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Nelson's Best of Boston

Page history last edited by msearl@... 9 years, 5 months ago

Nelson’s Best of Boston 

Summer 2008 edition (© Aaron Nelson) 

 

Local Strolling 

 

Freedom Trail www.thefreedomtrail.org The ultimate Revolutionary War stroll through history. 

From Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument, it’s a bit of a schlep. You don’t have to do the 

whole thing. But a great way to see the city. Just follow the red brick road…. 

 

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway www.rosekennedygreenway.org/ What the Big Dig hath 

wrought. The Central Artery/Tunnel Project, better known as “The Big Dig,” was the most 

expensive roadway construction project in the history of the planet with the single exception of 

the US interstate highway system. Breaking ground in 1991 with a projected budget of $2.8 Billion, 

the marathon pork-barrel extravaganza ended up taking 16 years and $14.6 Billion to complete. 

Hundreds of leaks in the newly constructed tunnels will provide ongoing employment for 

construction workers and lawyers for the next century. But the good news is, I can get from 

Newton Center to Logan in 9 minutes and there is a very pleasant urban park space on the ribbon 

of land that was once covered by a hideous elevated roadway.  

 

Boston Harbor Walk www.bostonharborwalk.com/ The segment from the North End to Rowe’s 

Wharf is a beautiful walk for a sunny day or a cool evening. You will amble along all manner of 

wharf (I’m pretty sure this phrase has never been uttered or written before) and end up sipping a 

cool one on the upscale veranda of the Boston Harbor Hotel.  

 

Beacon Hill www.beaconhillonline.com Boston Brahmin-ville. Bust an ankle on ancient 

cobblestone streets. Plus dozens of antique shops and unique cafes lining Charles Street, the 

thoroughfare dividing the “flat part of the hill” from “the hill part of the hill” – you’ll see what I 

mean when you’re there. Here’s a hint – Do not go to Cheers - it’s dopey - Do slide into a booth at 

The Sevens, order a Guinness, and throw some “dahts.”  

 

Newbury Street www.newbury-st.com Unabashed couture consumerism. Shop ‘til you drop 

among the Beautiful People. If you can think of a major European style house, we got it right heah 

in Bahston. Pick up a purse at Marc Jacobs for $2400, sunglasses at Chanel for $650, and a pair of 

socks at Louis Boston for $275. Grab an espresso al fresco at Croma and you are ready for your 

close-up.  

 

Boston Public Garden www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org Bucolic setting with pathways 

gracefully winding around flower gardens. The Swan Boats are here. Family photo op. Great place 

for a picnic or sipping an iced latte.  

 

Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com The original Boston Market 

Place circa 1742. Somehow manages to succeed despite being hugely touristy and franchise-y. I 

think it’s because of all the bars and the authentic buildings… mainly the bars. In the old days 

(1970s), The Black Rose had a special tip jar to fund “humanitarian aid for our IRA brethren”. Fun 

place for a nighttime pub crawl – edgy carnival atmosphere fueled by Sam Adams and subtly hostile 

street entertainers. You will be targeted if you wear shorts with white sneakers and white socks. 

Fun fact – yours truly played in the outdoor rock concert series launching the newly reconstructed 

venue in the summer of 1976… or was it 1975?  

 

Charles River Esplanade 

www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/metroboston/charlesR.htm If you’re a runner itching for a warm-up for 

next year’s Marathon, run the bridges. There are lots of them spanning the Charles from 

Watertown to the Science Museum. There’s even a website 

(www.angio.net/personal/run/river.htm) that gives you mileages for each and every bridge 

combination. Or rent a bicycle and take a spin. But if you’re just looking for a stroll, hop on the 

Esplanade (you’ll have to get over or across Storrow Drive) and walk along the river. You can also 

walk the river on the Cambridge side, which affords a fine view of Beacon Hill and the city skyline.  

 

Harvard Square (Cambridge) www.harvardsquare.com/ Epicenter of the People’s Republic of 

Cambridge. Well, at least it used to be. But despite a Gap, Starbucks, and Bertucci’s there are still 

a zillion great little places to shop and dine. Not to mention the beckoning ivy covered walls of 

Harvard Yard. 

 

Back Bay Beginning at Copley Square, pay a visit to the Boston Public Library, largest municipal 

public library in the United States. Take a shortcut through the Copley Place Mall, and hold on to 

your wallet for dear life as you pass Jimmy Choo. End up at the Christian Science Center Plaza, 

home to the tremendous mother church and world headquarters of Christian Scientists. The 

reflecting pool and fountain are a peaceful place to sunbathe and unwind after a long day on your 

feet.  

