Allston's role in Boston's future as a tourist destination

Boston has been eclipsed as a top tourist destination - The Boston Globe

Boston as a tourist attraction is more work than fun - The Boston Globe

The Globe has written twice in the last week about the Conde Nast Traveler list of Top US Cities that places Boston 10th, behind Savannah GA, Charleston SC, Carmel CA, and others. The general gist is that traipsing around Boston to look at graveyards and old churches has been being eclipsed by other cities for a variety of reasons.

What hasn't been mentioned is that, if done right, Allston has great potential to be a real attraction to local residents and tourists from elsewhere. Harvard's own Allston Life Task Force suggested that Harvard could build a World Museums Complex "that would combine natural history, archaeology, ethnography, and the visual arts". That cluster of new museums in Allston would immediately create a world-class attraction. That Task Force also proposed performing and visual arts facilities that would, in their words, "position Harvard as a national arts leader, bringing in leading performance organizations for performances."

The Sustainability Museum, that many people have suggested could be a great addition to the Science Complex, would be a unique and meaningful place that could draw people to learn about the sustainable engineering of the Science Complex and other related scientific issues.

Developing the under-utilized properties that Harvard owns throughout North Allston and North Brighton, in a way consistent with the North Allston Strategic Framework's vision for a new shopping district would be a beautiful counterpart to these nearby museums, theaters, arts centers, and more. Harnessing the beauty of the Charles River to build on existing resources like the Canoe and Kayak rental facility and Publick Theater adds another dimension. Harvard Sq is of course a short walk away, and other activities like watching a football game at Harvard Stadium are right here too.

The foundation is already here - now vision, creativity, and willpower are needed to take the next step.

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