I believe I may officially have a new favorite American city – Boston, Massachusetts. After returning from my long weekend in the city about a month ago, I already find myself daydreaming about my next trip back! I’ve fallen hard for Boston and I could easily list dozens of reasons for you to fall in love with the city, but for now I’ll stick with seven (at least in this post)…
7 Reasons to Fall in Love with Boston:
1. The North End
One thing I miss most about my hometown, Milwaukee, is an abundance of good, authentic Italian food. Unlike Atlanta, Boston is not lacking in delicious Italian eateries. In fact, the North End boasts 122 Italian restaurants within a half mile! If this sounds like heaven to you, it is. I ate in the North End three out of my four nights in Boston, and I was so glad I did (or, at least I was until I stepped on the scale)… I had fabulous meals at Carmen, Strega and Bricco and would recommend all three establishments to you.
As if the pasta isn’t enough, I’d recommend you save room for a trip to Limoncello to sample it’s namesake – homemade limoncello (although their food looked amazing too). Also, no trip to the North End would be complete without sampling a world-class cannoli from the famous Mike’s Pastry.
2. Boston Public Gardens
Have you ever seen a park so gorgeous? Wow. The gardens blew me away. Tulips, swans, (swan boats!) and street musicians… Without a doubt, if I lived in Boston I would find myself strolling through this lovely plot of land on a regular basis.
3. Sam Adam’s Brewery
Suffice to say, I am NO stranger to brewery tours, but a FREE brewery tour? Score. Given the fact that the tour (and beer) was free, I didn’t have super high expectations and questioned whether the trip out to the brewery would be worth it. However, I must say, the tour (and witty tour guide) was surprisingly educational and entertaining, and I ended up having a great time. (Oh, and did I mention that the tour ends with free beer)?
After the tour, follow the guide’s directions to Doyle’s Cafe (which was the brewery’s first account when it first opened) for more beer drinking and merrymaking with friendly Bostonians.
4. The Historical Freedom Trail
The best thing about Boston is the city’s rich American history, so the Freedom Trail is a must-see. Seriously. Even if you don’t consider yourself a history buff, I’d be surprised if you didn’t find the 16 stops along the 2.5 mile route interesting. Make sure not to miss the Granary Burying Ground, the Old State House and Faneuil Hall.
While walking the Freedom Trail, you’re bound to work up an appetite, so take a break and grab a snack at Union Oyster House, a Boston institution since 1826. Snag a seat at the small, but historic horseshoe shaped “slanted” oyster bar where you’ll get a front seat to watch oysters being shucked and served. (You’ll be amazed at how the oyster bartenders are able to prop up your plates – and even bowls of their famous clam chowder – so that they don’t slide off the slanted bar and into your lap).
5. “Tourist Traps” That Don’t Disappoint
Don’t get me started on the popular “tourist versus traveler” debate. If you aren’t from the city you’re visiting, then you’re a tourist. (Period). And, because you’re a tourist, sometimes it’s okay to indulge and do “touristy” things. And, Boston has plenty of options. I’d recommend a pilgrimage out to Fenway Park, a harbor cruise or a ducks tour. Not sure what a “duck” is? It’s an amphibious vehicle that drives on land and turns into a boat of sorts on the water. The tour allows you to get an overview of the city from the streets and the Charles River. (Make sure to zealously waive your hand when the driver/tour guide asks for volunteers to drive the duck and be sure to “quack” loudly when passing other vehicles).
6. City Views
I’m a sucker for a great view and Boston has a spectacular skyline! Plus, there are so many gorgeous places to photograph the city from. Notably, from out on the water or from the Top of the Hub, a swank restaurant on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower. Top of the Hub’s view and ambiance didn’t disappoint, but I would recommend that you make a reservation so you won’t have to stand in the lengthy weekend line to gain access into the restaurant or lounge bar.
7. The Taj Boston
While in Boston, I chose to stay at the beautiful, historic Taj Boston. Although I’m a simple Midwestern girl at heart, it’s undeniable that I happen to enjoy the finer things in life… and the Taj is undoubtedly one of the finest hotels in Boston (or, even perhaps in the country). The Taj is situated on the prestigious corner of Arlington and Newbury Street – right in the heart of the city’s luxury shopping district and overlooking the picturesque Public Garden.
The hotel and rooms are stunning with classic and luxe decor. Spring for a Park View room and you won’t be disappointed – my nose was practically glued to my window staring at this view from my room:
Everything about my stay at The Taj Boston was sheer perfection. From the hotel’s convenient location to the quality of the rooms, food and service (notably, the concierge who was not only knowledgeable and helpful, but had me bent over with laughter). My only complaint is that I booked an early flight home causing me to miss out on the Taj’s ultra-popular rooftop Sunday champagne brunch. If five star, classic opulence is your style, (and how could it not be?) you’ll adore your stay at the Taj as much as I did!
Have you been to Boston? What else would you add to this list?
Although I was a guest of the Taj Boston, my opinions (and adoration for the hotel’s luxury and refinement) are all my own!
Photo Credits: Taj Rooftop Brunch photo courtesy of Taj Boston, City View photo courtesy of Boston local, Chris McDonnell of Pipefitters Union Local 537, whom I had the pleasure of meeting while in Boston. Header CC image credit from Flickr: Skyline Boston by Rene Schwietzke.