 

Arnold Arboretum www.arboretum.harvard.edu/ You want to see some trees? We got’em! The 

oldest public tree garden in the US. Extensive pathways winding through gorgeous parkland. 

Admission is free.  

 

The Minuteman Bikeway www.minutemanbikeway.og Despite the information on the 

website, you can begin cycling in Davis Square (Somerville) and continue west to through part of 

Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford. I like to pedal into Bedford and have lunch at the 

counter at Whole Foods. Then turn around and cycle back to Davis Square, ending the trip back in 

David Square with a scoop of Negative Chip at JP Licks. Round trip is probably around 26 miles.  

 

Local Tours 

 

Boston by Foot www.bostonbyfoot.org/tours  

Boston by Little Feet (Freedom Trail)  

Victorian Back Bay Walking Tour 

Heart of the Freedom Trail 

Beacon Hill 

North End 

Literary Landmarks 

 

Boston Duck Tours www.bostonducktours.com You will look foolish shuttling around the city in 

a WWII amphibious landing vehicle. But it is fun to plunge into the Charles River, the drivers are 

“zany”, and your (little) kids will like it.  

 

Fenway Park www.boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/ballpark/tour.jsp Tour the shrine. Home of the 

2004, 2007, and 2008 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. See Yawkey Way, The Green Monster, 

and the fabled manual scoreboard.  

 

The Swan Boats in the Boston Public Garden www.swanboats.com A quintessential 

Boston experience. The line can be long, the ride brief and anticlimactic, but what the heck – it’s 

just one of those things you have to do so you can cross it off the list.  

 

Museums 

 

Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) www.mfa.org/ Great permanent collections with an excellent 

slate of scheduled exhibitions. The café/restaurant is also decent.  

 

Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum www.minutemanbikeway.org Three floors of galleries 

surrounding a gorgeous inner courtyard. Site of the largest art theft in US history (1990). Pick up a 

cool $5 Million if you can solve the heist.  

 

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) www.icaboston.org/ Newest addition to the Boston 

arts scene, located in the developing Seaport district. Great looking building housing unique 

collection of unusual pieces and installations. Wolfgang Puck café.  

 

Museum of Science www.mos.org/ Great stuff for kids and adults. Immense. Houses the 

Hayden Planetarium. Laser rock shows, and an IMAX Theater.  

 

New England Aquarium www.neaq.org/ The seals are awesome. If you’re too lazy to visit in 

person, check out the giant ocean tank over the internet via live webcam and wonder how all the 

cute fishies coexist with huge killer sharks.  

 

JFK Library www.jfklibrary.org See JFK’s rocking chair, and a huge building full of presidential 

memorabilia, set amidst a panoramic view of Dorchester Bay and the South Boston coastline.  

 

MIT Museum www.mit.edu/museum So this is what those geeks across the river do in their spare 

time. Very cool exhibits with lasers, holograms, kinetic sculptures, robots, and far-out scientific 

gizmos.  

 

Boston Children’s Museum www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org Here’s one strictly for the kids. 

Hands-on fun and “educational” all at the same time 

 

USS Constitution www.ussconstitution.navy.mil Old Ironsides – our nation’s oldest 

commissioned warship. You will not believe that 450 sailors slept in those tiny hanging hammocks. 

After taking the tour, ably led by current US Navy sailors, stroll around the Charlestown Navy Yard 

and check out the chic condominiums, not to mention the MGH/Harvard/MIT Martinos Center for 

Biomedical Imaging. This is where fMRI was invented.  www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu 

 

Decordova Museum and Sculpture Park (Lincoln MA) www.decordova.org/ An out-of-town 

gem, a few minutes away from Walden Pond (www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/walden) 

 

Franklin Park Zoo www.franklinparkzoo.org/ The San Diego Zoo it ain’t, but we do have 

gorillas and butterflies.  

 

Harvard University Museums www.harvard.edu/museums/ 

Busch-Reisinger Museum (arts of Central and Northern Europe) 

Fogg Art Museum (Western art, Middle Ages-present: Italian early Renaissance, British pre-Raphaelite, 19th cent French) 

Sackler Museum (ancient, Islamic, Asian, and later Indian art) 

Straus Center for Conservation 

Harvard Museum of Natural History 

Arnold Arboretum (Beautiful parkland tree garden in Jamaica Plain) 

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology 

Semitic Museum 

Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard Medical School (Anyone want to see Phineas Gage’s skull?) 

