I am a native Bostonian and attended Northeastern University in Boston for a degree in journalism. I am now a freelance writer/editor/copywriter with more than 20 years experience writing for a variety of local and national publications, including Value Rich, JustLuxe, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Patriot Ledger, Community Newspapers, Mohegan Sun's Legends and Amtrak's Arrive. I am the local restaurant writer for South Shore Living magazine, the Boston blogger for Citybuzz and also contributed to Moon Metro's Boston guidebook published by Avalon Travel Publishing.
Located on Clarendon Street just across the street from the old John Hancock building, Hotel 140 offers one of the city’s best priced accommodations at under $200 a night. The boutique hotel is situated in a recently renovated historic landmark building listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Boston’s Copley Square. The Lyric Stage is also located in this building, so you can simply step outside the hotel and check out a production.
Hotel 140 offers a variety of rooms from king bedrooms to suites with full kitchens. If you are looking to stay in the city for an extended period of time, be sure to ask about the special weekly or monthly rates and rooms. The modest and affordable accommodations offer the best value for the dollar in the city- including deals on theater productions to college visit specials- and you can’t beat the downtown location. There are numerous great places to go for drinks or dinner; the on-site Stuart Street Grill is an ideal spot for grabbing a quick breakfast before heading out to a day on the town.
Just when men thought their wardrobe couldn’t be trendy along comes a hot little boutique shop like Uniform. Located in the South End, this popular men’s store for contemporary clothing, skincare and accessories offers those fashion forward men a sense of style. If you are looking for a new suit, head over here where the staff will size you up and fit you in the most exquisite suit you’ve ever seen. They also carry fun T-shirts, deconstructed blazers, roll sleeve button downs, slim fit chinos, and even reversible shorts.You’ll transition from work to play in no time and look fabulous in the process. Check out the website at uniformboston.com.
Checking out the stars on a clear night in Boston can be a hard find until now. The Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science recently underwent a $9 million facelift where you can now spend an evening out under 9,100 stars in the most technologically advanced digital theater in New England. The surface of the dome is used to project the night sky to offer a virtual experience of flying through the universe. It just doesn’t get any cooler than this. For more information, check out mos.org/planetarium.
The Rattlesnake Bar and Grill has been a staple in Boston’s lifestyle scene for decades. The rooftop deck opens up as soon as the warm weather debuts and Poe’s Kitchen offers some of the funkiest tacos in town ranging from grilled lamb tip and Hudson Valley duck to smoked pork and grilled scallop prepared by Chef Brian Poe. Wash it down with a pineapple sage or berry acai mint margarita for a fun night out on the town. There is also a good selection of tequilas and whiskeys available here. Click here for more information.
Here in Red Sox Nation, one of the most coveted spots (if you can make your way in) during a home game is The Baseball Tavern. The four-story bar/restaurant offers a variety of large screen high def TVs so you can get a great view of the game from any seat in the house. Those in the know sneak up to the roof deck for some al fresco dining or a nice cold beer in the sun while listening to the roar of Fenway Park just steps away. Order up some Fenway franks or a sausage smothered in onions and peppers and you’ll feel right at home. Visit thebaseballtavern.com for more information.
Looking for a place to listen to Latin, contemporary jazz, blues, soul, R & B, cabaret or world music? Then look no further than Scullers Jazz Club where you can find something going on almost every night of the week. Located in the Doubletree Suites near Harvard Square, the lounge has hosted some of the top musicians in the business including Harry Connick, Jr., Chris Botti, Jamie Cullam, David Sanborn, Michael Bublé, Arturo Sandoval and Tony Bennett.
The 200-seat lounge sits high atop the hotel offering spectacular views of the Boston skyline and Charles River. Make your night out on the town even more special by booking a dinner and a show package and staying over after. Check out the schedule at scullersjazz.com.
If you have ever wanted to get up close and personal with some sharks and stingrays, the New England Aquarium has the exhibit just for you.
The largest Shark and Ray touch tank on the East Coast has just debuted at the Aquarium allowing visitors of all ages to get a hands-on experience gently touching cownose rays and bonnethead sharks as they swim around in a mangrove-themed tank. The exhibit also discusses the importance of conserving essential coastal habitats, including mangroves and lagoons. Check out the website for the Aquarium at neaq.org for more information.
Comedians like Brian Regan, Joan Rivers and Bill Maher have all performed on stage at this cozy theater nestled inside the Theater District. The theater itself was built in 1914 by the Shubert brothers who named it after their friend and theatre manager A.L. Wilbur and was the first Boston theatre to draw its inspiration from American Colonial architecture rather than from European sources. Today, you can catch a musical performance from the likes of Gaelic Storm, Yesterday – The Beatles Tribute, Engelbert Humperdinck, Steel Pulse and ABBA – The Concert. Click here for the schedule of events.
Jerry Remy is one of the biggest names in baseball here in Red Sox nation so we knew it would be just a matter of time before he opened his own restaurant just steps from Fenway Park. Located on Boylston Street, the casual restaurant serves up burgers, wings, nachos, salads, pulled pork, barbecue and of course, Jerry’s famous RemDawg hot dog covered in chili, cheddar cheese and onions. Be sure to ask about the “season pass” that allows guaranteed seating, front of the line privileges and exclusive entry. Visit jerryremys.com for more information.
Location, location, location – when you are looking for a stay in Boston, finding a reasonably priced hotel in the center of all the action is what most people have in mind but actually finding that property can be difficult – until now. The Charlesmark Hotel located right on Boylston Street across from the Boston Public Library and the Copley T station, the modern hotel sits prominently at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. With Free wi-fi, a complimentary continental breakfast, a super cool lounge, a Thai dinner menu and rates as low at $119 per night, the Charlesmark Hotel just might be the best value in town.
You’ve made the resolution (again) to get in shape but this year that dream can become a reality by jumping off those extra pounds. Sky Zone Boston recently opened to soaring heights with the first indoor trampoline park in Boston. There are more than 10,000 square feet of trampoline courts that can accommodate up to 95 people. Choose from an open jump, 3D dodgeball or fitness classes. This just may be the best way to ease into the first of the year by getting in shape with low impact exercises. Visit skyzone.com/Boston for more information.
Named after the beloved pub from the 80s sitcom Three’s Company, The Regal Beagle in Coolidge Corner, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary is anything but a vintage throwback. The modern interior with dark red walls and intimate seating with a small rear bar at this award-winning neighborhood restaurant offers comfort food with a twist. From dates stuffed with gorgonzola cheese wrapped in bacon and tacos filled with chicken mole to pistachio brittle crust scallops and a roasted half chicken with bacon gravy, Chef Laura Henry-Zoubir seems to have outdone herself. Visit thebeaglebrookline.com for more information.
The Beehive has set a trendy scene here in Boston combining live music dining and art. Students and even celebrities can be seen at this South End location listening to regional national and international performers from jazz, salsa and blues to African and world music, even burlesque. The Beehive is located underneath the Boston Center for the Art’s Cyclorama. Be sure to hang out after the performance to sample some of acclaimed chef Rebecca Newell’s rustic comfort food infused with American, European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. Check out the menu and schedule at beehiveboston.com.
MET Back Bay, the latest venture from restaurateur Kathy Sidell Trustman, has opened in an historic 1877 brick townhouse on the corner of Newbury and Dartmouth Streets. The menu here pays homage to the former Joseph’s restaurant, which previously occupied the space. Here you can find Trustman’s interpretations of Joseph’s classics, including oyster Rockefeller and clams casino with MET’s baked crab wrap with creamy coconut rice baked in a soy wrapper served in the Living Room, Library, Game Room, Terrace or Townhouse. Prime steak, tuna toro and other tartares are also prepared tableside. Check out the website at metbackbay.com.
From gospel concerts to a music and art tribute, the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center was recently awarded a Preservation Award from the Cambridge Historical Commission for the historic preservation work completed in the theater. The arts center located in Bulfinch Square in East Cambridge focuses on exploring diversity through visual and performing arts. Grab a drink and order up some appetizers at the jazz club or check out a destination dance performance. The center also offers family events, including their annual gospel concert honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visit multiculturalartscenter.org for more information.
