by Andrea Doyle | October 28, 2011
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It is a rare city that treasures its past, present, and future. Boston, historically important yet refreshingly vibrant, lures groups by doing just that. It’s only a few steps from the colonial sites of the Freedom Trail to the technological wonders on display at the Computer History Museum. Trinity Church, an 1877 masterpiece, is proudly reflected in the sheer glass walls of the 62-story John Hancock Tower, a landmark of the 1970s. 

While proud to be the cradle of American independence, steeped in more than 350 years of momentous events, Boston also scores as a young, upbeat metropolis strongly influenced by the enormous number of undergraduate and graduate students, artists, and academics who have graduated and stayed on. 
During their free time, a good way for attendees to start exploring Boston is by walking along the three-mile Freedom Trail, which encompasses 16 of the most treasured sites in American history. 

For those less inclined to hoof it, one of the newest ways to traverse the city is by grabbing one of 600 bicycles that are part of Alta Bicycle Share. The system, which includes 61 solar-powered stations across the city, launched in September.

A Group Favorite
For the third consecutive year, Boston/Cambridge has been named the top destination in the United States for international association meetings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). In 2010, the cities together hosted a record 43 international meetings, up from 36 the previous year.  

Sue Fern, president of Association Services, a division of Event Pro-SSSS, an association services provider, recently helped plan a meeting in Boston for a public policy group of 1,000 and has nothing but accolades for the city. Attendees, predominately from the Northeast, stayed at the Hyatt Regency Boston. “The city’s accessibility, easy  transfers, and the abundance of restaurants around the hotel were convenient,” says Fern. “We had people hopping on trains and planes at all times. It was an easy meeting to organize, as the CVB was extremely helpful.”  

Groups like the fact that Boston is a dynamic city; museums are constantly expanding, restaurants are opening, and hotels are renovating. New attractions include the Northern Avenue Liberty Wharf development that opened in the Seaport district, within walking distance of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The area offers great views and four new restaurants. 

On January 19, 2012, the new $135 million, Renzo Piano-designed wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a world-famous repository of art from around the globe, will open. There are several sites within the new wing available for special events.

The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is undergoing a $28 million expansion, and when the attraction reopens in June 2012, it will have doubled in size. Visitors will be able to explore three tall ships and view artifacts such as the Robinson Tea Crate, one of two surviving crates from the original Boston Tea Party held on December 16, 1773. The new museum will be able to accommodate groups of 500 or so for special events.