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Boston
Boston calls itself “America's Walking City,” and with good reason: driving can be a challenge. What better excuse to park your car and explore on foot? There's history around every corner. No trip to Boston would be complete without a walk along the Freedom Trail, a red, mostly bricked line winding...
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Introduction
Boston calls itself “America's Walking City,” and with good reason: driving can be a challenge. What better excuse to park your car and explore on foot? There's history around every corner.

No trip to Boston would be complete without a walk along the Freedom Trail, a red, mostly bricked line winding through the Financial District, Beacon Hill and the North End, past more than a dozen famous landmarks—Faneuil Hall, the Old North Church, Paul Revere's house. Beyond these streets where patriots walked are scores of distinctive neighborhoods to explore: Cambridge, Back Bay, Charlestown, Brookline, Fenway and the South End. You'll rub elbows with Yankee pragmatists, Irish fatalists, Brahmin blue-bloods, die-hard Red Sox fans and sleep-deprived students of every stripe—Boston has one of the highest concentrations of colleges and universities in the world. If you can say, “Park the car at Harvard Yard,” without using an “r,” you'll fit right in.


In Depth
Sumus primi, or “We are first,” is one proud, but well-suited, description of Greater Boston. The phrase—the motto of Boston Latin, the country’s oldest continuing public school—succinctly conveys 300-plus years of Boston-bred organizations, inventions and pioneering ideas. In a metropolis where firsts are commonplace, the expression fits like a well-insulated glove—the kind you’ll need when visiting New England during its frosty winter.

Even on chilly days, coffee-guzzling visitors roam the nation’s first public park, the Boston Common. Ice-skaters clad in scarves and knit caps welcome Jack Frost’s glacial touch, coasting across the frozen Frog Pond from November to mid-March. When sandal season arrives, picnickers recline beneath blue skies, their views of dawdling clouds interrupted occasionally by soaring Frisbees and colorful kites.


Perhaps the best (and most popular) way to get to know Boston is to traverse the Freedom Trail, a red line connecting 16 historic sites through downtown and the North End. Along the way, you can visit Charlestown Navy Yard, home to World War II-era destroyer the USS Cassin Young and the USS Constitution, a three-masted heavy frigate launched in 1797. Or, pay your respects at Faneuil Hall, where leaders like Samuel Adams and James Otis once garnered support for the American Revolution.

Many sightseers touring the Freedom Trail diverge at the Boston Common. Beckoning visiting fashionistas are the upscale retailers of the Back Bay, also prized for its Victorian brownstones and cultural landmarks such as Trinity Church. Near Beacon and Park streets, those marveling at the Augustus Saint-Gaudens bronze high relief honoring one of the Civil War's first African-American military units often cross over to the Black Heritage Trail, which meanders through adjacent Beacon Hill. In Boston's most prestigious neighborhood, gas lamps still light narrow passageways once traversed by Louisa May Alcott and Robert Frost.

Nature lovers continue along the Emerald Necklace—Boston's linear system of urban green space designed by Frederick Law Olmsted—to the majestic Public Garden. Near the Arlington Street entrance, artists with grass-stained jeans and furrowed brows busily sketch an equestrian statue of George Washington, one of the earliest depictions of the first president on horseback.


More green spaces were added upon the completion of the very pricey ($24.3 billion last time we checked) Big Dig engineering project. Filling the void left by the formerly above-ground Central Artery is the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, a pedestrian-only ribbon of parks and gardens.

Although you really must investigate “America's Walking City” on foot to fully appreciate the nuances of this multifaceted locale, another stress-free alternative to navigating Greater Boston's maze of narrow roads by car is the area's straightforward public transportation system, known locally as the “T.” The launching point for the nation's first subway line is near the gold-domed Massachusetts State House.

Ride the Green Line to the New England Conservatory of Music, the oldest independent school of music in the country. Or, if the crack of the bat is music to your ears, take the “T” to the oldest operating MLB stadium, Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. In 1903, the team then known as the Boston Americans defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates during game 8 of the first modern World Series.

Whether it's your first trip here or your fifth, when you experience Boston's hometown treasures, you'll leave with a better understanding of both this enduring city's vast heritage and the nation's.


 
About the City


City Population
617,594

Elevation
20 ft.

Money


Sales Tax
The state sales tax in Massachusetts is 6.25 percent. Combined city and state taxes on hotel occupancy in Boston is 14.45 percent.

Whom To Call


Emergency
911

Police (non-emergency)
(617) 343-4200

Fire (non-emergency)
(617) 343-3550

Time and Temperature
(617) 637-1234

Hospitals
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, (617) 667-7000; Boston Medical Center, (617) 638-8000; Massachusetts General Hospital, (617) 726-2000; Tufts Medical Center, (617) 636-5000.

Where To Look and Listen


Newspapers
The daily newspapers are the morning Boston Herald (www.bostonherald.com) and The Boston Globe (www.bostonglobe.com). The Christian Science Monitor (www.csmonitor.com) is published weekly.

Radio
Boston radio station WBUR (90.9 FM) is a member of National Public Radio.

