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AbitaFan08
LSU Fan
Boston, MA
Member since Apr 2008
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The Definitive Boston Thread
Typically, around this type of year there is an influx of threads on the Travel Board asking about Boston. Makes sense, as the summer is approaching and it's the nicest time of year to visit New England.

With that in mind, I'm starting this thread to help those who are looking for general information about things to do, places to eat/drink, etc.

My guide that I wrote a very long time ago was, well, dated. All credit goes to my wife on this one, who took a decent amount of time putting it together. Seriously, when it comes to this stuff I am a novice compared to her. It's incredibly detailed and broken down by neighborhood.

Of course, I am more than happy to continue answering individual questions for those who have them, but I thought this would save a lot of you the time and effort of having to start a new thread.

With that, it's very lengthy, so here we go....

BOSTON HIGHLIGHTS


Food

Table (Cambridge) - Best restaurant in the city, in my opinion. Cozy, small space serving fresh, local seasonal ingredients. Four-course tasting menu format with two options to choose from for each course. Great wine pairings as well. Reservations are a must. Ask to sit at the counter if available, though I’d recommend this only if going by yourself or with one other person as it becomes difficult to chat if there are more of you all sitting at a counter.


Breweries (no shortage of good beer around Boston)

Trillium - Consistently ranked as one of the top breweries in the country. Fort Point location does growlers and cans to-go only. You can’t drink there. Canton (suburb ~30 mins away) taproom has pours, growlers and cans to-go, and food trucks on the weekends. Trillium now operates seasonal beer gardens so check their website or Twitter to see if the summer garden on the Rose Kennedy Greenway (Downtown) or the winter garden at the substation (Roslindale) is open. Summer garden typically offers wine from Westport Vineyards for non-beer drinking friends.
Night Shift - Great beer but kind of a pain to get to out in Everett. If uber or lyft isn’t too expensive or if you’re out checking out Assembly Row in Somerville, go for it.
Lamplighter - Cool setup as a coffee shop and brewery. They offer coffee flights in addition to their solid beer options. Nice location in Cambridge, close to many good restaurants there.
Cambridge Brewing Company - Solid beer and solid food in a convenient Kendall Square location.
Somerville Brewing Company - Really diverse selection. Two locations in Somerville: one close to Cambridge and one in Assembly Row. Good food at both.
Aeronaut - Another Somerville brewery with less variety but close to Kirkland Tap and Trotter (a fantastic restaurant by Chef Tony Maws of Craigie on Main) and close to eclectic Union Square, which has one of the best farmers markets in the area on summer and fall Saturdays.
Harpoon - Of the two big guys Harpoon and Sam Adams, you should absolutely visit Harpoon. The beer is better, the location is better and easier to get to being in the South Boston Seaport, and their pretzels served with dipping sauces made from their beers are out of this world. Hands down the best pretzel I’ve ever had.
Dorchester Brewing Company - Cool, local neighborhood spot in an up and coming neighborhood. Makes decent beer of their own, but the real highlights are their rotating guest brew series. Other regional breweries head down to their facilities and brew there so they always have a few guest taps. Typically have some food trucks out on Friday evenings and Saturdays and Sundays.

Citywide Touristy Stuff/Popular Attractions

These are the big ones, others listed in the neighborhood breakdowns

Fenway Park - Worth a visit even if you’re not into baseball. If tickets are too expensive, wait until the game gets into the second inning or so and by them near the gates. They offer tours when the Red Sox are away. Here in the summer? The park usually hosts a great lineup of summer concerts so just check out ticketmaster.
TD Garden - Easy to get to because of its location near Downtown and the North End. Plus, you can usually find Celtics tickets fairly cheap, but you may have to splurge a bit more for Bruins tickets.
Freedom Trail - Touristy, but interesting if you’ve never done it. Don’t take a guided tour. Download a tour app so you can go at your own pace and pop in at the historic taverns like Bell in Hand and Green Dragon (Downtown) or Warren Tavern (Charlestown) along the way.
Duck Boat Tours - I’ve never done one, and honestly they seem awful because of how bad Boston traffic can get. But I guess it could be good for kids?
New England Aquarium - Again, I’ve never actually been. But everyone I know who has raves about the Boston aquarium. Convenient location (Downtown) and you can book whale watching tours out of the aquarium during the summer and early fall.
Boston Common - During the summer, you can ride the swan boats with the kids in the ponds inside the Common, and in the winter they set up an ice skating rink (Frog Pond) which is gives great skyline views as well as views of the Common as you skate.

