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Boston Recs

I am going to Boston in about two weeks. Does anyone have any tips on where to eat and what to do? I am willing to try anything. TIA.

Re: Boston Recs

  • Walk the Freedom Trail, have desserts at Mike's Pastry, have a lobster roll at James Hook, visit the New England Aquarium, take a guided boat tour of Boston Harbor
  • Sam Adams Brewery, North End, Freedom Trail, walk near the Harvard campus, visit Boston Common. You're a bit too early for Fenway but we loved seeing a game there.

    Fairly touristy but we loved our burger at Mr Bartleys near Harvard, the chowder at Union Oyster House and our fair share of meals in the North End, including pizza at Regina Pizzeria.

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  • Here is my standard list of suggested things to do in Boston:

    Duck Tour -  Fun tour that provides a good overview of the city and its history via an amphibious vehicle.  Book tix in advance via the web site

    Freedom Trail - This walking tour will take you through most of the historic sites of Boston.  You can do a guided tour or I've heard there's a downloadable iPod tour so you can do a self-guided thing.

    Public Gardens/Boston Common ? Not such a great visit in the winter, but otherwise a nice public space to walk through.  There's a Make Way for Ducklings bronze statue here that the kiddies might like if you have them.  The Swan Boats are also a personal favorite, though not a must do.

    Beacon Hill/Charles St. ?
    Quintessential old New England neighborhood with great architecture and quaint little boutiques to shop in.  Just a few minutes walk from the Common.

    Newbury Street (shopping) ? Just across the street from the Commons.  Great for people watching and grabbing a bite to eat too.
    SOWA Open Market ? Outdoor artisan market that runs on weekends in the summer and fall.  Check the website for dates.

    Sam Adams or Harpoon Brewery tours ? self-explanatory

    Faneuil Hall ? Historic area now full of shopping and restaurants.  Mostly chain places, but can be fun to walk around, see street performers, etc.

    Fenway Park ? game tickets are hard to come by but you can sign up to take a tour of the stadium.

    Museum of Science
    - great exhibits and a domed IMAX theater that's amazing and shows lots of great documentary-style films.

    JFK Museum

    Children?s Museum ?
    Really fun for the kids

    Art museums ? We have top-notch art museums: Museum of Fine Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art

    Whale Watch Tour ? You can leave from the Aquarium downtown or, if you have a car or are willing to take the commuter rail, go up to the one in Gloucester and check out the neighboring Rockport area (very quaint seaside town). 

    Harvard ? Campus is pretty and Harvard Square is fun to walk around

    A little farther out:

    Salem Witch Museum ? a history of the infamous Salem witch trials.  I haven't been there since I was a kid though and I think it might be kind of cheesy now.

    House of Seven Gables ? also located in Salem

    Walden Pond ? site where Thoreau penned Walden.  You can see the site of his cabin as well as a recreation of the building. 

    As for many options. 

    No. 9 Park (Boston) ? you must have the prune-stuffed gnocchi appetizer if you go.  Trust me.
    O Ya Sushi (Boston) ? The omakase is very good, but very pricey.
    Salts (Cambridge) ? the honey lavender whole-roasted duck for two is amazing.  Reserve it in advance; they only offer a few each night.
    Blue Ginger (Wellesley) ? Ming Tsai?s Asian fusion restaurant.  The butterfish is my favorite dish.
    Mooo (Boston) ? steakhouse

    Atlantic Fish Company (Boston) ? As the name implies, seafood is their specialty.  There?s no real need to go to a seafood-specific restaurant in Boston as most good restaurants in the area will have excellent seafood options (see Blue Ginger?s butterfish above), but AFC really does a great job.  I?ve tried cod, swordfish, haddock, and sea bass there and all were excellent. 
    Anything in the North End (Boston) ? It?s our Little Italy, located right near Faneuil Hall.  I don?t have a favorite restaurant here, but for the most part you can?t go wrong with anything in the area.  Just wander around until something strikes your fancy.  Then go to one of the pastry shops afterwards (Mike?s is the most famous especially for their cannolis, but others are equally good, like Modern).

    Legal Seafood (various locations) ? Get a bowl of clam chowder here.  The rest of the food is pretty forgettable though.
    Stella (South End, Boston) ? I?ve only had brunch there but I know others like it for dinner.  The brunch offers large portions at reasonable prices.  You can also walk over to the SOWA Open Market from there (see the things to do list) and those things together can make for a great summer/fall afternoon. 
    Geoffrey?s Caf? (Boston) ? I?ve never been but a lot of people have raved about their donut muffins....
    Cafe Luna (Cambridge) ? also has an amazing brunch menu.  It?s small though so call ahead.
    East Ocean City (Chinatown, Boston) ? great place for dinner. Everything on its menu is good, but they?re well-known for their seafood and their salted steamed chicken.
    Hei La Moon (Chinatown, Boston) ? good Hong Kong-style dim sum restaurant.

    Dumpling Caf? (Chinatown, Boston) ? the best xiao long bao (soup dumplings) I?ve had in town.  I dare say I like them better than the ones I?ve had in Taiwan.
    Hong Kong Eatery (Chinatown, Boston) ? wonderful Chinese comfort food (their wonton noodle soup is awesome). 
    Ho Yuen and Hing Shing (Chinatown, Boston) ? the best bakeries in Chinatown.  For egg tarts, though, go to Crown Royal?sooooo good. 

    Not worth it
    These are my personal opinions, of course, but three popular recommendations that I wouldn?t waste my time on are Top of the Hub (horrible service) and Fugakyu and Oishii (average sushi at elevated prices). 

    I'd rather be rock climbing or playing volleyball
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  • Thank you so much for all the recs!
  • So Rock-n-Volvo kind of stole my thunder, but I'll point out some of my favorite activities in Boston. For where to eat, you have to hit up the North End and visit the original Pizzeria Regina. Then get a cannoli at Mike's Pastry. In terms of activities, Boston's history is second-to-none, so the Freedom Trail is kind of a must. If that's not your thing, a walk through Boston Commons and the Public Garden should do the trick!

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