Visitor Information

Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau

2 Copley Place, Suite 105 BOSTON, MA 02116. Phone:(617)536-4100 or (888)733-2678


The National Park Service Faneuil Hall Visitor Center on the Freedom Trail and the Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center , in Building 5 at the Navy Yard, are open daily 9-5; phone (617) 242-5642 or (617) 242-5601.

Transportation


Air Travel
Logan International Airport (BOS) is just 3 miles east of downtown across Boston Inner Harbor.

Rental Cars
Boston is served by most major rental car agencies. Hertz provides discounts to AAA members; phone (617) 569-7272 or (800) 654-3131.

Rail Service
Amtrak offers service to and from New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., out of Boston's South Station at Atlantic Avenue and Summer Street. Connections to all points in the national Amtrak system can be made at the Back Bay Station, 145 Dartmouth St.; phone (800) 872-7245 for reservations and information. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates commuter rail service; phone (800) 392-6100.

Buses
Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, and Peter Pan Bus Lines, (800) 343-9999, operate from South Station.

Cruise Ports
Cruiseport Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal is at 1 Black Falcon Ave. in South Boston.

Taxis
Cabs in Boston are metered, with the fare $2.60 for the first 1/7 mile or less and 40c for every 1/7 mile thereafter. Phoning for a pickup or going to a hotel taxi stand is easier than hailing a cab on the street. Local companies include the Independent Taxi Operators Association, (617) 268-1313. Limousine service is available throughout the Boston area for about $80 an hour, normally with a 4-hour minimum.

Public Transportation
Transportation by trolley, bus, boat and subway is available in Boston.

 
Visitor Information

Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau

2 Copley Place, Suite 105 BOSTON, MA 02116. Phone:(617)536-4100 or (888)733-2678


 
Getting There


By Car
The spokes of major highways converging on Greater Boston from three sides make it seem that all roads lead to the Hub. Three interstate highways offer a direct approach to the city and its suburbs. From the north I-95 merges with SR 128 at Peabody before skirting the western edge of the metropolitan area; south of Boston I-95 branches southwest and heads toward Providence.

Also from the north I-93 angles down through Medford and Somerville, merges with US 1 at Charlestown, crosses the Charles River (via the cable-stayed Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge ) and passes under downtown. I-93/US1 then proceeds through South Boston, parallels the western shore of Massachusetts Bay and passes through Quincy before turning west and running into I-95 near Norwood. SR 3, the route to Cape Cod, branches southeast off I-93 near Braintree.

The major east-west highway into Boston is the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), which runs into I-93/US1 just south of downtown. Paralleling this toll route to the south is SR 9, serving the suburbs of Wellesley, Newton and Brookline. Another east-west artery, SR 2, passes just south of Concord and then heads southeast into Cambridge.

Air Travel
Logan International Airport (BOS) occupies a peninsula just south of East Boston, 3 miles east of downtown across Boston Inner Harbor. Logan functions as New England's hub airport and serves most major airlines. Drivers should depart by the main exit and take the Boston Expressway to the Sumner Tunnel (toll $3.50), which crosses the harbor into downtown. Drivers traveling south of the city via I-93 or west on I-90 should follow signs for the Ted Williams Tunnel (toll $3.50). Commercial vehicles, including taxis, pay a toll of $5.25.

As tunnel traffic jams are all too common, the quickest and easiest way to reach downtown is by subway or bus rapid-transit service . Free Massport shuttles run every 15-20 minutes daily from all five terminals to the Airport MBTA station on the Blue Line. From there it's about a 20-minute ride to downtown's State Street station; regular one-way subway fare to downtown is $2.65. Alternatively, you can take the Silver Line SL1 bus rapid-transit service, which also is available from all five airport terminals, to reach South Station on the Red Line. The Silver Line is free inbound from the airport to South Station and includes a free transfer to the Red Line. Both the Blue Line and the Silver Line Route SL1 run daily from approximately 5:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m., with extended service on Fridays and Saturdays.

Massport shuttles connecting Logan with two Back Bay locations—the Hynes Convention Center and the Copley MBTA station on Boylston Street—run every 20 minutes daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m. from Logan Airport and daily 5 a.m.-9 p.m. from the Back Bay. The fare is $5 (credit or debit cards only) or free for riders with a valid MBTA pass. Logan Express buses to the outer suburbs depart from Terminals A, B, C and E. Buses to Braintree, Framingham and Woburn generally leave the airport Mon.-Fri. 6:30 a.m.-midnight, Sat. 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-midnight. Buses to Peabody leave the airport daily 4:15 a.m.-1:15 a.m. Schedules may vary. One-way fare is $12.

Water shuttles are another convenient way to cross the harbor, departing from the Logan dock and arriving 10 minutes later at Long Wharf in the Financial District. Shuttle bus 66 provides free, frequent service from airport terminals to the dock. Boat departures from Logan are Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10-6 (weather permitting), except on holidays. Commuter boats also run to Quincy and Hingham from Long Wharf. Phone (617) 422-0392 or (617) 222-6999.

Taxi fares to downtown and to Cambridge run about $25-$45, depending on traffic congestion. Passengers pay all toll charges as well as a Massport taxi pool fee of $2.25. Flat-rate fares are in effect beyond a 12-mile radius of downtown; ask the cab driver or Logan dispatcher for the exact fare in advance. City buses will drop off passengers at downtown hotels; bus stop signs are located outside each terminal.