What started out as a simple idea by Skip Bennett in 1992 has turned into a worldwide bivalve sensation known as Island Creek Oysters, which sells more than 100,000 a week. Today, most major restaurants in Boston offer the made-in Duxbury oysters but the brand, which has grown to be one of the largest oyster companies in the country, has also become a worldwide sensation. They are now even being flown into the JW Marriott in Hong Kong so it isn’t surprising Bennett and Co. would open an oyster bar at the Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square where you can slurp some of the best oysters in the world. Visit islandcreekoysterbar.com for more information.
Co-owners Brian Piccini and Executive Chef Christopher Coombs (who appeared on The Food Network’s show Chopped) have come together to showcase American Nouveau Cuisine with the opening of Deuxave Restaurant & Bar in the Back Bay. The duo from Dorchester’s dbar fame named Deuxave after its location at Massachusetts and Commonwealth Avenues. Be sure to check out the back bar, which was designed with an array of mirrors by Piccini to reflect the Back Bay skyline through the expansive bow front windows. The French-inspired restaurant serves up everything from Moroccan spiced Colorado lamb saddle to seared Hawaiian ahi tuna. Visit deuxave.com for more information.
Darryl Settles, creator of the BeanTown Jazz Festival, has opened Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen in the former spot of Bob the Chef’s. The neighborhood restaurant focuses on “the intersection of friends, food and music.” The lively spot offers a southern-inspired menu (think fried catfish strips, jambalaya and bourbon pecan pie) but also specialty items, including blackened sirloin steak. Relax and sip Darryl’s famous Chicken Martini or a Roxbury Raz and nosh on a late night menu while listening to some live jazz music playing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Visit darrylscornerbarboston.com for more information.
The American Repertory Theater (better known as ART to locals) has been welcoming major American and international theater artists since it opened in 1980. The theater, which hosts reinterpretations of classical texts and provocative new music theater productions (think Cabaret or Alice vs. Wonderland), has received numerous awards, including the Tony Award, the Pulitzer Prize and numerous local Elliot Norton and IRNE awards. The staff here also teaches undergraduate classes in acting, directing, dramatic literature, dramaturgy, design, and playwriting at Harvard University. In 1987, the theater also created the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. Discount tickets are available for college students. For informaton and schedules, chgeck out americanrepertorytheater.org.
The latest newcomer to the city is The Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel located in the Seaport District offers amazing views of Boston Harbor. The oceanic designed hotel offers 450 rooms with a Starbucks on the first level along with Capiz Bar, a hot after-work gathering spot for a freshly muddle mojito. Renowned Chef Michael Schlow has recently added another restaurant to his roster of establishments – 606 Congress, the hotel’s on-site restaurant that features modern American cuisine (think local sea scallops, Brandt Farms ribeye and lobster club sandwiches). Be sure to request a suite for a waterfront view.
Imagine a cupcake shop that offers zero carbs, sugars and fats! Impossible, you say? Not when you are Johnny Cupcakes, the quirky clothing store designed with cupcakes on them. Started by a kid who sold T-shirts out of his car, the company is now a multi-million dollar business and owner Johnny Earle was ranked #1 “Best Entrepreneurs 25 and Under” by BusinessWeek. Inside the shop, you will find a uniquely decorated interior, including antique refrigerators and all sorts of baking products with fun clothing items sitting prominently on display on baking trays and in glass pastry cases. Visit johnnycupcakes.com for more information.
Nearly eight years ago, the InterContinental Boston hit the hotel scene running and hasn’t stopped to look back. With more than 400 guest rooms and even a collection of private residences (for those who never want to leave), the all-glass contemporary property designed to resemble a Tall Ship, has an unbeatable location. The international dining scene here is impressive – start off with a rum cocktail while listening to Latin and Caribbean music at RumBa, order up a spicy tuna roll at Sushi-Teq and then end the evening with a relaxing dinner at the French brasserie known as Miel. Don’t miss a walk in the InterContinental Gardens, a two-acre waterfront promenade along Fort Point Channel. Click here for more information.
OAK Long Bar + Kitchen is a new, American brasserie style restaurant in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay. Sip a hand crafted cocktail, sample a farm to table American menu featuring local ingredients and purveyors, and savor the dramatic results of an extensive restoration, full of thoughtfully curated details. OAK represents simple elegance complemented by contemporary spirit and style.
Imagine the cool feel of a custom copper top bar, the sound of ice against a cocktail shaker, the hum of conversation and the taste of artistry in a glass. At this one-of-a-kind Boston bar, contemporary cocktails like the Rosebud, ‘New’ Fashioned and Le Passion Mojito share the stage with classics like the Manhattan, Sidecar and Dirty Martini. The OAK Long Bar also offers a full menu of craft beers – and the Boston wine bar is second to none. Sit, relax and become part of the OAK Long Bar + Kitchen experience.
Enjoy a Boston fine dining experience unlike any other at The Fairmont Copley Plaza. Visit the website at oaklongbarkitchen.com.
Some Bostonians may argue the best Italian food can be found in the North End, but the hidden gem known as Toscano sits prominently in Beacon Hill. Located on picturesque Charles Street where people watching here is one of the best in the city, Toscano has a knowledgeable staff who review both the food and wine menus with guests while making suggestions. The upscale restaurant is an ideal location for a special occasion or formal night on the town. This year, Toscano celebrates its 25th anniversary with new owners and a new look. The interior has been revitalized to include 80-year-old hand carved walnut hardwood floors, Italian stone walls, and individually painted chandeliers. The menu includes freshly baked pizzas, homemade breads, house made pastas like gnocchi Quattro formaggi to slow grilled meats and fresh seafood (think oven roasted monkfish). Be sure to make a reservation in advance as this place fills up to capacity quickly, especially on the weekends. When you leave here, you will truly feel their motto “Toscano – where a road in Tuscany leads to Beacon Hill” rings piercingly true. For more information, visit toscanoboston.com.
If you have been on every “best of” list like Boston’s O Ya restaurant, can things get any better? From being named the number one restaurant in the country by the New York Times to receiving accolades for being one of the world’s 10 best new restaurants by Food & Wine Magazine, the praise is well deserved. This cozy little gem serves up contemporary Japanese fare, including nigiri, sashimi and Wagyu beef. Don’t miss the chilled homemade soba noodles, which can be perfectly paired with some sake. Be sure to call ahead and make a reservation as this Leather District hot spot fills up easily and waits can be long at the intimately lit O Ya tavern, which is located in a former firehouse. Valet parking is available at the corner of South and East Streets in Les Zygomates.
Insider’s Tip: O Ya is expensive, with some entrees running up to $60, but nearly all diners leave happy, saying every bite was worth every penny. Visit oyarestaurantboston.com for more information.
Located in the Italian North End section, Benevento’s is a welcome addition to the city. The restaurant focuses on specialty pizzas such as the Victoria (sautéed shrimp scampi with diced tomatoes, garlic, white wine, basil and light mozzarella cheese) or make-your-own by choosing from a variety of toppings (think homemade meatball and prosciutto) and sauces such as garlic and extra virgin olive oil or vodka sauce. There is a good selection of homemade pastas cooked to order as well as seafood and chicken dishes and even a kid’s menu for the youngsters in the group. Visit beneventosboston.com for more information.
Encore Bed & Breakfast, which has been open since 2001, offers just four contemporary accommodations in the South End neighborhood. The alternative to typical hotel lodging, Encore offers 21st-century comfort in a 19th century Victorian town house. Each room features modern amenities, including a private bathroom with shower, queen-size bed, cable TV with DVD player. In keeping with the theatrical theme of the Inn, the rooms are named after choreographer Jerome Robbins, conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, playwright Edward Albee and composer Stephen Sondheim. A continental breakfast is served each morning featuring European-strength coffee, pastries, granola, and fresh fruit.
The Seaport Hotel has an unbeatable location right on the water and just minutes away from major Boston attractions, like The Children’s Museum, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, The Freedom Trail and the North End. The oceanfront hotel is situated in the booming Seaport District, where you can easily take a tour of the neighboring Harpoon Brewery or even check out a concert at the Bank of America Pavilion, and then easily head back to your room after a fun night out on the town.
Despite its incredible location, there are plenty of reasons to stay inside the Seaport Hotel. The rooms here are open and spacious with a good selection of suites that include a variety of pet-friendly ones for your four-legged friend. And those oceanfront views make any evening romantic while watching the sunset and the gorgeous city skyline light up.
