you really only 24 hours here. I might go for the 29th and 30th, but make sure you have reservations for train back to NYC since I imagine lots of people will be going to NYC for New Years - and it might still be a crowded trip.

Standard tourist things are to walk Freedom Trail (several mile long marked route thru streets of Boston with various historic stops, both inside and outside, related to US Revolutionary War. Eat Italian food in North End. With kids that age, go to Aquarium, Museum of Science. Go to top of Prudential Center and look at view. Look at lights on Boston Common. Shop/walk around in Quincy Market area, rent skates and skate on Frog Pond on Boston Common. If you are lucky there will be snow and it will be beautiful. Boston is a walkable - by distance - city. As long as you dress really warm in winter, it can be great fun.

No easy decision about whether or not it is worth the trip. I am not a big city fan and prefer smaller cities like Boston - but just as many people would say to spend the entire time in NYC.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 03:37 AM
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Take the Acela Express train from NYC to Boston, it's much faster - about 3 1/2 hours.

I'd vote for going to Boston too! It is totally different from New York City - wonderful walking and historic downtown area. The Aquarium is great, science museum is too. Plus there's lots of really good restaurants downtown, especially with seafood.

We stay at the Radisson in Boston - rates are usually very good and it is near most everything you will want to do (or the subway stations).
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 05:23 AM
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Another Boston resident voting for Boston -

would you consider staying in Boston and leaving for NYC from here?

If not, I still vote for a visit - it looks like you would come on the 30th early in the day , have the rest of that day and night, and all day the 31st and here for New Years Eve and return to NYC on the morning of the 1st - is that correct? Giving you one more 1/2 day and night in NYC before heading to DC?

If so, I would definitely bring the children to Boston Common/Boston Public Garden, the State House, etc study the freedom trail online and see if it would interest you to walk all of it or parts of it

thefreedomtrail.org

if you walk it on your own (Maps available at tourist kiosk on Boston Common) you can stop where you want, read a bit about and move on, in between you will be near plenty of places to stop of snack, meal or hot chocolate, etc -

At that age I would like to see them get an overview of the history of Boston -

worth a walk to Copley Place/ Boston Public Library (free and magnificent inside, with Sargent murals and wonderful exhibits - check out their link too )

www.bpl.org

plus, it will be all about getting ready for First NIghts (as Gail mentioned above) - the ice sculptures around Copley Place, events getting off the ground - many of them great deals for the price of a button -

www.firstnightorg

If you are thinking of only staying one night and then staying out side the Hyatt in New Jersey for New Years that seems like a lot of moving around to me -

I'd rather see you come to Boston - and stay just outside of Boston, but stay two nights and enjoy some of the above -

there are many threads on here about hotels/motels in Braintree, Quincy, etc - that have shuttles to the T, public transport in and out of Boston in under 30 minutes and you could easily spend all day and early evening in town -

I would think of one of those options if it means you can have two nights here
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 05:43 AM
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Another vote for Boston, especially if you can attend First Night. It starts early on December 31st, and it great fun for families. More nights are better, but even just this would be lots of fun.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 06:29 AM
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Not only is First Night fun but also you could take in the Boston Pops Holiday concert, the Boston Ballet's Nutcracker and usually there is a Christmas event at the Wang theater - lately its been either White Christmas or the Radio City Christmas. You can go skating on the Frog Pond in the Common, the Christmas decorations on Beacon Hill are lovely.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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Another vote for Boston from this born and bred Bostonian who now lives near NYC! The two cities are completely different, and it's worth a taste of each, even if only for a short time.

I don't know your budget, but my absolute favorite smallish hotel in Boston is THE LENOX on Boylston Street. I could be wrong, but I think they have a special New Year's Eve package, which also includes entry to their roof overlooking the city.

Anyway, I love almost everything about this hotel, and it has an amazing location- only a few blocks from The Prudential Center Malls, less than that to the shopping etc. on Newbury Street.

If this is way too much money ( and it could be, esp. at New Year's) I'd suggest the Copley Square Marriott, a lovely hotel that is connected to The Prudential Center Mall.

Oh, and by the way definitely take The Acela from Penn Station in NYC if you go! And take The Acela again from Boston to Washington. No need to get stuck on the regional trains.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 09:34 AM
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Sorry, I have lived in Boston and I absolutely loved it. But I've also lived in Philadelphia and if you want to stay in a city that has a similar feel to Boston (historic sights, very walkable, lots of events during holiday season - including New Year's Eve fireworks and a huge parade on New Year's Day), I'd pick Philadelphia.

Besides having lower hotel rates than Boston, Philadelphia is also a shorter/cheaper train ride from NYC (you can take Amtrak or the local NJ Transit train from Penn Station to Trenton, then easily switch trains to take the regional SEPTA right into downtown Philadelphia).