For additional Logan International Airport arrival and transportation information, phone Massport at (800) 235-6426.

Cruise Ports
Cruiseport Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal is at 1 Black Falcon Ave. in South Boston, about 4.5 miles south of Boston Logan International Airport. Cab fare from the airport is approximately $25. Parking is available at the BRA-EDIC garage located across from the terminal at 12 Drydock Ave. The daily rate for ticketed cruise passengers is $20; phone (617) 482-2487 for information about hourly rates. If you’ll be depending on public transportation, the closest MBTA station is the Silver Line Route SL2 Design Center stop just across the street from the cruise terminal.

Although you'll find restaurants, hotels and other commercial outfits nearby in the developing Waterfront district, much of the area immediately surrounding the terminal—a former World War I military warehouse—is pretty industrial. However, downtown Boston, less than 3 miles northwest, is easily accessible via public transportation. Or, if you have time for a leisurely stroll, follow the Harborwalk, which mostly runs along the waterfront, into downtown. Local trolley tour companies also serve the port of call and offer special sightseeing schedules to accommodate cruise passengers; tickets and information are available inside the terminal. Additionally, some cruise lines provide shuttle service to and from popular attractions for a fee.

The cruise season generally begins in May or April and runs through November. Boston-based ships include Norwegian Cruise Lines' Norwegian Dawn, Holland America’s Maasdam, Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas and Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Splendor. Some vessels head north, sailing along the New England and Canadian coastlines, while others cruise south to the Caribbean. For additional information about the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, phone the Massachusetts Port Authority at (617) 568-5000.

 
Getting Around


Street System
Ralph Waldo Emerson once observed, “We say the cows laid out Boston. Well, there are worse surveyors.” Emerson, of course, never had to drive through the city. Downtown—occupying a peninsula surrounded by the Charles River, Boston Inner Harbor and Fort Point Channel—is a challenging place for residents, let alone visitors, to negotiate by vehicle. Furthermore, Boston drivers are legendary for their aggressiveness. Those who must drive in the central part of the city should bring along a navigator and/or a recently updated GPS unit. Fortunately, public transportation options are plentiful and the bewildering tangle of streets is easily traversed on foot.

Boston Common, bordered by Charles, Beacon, Park, Tremont and Boylston streets, is a handy orientation landmark. Beacon Street, the Common's northern border and the southern base of Beacon Hill, extends east into downtown and west through the Back Bay into Brookline. Commonwealth Avenue runs parallel to Beacon Street as the Back Bay's main thoroughfare. The Back Bay's streets, in fact, do form a logical grid pattern between east-west Boylston Street and limited-access Storrow Memorial Drive, and between north-south Massachusetts Avenue and Arlington Street.

Both Beacon and Commonwealth intersect Massachusetts Avenue, which crosses the Charles River via Harvard Bridge into Cambridge. Harvard Bridge becomes Massachusetts Avenue again on the Cambridge side, passing right through the middle of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus on its way to Harvard and environs. Cambridge also can be reached from the West End via Cambridge Street, which becomes the Longfellow Bridge (SR 3) crossing the river. It changes to Main Street in Cambridge, running into Massachusetts Avenue several blocks northwest of MIT. The most direct way to get to Harvard from Boston is via the Anderson Memorial Bridge, which becomes John F. Kennedy Street on the Cambridge side.

Back in Boston, Tremont Street branches off Cambridge Street, skirts the southeast side of the Common and runs southwest toward the Roxbury neighborhood. Commercial Street serves as the perimeter of the North End waterfront, becoming Causeway Street on the West End side of the Central Artery and Atlantic Avenue as it turns south to pass the wharves along the waterfront. North Street takes eastbound commuters into the Callahan Tunnel, which crosses Boston Inner Harbor to the airport. Hanover and Salem streets are other major avenues bisecting the North End.

Congress Street is a major downtown and Financial District thoroughfare, crossing Fort Point Channel into the Irish neighborhoods of South Boston. Washington Street runs north through Chinatown and downtown before it becomes the Charlestown Bridge crossing the river into Charlestown.

Visitors will save time and letters by adopting the local practice of dropping the ends of long street names. Massachusetts Avenue, for instance, is always “Mass Ave.” Likewise, Commonwealth Avenue and the Massachusetts Turnpike become “Comm Ave.” and “Mass Pike.” “JFK” is the appropriate shorthand for the city's several John F. Kennedy namesakes.

Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit on most streets is 30 mph. Right turns on red are permitted after a full stop, unless otherwise posted. Avoid rush-hour traffic—particularly in the tunnels and on the bridges—7-9 a.m. and 4-6:30 p.m. Be especially careful in outlying areas when crossing streetcar tracks.

Parking
On-street city parking is very limited and highly regulated. Posted restrictions vary, from the resident-only parking in Beacon Hill and other city neighborhoods to specific hour restrictions throughout the downtown area. Meters also vary with regard to rates and hours, and the city's meter maids are vigilant.