Be sure to make a reservation in advance at Aura where you can sample some of Chef Rachel Klein’s famed dishes, including her signature not-your-typical Steak and Eggs: a tender cut of filet mignon is served with a truffle-fried egg and served with asparagus, potato puree and bordelaise sauce. For a more casual bite, head over to Tamo Bar and sip on a green monkey martini while noshing on some spring rolls. There is also the Seaport Café if you are looking to just grab some bakery treats and sandwiches and head back to your room.
If you are in the mood for some great jazz then look no further than the Regattabar in Cambridge. Located in Harvard Square, the jazz club has been named one of the “Best of Boston.” Regattabar offers concerts to people all ages in its 225-seat venue located on the third floor of The Charles Hotel. Be sure to check the website for more information on the kids’ summer music series, the Monday night courtyard series and annual jazz festival, which features Grammy-recognized artists and Lifetime Achievement Award winners. Visit the website at regattabarjazz.com.
Haru has taken center stage with its first modern Japanese location to open in Boston. The sushi restaurant is located below the Shops at Prudential Center, and is beautifully decorated with a Japanese garden, bamboo floors and wooden footbridge, along with alfresco dining. The menu here ranges from sushi, sashimi and creative salads to signature dishes like carpaccios, ceviches, tartares, filet mignon, grilled spicy shrimp and specialty rolls. Don’t miss the sake and cocktail bar for an after-work drink or late night people-watching. Haru also provides delivery and catering services, private rooms and lounges, and a vibrant bar scene. Click here for more information.
Named after Japanese ash wood, Tamo offers a beautifully designed patio with comfortable seating for a relaxed experience overlooking the pier. Located at the Seaport Hotel, the newly opened Tamo Terrace has quickly become a top place for waterfront dining. Don’t miss award winning Chef Rachel Klein’s bento box served with spicy calamari and peppers, beef skewers, spring rolls and pork dumpings. The chickpea fries made with chickpea flour and served with tamarind and yogurt were an interesting offering. The tender steak frites with parmesan fries should not be missed and be sure to end the visit with the trio of desserts – crème brulee, chocolate mousse and strawberry cheesecake.
Piers Park Sailing, a non-profit sailing center, serves more than 700 at-risk inner-city kids every year. The adult sailing club – with its fleet of twenty 23 foot Sonars, learn to sail courses, summer racing series and coastal sailing program – supports the youth outreach work of the sailing center for people of all ages with physical and cognitive disabilities. Piers Park is led by champion and Olympic sailors, who offer individual and corporate club memberships as well as private and group instruction for those interested in sailing for the first time as well as seasoned experts looking to hone their racing or cruising skills. Visit piersparksailing.org for more information.
Kathy Sidell Trustman, owner of the Metropolitan Club in Chestnut Hill, the MET Bar and Grille in Dedham and Natick and the soon to be opened new MET concept on Newbury Street, recently shared with us her favorite city haunts.
She can often be seen at Neptune Oyster because they feature “excellent, spanking fresh briny oysters and quintessential New England seafood.” Some of her favorite dishes include the lobster roll with butter, “perfectly fried clams with house made tartar and the best oyster cracker ever. Simply heaven.”
When it comes to nightlife, Kathy enjoys lounging at Trina's Starlight Lounge where they have “passionate bartenders making pristine cocktails. I like the lounge vibe without the nightclub noise.”
As a restaurateur, Kathy knows the keys to her success lie in fresh ingredients. Where are her favorite places to shop around town? “Formaggio for cheese, High Rise for bread, Sofra for hummus bar and Flour for ginger cookies,” she said. “Simply the best food shops in the city for an amazing picnic!!”
Some of her most favorite days are spent on Boston Harbor on a boat. “Looking back at the city during magic hour,” she said. “The vantage point of the city as you move further away and the skyline starts to take shape and capture the majesty of the city and its icons like Rowes Wharf and the Clock Tower. Being on the water leaving the bustling city behind puts one's own life in perspective again. A welcomed pause. A deep breath. The sanctity and quiet of the relationship between ocean and land. These moments, this view reminds me of my dad.”
The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston’s largest and most popular theatre company. Since its inception, it has transferred more than 12 shows to Broadway! The Huntington, which is located at and partners with Boston University, is well known for its seven productions each season shown to an annual audience of over 130,000.
The Huntington recently opened the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts to support the company’s Broadway-style main stage, the Boston University Theatre. Students and their families come here to check out some of the best shows in town for a dramatically reduced rate. It is here you can find performances such as Prelude to a Kiss, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons and A Civil War Christmas Musical Celebration.
The Huntington also operates BostonTheatreScene.com, which provides all productions at the BCA or the B.U. Theatre with box office and online marketing services.
If you have ever wondered what it might feel like to get clinked, The Back Bay Hotel offers a way to do so – in luxury. Located in the former headquarters of the Boston Police Department and owned by the Irish hotelier, this newcomer to the hotel scene has an unbeatable location near Copley Square, Newbury Street and the John Hancock Building.
The interior is stylishly designed making it a favorite for tourists and those traveling here on business. You won’t believe your eyes when you see the hotel’s beautiful two-story glass waterfall, indoor ‘river’ and illuminated glass staircase. The rooms here are spacious and luxurious yet surprisingly affordable.
Staying true to its heritage, Cuffs, an authentic Irish pub, is one of the best places in the city for a pint of Guinness along with comfort food favorites such as fish and chips, chicken pot pie and boneless short rib. For upscale dining, try the pan roasted sea scallop in brown butter and foie gras, roasted monkfish or charred flank steak at the neighboring Stanhope Grille.
Insider’s Tip: For a unique way to see the Back Bay Hotel’s nearby sights in this bike-friendly city, ask about the Urban Adventours package complete with hybrid bicycles, helmet, locks, maps and snacks.
Since 1903, the Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College has been providing year round cultural programs to both college students and visitors. The historic college located in the Theater District owns and operates the theater, which offers a wide-range of performances that include opera (La Traviatta; Madama Butterfly), theater (Divas by Boston’s Gay Men’s Chorus), dance (Stomp) and music (New England Conservatory). Inside, you will find beautiful murals painted by New York artist William de Leftwich Dodge, whose works can also be found on display at the Library of Congress and Boston Public Library.
The theater is listed in both the Massachusetts and National Registers of Historic Places, and has also earned the prominent status as a Boston Historic Landmark. Over the past few years, it underwent some renovations that were approved by the Boston Landmarks Commission.
The Majestic has both historically appropriate stage systems and the most modern technologies for stage and video productions, which is why it is known around town as being a 21st century theater inside a 19th century building.
Location, location, location just may be the best way to describe The Boston Harbor Hotel. Situated at Rowes Wharf overlooking the ocean, this landmark five-star hotel is just steps from Faneuil Hall, the North End and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Be sure to request a harbor front deluxe room (with separate sitting area) for a beautiful view of the private boats, yachts, dinner cruises, and party boats pulling in and out of the wharf.
The waterfront hotel offers 230 guest rooms, including one- and two-bedroom suites as well as a luxurious Presidential Suite with butler service upon request. Award-winning Chef Daniel Bruce (the mastermind behind the 20-year-old Boston Wine Festival) offers small and large dishes paired with wine at Meritage The Restaurant. From its attentive service to the elegant accommodations, The Boston Harbor Hotel remains a standout in the city.
Insider’s Tip: Don’t miss the Summer Series here, which runs from June to September and includes Tuesday night R&B and soul bands, Wednesday night classic entertainment, Thursday night blues barge (complete with floating stage) and Friday night outdoor Movies by Moonlight series.
In its first year Douzo Restaurant & Sushi was named “Boston’s Best Sushi” by the Improper Bostonian and has become a hot spot for sushi lovers ever since. Located in Back Bay, the restaurant offers an inventive twist on traditional sushi favorites. You will still find the usual suspects on the menu such as Tuna Tartar, Raw Oysters and Kobe Beef Carpaccio, but you can also uncover some surprises, including Monkfish Pate, Torched Style Yellowtail and an Eel Avocado Roll.
