Boston, MA - any local intel?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,818
Location
Hampshire
So, I have a possible visit to Boston in September. Very much not confirmed at this point, but I was wondering if anyone has any local knowledge that would be useful to a UK visitor and a US visitor? (My friend from AZ and I are debating meeting up for a bit of sight-seeing - and neither of us has been to Boston before).

What's a good way to "get to know" the city?
Where's a good location for a hotel base? (We won't have a car so would like to be within walking distance of at least a few interesting places) - is Uber a good option for taxis? (It worked well for us in Philly.)
Any "must see" places for people who like history, and green spaces and boat trips?

And of course, is there a Boston food "speciality" that we should try while we are there? (I have a feeling "chowder" may arise here, but for me, it would have to be a vegetarian version or something that didn't involve clams!)

We are totally going to be tourists so will want to do the usual touristy things, but anything naff we should avoid?

Oh, and if this goes ahead it is likely to be just a long weekend - Friday to Monday. So, very much city-based.

Any thoughts and tips appreciated!
 
Last edited:
Local knowledge is exactly what I'm after! But no rush at all - if it happens, it won't be til some time in September.
 
I used to go to Boston, years ago, on business.

I always stayed in the Faneuil Hall area at the old Boston Omni Parker House Hotel.

The hotel is located near several historic sites and the State Street subway station. The ParkerHouse is old and definitely not glamorous but it was convenient for me and, at the time, a bit less expensive than some of the other fine hotels in the area.


Boston is a great city and well worth the visit but it is definitely a bit spendy by my standards.

Keep us posted on your plans!
 
Last edited:
Thanks Aunt Bea. I've always wanted to visit Boston. I really hope this visit happens - it all depends on my friend - her employment situation is in a bit of a tricky state and she won't know for sure what is happening for another month or so. However, she is just as keen to visit Boston as I am. (Friends for 14 years and I didn't know this - who knew?) So I don't want to get my hopes up too soon, but on the other hand, no harm in finding out about the city from people who have first hand experience!
 
It's actually BAH-Stun. And often we dont pronounce R's (pahk yer cah) but, strangely, add them to words that end with A (Toyater car)

Lets start with where to stay. I'd suggest the Park Plaza or the hotels in Copley Sq. -- Westin and Marriott. Easy to walk to lots of things plus on the Green Line subway. Not that our subway system is that great anymore but the Green line goes to lots of places and connects easily. The Parker House is in an uninteresting location, IMO, and has gone way downhill in the past few years. I think they even closed their restaurant.

From these hotels you can explore Back Bay/Newbury St/Prudential so lots of good eating spots and shopping and Eataly. But also you can head the other way and walk to the Public Garden, Boston Common, the State House, the Freedom Trail, and cool little cemetaries where famous people are buried (Paul Revere, John Hancock)

If you like historical stuff, there is lots to see here. I'd suggest the Freedom Trail. The whole thing is a long walk but you see A LOT of stuff. Individually you can visit the State House, Old Ironsides, The Old North Church, Paul Revere's House, Bunker Hill, etc.

The Kennedy Library is very interesting, but it's by my house and not on public transportation but an easy cab or Uber.

Boston is a city of neighborhoods. It will be hard for you to see many of them but Beacon Hill is old and beautiful. The North End is mostly Italian and still a pretty interesting walk-around. Lots of shops, meh resaurants and tourists. The Old North Church is in the middle of it. Back Bay has interesting shopping and eataly and good eats. Beyond Boston, Cambridge is right next door. A walk around HAH-VAHD YAHD is always fun.

Places not to go to: Legal Seafood, Union Oyster House, Faneuil Hall

I use Uber and Lyft all the time. Generally more reliable and cheaper that taxis. Very easy to use.

More later
 
Last edited:
Wow, loads to digest there jennyema! Thanks so much!

Anything to know about getting from the airport to whatever hotel we book?

Also, a UK friend recommended visiting the Mapparium - which is inside the Christian Science Library - is that worth a visit? He said it would only take about 30 minutes. It's a long time since he visited. Is it still there?
 
Last edited:
You can take the subway from the airport and, depending on where you stay, they have a water taxi that can be fun for a visitor.

I’m not sure how long you plan to stay in Boston but it might make sense to spend a couple nights in each of two or three different hotels so you can easily explore different areas of the city.
 
You can take the subway from the airport and, depending on where you stay, they have a water taxi that can be fun for a visitor.

I’m not sure how long you plan to stay in Boston but it might make sense to spend a couple nights in each of two or three different hotels so you can easily explore different areas of the city.
I'm up for a water taxi!

We're only there for a long weekend Aunt Bea, so won't be swapping hotels.
 
DH and I spent a long weekend in Boston about 20 years ago. We stayed in a B&B in an old house in a beautiful neighborhood. I don't remember the name of the neighborhood, unfortunately. It was just outside the city center and we took a bus downtown. We did the Freedom Trail, ending up at an Italian restaurant in the North End. I had lobster ravioli for the first time during that trip and it was spectacular. Maybe jennyema can suggest a place to get that.

I hope it works out for you!
 
Thanks GG. The Freedom Trail seems like a "must do". And Jennyema's "cool little cemetaries" is a definite too!
 
Wow, loads to digest there jennyema! Thanks so much!

Anything to know about getting from the airport to whatever hotel we book?

Also, a UK friend recommended visiting the Mapparium - which is inside the Christian Science Library - is that worth a visit? He said it would only take about 30 minutes. It's a long time since he visited. Is it still there?
Mappararium. Yes! And if you stay in Copley Sq it’s a 6-8 block walk. Very close to the Prudential Center and the rest of Back Bay. Also, come to think of it, 8 blocks from Fenway Park where the Red Sox play.

It’s very weird and cool. It’s part of the Christian Science Center, which includes the Mother Church and the Christian Science Monitor.

The transport from the airport depends on where you are staying and your $. And your tolerance for annoyance. Because yes you can take the subway from the airport but it requires lots of time and transfers.

More on food later
 
If I remember correctly, we used to get a transport bus from the airport to our hotels. There was also a limousine service to certain hotels that was very cheap if not free. My cheeky ex would use those, be dropped off at the hotel, walk thru the lobby and out another door to his hotel near by.
 
Update: So, having done some research (which I should have done before getting too excited about visiting the US this year), it seems hotel prices have sky-rocketed since my last visit! My friend is in a work situation which means she cannot commit to anything yet. The latest possibility is actually a yacht (it's basically a caravan (or Winnebago) on water.) Still not cheap. I suggested it to my friend as a sort of joke as I thought she would dismiss it out of hand, but she didn't. Could be fun!
 
I hadn't really paid that much attention Jennyema, and now it doesn't matter (at least not this year) as we have postponed. My friend's work situation is too volatile for her to be able to commit to anything for the rest of this year. (Neither of us was really 100% convinced about the boat option to be honest.) Hopefully I can find this thread next year and revisit the plans!
 

Latest posts

Back
Top Bottom