Parking garages are more convenient, and although rates are not cheap (from $5 per hour to $35 per day) they are worth the expense to avoid meeting with a tow truck. Visitors may also want to inquire about attraction or restaurant validation discounts. Two centrally located garages are hidden underground. The Boston Common Garage is entered from Charles Street; round-trip bus service to the other side of the Common is included in the parking fee. The Prudential Center Garage, 800 Boylston St., has entrances on all sides of the Prudential Tower. Both garages are open daily 24 hours.

Other garages in the vicinity of the Prudential Center and Copley Square include Copley Place Parking, 100 Huntington Ave.; Pilgrim Garage, 50 Dalton St.; and John Hancock Garage, 100 Clarendon St.

The underground garage at Zero Post Office Square used to be above ground; now the square is a public park bounded by Milk, Pearl, Franklin and Congress streets. Garage entrances are on Pearl and Congress. Open 24 hours, it is within walking distance of the New England Aquarium and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The Government Center Garage, 50 Sudbury St.; Dock Square at Faneuil Hall Marketplace; and Lafayette Place Garage on Chauncy Street offer additional parking near downtown attractions.

Public Transportation
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates the city's trolleys, buses, boats and subway—all of them efficient alternatives to driving. Known everywhere as the “T,” Boston's rapid transit system is the nation's oldest; the first stretch, running between Boylston and Park streets, began operating in 1897.

The Red, Blue, Orange and Green subway lines radiate from the four central downtown stations: Downtown Crossing, Park Street, State and Government Center. Note: The Government Center station is closed due to a 2-year renovation project; reopening is set for March 2016. The Green Line uses trolleys that operate both above and below ground. It also splits into four branches designated by letters: Boston College (B), Cleveland Circle (C), Riverside (D) and Heath Street (E). In addition the Silver Line offers bus rapid-transit service from Dudley Square to downtown and from South Station to the South Boston waterfront and the airport.

“T” stations are designated by the letter T within a circle. An MBTA information booth is located on Park Street (on the Green Line outbound platform). Subway maps at each station show the lines in color. “Inbound” refers to trains heading toward downtown, “outbound” to trains heading away from downtown. Note: Silver Line routes SL1 and SL2 are part of the subway fare structure; SL4 and SL5 are part of the bus fare structure .

Subway fares are $2.10 per ride for passengers who use plastic CharlieCards, the MBTA's reusable and rechargeable fare passes. However, passengers who use CharlieTickets, reusable and rechargeable paper fare passes, pay a surcharge, with subway fares $2.65 per ride; under 12 ride free with a paying adult. Passes can be purchased from vending machines located at all subway stations, at Dudley Station and at Logan International Airport terminals. On-board fare boxes may charge a surcharge and only accept coins and $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills; change is dispensed as a stored-value on a CharlieTicket. Trains generally run between 5 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. in most areas, except on Friday and Saturday nights, when the last trains depart downtown stations at approximately 2:30 a.m. To avoid getting stranded, check the timetables posted at the Park Street station or on the MBTA's website.

LinkPasses providing unlimited travel for 1- or 7-day periods are $12 and $19, respectively; under 12 with a paying adult travel free. Passes can be purchased online as well as at in-station vending machines, the CharlieCard Store at the Downtown Crossing Station, the North and South train stations, the airport and various retail sales locations throughout the city.

Buses also offer service crosstown and to the suburbs. Local fares are $2.10 ($1.60 with a CharlieCard); express buses are $4.75 ($3.65 with a CharlieCard) and up. Commuter boat service operates Monday through Friday and holidays between Rowes Wharf on the downtown Boston waterfront and the Hingham Shipyard dock southeast of the city. One-way fare is $8.50. Boats depart Rowes Wharf Mon.-Fri. beginning at 6:50 a.m. for the 35-minute trip; the last boat departs at 8:30 p.m. (no weekend service).

Inner Harbor Ferry boats travel between Boston's Long Wharf and the Charlestown Navy Yard. One-way fare is $3.25. Boats depart Long Wharf Mon.-Fri. every 15 minutes 6:30-9 a.m. and 3:30-6:30 p.m., every 30 minutes 9-3:30 and 6:30-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. every 30 minutes 10-6. For additional information phone (617) 227-4321 or (877) 733-9425. Note: These boat trips are not included in the Boston Visitor Pass package.

For additional MBTA route, schedule and fare information phone (617) 222-5000, (617) 222-3200 for recorded information, (800) 392-6100, or TTY (617) 222-5146.


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Essentials
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• Walk the Freedom Trail. In less than 3 hours, you'll see 16 historically significant sites as you follow a 2.5-mile-long trail. Spend extra time taking in history at such landmarks as the Old North Church (193 Salem St.) and the Old State House (206 Washington St.). The Boston Massacre occurred in front of the latter, the city's oldest surviving public building, in 1770.


• Catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park (4 Yawkey Way). If you're not in Boston during baseball season, you can still tour the ballpark and get the inside scoop about legendary players like Dom DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.


• Stroll the Boston Common (139 Tremont St.). Dating from 1634, it is the nation's first public park. In the last century such imitable figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II and Gloria Steinem inspired crowds gathered at this lush civic centerpiece.

• Part ways with a few greenbacks in the Back Bay. A seemingly never-ending array of upscale shopping centers, fashionable chains (Armani, Burberry, Chanel) and trendy cafés is only one-upped by the neighborhood's range of architectural showstoppers. Rows of Victorian brownstone homes impress window-shoppers on Newbury Street, while Trinity Church (206 Clarendon St.) and John Hancock Tower (200 Clarendon St.) watch over dawdling natives in stimulating Copley Square .

