Baseball games, lobster rolls, and historic museums await.
New England’s largest city is known for its top-notch colleges, championship sports teams, and world-renowned lobster rolls (definitely pronounced “lob-stah”). But aside from its movie-famous accent, it’s also known for being one of the country’s most walkable cities.
Although Boston is made up of 23 neighborhoods, you’ll likely only visit a handful, including Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Fenway-Kenmore, Chinatown, Downtown, the West End, the North End, and the Seaport District. But in a city as busy and history-packed as Boston, coming in with a “to-do” list is a smart idea. So, we’ve rounded up all the best spots to check out on foot, by hopping on the T (the local subway system), or a Duck Tour.
From catching a game at Fenway to slurping your weight in Wellfleet oysters, we’ve got you covered for where to stay, what to eat, and what to do on your next trip to Beantown.
Where to stay
Last year, Boston was abuzz with the opening of the Raffles Boston, the ultra-luxe brand’s North American flagship hotel. Located in the Back Bay, this 147-room stunner has classic New England design touches (think wainscotting, wood flooring, and warm tones) mixed with glam all-marble bathrooms and black soaking tubs. Its signature restaurant, Amar, is a delicious ode to Massachusetts’ Portuguese community—the largest in the country. Must-orders include the Jamon Iberico (aged five years) with housemade sourdough, the Arroz de Mariscos with local seafood, and the chef’s take on a pasteis de nata.
Alternatively, The Newbury Boston has a long history. We’re not talking Tea Party long, but the hotel’s doors opened in 1927 as the country’s first Ritz-Carlton—its One Newbury Street address is as high-society as it gets in Boston. Besides its swanky location, the hotel is a fantastic jumping-off point for exploration. And when your feet get tired, The Newbury’s plush 313 rooms and suites have been revamped with elegant cream colors mixed with brass finishings and velvety soft furniture.
Hot tip: If you book one of the hotel’s 42 Fireplace Suites, a dedicated “fireplace butler” will bring you a menu of wood varietals and light it for you.
Where to eat
Bostonians are proud of the city's signature dishes, from clam chowder and lobster rolls to baked beans and cream pies. For one of the city’s best lobster rolls, book a table at Row34. Serving both Connecticut-style (warm and covered in butter) and Maine-style (cold and tossed in mayo), you can’t go wrong with either. Also notable: Row34’s raw bar includes a dozen different types of oysters from the region.
Mare Oyster Bar is another place these bivalves go to die, but its North End location means the pasta is also a must. Try the tagliatelli served with lobster and shaved black truffles, or the crowd-pleasing cacio e pepe prepared tableside. Just down the block, Carmelina’s is another North End stalwart serving quirky Sicilian comfort food for over a decade. Go for the Crazy Alfredo made with sausage, chicken, soppressata, and sweet roasted red peppers in a spicy Alfredo sauce, and the Sunday Macaroni made with homemade penne, meatballs, and sausage. As with any restaurant in the North End, a reservation is required.
Krasi literally means “wine” in Greek, and Krasi Meze + Wine has plenty of it. This Back Bay restaurant serves one of the largest selections of Greek wine in the country and pairs it with a balanced menu of Greek favorites, including bread baked on-site, cheeses, charcuterie, and moussaka.
Rounding out the list with its swanky and sexy vibes, Yvonne’s is hidden behind a fake hair salon. Its speakeasy atmosphere carries through a fantastically fun cocktail menu, including the Panic! At The Pisco with honeydew melon and the Circus Charlie with brownie-infused bourbon. The food menu is a smorgasbord of shared bites from all over the world, but the pièce de résistance is the flaming baked Alaska.
Things to do
Arguably the country’s most historic city, start your day with a walk along the Freedom Trail. Beginning at Boston Common, follow the red bricks for two-and-a-half miles as the story of the American Revolution unfolds with each step. There are 16 historic places to stop along the trail, including the Old North Church, the Boston Public Market, the Paul Revere House, and a finish at the Bunker Hill Monument.
Appearing in endless Boston-set movies, Boston Common and the Public Garden are as iconic as the city’s Citgo sign. Built in 1634, the Common was America’s first public park, and it’s still well worth a stroll with a cup of Dunkin or an ice skating session at the Frog Pond. At the Public Garden, board one of the centuries-old swan boats and pose for a picture with the beloved Make Way for Ducklings sculpture. During the summertime, it’s hard to tell which picnic-perfect green space is better for a meal al fresco.
Known for having some of the country’s most fervent sports fans, we recommend not wearing a Yankees hat anywhere near Fenway Park. But if you’re in the city during a game, buy a ticket to the country’s oldest ballpark and try a Fenway Frank. The hometown energy will win over even the most lackluster of baseball fans.
Boston’s university culture means there’s no shortage of museums. Children will love the interactive art and science exhibits at the Boston Children's Museum, the second-oldest in the country. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum houses artworks from around the world in an architecturally stunning Venetian palace-inspired building. There’s a chance you’ve heard of it: The museum’s history includes the infamous 1990 robbery of 13 paintings, the highest-value museum robbery ever.
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