 

Some other places of note 

 

Adams National Historical Park www.nps.gov/adam You’ve seen the miniseries; now see the 

real deal.  

 

Longfellow house www.nps.gov/long Very cool shutters, chimneys, and clapboards. Amazing to 

think how much writing this guy got done with all of the maintenance his house must have 

required.  

 

Louisa May Alcott www.louisamayalcott.org For all you diehard Little Women fanatics out 

there.  

 

Thoreau's Walden Pond www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/walden/ He was into breaking the law (civil 

disobedience), isolation, and living in the woods. Reaching for my DSM-IV and thumbing through 

the Axis II disorders………..Seriously, take a trot around the Pond and keep an eye out for a ring of 

keys I lost there in 1985. If you find them, you can drive away in the rusting 1974 Toyota Corolla I 

left in the parking lot 23 years ago. If the weather is warm, bring a suit and take a plunge 

alongside the townies from Concord.  

 

Trustees of Reservations www.thetrustees.org/ A fabulous collection of properties located 

all around Massachusetts, notable for beauty and history. 

 

Massachusetts Audubon Society www.massaudubon.org/ More than birds. 

 

Minute Man National Park www.nps.gov/mima/ Walk or bicycle through the countryside that 

hosted the opening battle for the birth of our nation. It’s bucolic and real old.  

 

The Ten Best Movies filmed in Boston 

 

If you want to get into a Boston frame-of-mind before your visit, check out… 

 

1. The Departed (Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, Mark 

Wahlberg, Martin Sheen)  

2. Mystic River (Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon) 

3. Good Will Hunting (Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Robin Williams) 

4. Blown Away (Tommy Lee Jones and Jeff Bridges) 

5. The Verdict (Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, and Jack Warden) 

6. A Civil Action (John Travolta and Robert DuVall)  

7. Fever Pitch (Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore) 

8. 21 (Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey) 

9. Gone Baby Gone (Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris) 

 

10. And perhaps the greatest story ever told - Reverse of the Curse of the 

Bambino (starring the 2004 Boston Red Sox) 

 

Speaking of the Boston Red Sox www.redsox.mlb.com.  This is a tough ticket – as 

of this writing there have been 388 consecutive sellouts at Fenway. But if you have 

any sense of history and you want your life to be complete, suck it up and do what 

has to be done. www.aceticket.com, www.stubhub.com, or www.razorgator.com. 

For the truly wild at heart, trot on down to Brookline Ave around 20 minutes before 

game time and enter the marketplace of the moment. Just remember, when 

someone says, “Do you have any tickets?” What he REALLY means is “Do you WANT 

any tickets?” It’s a legal thing. Just play along and it’ll be fine. But you didn’t hear 

it from me.  

 

Golf in Boston 

 

Franklin Park – 2nd oldest public US course www.sterlinggolf.com/franklin 

George Wright – Hyde Park/Roslindale www.georgewrightgolfcourse.com/ 

 

Golf within an hour or less 

 

• Atlantic Country Club (Plymouth MA) www.atlanticcountryclub.com 

• Blackstone National (Sutton MA) www.blackstonegolfclub.com 

• Cyprian Keys (Boylston MA) www.cypriankeyes.com 

• Granite Links (Quincy MA) www.granitelinksgolfclub.com 

• Maplegate (Bellingham MA) www.maplegate.com 

• New England Country Club (Bellingham MA) www.newenglandcountryclub.com 

• Old Scotland Links (Bridgewater MA) www.oldescotlandlinks.com 

• Pine Hills (Plymouth MA) www.pinehillsgolf.com 

• Red Tail (Devens MA) www.redtailgolf.net 

• Sandy Burr (Wayland MA) www.sandyburr.com 

• Shaker Hills (Harvard MA) www.shakerhills.com 

• Stow Acres (Stow MA) www.shakerhills.com 

• Waverly Oaks (Plymouth MA) www.waverlyoaksgolfclub.com 

• Widow’s Walk (Scituate MA) www.widowswalkgolf.com 

 

And for the hyperkinetic thrill-seeker… No trip to Boston is complete 

without a visit to The New York Trapeze School!!! www.boston.trapezeschool.com/  

 

Restaurants 

 

Back Bay 

Davios www.davios.com/  

Great Italian and you could run into Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen 

Abe and Louie’s www.abeandlouies.com/  

A consistent contender for the title of best steakhouse in Boston. 

Grill 23 and Bar www.grill23.com/ 

The upscale and grand interior is only outdone by the melt-in-your-mouth filet.  