• Observe early morning rowers on the Charles River, the center of Boston sporting life. Sailing, bicycling, windsurfing, tennis and inline skating also are on the long list of active pursuits you can watch or engage in. In warm weather, free concerts at Hatch Memorial Shell (47 David G. Mugar Way) fill the air with music.

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• Ride a swan boat across the lagoon at the Public Garden (4 Charles St.). Considered to be the first public botanical garden in the country, the picturesque site also shelters many noteworthy statues, including one of George Washington. Rose bushes, flowering shrubs and such trees as elm, weeping willow and beech contribute to the idyllic setting.


• Buy a few keepsakes at Faneuil Hall Marketplace (4 South Market St.), the city's commercial heart since 1742. Today the site is filled with eateries and shops as well as pushcarts selling locally made jewelry, souvenirs and clothing. Street performers clowning around on cobblestone promenades add to the fun. Across from the three long granite buildings known as North Market, Quincy Market and South Market is Faneuil Hall (1 Faneuil Hall Square), where many important moments in history took place.

• Venture through the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, home to politicians and celebrities as well as a mishmash of splendid old row houses and antique shops, posh boutiques and gourmet markets. To start your day, devour a stack of fluffy blueberry pancakes at The Paramount (44 Charles St.), open since 1937. As night falls, go where “everybody knows your name,” Cheers Beacon Hill (84 Beacon St.), the model for the long-running TV comedy series.

• Take in the sights, sounds and aromas of the North End, where you'll find a host of pizzerias, trattorias, patisseries and markets offering the finest in Italian cuisine. For dessert, head to Hanover Street and look for the long line (it goes quick) streaming out of Mike's Pastry (300 Hanover St.). You can believe the hype about this little bakery, whose to-die-for cannoli attract tourists and kerchiefed signoras alike. Still, some locals insist rival Modern Pastry (257 Hanover St.) down the street is even better. Our suggestion? Try both and stage a “cannoli off” in nearby North End Park on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

• Treat yo' self to a lobster dinner and don't forget the bib. You can crack one open at seafood joints throughout the city, including Atlantic Fish (761 Boylston St.) and Legal Sea Foods (255 State St.).



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Restaurants
Our favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.

Located in the Back Bay adjacent to the Mandarin Oriental Boston , L'Espalier is one of the city's premier “special occasion” restaurants. The intimate atmosphere complements the exceptional culinary service and delivery of chef/proprietor Frank McClelland’s innovative New England-inspired French cuisine. Three-course prix fixe and seven-course degustation (chef's choice) menus change seasonally and showcase such regional ingredients as Wellfleet oysters and Maine lobster as well as heirloom veggies from farmer McClelland's Apple Street Farm in Essex.


For gourmands who appreciate unusual and creative eats, another Back Bay must is Clio in the Eliot Hotel, next door to the Harvard Club of Boston. Celebrity chef Ken Oringer creates remarkable French dishes with a strong Asian influence. The changing menu of gastronomic possibilities ranges from a cassolette of lobster and sea urchin to buttermilk-braised chicken served with gnocchi.

At Meritage , it's all about the wine. For your main course, you'll first select a red or white before choosing an appropriate small or large plate to pair with your vino. Chef Daniel Bruce's food presentations are truly artistic; typical dishes include sumptuous roasted lamb, short ribs and braised rabbit. The knowledgeable staff provides attentive, unobtrusive service in a chic dining room boasting fantastic views of Boston Harbor.

Restaurants are plentiful in Boston’s historic North End, which is renowned for authentic Italian cuisine. Serving traditional favorites like caprese, risotto and parmigiana since 1931, Cantina Italiana is likely the oldest eatery in the neighborhood. Born in Italy, brothers Chuck and Fiore Colella currently operate the longtime gem, which garners repeat customers with savory dishes and a warm, casual atmosphere.

Set in a 19th-century North End row house, Mamma Maria features five private dining rooms and a nice selection of creative dishes with a focus on Italian cuisine. Order the carpaccio with shaved truffles or the braised rabbit with pappardelle pasta. The slow-roasted veal shank, served in classic osso buco style with saffron risotto, also is delightful.

Decadent confections lure the local clientele to Finale . While the restaurant does offer light dinner fare, the main draw is dessert—luscious homemade cakes, crème brûlée, tiramisu and more. Topped with exquisite slivers of white chocolate, plump blueberries and shaved coconut, the gorgeous treats are created daily and, as you probably already guessed, are pretty tough to resist. Located in Boston's theater district, Finale is a popular stop after a show.

With its modern nautical decor, chalkboard menus, and exposed wood beams and air ducts, Jasper White's Summer Shack looks like an urbanized version of a rustic seafood shanty. Inspired by traditional New England clambakes, the Back Bay location of this local chain attracts a lively crowd thanks to its proximity to Fenway Park and Kings bowling alley. If you're hankering for steamers, lobsters and corn on the cob in an über-casual setting, this is the place to go.

