Best of Boston

Having just returned from Boston (and regaled you with how much I adore it), I wanted to share with you some of my favorite things in the city.  There is so much to do, see, eat, etc, it’s been tough to narrow it down (and if you ever are looking for specific recommendations, feel free to ask!), but here are my all-time favorites:

TO DO:

-Take a Duck Tour– Even when I lived in Boston, going on a Duck Tour was one of my favorite things to do in the city.  Boston Duck Tours take you on a land and water tour of Boston in amphibious vessels used during WWII.  They give you a gorgeous glimpse of the city, and I learn something new every time.

-Walk through Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden– this is some of the most beautiful space in the city, with beautiful gardens and lush lawns for picnics, quiet strolls, or a lovely ride on the Swan Boats.  There’s also a carousel and the Frog Pond in the Common.  During the summer, kids can wade in the “pond,” which is just a large shallow pool, and during the winter, you can go ice skating on it.  Also, on the Beacon St. and Charles St. corner of the Public Garden is a statue of the ducks from the classic children’s story “Make Way For Ducklings.”  It’s a perfect spot for a photo op (especially with kids), and kind citizens of the city often dress the ducks up for various occasions throughout the year, so you never know quite how the ducks will be decked out.

Walk the Freedom Trail— My husband and I used to walk this 2.5 mile trail through many of Boston’s historical landmarks each Fourth of July.  It’s a fun way to learn about the history of Boston during the Revolutionary period.  And it’s also a great excuse to stop for lunch in the North End, which is Boston’s “Little Italy,” full of amazing Italian restaurants.  And don’t forget to stop for a chocolate chip cannoli at Mike’s Pastry!

-Watch a Red Sox Game at Fenway Park– A beautiful stadium right inside the city, Fenway is a famously great place to watch a baseball game.  Make sure you brush up on the lyrics to “Sweet Caroline,” which the entire stadium sings during the seventh inning stretch.

-Hang out by the Reflecting Pool and Fountain at the Christian Science Museum– This is such a lovely corner of the city, complete with a large reflecting pool, beautiful gardens (in the spring and summer), and an amazing fountain that my kids always love to play in when it’s warm.  This is another great place for a photo op!

-Take a Jog along The Charles River– This is such a lovely place for a walk or jog, with gorgeous views of Cambridge (from the Boston side) and Boston (from the Cambridge side).  You’ll see sailboats on the river, and though it’s right in the city, there’s something very peaceful about a walk or run along this path.

-Drive down Storrow Drive– If you’re not in the mood for a walk or run, I still suggest you take a drive down Storrow Drive, for the same reasons I just mentioned.  It’s got some of the best views of the city and lets you see a lot of Boston’s wonders (the Hatch Shell, the Citgo sign, the universities the city is so well known for).  When I’m visiting the city, I usually request my cab take Storrow Drive to my hotel, so that I can experience these views as soon as I arrive in the city.

TO EAT:

Teatro— This is one of my personal favorite restaurants in Boston.  It has cool atmosphere, with a beautiful lit ceiling, and a fun bar.  The food is contemporary Italian.  The Rigatoni Bolognese is one of my favorite dishes anywhere, and when I lived in Boston I was at Teatro eating the Rigatoni once a week.  It’s that good.  The pizzas and salads (and just about everything else) are great too!

Clio– A more upscale restaurant for special occasions, Clio has delicious food and a lovely atmosphere.

Upstairs on the Square— you have to see this restaurant to believe it.  It has at least three different rooms with wildly different decor (one room has wall-to-wall leopard carpet, while the upstairs is decorated like a pastel jewel box).  The food is fabulous, and it’s an atmosphere to remember.

Sonsie— This may be the best place to people watch in all of Boston.  Located on Newbury Street (the best street to shop- window or otherwise, in Boston), Sonsie has big glass doors that they open during the warm months, so that its diners can see and be seen.  The food is reliably good and the bar is a lively scene.

Monica’s— This is my favorite restaurant in the North End (Boston’s “Little Italy”).  The food is always fabulous, and the specials would routinely knock my socks off.  Their homemade pastas are especially memorable.  Afterwards, stop at Mike’s Pastry for a delicious dessert to go!

Legal Seafoods— Now with locations throughout the country, Legal Seafoods is a New England staple, known for its wonderful seafood (and generous portions. . . Not to mention its swoon-worthy warm dinner rolls, which are worth the trip!).  If you want to get Clam Chowder or Lobster (two Boston specialties), this is a great place to do it!  The Lobster Roll (which is on the lunch menu, but they can almost always make you for dinner if you ask) is my favorite.  By the way, I just found this list of 11 Must-Try Lobster Rolls in Boston, and I wish I’d had a chance to try a few while I was there!  Next time. . . .

TO SHOP:

Lester Harry’s— This is my favorite children’s boutique anywhere.  It’s full of beautiful clothes for special occasions, a wonderful shoe selection, a fabulous array of gifts, and the softest blankets ever.

-Newbury Street– As mentioned above, it’s got pretty much everything you could dream of, from the highest end designers (like Valentino, Burberry, and Chanel) to smaller boutiques (like Lester Harry’s) and lots of great restaurants in between.

Good— a lovely boutique on Charles Street (in Beacon Hill, an historic neighborhood of Boston that feels like a European village) full of fabulous finds, Good has homewares, jewelry, accessories, and lots of amazing gifts.

-Barney’s New York– Well-known for its beautifully curated selection of designer goods, Barney’s New York in the Copley Mall is a gem.  With just enough space for a fabulous shoe and handbag department, beautiful jewels, and the best that Barney’s (and Barney’s Coop) has to offer, the Boston store has been one of  my favorite shopping destinations since it opened.

-The Prudential/Copley Malls– This is really two malls joined together, right in downtown Boston.  Together, they have Barneys, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Barnes & Noble (the best one I’ve ever been in), Club Monaco, J. Crew, The Gap, and tons and tons of other stores.  If it’s a bad weather day, this is a great place to stroll through.  Even the kiosks in this mall are great!

So, there you have it; my definitive guide of things to do in Boston.  If you’re coming with kids, the Children’s Museum and Science Museum are also fabulous.  Oh, and if you like modern art, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is breathtaking. . .  Okay, I’m going to stop before I end up listing every single spot in the city.  If you haven’t yet been, consider this my invitation to you to go.  The best months are May to October (as winter in Boston is long and coooold).  So, get going!!  Now you have plenty of things to do while you’re there.  Enjoy, and please let me know if you go!!!  (I’ll be so jealous.)

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