Eastern Standard www.easternstandardboston.com  

Great casual place for dinner or drinks in Kenmore Square – just down the 

street from Fenway Park 

The Capital Grille www.thecapitalgrille.com/Locations/Boston 

Legal Seafoods www.legalseafoods.com/ (multiple locations) 

Continues to excel despite transition to franchise. The dysfunctional family back 

story is Boston legend.  

Skipjack’s www.skipjacks.com 

The fish is fresh and the martinis are potent 

L’Espalier www.lespalier.com/ 

One of the more refined and romantic restaurants in Boston. Jacket 

recommended.  

Sonsie www.sonsieboston.com/  

Parish Café  

Serving a plethora of sandwiches designed by local chefs. 

 

The North End 

 Mamma Marias www.mammamaria.com/ 

Tucked away in a beautiful townhouse, it’s a tasty northern Italian hideaway from 

the droves of tourists on Hanover Street.  

 Pizzeria Regina – The Original (11½ Thatcher Street, North End) 

www.polcaris.com/Regina/history.htm  

Light and crunchy crust, plump tomatoes, gooey cheese…it’s amore!  

 Café Vittoria www.vittoriacaffe.com/ 

  Have a cannoli and a cappuccino with some of “our friends” 

 Café Pompei 

An equally good option for an after dinner espresso and pastry. By the way, just 

because you see a blinged out, 2008 Escalade double parked on Hanover Street does 

NOT mean that YOU can double park on Hanover Street. Know what I mean?  

Prezza www.prezza.com/ 

  My personal favorite. Bring your wallet and enjoy.  

 Monica’s Restaurant/Trattoria www.monicasfoods.com/  

 Artu www.artuboston.com/  

 Assagio www.assaggioboston.com/  

Dine a few doors down from #98, the former home of the North End “Social Club,” 

where the Feds wiretapped Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo in the early 1980s, heralding 

the demise of the New England mob.  

Bacco www.bacconorthend.com/  

 The veal Florentine is like-a you Momma made 

Lucca www.luccaboston.com/  

 Great place on Hanover Street – heart of the North End.  

 

Faneuil Hall/Financial District 

 Ivy Restaurant www.ivyrestaurantgroup.com/  

Italian tapas: the perfect solution for those of us who are always tempted to order 

more than one dish of pasta. 

Union Oyster House www.unionoysterhouse.com/ 

Dark, creaky, and pricey… a Boston classic.  

 Wagamama www.wagamama.us/  

  Funky and innovative Asian fusion food in a minimalist setting.  

 Ruth’s Chris www.ruthschris.com/  

  The setting is almost as good as the steak – the original Boston City Hall 

 Locke Ober www.lockeober.com  

  The definitive Brahmin dining experience. Hugely expensive. 

 

South End 

Hammersley’s Bistro (South End) www.hamersleysbistro.com 

 Casual and elegant. The outdoor tables provide a good station for people watching 

Tremont 647 www.tremont647.com 

 Have a couple great martinis and you won’t mind the close quarters 

Sibling Rivalry www.siblingrivalryboston.com/ 

Two chef brothers. Two dueling menus. Too delicious. 

 Union Bar and Grille www.unionrestaurant.com/home/  

 

Beacon Hill 

 Pierrot Bistro Francais www.pierrotbistrot.com/  

  Vive la France! 

 Lala Rokh www.lalarokh.com/  

  The best Persian food in the Colonies  

75 Chestnut www.75chestnut.com/  

  Great neighborhood bar to have a bite and watch the game  

The Paramount www.paramountboston.com/pages/home.html  

 Upscale cafeteria. Great for breakfast 

 Figs www.toddenglish.com/  

  Famous chef Todd English does pizza. 

 

Chinatown 

 New Jumbo Seafood www.newjumboseafoodrestaurant.com 

 See the fish swimming around in the tank as you enter?  Eat it 20 minutes later. 

Have a craving for Yu Hsiang Scallop at 1:00 AM?  

Chau Chow City  

  Fabulous dim sum brunch, try the calamari. Open until 4AM.  

 China Pearl www.chinapearlrestaurant.com/  

  Perennial contender for Best of Boston 

 

Waterfront/Seaport 

 Sel de la Terre www.seldelaterre.com 

  Great French bistro around the corner from the Aquarium. Crusty bread 

Boston Harbor Hotel (Waterfront) www.bhh.com 

Have a drink in the outdoor café on the waterfront. Tables can be hard to come by 

and the food is mediocre and overpriced; but you can’t beat the view  

 Barking Crab www.barkingcrab.com/  

  Max casual. Outdoor, picnic tables right alongside the channel. Fresh seafood.  