From Jasper White's, it's a short walk (or a short ride on the Green Line) to Kenmore Square, the location of two restaurant/bar establishments where mingling with locals is part of the fun. Sleek, bright and airy, Island Creek Oyster Bar serves up fresh regional oysters (natch) as well as a to-die-for clam chowder enhanced by buttermilk biscuits and house-cured bacon bits. At nearby Eastern Standard Kitchen and Drinks , raucous patrons toast classic cocktails (made with housemade vermouth and exotic bitters) and nibble on rich foodstuffs like roasted bone marrow, foie gras and bacon pâté. Although the space is large and open with high ceilings and a massive bar, with Fenway Park right around the corner, the trendy brasserie gets packed to the brim with faithful Red Sox fans during baseball season. In addition, brunch menus are offered at both Island Creek and Eastern Standard, bringing throngs of carefree—and ravenous—twenty- and thirtysomethings to Kenmore Square on Sundays.

Bistro. Wine bar. Delicatessen. The Butcher Shop , owned by James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurateur Barbara Lynch, captures the essence of a European market. At the South End eatery, large picture windows overlook Tremont Street, while refrigerator cases at the back of the restaurant draw eyes to neat displays of sausages, cheeses and pâtés. Menu selections include steak tartare, porchetta, and a charcuterie platter so grand it costs $82 bucks.

Barbara Lynch owns several area establishments, but Menton is thus far her crowning achievement. Seasonal menus (diners choose between a four-course prix fixe menu and a seven-course chef’s tasting menu) showcase sophisticated fusion fare that effortlessly melds cooking techniques and ingredients from France and Italy. (Appropriately, the restaurant is named after a French seaside town near the Italian border.) Located in the Fort Point neighborhood, Menton is on the same block as two of the South Boston native's other businesses: Sportello , the Italian trattoria-meets-American diner, and Drink , a craft cocktail bar.

Celebrity chef Ming Tsai opened feng shui-inspired Blue Ginger, an East-West Bistro , in Wellesley, a suburb of Boston, in 1998. Working in an open kitchen, Tsai’s team of chefs creates such delicacies as shiitake-leek spring rolls accompanied by a three-chili dipping sauce; garlic-black pepper lobster; and Indonesian curry pasta, served with a choice of organic coconut shrimp or panko herb-crusted chicken breast. The elegant Asian fusion restaurant features three separate dining rooms as well as a chic lounge offering a variety of tapas, including delectable homemade dumplings filled with everything from savory roast duck to blue cheeseburger and bacon.

Kendall Square in

Cambridge

is home to a number of restaurants, including Hungry Mother , named after Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Va., the hometown of owner/chef Barry Maiden. Open since 2008, the eatery—frequently voted one of Greater Boston's best—quiets rumbling bellies with modernized takes on Southern comfort foods like deviled eggs, skillet cornbread, shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes.


See all the AAA Diamond Rated restaurants for this destination.



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Attractions
In a city with dozens of attractions, you may have trouble deciding where to spend your time. Here are the highlights for this destination, as chosen by AAA editors. GEMs are “Great Experiences for Members.”

With more than 550 playful exhibits, Boston's Museum of Science makes science not only palatable but fun for kids, science-phobes and even jaded adults. There's so much to do, this museum feels like a theme park. On the waterfront, the New England Aquarium is another perennial favorite. Highlights include the ever-popular penguin exhibit, a 200,000-gallon coral reef display and an outdoor tank for harbor seals.

On the Avenue of the Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston , has all the Manets, Monets, Picassos, Rembrandts, Renoirs, Sargents and Whistlers you'd expect to find at one of the country's premier art venues. I.M. Pei designed the west wing. Nearby is the Venetian-style palazzo of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with its private collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture and textiles.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is another example of I.M. Pei's architectural vision. This dramatic glass and concrete structure at Columbia Point honors the Boston congressman who became the 35th president of the United States. Adams National Historical Park in Quincy preserves the birthplaces of presidents John and John Quincy Adams, along with their homes and the churchyard containing their graves.

Boston means history, and the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail will lead you past dozens of famous sites. The Boston Massacre occurred in front of the Old State House , where John Hancock was inaugurated as first governor of the commonwealth. Stirring speeches and passionate pleas echoed within the walls of Faneuil Hall , ultimately leading to revolution. Lanterns hung in the steeple of Old North Church signaled Paul Revere's celebrated midnight ride. Revere forged the original copper sheathing for the warship USS Constitution , nicknamed “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812. Bunker Hill Monument marks the site of a critical battle during the British occupation. In the nearby town of

Lexington

, you can stand on the bridge where war began with “the shot heard 'round the world” in 1775.


With one of the highest concentrations of colleges and universities in the world, Boston is a college town of the highest order—and Harvard University is its most venerable symbol. The Ivy League campus in Cambridge exemplifies the history of American architecture, representing styles from Colonial to ultramodern. There are half a dozen art galleries surrounding Harvard Yard, and the Harvard Museum of Natural History displays an impressive collection of minerals, gemstones, fossils and botanical specimens.

Cambridge also is home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology . This hotbed of high-tech innovation features a museum with holography displays and other technology-centered exhibits. Eero Saarinen designed the stark, windowless MIT chapel to represent “spiritual unworldliness.”