Since it is south of New York City, it is already on the way to Washington, DC where you intend to head anyways on January 2nd.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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Given your time constraints, if you want a break from NYC, I'd choose Philadelphia over Boston, too. It's only a 2 hour train ride and is somewhat similar to Boston in terms of early US history and touristy things to do (and will be at least 10 degrees F warmer than Boston.) Speaking of which, since you are from NZ, you and your boys might find the historical aspects of colonial America uninteresting. You can find info about Philadelphia at www.gophila.com.

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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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I have to jump in here. No intent on being rude, but IMHO, there's no comparison between Boston and Philadelphia. Sorry!
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 11:55 AM
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Okay, I have lived in both Boston and Philadelphia, and to me, Boston obviously gets the HANDS DOWN.

BUT, I do agree that Philadelphia is a lot closer to NYC. And, Philadephia will be quite a bit warmer than Boston - esp the fact that you're visiting in December.

It's fun to walk around in Boston and see the historic sights, BUT it's not so fun when it's 20F outside!

Even though it's still cold in Philadelphia, it usually is a good 10F warmer than Boston.

I have spent many winters in Boston without a car, so I know how it's like being outside all day freezing.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 12:36 PM
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I think a side trip to Boston would be really fun. I'd nix the idea of staying in NJ.

The only thing is, how much are the train tickets? If you're doing the side trip to save money because of the hotel rates in NYC I'm wondering if you will actually save anything once you have bought 4 train tickets?
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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wliwl: that is the best point yet - ( a duh moment here)

even if they take a bus - times 4 people probably equals the difference in hotel rate unless they take one of the $12 buses which I absolutely do not recommend....
I think it is at least $ 69 each for Greyhound (?) not sure - and at least 80 I think for the regional train - the Acela is at least $ 200 round trip each person.....


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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 02:16 PM
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You're absolutely correct, Weedles. The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, The Philadelphia Art Museum, The Rodin Museum, some of America's top-rated restaurants, a downtown area laid out in a logical manner so a tourist can easily figure out how to get around...

That stuff just doesn't hold a candle to going to the Prudential Center Mall in Boston...who doesn't want to come all the way from New Zealand so they can shop at J. Crew and Baby Gap? I must have been smokin' crack again...

Having also been born and raised in Boston, there is no doubt I love its many charms (and I know there is a hell of a lot to do there besides visiting a mall full of chain stores), but if someone is heading south from NYC to DC, it just makes more sense to go to Pennsylvania than it does to backtrack up to New England...IMHO
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 02:27 PM
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Hyatt Boston is in the guetto.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 03:01 PM
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I have boys 10 and 12 who have been to all of the places discussed. They suggest Boston if you have a couple of days to spend there. If you have just one extra night, go down to Philadelphia. You are spending time in NYC already. We wouldn't move to New Jersey to see more of NYC. Go see another city. Have fun!
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 03:10 PM
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If you are going to Washington, DC January 2nd, it would make more sense to head for Philadelphia, rather than travel 4 hours north to Boston - and you never know about weather conditions and travel.

For me, spending three nights in New Jersey and commuting to the city, with two kids, would just not be pleasant, or necessary, after spending five days in NYC. We often go to NYC over the holidays, and three or four days is plenty, even when the weather is milder.

My recommendation would be to spend three nights in Philadelphia and head to DC on January 1st. You may as well use that as a travel day, since much will be closed anyway.

I agree that Boston weather can be brutal that time of year, but not necessarily any worse than New York or Philadelphia.

Hotwire is showing a 4* (2 adults/2 kids) those dates for $163/night which, according to Betterbidding.com is probably the Hyatt Regency Penns Landing in Philadelphia, but not a sure thing. (We stayed there with Hotwire and loved the place.)

On the other hand, if train fares don't offset the difference in the Grand Hyatt rates over New Year's and you don't mind the extra travel, and dress so as to be comfortable while out and about, Boston "First Night" activities are great fun.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 03:14 PM
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Well, I'm a New Yorker but I love Boston too. Just be prepared for winter weather there (it can be VERY cold and snowy - more so than NYC).

And since it's the cradle of American Freedom there are a host of things to do. Going out to see Lexington and Concord (where the first battles of the Revolution were fought) is better in summer - but still can be very intersting as long as you have some perspective. Definitely walk the Freedom Trail, see the house where Paul Revere had his shop (before AND after his famous "The British are Coming" ride to rouse the local militia) and do have a look at the aquarium if you have a chance

But Boston is definitely better if you have some of the historical background (Boston Tea Party, Battle of Bunker Hill etc) before you arrive.
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