If you’re feeling a little daring, try the Omakase special, which is the chef’s choice from the sushi bar. Entrees include Lightly Battered Shrimp Tempura, Sirloin Steak with Black Pepper Sauce, Thinly Sliced Prime Rib in a Sukiyaki Sauce, Black Cod Misoyaki and Grilled Duck with Cranberry Teriyaki Sauce.
Douzo (which means “please come in”) offers its modern Japanese cuisine in a modern setting, with sleek white and dark contrasts to ceiling fixtures and walls and large tables for all the sushi plates. Douzo has a varied wine list, including a red, white or sake flight and a good array of cocktails like the Lychee Martini and a Tokyo Cosmo to get your night started right after dinner. Visit douzosushi.com for more information.
Boston’s most famous and popular Irish pub, The Black Rose, has attracted crowds of all ages from tourists to locals to Faneuil Hall. In the nation’s fairest city, people having been coming here by the droves since 1976 for the fish and chips, washing it down with a pint of Guinness, all while enjoying live Irish music. Does life get any better than this?
The name comes from a 17th century elegiac poem entitled Roisin Dubh (the small black rose) – “Over the highways and byways the pilgrim goes aflame with the name of my small black rose.” This two-story pub has been voted one of America’s top ten Irish establishments. Both levels feature live Irish entertainment on the weekends – the upstairs gets lively with a younger crowd late at night while the first floor attracts a 30+ clientele.
The menu here offers some of the best traditional Irish fare in town, including the award-winning clam chowder, and of course Mother Sweeney’s corned beef. You never know who you might see jump up on stage and grab the mike here – some unforgettable guests have included members of the Chieftains, flutist James Galway, Tommy Makim, Liam Clancy, John Denver and even U2 back in the day.
Insider’s Tip: Don’t miss the happy hours every Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. where they feature live Irish entertainment from traditional bands like Celtic Clan, Eugene Byrne & Co. and Sunday’s Well.
Faneuil Hall is one of the most popular destinations for anyone coming to Boston, so snagging a hotel room here just might be your best bet. The Millennium Bostonian Hotel is just two miles from Logan Airport and located in the historic Blackstone Block, the city’s oldest pattern of streets and alleyways. It sits prominently in the heart of Faneuil Hall Marketplace where you can check out farmer’s markets, outdoor festivals, restaurants, shops and cafes.
The hotel just recently completed a $24 million renovation, which included the opening of its on-site restaurant, North 26, which features contemporary New England cuisine. A stay in a newly renovated standard room here overlooks the city’s famed Italian North End section and comes complete with Frette linens, high def TVs and complimentary access to the Beacon Hill Athletic Club.
Insider’s Tip: If you’re booking a romantic getaway, try the North 26 dinner package, which includes dinner, a bottle of wine and an overnight stay at the hotel.
Lansdowne Street is filled with bars and clubs, which become crazy busy after a Red Sox game. If you are looking for a place to listen to some good old rock ‘n roll then head on over to the popular Bill’s Bar. This intimate bar is long and narrow, so be sure to get here way before a Red Sox home game lets out or you won’t be able to get in.
The walls here are lined with pictures of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Janis Joplin. Drinks are some of the cheapest in the city and depending on which night you come, you can catch a live band or listen to a DJ spin some tunes. It does get exceedingly loud in here at times, so be prepared for a lively atmosphere. Don’t miss the uniquely designed bathrooms – the men’s room is done in honor of Elvis and the ladies room has dozens of pictures of Marilyn Monroe.
Now that the warmer weather is finally here, it’s time to start planning some fun activities for the summer. What better way to explore the coastal region than with a trip aboard Boston Harbor Cruises’ whale watching tours. Board the three-hour cruise at Long Wharf located between The New England Aquarium and Marriott Hotel.
Once aboard the 400-passenger catamaran, you can take in the view of humpbacks, minkes, finbacks and white-sided dolphins from one of three outside decks. Inside, there is a climate-controlled cabin with free WiFi, and a galley for food and beverage purchases. The tour guide from the Whale Center of New England will narrate the cruise where will point out everything from whale behavior and migration patterns to the local ecology. Whale sightings are guaranteed, but if you don’t see one, Boston Harbor Cruises will give you a free ticket for a future cruise.
Insider’s Tip: Don’t forget binoculars, sunglasses and sunscreen for this outdoor event. April through October is the best viewing season. Reservations are recommended and can be bought easily online.
The city has finally introduced its first modern Japanese brasserie known as Basho. Located near Fenway Park, Basho is the latest from Jack Huang, owner of the popular Douzo in the Back Bay. The restaurant offers an innovative interpretation of modern Japanese cuisine using Western styles, methods and ingredients with signature dishes, like flavored Sushi and Sashimi (traditional Japanese flavors added directly to the seafood), lobster miso bouillabaisse and foie gras teriyaki.
Basho (Japanese for “a place where things happen”) also offers a variety of cocktails – think house infusions and homemade simple syrups using fresh, local herbs- along with traditional Japanese sake, wine and beer. The interior boasts soaring ceilings with a minimalist vibe set in a relaxed, yet chic scene. If you are feeling social, grab a seat at one of the communal tables, or for more private dining there are intimate corners. Basho also has an outdoor patio with retractable awnings as well as a sushi bar, raw bar and sleek, wraparound liquor bar. Visit bashosushi.com for more information.
If you are looking for a rocking night on the town, then head over to The Estate nightclub tucked away in The Alley just off Boylston Street. This insanely busy baroque club caters to a 20-something crowd on the weekends. The Estate, Boston’s best version of a New York style club with house DJs, offers a beautiful crowd, expensive drinks, high end table service and risque dancers. There are four bars here and a balcony that oversees the enormous two-story dance floor with opulent chandeliers, full length mirrors and sumptuous leather chairs. VIP guests like Paris Hilton and other celebrities have reserved the upstairs Shag Room for some extra privacy. Check out the scedule at theestateboston.com.
Insider’s Tip: Chic and fashionable dress is required at The Estate, which is open Thursday through Sunday. Expect long lines on popular Friday and Saturday nights so try to get your name on the guest list to ensure a quick admission.
Every New Englander loves to be outdoors once the weather turns nice and visitors alike love the region’s best coastline. For a unique view of Boston and Cambridge, there’s no better option than renting a kayak or canoe to set off on day of exploration of either Boston Harbor or the picturesque Charles River. Here, you will paddle past some of the city’s best sights, including the Esplanade, Hancock and Prudential buildings, Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, Museum of Science, M.I.T., and Boston University.
Charles River Canoe & Kayak offers rental options from their newest location in Cambridge at Kendall Square. You can rent by the hour or for a full day with rates for children available. For the less adventurous, book a guided tour, where one of the most popular is the barbecue kayak tour, which ends with a catered lunch from Redbones in Somerville. Best of all, you can head over to the Harbor Islands, pitch a tent and stay the night, returning the following day.
Step into the bustling steakhouse known as Grill 23 and you will be greeted with impeccable service and first rate steaks. Located across the street from the old John Hancock building and in what was once the commodities trading floor of the old Salada Tea Company, this award-winning and nationally recognized Back Bay steakhouse has emerged as one of the city’s standouts.
The two-floored dining room focuses on an open-air kitchen where guests can watch Executive Chef Jay Murray prepare each signature dish. The a la carte menu at Grill 23 features quality steaks with even higher price tags ($40 to $50) such as a dry aged New York strip, Kobe cap steak, bone-in filet and ribeye, but returning diners believe it’s worth every penny. The wine list, which reads more like a book, is truly amazing featuring red reserves like a 1998 Screaming Eagle cabernet that goes for a handsome $1,400 per bottle. When the restaurant fills in on the weekends, expect the noise level to rise tremendously, so depending on your mood book a reservation early for a quiet celebration or later for a more lively atmosphere. Visit grill23.com for more information.
The New England Conservatory, which was founded in 1867, offers more than 600 concerts and events throughout the year, most being held in the historic Jordan Hall. Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory has trained some of the best musicians in town, including nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Programs here range from solo recitals and chamber music to orchestral programs and jazz and opera scenes. Most of the concerts are free, and no tickets are required. Those events which require tickets are noted in the concert calendar so be sure to check out the schedule in advance.
Each year, the opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston. Both the New England Conservatory and Jordan Hall are National Historic Landmarks.