Spiritual enlightenment drew 19th-century intellectuals and writers to Boston, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Concord Museum displays the contents of Emerson's 1882 study and a large collection of Thoreau's possessions, including his bed, desk and chair from Walden Pond. In Sudbury, Longfellow's Wayside Inn , made famous in his series of poems published in 1863, includes a 13-room museum, a chapel and formal gardens.

In Salem, you can visit The House of the Seven Gables , actually a collection of six historic buildings including Nathaniel Hawthorne's birthplace and the seven-gabled home that inspired his classic novel. The nearby Peabody Essex Museum , noted for its maritime art collection and 24 restored houses, boasts more than 2.4 million art objects. Five generations of the Phillips family filled the Historic New England's Phillips House with objects collected during their world travels, including Asian porcelain, rare Persian rugs and English furnishings.

If you have extra time for sightseeing, don't miss AAA GEM attractions in Gloucester, Lowell, Plymouth and Saugus, all within a 40-mile radius.

See all the AAA recommended attractions for this destination.



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Boston in 3 Days
Three days is barely enough time to get to know any major destination. But AAA travel editors suggest these activities to make the most of your time in Boston.

Day 1: Morning
Begin at the visitor information center on Boston Common near Tremont Street and follow the Freedom Trail. (For more detailed information about historic sites along the way, see our AAA Walking Tour.)

On this first section, you'll see the State House , Granary Burying Ground , King's Chapel , Old South Meeting House and Old State House .


Day 1: Afternoon
Stop at Faneuil Hall , a Georgian-style building donated to the city by a wealthy merchant in 1742. So many fiery gatherings denouncing British rule were held here that it is often called “the Cradle of Liberty.” At the top of the hall's bell tower stands its iconic gilded copper weather vane, which is in the shape of a grasshopper. During the Revolutionary War, suspected spies were asked to identify the object atop Faneuil Hall; those who couldn't name this easily recognizable landmark (easily recognizable for a Bostonian, at least) were reputedly convicted of espionage.

Today, Faneuil Hall is part of a bustling marketplace that includes designer shops and pushcarts displaying handmade crafts and souvenirs. If you're not in the mood to shop, enjoy the jugglers, puppeteers and street performers. Take your pick of places to eat, from upscale McCormick & Schmick's to such casual taverns as Ned Devine's Irish Pub and Durgin Park . You also can take your pick from the casual food stalls of the Quincy Market Food Colonnade. Or, walk to nearby Union Oyster House , open since 1826. Ask for the private Kennedy Booth, where then-Senator John F. Kennedy sat on many a Sunday afternoon, poring over newspapers and savoring mouthfuls of lobster stew.

After you've grabbed lunch and a few souvenirs, continue along the Freedom Trail, passing the Paul Revere House , Old North Church and Copp's Hill Burying Ground in the North End.

Day 1: Evening
You'll find no shortage of Italian food in the North End. One of the oldest restaurants in the neighborhood is the casual and charming Cantina Italiana , a favorite since 1931. Upscale Mamma Maria features five romantic and private dining rooms. The Daily Catch only has 10 tables, but it's worth the wait for some of the freshest Sicilian-style seafood in town.

After dinner, join the parade of people, muscle cars and motorcycles on Hanover Street, the North End's main thoroughfare. Then, laugh 'til your sides hurt at Improv Asylum, where a troupe of talented actors leaves audiences in stitches with an energetic mix of sketch and ad-lib comedy.

Day 2: Morning
Stroll through the botanical beauty of the Public Garden and ride a swan boat around the lagoon (the swan boats typically operate from late June through Labor Day). Stop to take your picture outside Cheers Beacon Hill , on the north end of the lagoon, where exterior shots for the long-running TV sitcom were filmed.

For a little snack, stop at Finale on the south end of the Public Garden. This dessert mecca serves up such sinful creations as “Dark Chocolate Decadence” and “Temptation for Two.” Order gourmet sandwiches for a picnic, or pick out a few confections for a pastry box to go (after all, you'll need the energy).

Day 2: Afternoon
Explore the cool wonders of the New England Aquarium on the waterfront at Central Wharf. Highlights include a colony of African and rockhopper penguins, a rare collection of Australian seadragons and an outdoor home for harbor seals. For a behind-the-scenes look, sign up for one of the animal encounter programs, which let you meet aquarium stars like Myrtle the green sea turtle and shadow members of the staff during feeding and training sessions.

Day 2: Evening
If you're visiting Boston during the summer (June to September), take a sunset sail aboard the 125-foot Liberty Clipper. This beautiful vessel from The Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships departs from Long Wharf for a cruise around the islands of Boston Harbor; weekend trips range from a Sunday brunch cruise to a re-creation of the Boston Tea Party.

If you prefer to stay on land, Long Wharf boasts two of the city's most popular seafood restaurants, both with beautiful views of the waterfront: Chart House and Legal Sea Foods .

Day 3: Morning
Take the subway (the “T”) across the river and explore the hallowed ground of Old Cambridge , which includes the 1761 Christ Church, the 1759 Longfellow House and Harvard University , the oldest institution of higher learning in the country, founded in 1636. Among the university museums' many hidden treasures are the glass flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History .