 Chart House www.chart-house.com/loc-boston.html  

Located in the building that once housed John Hancock’s office. The view is special; 

the seafood is fair.  

No-Name Restaurant  

On the Boston Fish Pier – where all the boats unload. From George’s Bank to your 

tummy in no time flat. Cheap and FRESH. The Seafood Chowder is a meal in itself.  

 Legal Test Kitchen www.ltkbarandkitchen.com/site/ 

Wanna’ be a guinea pig for one of the premiere seafood purveyors in New England? 

Here’s your chance. This place is SUPPOSED to be experimental. Marvel at the 

latest in food service technology. Eventually, an avatar will custom prepare the 

perfect meal for you, based on an instantaneous analysis of your breath and body 

composition. In the mean time, don’t complain if the waiter steers you toward 

something that sounds weird. Just go with the flow and keep thinking about the 

contribution you’re making for gastronomical science.  

Morton’s Steakhouse www.mortons.com/  

  If you insist on going against the seafood grain, get a steak here.   

 

Charlestown 

Olives www.toddenglish.com It’s Todd English’s world; we’re just eating in it.  

Warren Tavern www.warrentavern.com  

The oldest tavern in the Bay State. Circa 1780. This place IS history. The décor is 

authentic colonial, Sam Adams is on tap, and the food is positively revolting. Paul 

Revere was regularly tossed out on Thursday nights for rowdiness. 

 Tangierino www.tangierino.com/  

  Relax with a hookah in the Casbah Lounge.  

 

Cambridge 

Rialto www.rialto-restaurant.com  

Italian swankitude in Harvard Square? Yes! In the Charles Hotel. Continue the 

swankfest at the jazzy Regattabar, a few steps away. 

Casablanca www.casablanca-restaurant.com/  

Per the website: Is it the mildly exotic atmosphere? The enticing Mediterranean 

cuisine? The chance to tipple at the bar elbow-to-elbow with a nuclear physicist, a 

poet, or the next Kanye West? Who knows? Visit and find out. 

East Coast Grill www.eastcoastgrill.net/  

Try the Extremely Hot Crispy Hell Bone if you dare 

Craigie Street Bistrot www.craigiestreetbistrot.com/  

They’re not kidding when they call this place “A hidden gem.” An inside source 

tells me CSB was recently rated The Number 1 Restaurant in the World!  The food 

is truly delectable; good luck finding it.  

Harvest www.harvestcambridge.com/  

A Harvard Square institution. Cool, relaxing, and elegant. The food is expensive but 

very good. Dine al fresco weather permitting. It’s transcendent.  

Upstairs on the Square www.upstairsonthesquare.com/  

Lots of Harvard professorial types getting plastered at the bar. The pizza is tasty 

and the desserts are yummy. A bit on the pricey side – but what the hey…   

 Oleana www.oleanarestaurant.com  

Award winning venue for major foodies. Voted one of the best alfresco dining 

experiences in town.  

 

Coffee, Tea, and Dessert 

  

Mike’s Pastry (North End) www.mikespastry.com/  

  Possibly the best cannoli west of the Mediterranean. 

 flour bakery + café (South End and Waterfront) www.flourbakery.com/  

  The hazelnut-almond dacquoise should be illegal  

Trident Booksellers (Back Bay) www.tridentbookscafe.com/  

  Crème Brulee and The Paris Review 

Finale (multiple locations) www.finaledesserts.com/  

  Outrageous sweets 

 Tealuxe (multiple locations) www.tealuxe.com/  

 

Cheap and Quick Eats 

  

Boloco (multiple locations) www.boloco.com/  

  A local chain serving up hot burritos and cold fruit smoothies 

Steve’s Greek Cuisine (Back Bay) 

 No frills dining, but they make a mean falafel.  

 The Upper Crust (multiple locations) www.theuppercrustpizzeria.com 

  Thin crust pizza – cheap and tasty! 

 Deluca’s Market (Back Bay and Beacon Hill) www.delucasmarket.com 

Get your sandwich to go at the Beacon Hill location and picnic on the Common. The 

ducks will be happy to eat any leftover crumbs. 

 

Nightclubs and Bars 

 

Kenmore/Fenway/Lansdowne Street 

 Foundation Lounge www.thefoundationlounge.com/  

  Sophisticated and upscale.. You get the vibe  

Game On www.gameonboston.com/  

A favorite haunt for Sox players. It’s literally built into Fenway Park – so what 

would you expect? Jonathon Papelbon may have debuted his signature dance here 

after one too many Harpoon IPAs.  