If you’re visiting Boston, a must-see, albeit touristy, attraction is The Barking Crab located directly on the water in Fort Point Channel. Not your average clam shack, this casual seafood year-round hotspot boasts a funky nautical themed interior with wood burning stove. Fresh seafood is the focal point with items like Blue Point oysters on the half shell, lobster and crab dip, steamers, shrimp cocktails and Old Bay crawfish.
In the warmer months, the restaurant opens the back deck complete with picnic tables, but closes the area in the winter. The interior section offers private tables and a small bar, but the restaurant is anything but formal. Don a lobster bib and your server will present you with a plastic bucket to deposit the shells from the gargantuan legendary and signature Neptune platter, which comes complete with a two-pound lobster and a four-pound mixed crab bowl, corn on the cob and coleslaw. The lobster ravioli here just may be the best in the city. The Boston cream pie is the perfect ending here.
Kids love to come here for the fun atmosphere and parents love the $7 kids menu, which even includes desserts for tots under eight. Check out the website at barkingcrab.com.
Sometimes in life you just need a little indulgence. When that time comes, Tweed Barbers comes to the rescue with a good old-fashioned shave.
Tweed Barbers, formerly State Street Barbers, has provided award-winning men’s haircuts and hot lather shaves to discerning Boston-area clients since 2006. They take tremendous pride in their work and perpetuating the fine art of classic barbering. Their strength and differentiation is manifest in the details: how intently they listen to what you want, how well the hair is tapered, how straight the neckline is, how even the sideburns are. Tweed Barbers would love the opportunity to be your Boston barber of choice. Check out the website at tweedbarbers.com.
Imagine finding a steakhouse in Boston that offers quality beef at affordable prices. That’s exactly what Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar does night after night and wins “Best Steakhouse” in Boston year after year. Located across from The Boston Park Plaza Hotel in the Theater District, this elegant restaurant that has a dark wood interior with high ceilings and an open spacious dining room, was the first East Coast location for the West Coast brand.
Start off with a glass of wine from itsWine Spectator award-winning collection of 100 vintages by the glass to go along with some Blue Point oysters. There is a good selection of seafood for those who don’t like beef, but for the true carnivores, the bone-in ribeye and bone-in New York strip should not be missed. For the ultimate indulgence, try the house specialty, Fleming’s potatoes, served with cream, jalapenos and cheddar cheese, which are large enough to share with the entire table. The walnut turtle pie should be the grand finale of the evening. Visit flemingssteakhouse.com
for more information.
Insider Tip: If you sit at the bar, don’t miss the amazing deal of five for $6 until 7 p.m. promotion, which includes a choice of five cocktails, five glasses of wine and five appetizers.
Formerly The Boston Museum of Modern Art, The Institute of Contemporary Art has made a prominent name for itself in the city since its inception in 1936. Located on Boston’s waterfront, even its beautiful building is a work of art. Among the artists whose work was introduced to U.S. audiences by the ICA are Cubist Georges Braque, Expressionists Oskar Kokoschka and Edvard Munch (The Scream), as well as Andy Warhol.
Here, you will find access to contemporary art as well as artists and the creative process, encouraging audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in new art. The museum hosts numerous courses, talks and films for families, teens and educators each month so be sure to check the calendar of events to find out what is currently going on. For young adults, don’t miss the teen filmmaking program Fast Forward where participants become the producers of their own documentaries.
Insider’s Tip: Every Thursday night, the museum offers complimentary admission from 5 to 9 pm for Target Free Thursday Nights.
Located on the third, fourth and fifth floors above Umbria Prime steakhouse, which takes over the first two, this three-story dance mecca caters to a 25 and older clientele. Up until around midnight, 30-somethings come here to party while a younger late-night crowd stays until the doors close at 2 a.m.
Prime the Nightclub has hosted internationally famed DJs spinning a mix of house, top 40s and mashup every Friday and Saturday night. The chic stylish younger crowd flocks to the ultra lounge with vodka bar and VIP lounge with table service. But what makes this place so great is that dinner is served downstairs nightly until 11 p.m., so if you feel like snacking late night, simply venture downstairs for a quick bite. Visit umbriaprime.com/nightlife for more information.
Insider’s Tip: If you decide to dine at Umbria Prime, you will receive a complimentary $20 admission to the upstairs club.
If you’re looking to check out a show while in town, chances are you’ll be heading over to the Wang Theatre where Louis XVI’s opulence and the Roaring Twenties come together at the Citi Performing Arts Center. Formerly known as the Wang Center, the 3,600-seat venue hosts a variety of theatrical performances from comedy shows and theater performances to dance productions and the famed Nutcracker ballet.
The center opened in 1925 and today boasts one of the five largest stages in the country. The theater has seen numerous performances, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Riverdance, The Kirov Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Whitney Houston, Harry Connick Jr., Dave Matthews, Lady Gaga, Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera.
While many guests choose to dress up for their special night out on the town, others can also be seen wearing more casual attire. Because there is no specific dress required here, you could see everything ranging from evening gowns to jeans. There are several parking lots located adjacent to and across the street making it easy to get in and out of after a performance.
Boston’s a city rich in history and the 5 Star Taj Boston is no exception. Since opening its doors in 1927, the Taj (formerly the Ritz-Carlton) has been welcoming numerous guests, celebrities and the “Who’s Who” of America to its Back Bay location.
The 273-room hotel has an unbeatable location at the corner of Arlington and Newbury Streets, making it the perfect place to start a day of luxury shopping down ritzy Newbury Street or peaceful sightseeing across the street at the Boston Public Garden. It’s also a short walk from other attractions, from the Theater District to Copley Square.
The classic hotel, which underwent a complete renovation in 2002 to celebrate its 75th anniversary, updated its already award-winning services and amenities like overnight shoe service, courtesy car service and 24-hour assistance. The Taj keeps with the old world luxury feel; dozens of chandeliers hang from each hallway, antiques compliment every room and every bathroom is equipped with a luxury marble bathtub.
Be sure to have a drink at the famous lobby bar with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the beautiful Public Garden and Swan Boats in the warmer months. Afternoon tea here, served in The Lounge, has been a tradition since the hotel’s opening and comes complete with fine china and silver trays.
It has been said that Boston has more Irish people than Ireland, so what better way to celebrate its historic roots than a walk along the Irish Heritage Trail throughout downtown Boston and Back Bay.
Along the way, you’ll find the Boston Irish Famine Memorial that include eight narrative plaques that recount the 150th anniversary of the country’s historic famine. Stop by the Boston Public Library’s Irish collection, which houses over 13,000 items, including materials on the formation of the Irish Free State, the Abby Theatre and Seamus Heaney. The Colonel Shaw Memorial is the city’s most prized public art, which took 14 years to complete, depicting the state’s 54th Black Infantry Regiment which fought valiantly in the Civil War. End the day with a stop by Fenway Park, which was built by Irish immigrant Charles E. Logue.
The Trail is divided into three sections with 20 sites located in downtown Boston and Back Bay, covering more than three miles and over 50 other landmarks in Boston neighborhoods. Other highlights on the walking tour include the Rose Kennedy Garden, Kevin White statue, James Michael Curley statues and the Boston Massacre Memorial.
The Museum of Fine Arts is Boston’s oldest, largest and best-known art institution, which is home to one of the world’s most comprehensive art collections. Here, you will find Impressionist paintings, art from Europe, Africa, and Asia, Egyptian collections, a Greek and Roman sculpture gallery and early American art. You could spend an entire day here exploring everything the museum has to offer.
When the museum opened in 1876, there were just 5,600 works of art. Today, more than one million visitors come here to view the collection that boasts nearly 450,000 pieces. Come and visit a special exhibit, listen to a gallery talk, meet an artist and learn some of their unique techniques, watch a film, take in a concert, or take a self-guided audio tour of the property.
Saturdays and Sundays are popular for the champagne brunch at the fine dining upstairs restaurant known as Bravo, which also features live entertainment. It is also open for dinner Wednesday through Friday evenings. The museum also offers reduced tickets for students and seniors.
Steakhouses in Boston are everywhere, so finding one of the best in the city was a challenge until Mooo made its debut. Chef/owner Jamie Mammano’s modern steakhouse with the unusual name offers some of the juiciest, well prepared steaks in town and a private Wine Cellar dining room. Located in Beacon Hill across from the State House, Mooo attracts numerous politicians (Governor Deval Patrick is said to be a regular).