Museums

MFA - First Fridays event where you can explore the museum, hear music, and enjoy cocktails on the evening of the first Friday of each month
Museum of Science - This place is awesome for kids or adults. Laser shows at the planetarium to various music artists, IMAX movies, and a really cool human movement exhibit. I spent about 6 hours in here when I went and still didn’t see everything.
JFK Museum and Library - Located in the Dorchester neighborhood and right off the T, this is one of the best Presidential libraries in the country, and you can easily spend an entire afternoon here. Additionally, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute is right next to it and has some really interesting exhibits.
Children’s Museum
Institute of Contemporary Art
Isabella Stewart Gardener

Restaurants and Cafés with multiple locations throughout the city

Tatte Bakery and Café - The best breakfast spot in Boston. Great coffee, teas, lemonades, hot breakfast, pastries.
Legal Sea Foods - Yes, it’s a chain. But it’s a local chain, and a pretty decent one for New England seafood. My favorite is the Legal Harborside location in the Seaport. Great patio and views.
Flour Bakery and Café - Joanne Chang’s famous bakery. Good selection of allergen free options.
Caffe Nero - Nice little Italian-style coffee shops scattered around Boston. London-based shops with Boston being the only locations so far in the U.S.
This post was edited on 4/20 at 11:30 am


AbitaFan08
LSU Fan
Boston, MA
Member since Apr 2008
16073 posts
 Online 

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
BEACON HILL

Restaurants

Bin 26 Enoteca
• Grotto
• No. 9 Park
- Barbara Lynch’s flagship restaurant. Fantastic tasting menu or a la carte options. Can also snack in the bar.
Bars
Carrie Nation - Cool, speakeasy vibe

Touristy

• Massachusetts State House
• Boston Commons
- Ice skating pond in the winter
John Kerry’s House
Acorn Street - The most Photographed Street in America
Cheers Bar - Touristy and overpriced but I get that some people still want to see it. Don’t eat here.

BACK BAY

Restaurants

Parish Café - Cool concept where various chefs across the city created a sandwich for the menu, and they’re all delicious. Solid beer list too.
The Friendly Toast - Great for brunch. Good mimosa and bloody mary flights
L’Espalier - If you’re in town for a special occasion, this is one of the nicest restaurants in the city.
Uni - Ken Oringer’s Japanese restaurant

Bars

Oak Long Bar + Kitchen - Stop by and pet the Fairmont’s mascot lab.

Touristy

Boston Marathon Finish Line
• Boston Public Library
- Beautiful and worth taking time to stroll through while in Copley Square. Restaurant with a nice afternoon tea for the ladies.
Charles River Esplanade
• Prudential Center, Top of the Hub and Skywalk Observatory
- Don’t eat at Top of the Hub. Grab a drink and take in the views. Skywalk Observatory admission is as much as a cocktail.

FENWAY

Restaurants

Eastern Standard - A top 5 restaurant in Boston for me. Classic, yet approachable French Brasserie with excellent food and cocktails in Kenmore Square
Blackbird Doughnuts - Favorite donut shop in the city. This is their 2nd location.
Tasty Burger - A late-night favorite. Great burgers – much better than In-N-Out and in the running with Shake Shack
Island Creek Oyster Bar - Great seafood, especially the lobster roll and fish and chips
Eventide Oyster - The original location is in Portland, Maine, and everyone was pretty excited when they decided to open up a location down in Boston. Fresh seafood and the best warm lobster roll I’ve ever had.

Bars

The Baseball Tavern - LSU alumni bar and good spot to grab a beer before a Sox game. They have a nice roof deck with views of the park
Bleacher Bar - Bar offerings are nothing special, but their view is one of a kind since it’s built into Fenway Park and looks right into center field

SOUTH END

Restaurants

Coppa Enoteca - Great any time of day for any meal, but I especially love their brunch. The wood oven pancake is unlike anything I’ve ever had. It melts in your mouth – so good! Great pizzas and Italian small plates too.
Blackbird Doughnuts - The original location
Toro - Another top 5 restaurant for me. Fantastic Spanish tapas and cocktails. The paella is ridiculously good. No reservations and the wait can get long.
Barcelona - Another Spanish-style tapas place. Really good too with a great wine list and nice outdoor seating in the heart of Tremont St., which makes for some good sunny day people watching.
Gaslight - French brasserie with really good brunch and Sunday night dinners.
The Gallows - Get the poutine and burger topped with fried oysters. Sister restaurant to the Blackbird Doughnut shops.
Bar Mezzana - Newer spot in the still-being-developed Ink Block. Coastal Italian with a focus on really fresh seafood. They have many options for crudo, and they’re all fantastic. Great cocktails and a beautiful interior too.
Myers and Chang - Everything here is good, but I love going for dim sum brunch.
B&G Oysters - Barbara Lynch’s (of No. 9 Park) seafood restaurant.