 Cask N’ Flagon www.casknflagon.com/  

Steps from Fenway Park, the outdoor patio is a landing zone for Manny Ramirez 

home runs over the Green Monster in left field.  

Tequila Rain www.tequilarainboston.com/  

Spring Break 52 weeks a year. This one was recommended by Erin and Aly, 20- 

something Neuropsy techs. I know nothing.  

 

Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall/Waterfront 

 Ned Devine’s Irish Pub www.neddevinesboston.com/neddevines/  

Somehow they managed to combine the words “upscale” and “Irish pub” in one 

sentence. Accurately.  

Hard Rock Café www.hardrock.com   

  Newly re-opened 

 Bell in Hand Tavern www.bellinhand.com/  

  Karaoke and fistfights. The entertainment is nonstop.  

 The Black Rose www.irishconnection.com/index.php?id=41  

  Authentic Irish food, traditional Irish music, and non-stop Irish attitude.  

Tia’s www.tiasboston.com/  

  The expansive outdoor patio is always packed, but worth the wait. 

 The Sail Loft 

The wooden paneling and brass fixtures are reminiscent of a ship’s cabin, complete 

with a deck overlooking the harbor. More than one weary “sailor” has pitched into 

the brine after a few too many tankards of grog. Inquire about the availability of 

life jackets while you’re still thinking clearly.  

 

South End 

 The Beehive www.beehiveboston.com/  

Live jazz and a casually hip atmosphere 

 Pho Republique www.phorepublique.net/  

The décor would make Walt Disney proud. Gigantic brass gongs, weathered 

floorboards and incredible coconut martinis.  

 

Back Bay 

 Vox Populi www.voxboston.com/  

10 

 The people speak. The people eat. The people imbibe.  

Lir WDNNSW (We don’t need no steenking website!) 

A classic Irish pub with plenty of local brews on tap. The space is tight and it can 

get LOUD 

 Saint www.saintnitery.com/  

  An interesting space. Now I know what a “Bed-Pod” is.  

 Gypsy Bar www.gypsybarboston.com/  

  Frequented by celebs and trendsetters; a place to see and be seen 

Cuffs at Jury’s Hotel http://bostonhotels.jurysdoyle.com/jurys_boston/RESTAURANTBAR  

Located in the former Boston Police Headquarters. Find Whitey Bulger’s initials 

carved into one of the tables and win a “Get out of jail forever” card.  

 

Beacon Hill 

 Harvard Gardens www.harvardgardens.com/  

BB and N? Nobles? Phillips Andover? A haven for prep school grads of all ages. Try 

the vodka infused pineapple martini. 

 Alibi www.alibiboston.com/  

Located in the Liberty Hotel, this jail turned swanky bar maintains much of its 

original architecture. Some say that you can see the ghosts of inmates past 

reflected in your wine glass… 

The Sevens WDNNSW 

 A Beacon Hill Institution. Very few touristas. Slide into a booth and order a Black 

and Tan.  

Bin 26 Enoteca www.bin26.com/  

The walls are papered in wine labels at this cozy connoisseur’s hangout. 

21st Amendment www.21stboston.com  

Prohibition bites the dust. Half of Boston becomes unemployed. Raise a glass, 

brothers and sisters.  

 

Financial District 

 Revolution Rock Bar www.revolutionrockbar.com/  

  Boston’s sexiest rock bar? I live in Newton so I’ll take your word for it.  

 Radius www.radiusrestaurant.com  

  Upscale 

 Blu www.blurestaurant.com/  

  In the LA Sports Club. Eat healthy and drink martinis – all at the same time. Then 

hit the gym for a cardio burn class. Shower. Repeat.  

 

Leather District/Chinatown/Theater District 

 Felt www.feltclubboston.com/  

  Billiards and beautiful people.  

 The Estate www.theestateboston.com/home.htm  

  Join the hottest people in the city as we sweat. Kind of says it all.  

 

Cambridge/Somerville 

 Regattabar www.regattabarjazz.com  

Upscale jazz venue in Harvard Square 

Ryles www.rylesjazz.com  

Funkier jazz joint, in Inman Square. Pat Metheny used to strum here before he 

became a guitar G*d.  

 Club Passim www.clubpassim.org/  

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As Club 47, epicenter of the 1960s hootenanny scene in Cambridge. Joan Baez 

played here when she was 17! Now that’s folk cred!  

