Boston is loaded with tourist destinations and locals have thumbed their noses at many of them. But perhaps skeptics should shed the stigmas and immerse themselves in some of our city’s most defining attractions. Here are nine “tourist traps’’ we think Bostonians should revisit (Sorry, Cheers is not on the list).
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
The ultimate in tourist destinations in Boston, Faneuil Hall Marketplace hosts more visitors annually than the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. It’s the bustling city epicenter, one that hosts a wide range of culinary scents, and the ultimate in people-watching. Plus, what’s wrong with a scorpion bowl and $1 chicken on a sticks at Hong Kong?
Union Oyster House
The Union Oyster House has a long and storied history. The Oyster House, open since 1826, is the oldest restaurant with continuous service in the country. While Bostonians may avoid going there, the establishment shucks some of the best oysters in the city without the pretention of feeling the need to sell its history.
Fort Point Area
If you have children, you know to visit the Boston Children’s Museum early in the morning, otherwise you’ll be pulling your hair out with a few choice words about the tourists who invade the Fort Point area. If you don’t have kids, wait until the crowds dissipate and visit the surrounding area, which boasts great establishments like Flour, Drink, and Menton. Or, take a stroll down to the vibrant Seaport scene.
The North End
It’s definitely one of the most-visited neighborhoods during the summer months, as thousands aim to sample the classic Italian dishes that have made the North End famous. But there is also a romantic aspect to the neighborhood on hot summer months that can’t be ignored, featuring an historic culture that makes it one of Boston’s most special places…
Mike’s vs. Modern
…which brings us to one of the most touristy debates we can have: Mike’s Pastry or Modern Pastry? Mike’s is more for picking up and taking back to your hotel or home, while Modern is more for relaxing with a cannoli and a hot cup of espresso. Each has its perks.
The Freedom Trail
Take a walk along the Freedom Trail, and make it a point to dip into the side streets along the way. You’ll avoid the crowds, and maybe even come away with a new experience in the downtown area, especially if you think the trail is an overrated stroll past pushcarts. Forgo the T-shirt and visit that coffee shop that sees little tourist traffic instead, and old experience turns into a new one.
They’re swan boats. In a public garden. What’s really not to love?
New England Aquarium
Another attraction that locals know when to visit (early, early, early) before the crowds is the New England Aquarium. The has been completely restored in the wake of a $17.3 million redesign of the original, central tank, which has helped define the experience for generations of visitors. Just make sure you visit before the number of tourists outnumber the fish.
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
C’mon, people! It’s part of our history. Relive the Boston Tea Party experience from December 16, 1773 on this floating museum with interactive exhibits and authentically restored tea ships. And then finish with a spot of tea at Abigail’s Tea Room.
Cheers/Bull and Finch Pub
Top picks for things to do, free from the Globe.
Get the Globe's free newsletter, The Weekender, delivered to your inbox every week.