Bars

Lion’s Tail - Next to Bar Mezzana in Ink Block. Good cocktails, and definitely get the fried chicken sliders if they have them on the apps menu.
Wink + Nod - Cool speakeasy style cocktail bar that also serves as a kind of incubator for new or up-and-coming restaurants. They have monthly restaurant popups.

SOUTH BOSTON

Restaurants

Lincoln Tavern + Restaurant (W. Broadway) - Good, casual spot for dinner but turns super douchey and clubby after like 9:30 p.m.
Loco Taqueria (W. Broadway) - Not Tex Mex, but good Baja-style coastal Mexican-inspired food. The fish taco here is the best one I’ve ever had, and I love their coconut marg.
Row 34 (Fort Point) - My favorite overall seafood restaurant in the city. Great beer and wine selection.
Menton (Fort Point) - Barbara Lynch’s French/Italian fine dining spot.
Sportello (Fort Point) - Also a Barbara Lynch spot – her delicious casual Italian trattoria
Committee (Seaport) - Really cool spot with Greek/Mediterranean style small plates. The food is good, drinks are good, and the outdoor patio is great.
Yankee Lobster (Seaport) - Looks like a hole in the wall near Harpoon, but the seafood here is fantastic.
The Maiden (W. Broadway) - Unlike many of the restaurants on W. Broadway, this one attracts a slightly quieter, more mature crowd. Great menu – I particularly like their charcuterie and cheese boards.

Bars

Worden Hall (W. Broadway) - Beer bar with an extensive tap list and the best curly fries ever
Punk and Poet (E. Broadway) - Cool, hyper local spot on the less busy stretch of Broadway (best nail salon right across the street in case there are any emergencies, ladies)
Yotel (Seaport) - Not my scene, but if you’re single and like rooftop bars, you’d like it here.
Envoy Hotel (Seaport) - Also not my scene, but more willing to head here because of the right-on-the-water views of downtown.
Lucky’s Lounge (Fort Point) - Dive-y, but a comfortable local favorite
Drink (Fort Point) - Barbara Lynch’s bar right below Sportello. Cool spot with a speakeasy vibe and no drink menu. Tell the bar tenders what you like, and they’ll make something for you.

Entertainment

Laugh Boston (Seaport) - Small comedy venue with some local and touring stand up acts. Cool place to see a show.
This post was edited on 4/20 at 10:55 am


AbitaFan08
LSU Fan
Boston, MA
Member since Apr 2008
16073 posts
 Online 

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
NORTH END

Restaurants

Giacomo’s - A classic Italian restaurant in the North End. Absolutely no frills but amazing food for a good price. The wine is cheap and good enough. Cash only though and there will always be a line.
Tresca - Multi-level Italian restaurant. Love that they offer lunch and dinner size portions of pasta all day so it makes it easier to try different things.
Neptune Oyster - Known for their warm, brown butted lobster roll. Super small restaurant so I recommend going around lunch, putting your name on the list well before you’re actually hungry, then strolling around the North End during your wait.
Umberto’s Pizzeria - As basic as it comes, but damn the pizza and giant arancini balls are delicious. Cash only. They open at 11 and are only open until they sell out, which is typically only a few hours later.
North Square Oyster - Another great seafood option that’s probably better than Neptune, just with less notoriety. Close by Paul Revere’s house.
Ward 8 (North End adjacent) - Just across the Greenway between the North End and TD Garden is one of my favorite spots in the city. Excellent cocktail options and some of the best comfort food, including ramen.

Dessert: There’s a big debate over Mike’s vs. Modern, and I’d pick Bova over all of them. Either way, you can’t go wrong. They’re all so good.
Mike’s Pastry
Modern Pastry
Bova

Entertainment

Improv Asylum - Awesome improv shows, especially their late night ‘raunch’ show.


CHARLESTOWN

Restaurants

Brewer’s Fork - Excellent tap list and pizza. Nice outdoor space and brunch too.
Navy Yard Bistro - Super local dinner spot. One of our favorites when we lived in this neighborhood. Great wine options.
Monument - Really good brunch at the base of the Bunker Hill monument.