It’s difficult not to fill up on the Staub skillet of four dense hot buttered sweet rolls topped with sea salt, but be sure to save room for the likes of a 35-day dry aged New York sirloin, bone-in Delmonico, pepper crusted prime sirloin au poivre or ribeye steak. Top it off with a béarnaise, red wine, bordelaise, steak or barbecue sauce. Dishes are a la carte so complement your dinner with panko and parmesan crusted onion rings, mushroom risotto and creamed spinach. The restaurant also offers a good selection of seafood dishes, including grilled salmon, seared sea scallops and butter poached Maine lobster. End the night with the ultimate indulgence – a $25 Bailey’s hot fudge sundae for two. Visit mooorestaurant.com for more information.
If you’re looking for something fun to do for everyone of all ages, head over to Tommy’s Comedy Lounge for a great night of laughs. Boston’s newest comedy club, located at The Charles Playhouse in the historic Theater District, offers live stand-up comedy every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
You never know who you might see on stage that night. The comedy house has showcased well known local talent, including Tony V, Gary Gulman and Steve Sweeney of There’s Something About Mary and Me Myself and Irene fame as well as the annual Magners Comedy Festival.
Every Thursday night, there is a comedy showcase at 8:30 p.m. for a cheap $8 admission ticket. Tommy’s new showcase for gay and lesbian comedians will be held the last Thursday of every month beginning this month. Typically, most shows are under $20 per ticket making for a reasonably priced and affordable night on the town.
With a vibrant harbor front and just steps to the North End, Boston’s Battery Wharf area has been completely revitalized, which is no wonder why the Fairmont chose to open its second location here. With a more intimate hotel- just 150 guestrooms to its 383-room Copley Plaza sister property- you certainly can’t compete with the waterfront views.
Each room at the Fairmont Battery Wharf is spacious and includes all modern amenities such as iPod docking stations, flat screen televisions and IP telephones. Last year, the hotel opened Fairmont Gold here for those seeking more personalized service. A Fairmont Gold room features access to its own lounge, which offers complimentary continental breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres as well as an honor bar for cocktails.
Whether you come for a romantic getaway or weekend escape, the only thing you’ll be left wondering is whether the hotel or location is better.
Everything you’ve ever wished for can be found at the dreamy little boutique Wish in Beacon Hill. The contemporary women’s shop features high end designer labels (think black American Express Centurion), including Shoshanna, Diane von Furstenberg, Theory, Rebecca Taylor, Hudson and Citizens of Humanity.
Everyone loves a fabulous shop that has all the latest fashions and Wish truly has it all from handbags to jeans. Whether your look is trendy or traditional, Wish offers some of the most stylish threads in the city, but be prepared to pay luxury store prices.
Wish is the brainchild of three former Newbury Street employees, who had a dream of opening their own clothing store. This boutique just goes to prove that wishes really do come true. Check out wishboston.com for more information.
The complimentary Lexus sedan parked outside the front door of XV Beacon lets you know you are in for a luxurious stay. The sophisticated Beacon Hill hotel just recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary, and it’s no wonder why the property remains one of the top luxury hotels in the city for service, style and value.
There are only seven guest rooms on each floor of this boutique property and every single room has a gas fireplace. Every modern amenity is considered here from the 42-inch flat screen television situated on a stainless steel wall above the fireplace, surround sound stereo system with five-disk CD player and CD library to the amazing marble bathroom equipped with a rainforest shower head, Fresh products and Frette bathrobes.
The pet friendly hotel also offers a sumptuous stay for your four-legged friend complete with a pet bed, bottled water and treats upon arrival. Best of all, the $25 “fee” to bring your dog with you is donated in full to the MSPCA Angell Memorial Hospital to assist with animal medical treatment, rehabilitation and adoption assistance.
Don’t forget to check out the rooftop deck for an amazing peek at the city.
Ever felt like you needed a drink while at the post office? Himmel Hospitality Group did too, which is why they created Post 390. Situated at the site of the former Back Bay Post Office Annex, this place boasts killer views, an impressive beer and wine selection, and super-chic clientele.
On the first floor of this two-story urban tavern, a lively bar scene of a polished after-work crowd surrounds the cozy four-sided fireplace. Upstairs, there’s a second bar, open kitchen, and a fireside dining room with floor to ceiling glass windows that showcase the unbeatable views of the John Hancock Tower and Copley Place.
The bar (or shall we say, bars) boasts one of the best beer selections in the city with 12 brews on tap and 30 microbrews available in bottles, and they also have more than 200 wine selections. Post 390 offers a wide array of aptly named Bostonian drinks, including The Green Line, Dirty Water, Boston Tea Ketel and of course, The Back Bay.
As a sister restaurant to Grill 23, Harvest and the new Bistro du Midi at The Heritage on the Garden, Post 390 showcases Chef Eric Brennan’s talent here with a modern twist on classic comfort food favorites – think beer and bacon macaroni and cheese – in a chic setting. Visit post390restaurant.com for more information.
If you are looking for some of the best seafood in town, you have certainly come to the right place at Jasper White’s Summer Shack. Award-winning chef and cookbook author Jasper White opened his first restaurant in Cambridge in 2000 and has been growing his enterprise ever since.
Whether you come for White’s famous clambake complete with corn on the cob or to indulge in his signature pan roasted lobster, the varied menu from sandwiches to lobster specialties appeals to every budget. You won’t find white tablecloths at this casual clam shack, but you will find a chalkboard filled with daily specials. The restaurant stays true to its namesake offering a casual and fun atmosphere for the entire family.
The seafood here is so amazingly fresh you would think it was plucked from the ocean just minutes before it hit your plate. The Tower of Power is a must-have indulgence, filled to the brim with oysters, littlenecks, crab claws, shrimp and lobster halves. Summer Shack also has locations in Cambridge and Dedham as well as Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Visit summershackrestaurant.com for more information.
Insider Tip: If you are too full for dessert, order the walk away sundae, which is available in a to-go container to take with you.
Bet you didn’t know that every Boston neighborhood has a chocolate story! Taste of Chocolate offers a walking tour every Saturday and Sunday of the city’s best neighborhoods, including Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South End and Cambridge, where you’ll learn about fine chocolates and indulge in a variety of delicacies. From the Toll House cookie to Baker’s chocolate, New England has a deep, dark and sumptuous history in chocolate.
On the tour, you’ll learn the history and creation of luxury chocolate by visiting a third generation market whose founder worked with Julia Child, tasting chocolate soup, and enjoying a formal tasting with an acclaimed pastry chef.
Even if you already have a love for chocolate, you are guaranteed to leave with a deeper appreciation of this one-of-a-kind experience. The tour company also hosts an on-going series of chocolate workshops designed as a hands-on introduction to the world of chocolate making.
When you first step into the newly renovated Shreve, Crump & Low jewelry store, you will quickly know you have come upon something special. Shreve’s is the oldest jeweler in North America in its third century of operation offering everything from diamonds, pearls, and gemstones to timepieces, corporate gifts and even a wedding registry.
The store underwent a $10 million dollar renovation in the spring of 2007 and now houses some of most coveted jewelry collections in the country. Throughout its history, the store has sold antiques, stationery and fine linen and even exhibited artifacts from Rome. Most notably, Shreve’s designed a silver cup to honor Boston Red Sox hero Cy Young, which later became known as the Cy Young Award.
Today, the shop exudes luxury with its dark mahogany and marble paneling and new display cases. When you’re looking to splurge, stop by for a rare pearl from Mastoloni or a beautiful Charles Krypell design with emeralds and rubies. Visit shrevecrumpandlow.com for more information.
You read about it in history class, but now is your chance to experience firsthand the places where the American Revolution began with a walk along the Freedom Trail. Each year, more than three million tourists visit the 2.5-mile historical landmark that points out 16 original sites related to the establishment of the country.
Every American visiting Boston should take a walk along the famous red line with stops along Paul Revere’s house, the Old South Meeting House and Old North Church. You can print out a map and take the tour individually at your leisure, but there are also guided tours available (including an 18th century costumed guide) where you will learn how these Colonialists dared to challenge Britain and establish our democratic nation.
