The Hub. The Athens of America. City on a Hill. Beantown. Boston has as many nicknames as it has personalities. An absurdly picturesque and deeply historic city dating to 1620, it’s where cobblestone streets meet the latest inventions coming out of the labs at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the American Revolution and the Industrial Revolution in America started, as well as being one of the world’s premier incubators of innovation in medicine, hi-tech and bio-tech. It’s a city of the future that proudly wears the mantle of its past, and all the ensuing contradictions combine to form one of the most layered and dynamic cities in the USA.
Where To Stay In Boston
Travel to Boston – Boston Travel Guide Photo Gallery
Beacon The city’s premier boutique hotel, it’s located a stone’s throw from the iconic gold dome of the Charles Bullfinchdesigned State House, on historic Beacon Hill. Unsurpassed luxury in a landmark, turn-of-the-20th-century Beaux Arts building, this home away from home for Middle Eastern royalty, Hollywood stars and captains of industry also boasts one of the city’s top fine dining establishments, Moo. The richly appointed rooms combine every imaginable amenity with contemporary furnishings that pay homage to classical design. Intimate and understated, it’s like having your own pied-à-terre in a neighbourhood of unparalleled charm. The Four Seasons Boston is about to become one of only eight cities in the world to boast two outposts of the incomparable five-star brand. The original location overlooks the Public Garden – easily one of the prettiest parks in the world – and is home to the Bristol Lounge, the city’s undisputed spot for power breakfasts, lunches and after-work drinks. Keep an eye out for whatever foreign flag is waving over the façade; the country’s president or PM is probably holed up here.
Verb Hotel For the hipster crowd, this mid-century motel has been given a rock ’n roll facelift by the award-winning design team at Elkus Manfredi. Located in the heart of the funky Fenway neighbourhood (and blocks from storied Fenway Park, home of the world champions Boston Red Sox), it boasts a rock ’n roll memorabilia collection curated by local music legend David Bieber and is home to the uber-hip Japanese izikaya (or tavern) Hojoko. Adding to its cool cred is the Flxible serial #8324, a vintage motor bus that hosts live acoustic sets and is available for rent.
What To Do In Boston
The Swan Boats Iconic and unique to Boston, these manpowered boats with giant swans at their stern are a Boston tradition dating back to the 19th century, and the operation is still owned by the same family who started it. The boats ply the placid pond at the centre of the Public Garden, ringed with century-old willow trees, home to ducks and swans, and what is said to be the world’s smallest suspension bridge, the Lagoon Bridge. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum The exceedingly eccentric and outlandish daughter of a 19th-century New York merchant, ‘Mrs Jack’, or ‘Belle’, as she was known, married one of the wealthiest Boston Brahmins. After losing her only child in infancy, she turned her energies to amassing an enormous collection of art and artefacts, ranging from the Renaissance to the Impressionists.
Upon her husband’s death, she fully expected to take his seat on the board of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston’s encyclopaedic art museum, with one of the world’s leading collections of Egyptian and classical antiquities), but when it became clear that the old boys’ club wouldn’t welcome her, she changed her plans. To house her collection, she built a breathtaking Venetian palazzo in what was then an unfashionable part of the city, leaving it as a museum after her death. Truly one of the world’s most impressive and idiosyncratic house museums, it has to be seen to be believed. Boston Public Library America’s first public library, it was formed in the early 19th century through a bequest from an Englishman who had never set foot in the city. In the early 20th century, the famed architecture firm, McKim, Mead and White (designers of Pennsylvania Station and Madison Square Garden in Manhattan), designed the current building, which is adorned with murals and frescoes by John Singer Sargent and sculpture by leading 19th-century sculptors Daniel Chester French and Puvis de Chavannes. The library’s massive collections include rare manuscripts like first editions and early folios of Shakespeare and the personal correspondence of President John Adams, while the interior courtyard is a favourite urban oasis for locals. The super-chic café offers a superb and civilised place for visitors to refuel.