 The Middle East www.mideastclub.com/  

Belly dancing on Tuesdays, Hip-hop on Thursdays, retro punk on Saturdays. If only 

people in the real Middle East could be so accommodating of diversity.  

Johnny D’s Uptown Lounge http://johnnyds.com/index-reg.html  

Eclectic does not begin to describe the range of musical styles that take the stage 

at this classic venue in Davis Square, Somerville. How about folk, blues, reggae, 

funk, soul, jazz, bluegrass, country western, salsa, R&B, hard rock, Texas swing, 

West African, fusion, Latin, disco…. And the food is decent.  

 

Larger Live Music and Theatre venues 

 

Bank of America Pavilion www.livenation.com/venue/getVenue/venueId/496  

Paradise Rock Club www.thedise.com/  

Orpheum Theater www.massconcerts.com/venues/orpheumtheatre.htm  

I saw the Grateful Dead, NRPS, and Captain Beefheart here in the 60s and 70s. Don’t lick 

anything.  

Tweeter Center Performing Arts (Mansfield, MA) www.livenation.com/venue/getVenue/venueId/479  

 Tom Petty, June 14th  

 Rush “Snakes and Arrows” tour, June 15th 

Berklee Performance Center www.berkleebpc.com/  

Boston Symphony Hall - Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops www.bso.org  

 Broadway’s Leading Man (June 17th, June 18th) 

 Edgefest- Amanda Palmer (June 19th, June 20th) 

 Jazzfest Pops/Dizzy Gillespie (June 21st, June 22nd) 

Tanglewood www.bso.org/bso/index.jsp?id=bcat5240070 

Summer home of the BSO in Lennox MA, in the heart of the picturesque Berkshires.   

Somerville Theater www.somervilletheatreonline.com/somerville/index.php  

Agannis Arena www.bu.edu/agganis/  

 The best college ice hockey venue in the US hosts other events as well.  

TD BankNorth Garden www.tdbanknorthgarden.com/  

 Site of the venerated Boston Garden and home of the Celtics and Bruins.  

Tom Petty, June 13th  

Citi Performing Arts Center http://www.citicenter.org/ 

Other events: www.Bostix.org 

 

Shopping 

• Newbury Street – Boston’s version of Rodeo Drive 

• Copley Place – More marble than you can shake a stick at. And the fountain in the 

middle of the mall is real ugly.  

• Prudential Mall – Is it my imagination? Or is this place truly endless?  

• Haymarket - Local vendors aggressively selling fresh produce. Fridays and Saturdays only.  

 

Day Trips (within 2 hours of Boston) 

• Whale Watch 

 New England Aquarium http://www.neaq.org/visit/wwatch/  

 Massachusetts Bay Lines http://www.massbaylines.com/whalewatch/default.html  

• Take the hydrofoil to Provincetown www.bostonharborcruises.com/  

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• Fly to Nantucket www.flycapeair.com/  

• Boston Harbor boat cruises  

Boston Harbor Cruises www.bostonharborcruises.com/  

Mystery Cruises www.mysterycafe.com/boston_cruise.html  

Odyssey Cruises www.odysseycruises.com/  

 

Further afield: Excursions in the New England (for those looking to spend additional 

time vacationing and touring in the region) 

 

Cape Cod Keep driving past Hyannis. Avoid Route 28 unless your idea of a good 

time is sitting in a traffic jam inching past millions of tee-shirt shops and cheesy 

knick knack stores. Head for Wellfleet and have a beer and some deep fried clams 

at the Beachcomber www.thebeachcomber.com, overlooking Cahoon Hollow 

Beach. Truro has gorgeous beaches on both sides – Bay and Ocean. Provincetown is 

… you’ll just have to go there and see. Stroll down Commercial Street, take a spin 

through Shop Therapy, and have dinner at The Red Inn. If you’re feeling athletic, 

rent a bicycle and ride the bike trails through Province Lands to Race Point. The 22 

mile Cape Cod Rail Trail www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/southeast/ccrt.htm is also quite 

nice and there are dozens of places to rent bicycles. Or if you just want to SEE 

athletic, take in a Cape Cod League baseball game www.capecodbaseball.org. 

These guys are pros. Meander back to Boston along Route 6A, which winds along 

the Bay side through many quaint towns.  