Bars

Pier 6 - I wouldn’t eat here, and honestly the drinks are nothing to freak out about, but the views cannot be beat. It’s even better down on the patio or up on the roof in nice weather. Totally worth a stop for a beer or glass of wine before heading to dinner somewhere else.
Warren Tavern - Historic tavern in Charlestown where many of the revolutionaries, including George Washington used to frequent.


DOWNTOWN

Restaurants

Yvonne’s - Another Top 5 favorite of mine. The vibes, the space, the food, the drinks, the library, even the bathroom furniture. Everything at this place is outstanding.

Bars

Avery Bar - In the Ritz Carlton hotel and especially nice near the fire place in the winter

Entertainment

Theater District - Boston tends to get some of the bigger named Broadway shows and comedic acts. Just check around online if you’re interested in trying to find a show.


CAMBRIDGE

Restaurants

Commonwealth (Kendall) - Part market, part restaurant. Nice outdoor space in a great Kendall Square location. Really like the brunch here.
Craigie on Main (Central) - Consistently ranked one of the top restaurants in Boston. Also home to the famed Craigie burger. They make only 16 every night and serve them only in the bar. You can make reservations online for the bar area specifically and get there at opening for a ticket for the burger.
Puritan and Co. (Inman) - Inman Sq. is a cute area and this restaurant is even cuter. Good dinner and brunch along with a special Thursday night bar pizza night. Free pizza with an order of a drink. Starts around 8:30 or so. They always announce on their instagram.
Little Donkey (Central) - Toro’s sister restaurant. Unique small plates. Known for the fried chicken sandwich.

Bars

State Park (Kendall) - They try hard to make it dive-y, but it’s a cool spot. Lots of games. Good beer and cocktails.
Café ArtScience (Kendall) - The cocktails here are true works of art. This type of place could only exist in Cambridge. Food is supposed to be really good too.

Sights and Entertainment

• MIT
• Harvard
• Improv Boston (Central)
- Another solid comedy venue
The Sinclair (Harvard) - Great live music venue that gets a variety of acts, including Rebirth Brass Band. You can check their event calendar online.


SOMERVILLE

Restaurants

Sarma (Winter Hill) - Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired. The chef won a James Beard award and Sarma has been named as one of the best restaurants in America.
La Brasa (East Somerville) - Another great small plates spot. Love the prime rib by the ounce special on Saturdays. And the 5-6 p.m. $1 oysters (unheard of to do this every day).
Highland Kitchen (Winter Hill) - Super local spot with the best Brussel sprouts and a great tap list. Good late night spot too.
Bronwyn (Union) - German restaurant with some great beers and wines from the region as well as some really good brats. Union Square is a really cute neighborhood and worth a visit.
Juliet (Union) - Café in the morning turned casual yet fine dining spot in the evening. Great tasting menu and wine pairings.
Spoke Wine Bar (Davis) - As the name suggests, the wine here is great. But so is the food. Cozy spot with just a few tables on the edge of the very popular Davis Square neighborhood.
Kirkland Tap and Trotter - Same owner and executive chef as Craigie on Main. Great for dinner or brunch after a visit to Aeronaut Brewery.

Bars

River Bar (Assembly) - Indoor/outdoor spot right on the water in the brand new development area of Assembly Square. Really good cocktails.
The Independent (Union) - A local favorite in a great neighborhood. Nice beer list.
Five Horses (Davis) - Perhaps the best craft beer tap list in the Boston area. Five Horses also has a South End location.
The Painted Burro (Davis) - Home to the best margaritas in Boston, especially the mango marg. It’s my favorite.
Back Bar (Union) - Difficult to find, which gives it a really cool vibe inside. Great cocktails.
Saloon (Davis) - A speakeasy in the basement of another great restaurant, The Foundry on Elm. Nice whiskey selection and really good food here too.
Bantam (near Union) - Cider is big up here. It’s not that gross Angry Orchard overly sweet stuff either. Bantam is putting out some really, really good and unique stuff out like a cold brew cider and double dry hopped cider. My favorite cider in the area.

Sights and Entertainment

Tufts University
• Legoland (Assembly)
- Great for kids. They freak out over this stuff. You can’t miss the giant giraffe statue out front.
The Rockwell - Unique entertainment venue where Drunk Shakespeare frequently performs
This post was edited on 9/18 at 6:53 pm


nicholastiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2004
15511 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
For Museums, add the JFK museum and you can access it from the T

Also, the duck boat tour is more for the kids, they let them drive the boat in the Charles River. The good thing about the duck boat tour is it gives you a nice layout of the Boston area, I would recommend doing it early in your trip and it will definitely help with your sense of direction around Boston.
This post was edited on 4/20 at 10:41 am


AbitaFan08
LSU Fan
Boston, MA
Member since Apr 2008
16073 posts
 Online 

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
Good note. Added.


