Hotel at a Glance: Ames Boston Hotel
The Ames Boston Hotel—widely considered Boston’s first skyscraper—held the record for the city’s tallest building from 1893 until 1915. Though it has been eclipsed by larger structures in recent years, it’s still an impressive building. From your vantage point high above the city in a guest room, you can gaze out upon some of the most historic buildings in the country, including Faneuil Hall and the Old State House, where revolutionaries stood upon a balcony in 1776 and read the Declaration of Independence to the crowds gathered below.
- Notable award: The Ames was named Boston’s best hotel by Boston magazine in 2014.
- Historical details: Look for the hotel’s arched Romanesque windows and original fireplaces, details that speak to the building’s 19th-century roots.
- In-room amenities include bathrobes, an iPod docking station, a 42-inch flat-screen TV, high-speed WiFi, and a rain showerhead.
- King St. Tavern: Enjoy American cuisine as local musicians perform in the onsite restaurant.
- Squeeze in a workout at the 24-hour fitness center.
- Go for a stroll through the North End—Boston’s Little Italy—just a few blocks away. You’ll find charming cobblestoned streets lined with pastry shops and trattorias.
Downtown Boston: Revolution-Era Landmarks and Modern Skyscrapers
Downtown Boston is home to one of the country’s wackiest city layouts. Its colonial-village lanes converge, split, and take hairpin turns, creating a maze of cobblestone that, though frustrating for drivers, makes for a fun walking experience. If you’re visiting for the first time, the best way to navigate the area is to follow the 2.5-mile-long Freedom Trail, which takes you past 16 historical landmarks, including Paul Revere’s home, Old North Church (of “One if by land, two if by sea” fame), and Faneuil Hall.
Since the area is also the city’s financial district, centuries-old fixtures share sidewalk space with modern 40-story office towers. You’ll find suit-clad professionals grabbing lunch on Washington Street, which is lined with street vendors and flower shops. For a fancier dining experience—and some of Boston’s best shopping—head a mile west to Beacon Hill, home to gas lamps, brick sidewalks, and antique shops.
Downtown is also where you’ll find several of the city’s quirkier neighborhoods, such as the Leather District and Chinatown. The former, with its rustic warehouses, is the closest example of what the business center looked like in the 1800s. The latter boasts one of the city’s densest concentrations of restaurants.