 

Newport RI The mansions www.newportmansions.org and Cliff Walk 

www.cliffwalk.com. See how the Vanderbilts and Carnegies whiled away the 

summers, counting their dough by the seashore. The New York Yacht Club owned 

The Americas Cup for 132 years, and Newport hosted the race for the last 53 - until 

we lost to the Aussies in 1983. The cup and the race are gone, but don’t despair - 

you can charter one of the former Cup winners! Take your choice - American Eagle, 

Intrepid, Weatherly, others. Or for short money - you could just visit the Museum of 

Yachting www.moy.org. And while you’re at it, check out Rod Laver’s shorts at The 

International Tennis Hall of Fame www.tennisfame.com/.  

 

The Islands - Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket The Vineyard has three principal 

towns – Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and Edgartown – each with its own distinctive 

character. The best beaches on MV are Lucy Vincent, East Beach on 

Chappaquiddick, and Lambert’s Cove. Keep your eyes open and you’ll see some 

celebrities – Larry David, Walter Cronkite, David Letterman, Carly Simon. Play golf 

with Bill Clinton at Farm Neck. Or if you’re into dead celebrities, take the hike to 

John Belushi’s grave in Chilmark. Nantucket – think cobblestones and whaling. 

Cisco Beach is awesome – pounding surf. Bike the loop from Town to Siasconset and 

then sidle up to the bar at the Rope Walk on Straight Wharf. But go somewhere 

else for dinner. Company of the Cauldron or Trattoria Sfoglia. Ship’s Inn is a cozy B 

and B. Try the White Elephant for more luxurious accommodations.  

 

New Hampshire and the White Mountains Win a half gallon of maple syrup and a 

ski pass to Loon Mountain if you can pronounce Kangamangus Highway correctly on 

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the first try. Bostonians love New Hampshire. Thanks to the absence of a state 

sales tax, it’s where we all go to buy our booze. Which leads to world-class traffic 

jams around Super Bowl weekend. They also sell lots of fireworks and reasonably 

priced guns. And thanks to the absence of a state income tax, it’s where the 

woodsy ones among us go to retire. New Hampshire-ites refer to Massachusetts as 

TAX-achusetts. Which is pretty clever, given the fact that the utter lack of a tax 

base for funding their educational system results in the equivalent of a 5th grade 

education for all high school grads. But NH does have great skiing in the White 

Mountains (Bretton Woods, Loon, Wildcat, Attitash, Waterville Valley), cool license 

plates (“Live Free or Die”), and Hart’s Location www.hartslocation.com – first town 

to report voter results in the US Presidential election.  

 

Maine – Acadia and beyond Sunrise first strikes the US at Cadillac Mountain in 

Acadia National Park. The start (or end) of the 2161 mile long Appalachian Trail 

www.outdoors.org/ is on top of Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park. And Maine is 

the ancestral home of the lobster and the moose. You can eat one and hit the 

other with your car. Just kidding. Actually, be careful of Mr. Moose – especially if 

you are driving along one of Maine’s unlit paper company roads in the Allagash 

Wilderness Waterway at night. Number 1 - He cannot see very well. Number 2 – He 

weighs around 1500 pounds and looks like ink moving across a black background. 

Number 3 - If you do hit him, you will probably be walking back to L.L. Bean’s 

(www.llbean.com) where you suddenly realize that those night vision goggles with 

the camo trim were actually reasonably priced. Whatever you do, do NOT go to the 

outlet stores in Kittery – a Down East version of hell.  Do take the ferry from 

Camden to Isleboro, find a stretch of rocky coast line, eat a lobster, spend a night 

or two at The Colony in Kennebunkport (www.thecolonyhotel.com/maine/), take a 

hike in Baxter, drive around Moosehead Lake, have dinner at the Greenville Inn 

(www.greenvilleinn.com/), check out Portland (www.portlandmaine.com/), and 

watch the sun rise on top of Cadillac Mountain (www.nps.gov/acad/). Come in 

winter and ski at Sugarloaf or Sunday River. Or rent a “camp” up in the woods and 

read Stephen King stories in front of a crackling fire – just have the 12 gage ready.  

 

Vermont and the Green Mountains Greenest state in the nation. Just driving up 

Route 100 will suck the stress right out of you. You will ooooh and ahhhh for hours. 

The Ben and Jerry’s tour (www.benjerry.com/) isn’t what it used to be. But you 

can still get a free scoop of Cherry Garcia, and the countryside is positively 

bucolic. Situated on Lake Champlain, Burlington is home to the University of 

Vermont. Many UVM grads some how can’t make it out of town after graduation – 

it’s just too pristine, outdoorsy, and mellow. Vermont skiing is tops in New England 

– Stowe, Killington, Jay Peak, Sugarbush, and Okemo are the best.  

 

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