The best time of year for the individual tour would be April to November as the snow will cover up most of the trail during the winter months. One of the most popular tours is the self-guided audio for $15. Just pick up the audio player at the Visitor Information Center on Boston Common and get started!
The Ames Hotel, just around the corner from City Hall, is fresh and new off a grand opening in November. As the child of the masterminds behind Rockwell and Morgans Hotel Groups, of Mondrian and Delano fame, the acclaimed modern, sophisticated design shines through at this New England hotspot.
The boutique property has just 114 rooms, but if you are looking to splurge, stay a night in The Apartment, the Ames’ take on a traditional Presidential Suite, which offers the ultimate in luxury- silk rugs, a velvet chaise and Egyptian cotton linens. While the Ames is a bit more traditional than its South Beach sister properties, it still mimics their style with a white-on-white décor.
Hollywood stars can almost always be found at a Morgans Hotel and the Ames and its on-site restaurant, Woodward, seek to be no exception, especially with the continuous filming going on around town. The Ames Hotel’s introductory rates are typically less than $200 per night, which just might be the best deal in town.
Even though Happy Hour no longer exists in Boston, don’t tell that to the patrons of City Bar at the Lenox Hotel. The hotel bar is packed nightly with an after-work crowd who come for the one-of-a-kind Infusions Diabolique, hand-infused spirits spiked with natural ingredients, like the popular Angelique tequila infused with mango, lime and pineapple.
Of course, there are also a variety of martinis (including a refreshing basil gimlet), single malts, ports, liqueurs, champagnes, beer and wine on the menu, but the infusions are a must here. If you get hungry, order up some snacks, which come from the neighboring City Table. A late night eclectic menu consists of duck confit spring rolls, chicken drumettes with Diabolique rum along with citrus and rosemary marinated olives.
City Bar also has a second location at the Westin Boston Waterfront on Summer Street where you can still get the same great drinks if you can’t make it over to Back Bay. Check out citybarboston.com for more information.
Looking for the newest, coolest and hippest place to stay in Boston? The W Hotel has it all covered. From high tech modern amenities to a lively lobby “living room” that resembles a disco after dark, the W is already making a name for itself in the city.
The all glass hotel, located smack dab in the Theater District directly across the street from the Citi Performing Arts Center, opened in November with 123 private residences if you can’t resist the urge to ever leave. The rooms here are spacious and modern with floor to ceiling windows, flat screen TVs and a docking station for MP3 players.
The underground bar, Descent, is popular with a younger crowd, while an older crowd flocks to W Lounge where you can also play a board game or check your email with the free high speed Internet access.
Be sure to book a reservation early at the popular casual restaurant, Market, as there are often long waits. If you’re looking to work off the calories you put on last night, head over to the on-site fitness center Sweat, or relax with a massage at Bliss, New York’s hottest spa, which finally made its Boston debut.
Late night partiers come to dance the night away at Rumor Nightclub, one of the hottest clubs in town. Located near the Charles Playhouse (think Shear Madness and Blue Man Group) in the Theater District, Rumor Nightclub typically doesn’t get going until late in the evening. If you go on the weekends, expect long lines if you arrive after 11 p.m.
Even though the club is closed Sundays and Mondays, there seems to be something going on every other evening. Evolution Tuesdays is extremely popular for house, hip-hop and Latin music. Rumor Wednesdays hosts Boston’s longest running Latin night. Signature Thursdays is one of their most popular nights featuring a mixture of house, hip-hop and Latin music. Envy Fridays and Rumor Saturdays both feature a DJ and are the club’s most popular nights. Check out rumorboston.com for more information.
The younger chic crowd comes for the lively atmosphere at Rumor Nightclub.
The Mandarin Oriental has finally made its debut in Boston and M Bar has already made a name for itself. The stylish and chic bar caters to a 20s, 30s and 40s+ crowd. The bar is almost at capacity on Friday nights when not only hotel guests come down for a drink, but many locals head over for a cool mandarin martini.
You can’t beat the hotel’s ideal Back Bay address located smack in the heart of Boylston Street- making it a perfect meeting place. The interior features a blend of green and gray stone and an illuminated glass bar top, intimate banquettes, and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows. The custom-designed wine wall houses some 300 vintages.
If you are feeling hungry, take a look at the light fare menu, which ranges from artisan cheeses and Asian-style tapas to braised Kobe short ribs and a poached Maine lobster roll. There are also full size entrees, including an eight-ounce grilled skirt steak and grilled chicken tandoori sandwich, but most people come for the specialty drinks. Click here for more information.
When Abe & Louie’s emerged on the dining scene a little more than 10 years ago, no one could have anticipated the fanfare that would surround this popular steakhouse. Voted Best Steakhouse by Boston Magazine in 2004, 2005 and 2009, Abe & Louie’s is now a symbol of excellence.
Located across from the Prudential Center in Copley Square, this classic restaurant consistently delivers exceptional service and mouthwatering steaks with attention to detail. The Hollywood-style booths in the dining room have attracted numerous celebrities including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who celebrated their anniversary here just last month.
All of the steaks are aged six weeks on the bone to ensure the most flavor. While the 24-ounce ribeye and bone-in filet are their signature cuts, classic entrees also include swordfish steak, wood grilled or broiled salmon filet, boiled or baked stuffed Maine lobster, whole chicken and lobster casserole. The ever-changing roster of weekly specials displays such offerings as filet of beef Wellington, Abe’s famous crispy pork and steak house beef ribs.
If you dine at Abe & Louie’s in the warmer months, be sure to request a seat on the patio for al fresco dining and people watching along one of Boston’s busiest streets. Visit abeandlouies.com for more information.
Imagine spending the night in a prison cell – that’s exactly what guests will do at The Liberty Hotel. This now uber-chic boutique is the former Charles Street Jail, famed for housing The Boston Strangler and Malcolm X.
Gone is the barbed wire that once surrounded the property yet some of the original architecture remains, including wrought iron and exposed brick walls. The massive rotunda opens up to a three-story atrium that once served as the prison’s catwalk. There is a tile mosaic here that also highlights some of the property’s historic jailbirds.
Don’t miss a drink at the aptly named bar, Clink, where you can view a 19th century prison cell. Scampo, the hotel’s upscale Italian restaurant, features dishes from Chef Lydia Shire of Biba and Excelsior fame. There is even a lively club, Alibi, for those late-night partiers.
Located in Beacon Hill overlooking The Charles River, the hot hotel now offers modern amenities, including flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and complimentary local car service. Mick Jagger, Annette Bening and Bruce Willis have all enjoyed a stay at this former prison. The Liberty Hotel now offers all law-abiding citizens a taste of the other side of the law.
Uni Sashimi Bar, located inside The Eliot Hotel and adjacent to the famed Clio restaurant of chef/owner Ken Oringer, offers some of the best sushi in town. At this tiny Back Bay bar which opened in 2002, you will see sushi chefs hard at work preparing rolls and sashimi. Sip on a Japanese scorpion bowl for two or their popular spicy Enter the Dragon cocktail, while noshing on sushi flown in from around the world. The menu here changes daily, but you can typically find Scottish salmon, Japanese fish and yellowfin tuna. Since the restaurant is next to Clio, you can also order off its Asian-inspired dessert menu, which includes miso dark chocolate cremeux, rhubarb shortcakes and a sweet mascarpone beignet. Check out the website at unisashimibar.com.
Insider Tip: Don’t miss the popular all-you-can-eat Maki Mondays for $32 and four-course sake bomb Tuesdays for $35.
Location. Location. Location. If you are looking for the best place to stay in the heart of Boston then look no further than The Lenox Hotel. Situated in Back Bay at the corner of Boylston and Exeter Streets, the gorgeous hotel is within walking distance of Newbury Street’s upscale boutiques, Symphony Hall (home to the Boston Pops) and the Museum of Fine Arts. Come here in April for a front row spectator’s seat to the Boston Marathon, which can be viewed from the hotel’s sleek rooftop.