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yessir
LSU Fan
Here
Member since Apr 2008
6360 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
quote:

• Fenway Park - Worth a visit even if you’re not into baseball. If tickets are too expensive, wait until the game gets into the second inning or so and by them near the gates. They offer tours when the Red Sox are away.


Do they not offer tours on home game days anymore? When my wife and I went, they had 5 or 6 stadium tours throughout the day, with the last one being held during batting practice. We were led up on to the Green Monster to try to catch HR balls while they were practicing. Went to the game a few hours later.

Also agree on Giacomo's. We were there for 5 days and ate at that particular restaurant 3 times...
This post was edited on 4/20 at 1:25 pm


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HoustonGumbeauxGuy
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2011
14444 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
Gonna add this to sticky for sure


NickyT
USA Fan
Patty's Pub
Member since Jan 2007
7636 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
Abita helped us so much during our trip, just wish I could have bought him a beer during the LSU BYU game

- just to add there is a bar tender at the W named Joe who spent a few years in NOLA at the Omni and will help guide you where to go too


Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22511 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
Hey..... Do you know that song Come Back to Boston? What's the Cypress Avenue reference.....? CAN I walk into Cheers and have them shout my name for under $59? Where did Yaz like to drink? If I was with a nun where should I drink? I'm not but I know a lot of catholics.


Dead Mike
LSU Fan
Cell Block 4
Member since Mar 2010
2362 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
Is MFA still free entry after a certain time on Wednesdays?


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L Boogie
LSU Fan
Boston
Member since Jul 2009
3345 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
quote:

wish I could have bought him a beer


You got the consolation prize, which was Fireball shots with Uncle Stu and myself. We're not as classy as AbitaFan


AbitaFan08
LSU Fan
Boston, MA
Member since Apr 2008
16073 posts
 Online 

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
I’m not classy in the least! Of course, I do type this as I’m on the way to dinner at L’espalier....


Lawyered
Ole Miss Fan
The Sip
Member since Oct 2016
2858 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
quote:

Yvonne's


I'll piggyback onto Abita on this one... I stayed at the Godfrey right across the street from it and this was one of my highlights of the entire trip.

Really cool vibes with mixed drinks with cool names and the decor is like a study or something in a mansion.


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HoustonGumbeauxGuy
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2011
14444 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread


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NickyT
USA Fan
Patty's Pub
Member since Jan 2007
7636 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
quote:

You got the consolation prize, which was Fireball shots with Uncle Stu and myself. We're not as classy as AbitaFan


haha that was a great night


AbitaFan08
LSU Fan
Boston, MA
Member since Apr 2008
16073 posts
 Online 

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
Damn sounds like I missed out on a good time.


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Dtiger19
LSU Fan
Member since Dec 2007
596 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
How much of a pain is it to get to Treehouse from Boston? Is it tough to get there beer around town?


AbitaFan08
LSU Fan
Boston, MA
Member since Apr 2008
16073 posts
 Online 

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
quote:

How much of a pain is it to get to Treehouse from Boston? Is it tough to get there beer around town?


Unfortunately, it's non-existent in Boston. There's literally only one way to purchase Tree House, and that's to go to the brewery and purchase it at the source.

Charlton, MA is about a 35-40 minute drive from Boston, and it's definitely middle of nowhere Massachusetts. But the drive itself really isn't bad. The brewery is really awesome though, especially in the summer when you can sit outside.
This post was edited on 4/24 at 8:49 am


pjab
LSU Fan
NYC
Member since Mar 2016
2873 posts

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
What’s the situation with can availability at Trillium Fort Point? Is there availability of good stuff if you walk in on a random day?
This post was edited on 4/30 at 10:15 am


AbitaFan08
LSU Fan
Boston, MA
Member since Apr 2008
16073 posts
 Online 

re: The Definitive Boston Thread
Yeah there's always a good selection of cans at the Fort Point location. It changes often, so it's hard to know exactly what they'll have available until the day of.

Also, just announced today, the Trillium Beer Garden will be opening again at the Greenway in Downtown Boston. They’ll be open from May - October from Wednesday - Sunday. It’s a really great spot to enjoy the weather and grab a beer. Walking distance from their Fort Point location.
This post was edited on 5/1 at 4:58 pm


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