Freedom Trail As the place where the American Revolution began, Boston boasts more than its fair share of historic sites, which are woven together on a walking trail marked by a red brick line that meanders throughout the city’s neighbourhoods. It’s a full day’s undertaking, but a must for anyone interested in the city’s deep and impactful history.
Where To Shop In Boston
The first block of Newbury Street – the city’s answer to New York’s Madison or Fifth Avenue – is home to luxe boutiques Burberry, Chanel, Tiffany, Armani, Akris, Valentino, Dolce&Gabbana, Cartier and Loro Piano. But tucked into the block-long stretch between Arlington and Berkeley streets is the iconoclastic fashion mecca Alan Bilzerian. Carrying men’s and women’s clothing, this is the place to find edgier designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Dries Van Noten and Rick Owens. Further down the street is Riccardi, a family-run emporium of cutting-edge style by the likes of Comme des Garçons and Maison Margiela, and a few more steps lead you to Serenella, selling couture by Roberto Cavalli and Chloe Gosselin couture. Bodega Sneaker freaks from around the world flock to this hole-in-thewall on a nondescript stretch of Massachusetts Avenue near the Berklee College of Music. Upon entering, visitors find themselves in a legit Latino bodega, where you can buy paper towels or a pack of cigarettes. However, if you know which one of the soda cooler doors to open, you will find yourself in a 90m2 emporium of rare and one-of-a-kind sneakers and streetwear. Top-name DJs spin tunes while well-heeled skate punks drop several thousand dollars on limited-edition kicks. Worth visiting just for the visuals.
The acronym stands for South of Washington Avenue, which is deep in the city’s trendy South End neighbourhood. Everything from top art galleries to milliners like Marie Galvin, Latin American home furnishings at Diseno, and unique, beautifully curated jewellery, accessories and art objects at the internationally recognised Patch NYC can be found here. If you’re in the city from 29 April-29 October, explore the outdoor amalgamation of a farmers’ market, artisanal wares, food trucks and local brewers, making it a favourite among the city’s in-crowd.
Where To Eat In Boston
Menton Boston born-and-bred celebrity chef Barbara Lynch has built a mini-restaurant empire, and Menton is her interpretation of fine dining. Located in the formerly bohemian but newly chic Fort Point Channel neighbourhood, it’s pricey but worth every penny. The tasting menu will have even the biggest glutton hitting the mat. Ordering à la carte offers a dizzying selection, but the good news is that you can’t go wrong. Menton gets bonus points for being one of the most understated yet elegant dining rooms in the city. Yvonne’s and Ruka These sister eateries, located blocks away from each other in the Downtown Crossing area, are the brainchildren of partners Christopher Jamison and Mark Malatesta. Yvonne’s, located in the space formerly occupied by the legendary institution Locke-Ober, is a modern take on the supper club concept, with eye-popping, subversive décor, while Ruka is a Peruvian, Japanese and Chinese fusion place that buzzes with activity.
It’s impossible to go wrong with either, but ambitious diners can start their meal at one and finish at the other. Row 34 Boston is famed for its seafood, and the force behind one of the region’s top oyster farms, Island Creek, in the South Shore town of Duxbury, is the genesis of this modern, sophisticated take on a clam shack. The name refers to a variety of oyster cultivated under such specific conditions that they’re available only on a limited basis, but everything else is equally superb at Row 34. Lola 42 The Boston outpost of a wildly popular restaurant on Nantucket – the resort island that wealthy Bostonians flock to in summer – this newly opened restaurant serves everything from sushi to hamburgers, but manages to do it all to perfection. The outdoor patio offers stunning views of Boston Harbour in the city’s newest neighbourhood, the Seaport District, and it has rapidly become the place to see or be seen. Grille 23 & Bar This is Boston’s classic steakhouse, but don’t be fooled by the polished brass and masculine club chairs. From the finest dry-aged beef to the most delicate seafood, this consistently excellent restaurant serves the most bone-chillingly cold martini in the city and boasts a wine list as long as it is impressive. Be sure to check out the giant brass doors in the middle of the block. The former headquarters of the Salada Tea Company, the bas-relief depicts the history of the tea trade, which lined the pockets of the precursors to Boston’s new ruling class.
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