The Lenox Hotel is modeled after smaller, boutique European hotels offering three restaurants, rooms with four-poster beds, wood-burning fireplaces, and marble bathrooms along with a complimentary Lexus SUV hybrid car service to take you around town. If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your furry friend behind, request a stay in one of the pet friendly rooms. On the other hand, don’t worry if you are allergic to pets – the hotel is the first of its kind to devote an entire floor (heaven on eleven) to PURE allergy friendly guest rooms.
Now you know why John Travolta, Katie Couric, Michelle Pfieffer and Steve Martin have all stayed here.
Every Bostonian knows some of the best winter fun can be had at the Frog Pond in The Boston Common. While it’s no Rockefeller Center, it does provide a great time for the everyone. Located in America’s oldest park, ice skating here has become a favorite pastime for both residents and visitors. Saturday nights are the busiest times of the week with a nearly all adult crowd and romantic couples.
The entire area is lit up at night with spectacular holiday decorations and the twinkling lights. The nearby trees and stately homes lining Beacon Hill will surely guarantee a memorable time to be had by all.
In the warmer months, the Frog Pond is filled with just six inches of water transforming it into a wading pool with a spray fountain for adventurous individuals.
Irish pubs in and around Boston are a dime a dozen, but authentic ones like Grafton Street Pub and Grille really stand out. Located in Harvard Square, this neighborhood hotspot was named after the cobblestone-lined shopping district in Dublin’s famed Temple Bar area. The restaurant relocated up one block in 2002 to a larger space in the heart of the square and now offers contemporary American cuisine for lunch and dinner seven days a week, including a Sunday brunch. From casual fare, including rustic pizzas and paninis, to classics such as fork and knife chicken and ale battered fish and chips, you will be hard pressed to find a better place to stop by for a pint and a great meal. Visit graftonstreetcambridge.com/ for more information.
If you’re looking for a sexy spot to grab a drink then head over to the sultry lounge known as Noir at The Charles Hotel in Cambridge’s Harvard Square. The red and black interior accents reflect the decadent atmosphere of 1940s nightlife. Noir has been named best bar and lounge by Boston Magazine and has also been featured in Food & Wine. One of the most popular drinks is “Noir’s Boudoir,” a creamy mix of vanilla, chocolate and coffee liquors. In the summer months, the bar opens up its patio where guests can be seen sipping on fruity concoctions from the “Film Noir” section such as the LA Confidential, a blend of Stoli Vanila, Cointreau, peach nectar and champagne. Order up some light snacks like the marinated olives or flatbread to complement the fabulous drinks. Visit noir-bar.com for more information.
Insider’s Tip: Stop by Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. to sample the 5-4-3-2-1-0 menu, which includes $5 flatbreads, $4 sandwiches, $3 snacks, $2 salads, $1 sweets and $0 nuts. (There is a $6 minimum beverage purchase per guest).
The name Omni Parker House evokes a rich storied history that attracted the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Longfellow and Charles Dickens. The city’s infamous Boston cream pie was invented here in the ovens at Parker’s, along with its renowned Parker House rolls, but historians flock to the dining room where local and national politicians like John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton have all eaten.
Stop in the longest continuously operating hotel for some of the best New England seafood in town, including Wellfleet oysters and Boston baked scrod (which they have been serving up since 1906). Legend has it the restaurant originated the term scrod as well. Two cultural icons also spent time on the staff here – Ho Chi Minh served as a baker and Malcom Little – a.k.a. Malcolm X – was a busboy. The food is just as good now as it was then. Click here for more information.
One of the easiest ways to get to see the city of Boston is on your own schedule but just how do you know where to go and what sights to see? Audissey Guides offers a free one-hour downloadable tour that will show you a unique side of Boston most tourists never get to see. Some of the narrators include Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of All Souls: a Family Story from Southie, Luigi ‘Big Lou’ DeMarco whose family owns Caffe Graffiti, a local hangout in the North End and Dicky Barrett, lead singer of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. On the one-mile tour, you will be led down secret alleys and hidden paths to uncover the pulse of the real Beantown. On the award-winning audio tour, you will visit the former headquarters of the Boston Mafia, meet a Boston Mayor elected from a jail cell, and sip a cappuccino with locals in the North End. There is a walking map to guide you along the tour route – simply visit the website and download the Zip file of tour and a PDF map.
There are so many great Irish pubs in Boston but when you step outside the city, the options seem to get fewer. The Burren in Somerville is a great place to check out some live Irish music and get some fish and chips while washing it down with a perfectly poured pint of Guinness. The pub features live traditional Irish entertainment seven nights a week. Named after a great rocky expanse in Ireland’s County Clare, The Burren here captures the mythical nature of its namesake with a rich old world feel. Open since January 1996, the pub was founded on a dream shared by two young Irish musicians, Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello. Tommy and Louise began playing together nearly 10 years earlier. Today, the pub serves more than 20 beers on draft, an intimate bar, and private room where wedding receptions have taken place. Visit burren.com for the schedule, menu and information.
Insider’s Tip: On Saturdays and Sundays, there is a brunch menu available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., which features a full Irish breakfast.
Bukowski’s Tavern located just off of bustling Boylston Street and steps from the Prudential Center and Copley Square is not only a popular hangout for college students but a great place to relax, kick back and enjoy a casual night out. This cool bar lacks pretension and formality but makes up with it in character, good food, a large beer menu (featuring over 100 craft brews to be exact) and fun atmosphere. Bukowski’s was named after writer Charles Bukowski, who was as well known for his writings as he was for his drinking. The no-frills bar menu here features hot dogs, fantastic burgers from the basic Barfly to the unique peanut butter burger, which they assure tastes great. After a few drinks and getting acquainted to the bar, you may even surprise yourself when you order up a white trash steak bomb.
BOND just may be the hottest place to grab a cool drink in Boston’s Financial District. Located inside The Langham Hotel, this grand dame encompasses an impressive bar with dramatically high ceilings in a room filled with enormous, countless chandeliers. Boston’s most beautiful club is also filled with some of its most sophisticated people.
Once part of the Federal Reserve Bank, the former Julien restaurant was transformed last year into a hip setting for cosmopolitan dining and drinking. Cocktails such as The Trust, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie & Clyde and Butch Cassidy reflect the storied history of the building.
BOND is a high-end lounge that acts like a nightclub: bottle service is almost mandatory to skip the massive line that curves its way through the hotel’s lobby. A stylish well-heeled 20-something crowd comes here late night to dance and party to the DJ spinning tunes on the balcony, while an after-work 30-plus group can be seen sipping bubbly in the Dom Perignon Lounge or relaxing with a glass of Riesling while noshing on a crock of lobster pot pie or ahi tuna tataki and tartar.
Grab a reservation or make sure to get in early as BOND is one of the most upscale and sought after nightlife destinations in Boston. Check out the website at bondboston.com.
While Fenway Park may be known as one of the smallest stadiums in the major leagues and the oldest major league stadium in current use, it also may be the one with the most history. Originally opened in 1912 in Kenmore Square, the home of the Boston Red Sox has been revamped and expanded in later years to include the Green Monster, the 37-foot-high left-field wall, right field roof, clubhouse with upscale dining and even dugout seating. While there has been talk of replacing the old wooden seats with newer more comfortable ones, die hard fans have continuously voted against the upgrades to preserve the history it is so well known for. Be sure to get your tickets as soon as they go on sale for the season as every game has sold out since May 15, 2003. The whole experience is steeped in tradition – from Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” being sung by fans during the eighth inning, the manual scoreboard to the organ to the Boston-accented hecklers.
Insider’s Tip: Remember, Massachusetts liquor laws are strict; beer vendors do not wander the stands, so you’ll have to get your brew yourself. And bring ID, even if you haven’t needed it in years. Daytime tours of the stadium are also available; see the website for more information. In the summer months, don’t miss the star-studded concerts held here (past performances include The Rolling Stones, The Police and The Dave Matthews Band).
Think Warhol’s Factory Girl without the high drama! Koo de Kir, from the French “Coup de Coeur,” translated to “a strike to the heart,” offers the modern space to show off functional art that would complement any home. The lifestyle shop offers modern home furnishings and accessories designed for the urban lifestyle. Since opening in 1997, this boutique shop has been catering to the city’s biggest trendsetters. Because your home is an expression of who you are, the folks here hope your experience both in the store and on the website “inspires you to think, dream, live laugh and love in an home imbued with a sense of style.” Check out the website at koodekir.com.