Travel Tips for Short Visit to Boston in November
I am planning a 4 day stay in Mid November - I am traveling by myself, no car, and staying in Brookline. How should I dress for the weather, and will I be able to walk the Freedom Trail? Any other advice you have for a first time visitor?
Susan's Reply: November is a wonderful time to visit Boston. The air is usually crisp and comfortable for walking around, tree foliage still has great color (at least during the first half of the month), and lots of things are going on.
As for how to dress, plan on layers. November is one of those tricky months where the daytime temperature can range from the 40s into the 70s. Today (Nov 4) was a perfect example of an extreme - the morning started off cloudy and fairly warm so just a sweater was fine - but by mid-afternoon, a cold rain and driving wind soaked everyone who was out, except for a few smart people (not me) who were wearing fleece or quilted jackets (like you'd get at LL Bean or REI) and rubber boots. For packing, bring things that will allow you to dress in layers - a sweater or 2, a medium weight jacket, and a scarf and gloves - and most important, comfortable walking shoes. Also, check out Boston weather in November for more specific examples, plus some photos taken this time of the year, including a few on the Freedom Trail.
And yes, November is a wonderful time of the year to explore the Freedom Trail. Since this is your first visit to Boston and I'm guessing that you'll be getting into the city on the T's ( Boston's subway) Green Line since you're staying in Brookline (btw, tons of interesting shops, restaurants, etc. there), a great first stop is the Park St Station, which is at the edge of Boston Common, the first Freedom Trail site, and an excellent point to start. Or, while you're in the Common, walk over to the Public Garden, just across Charles Street. If you want to explore the antique shops on Beacon Hill, walk down Charles Street and across Beacon Street, and you're there. Or, for Newbury St. shopping, just walk across the Public Garden to the Taj Hotel, which is on the corner of Newbury.
Since you're here for 4 days, you might walk along the Downtown part of the Freedom Trail on one day, and the North End section on another. Unless you're fascinated by historic ships, the Charlestown stretch is probably the least interesting if you want to skip a section, although Charlestown itself is quite interesting - great architecture in the area around Bunker Hill, and site of the Warren Tavern, one of Boston's oldest historic taverns.
Two other interesting walks are the Rose Kennedy Greenway, which runs from the North End to Chinatown (great spot for lunch, dinner, or weekend dim sum), and HarborWalk, which skirts along the edge of the water.
Boston is very compact, so if you're an enthusiastic walker, you can easily walk from the Waterfront to Fenway Park or the Museum of Fine Arts, also in Fenway.
I do have one tip, since I'm guessing you'll be using the T's Green Line to get back and forth from Brookline: just be aware that the Green Line has 4 branch lines, B, C, D, and E (no A), and if you're boarding at a station with multiple branches, such as Park, make sure you get on the right train. It can be confusing!
Have a wonderful time, and enjoy the Freedom Trail!