The third Monday in April is Boston at its best. Itâ€™s Patriots’ Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine (part of the Bay State until 1820) that commemorates the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War. In Boston, Patriotsâ€™ Day caps off a three-day celebration of some of the cityâ€™s most iconic destinations and events: the Boston Marathon, Red Sox baseball at Fenway Park, the battle reenactment at Minute Man National Historical Park, and Swan Boat rides in the Boston Public Garden. This year, the city will also recognize the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. Among the expanded field of 36,000 expected to participate this year will be about 4,500 runners who were unable to complete the 2013 marathon due to the terrorist attack.
When to Go: Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles, April 18-21; Big Apple Circus, Boston City Hall Plaza, through May 11; Boston Marathon and Lexington battle reenactment, April 21
How to Get Around: Most Patriotsâ€™ Day weekend-specific activities are within walking distance of downtown hotels or are easily accessible via MBTA public transportation (buses, commuter trains, and the subway, called â€œthe Tâ€). Itâ€™s a 1.5-mile walk from the nearest commuter train depot to Minute Man National Historical Park.
Where to Stay: The Boston Strangler and Sacco and Venzeti were among the infamous â€œguestsâ€ who spent time inside the granite walls of the current Liberty Hotel, located at the foot of Bostonâ€™s tony Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Where to Eat: Download the Street Food App to find real-time locations for locally sourced Boston food trucks like Mei Mei Street Kitchen and Roxyâ€™s Gourmet Grilled Cheese. For all-day brunch, The Friendly Toast near MIT is worth the wait, especially for Omar’s Homefries, a mound of red potatoes, broccoli, onions, Parmesan, corn, and artichoke hearts splashed with soy sauce. In Harvard Square, chill at the hippie-inspired Beat HÃ´tel, a casual brasserie and bar serving up internationally inspired fare (try the quinoa Inca Bowl) and live world music.
What to Buy: No game ticket is required to shop for Red Sox gear and other Boston sports memorabilia at the massive Yawkey Way Store across from Fenway Park. On Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., head to the SoWa arts and media district in Bostonâ€™s South End to find one-of-a-kind vintage clothing and collectibles, artisan jewelry and crafts, and, beginning in May, seasonally fresh produce at the SoWa Vintage Market.
What to Read Before You Go: Acclaimed crime writer Robert B. Parkerâ€™s popular Spenser book series is set in and around Boston. Start with two early titles in the series: The Godwulf Manuscript (1974) and Looking for Rachel Wallace (1980).
Fun Fact: Boston College sits near the top of the Boston Marathonâ€™s infamous Heartbreak Hillâ€”the courseâ€™s final uphill stretch between miles 20 and 21.5. The enthusiasm of the college crowd and the concerted effort of the spectators to will struggling runners up the slope make this one of the most spirited places to watch the race.
Staff Tip: Hit up Mike’s Pastry in the heart of Little Italy for an endless selection of pastries, cookies, and cake. The line is worth it. The employees move fast, so be ready with your order when you get to the glass.