Casual eateries such as John Harvard's Brewhouse and Spice Thai Cuisine surround Harvard Square, where you can rub elbows with the locals and watch a speed-chess game.

Day 3: Afternoon
Spend the afternoon with Monet, Picasso and Whistler at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston . If you still have time (and energy), the Venetian-style palazzo of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is two blocks away. For an art alternative, take the kids to the Museum of Science , which is surprisingly fun for adults too.

Day 3: Evening
Take in a game at Fenway Park , one of baseball's oldest and most venerable stadiums. If the Red Sox aren't playing, watch the sunset from the 50th-floor Skywalk Observatory at Prudential Center , and then head to Top of the Hub for dinner and a priceless view of the Boston skyline and the Charles River.



close
Boston in 3 Days
Three days is barely enough time to get to know any major destination. But AAA travel editors suggest these activities to make the most of your time in Boston.

Day 1: Morning
Begin at the visitor information center on Boston Common near Tremont Street and follow the Freedom Trail. (For more detailed information about historic sites along the way, see our AAA Walking Tour.)

On this first section, you'll see the State House , Granary Burying Ground , King's Chapel , Old South Meeting House and Old State House .


Day 1: Afternoon
Stop at Faneuil Hall , a Georgian-style building donated to the city by a wealthy merchant in 1742. So many fiery gatherings denouncing British rule were held here that it is often called “the Cradle of Liberty.” At the top of the hall's bell tower stands its iconic gilded copper weather vane, which is in the shape of a grasshopper. During the Revolutionary War, suspected spies were asked to identify the object atop Faneuil Hall; those who couldn't name this easily recognizable landmark (easily recognizable for a Bostonian, at least) were reputedly convicted of espionage.

Today, Faneuil Hall is part of a bustling marketplace that includes designer shops and pushcarts displaying handmade crafts and souvenirs. If you're not in the mood to shop, enjoy the jugglers, puppeteers and street performers. Take your pick of places to eat, from upscale McCormick & Schmick's to such casual taverns as Ned Devine's Irish Pub and Durgin Park . You also can take your pick from the casual food stalls of the Quincy Market Food Colonnade. Or, walk to nearby Union Oyster House , open since 1826. Ask for the private Kennedy Booth, where then-Senator John F. Kennedy sat on many a Sunday afternoon, poring over newspapers and savoring mouthfuls of lobster stew.

After you've grabbed lunch and a few souvenirs, continue along the Freedom Trail, passing the Paul Revere House , Old North Church and Copp's Hill Burying Ground in the North End.

Day 1: Evening
You'll find no shortage of Italian food in the North End. One of the oldest restaurants in the neighborhood is the casual and charming Cantina Italiana , a favorite since 1931. Upscale Mamma Maria features five romantic and private dining rooms. The Daily Catch only has 10 tables, but it's worth the wait for some of the freshest Sicilian-style seafood in town.

After dinner, join the parade of people, muscle cars and motorcycles on Hanover Street, the North End's main thoroughfare. Then, laugh 'til your sides hurt at Improv Asylum, where a troupe of talented actors leaves audiences in stitches with an energetic mix of sketch and ad-lib comedy.

Day 2: Morning
Stroll through the botanical beauty of the Public Garden and ride a swan boat around the lagoon (the swan boats typically operate from late June through Labor Day). Stop to take your picture outside Cheers Beacon Hill , on the north end of the lagoon, where exterior shots for the long-running TV sitcom were filmed.

For a little snack, stop at Finale on the south end of the Public Garden. This dessert mecca serves up such sinful creations as “Dark Chocolate Decadence” and “Temptation for Two.” Order gourmet sandwiches for a picnic, or pick out a few confections for a pastry box to go (after all, you'll need the energy).

Day 2: Afternoon
Explore the cool wonders of the New England Aquarium on the waterfront at Central Wharf. Highlights include a colony of African and rockhopper penguins, a rare collection of Australian seadragons and an outdoor home for harbor seals. For a behind-the-scenes look, sign up for one of the animal encounter programs, which let you meet aquarium stars like Myrtle the green sea turtle and shadow members of the staff during feeding and training sessions.

Day 2: Evening
If you're visiting Boston during the summer (June to September), take a sunset sail aboard the 125-foot Liberty Clipper. This beautiful vessel from The Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships departs from Long Wharf for a cruise around the islands of Boston Harbor; weekend trips range from a Sunday brunch cruise to a re-creation of the Boston Tea Party.

If you prefer to stay on land, Long Wharf boasts two of the city's most popular seafood restaurants, both with beautiful views of the waterfront: Chart House and Legal Sea Foods .

Day 3: Morning
Take the subway (the “T”) across the river and explore the hallowed ground of Old Cambridge , which includes the 1761 Christ Church, the 1759 Longfellow House and Harvard University , the oldest institution of higher learning in the country, founded in 1636. Among the university museums' many hidden treasures are the glass flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History .

Casual eateries such as John Harvard's Brewhouse and Spice Thai Cuisine surround Harvard Square, where you can rub elbows with the locals and watch a speed-chess game.

Day 3: Afternoon
Spend the afternoon with Monet, Picasso and Whistler at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston . If you still have time (and energy), the Venetian-style palazzo of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is two blocks away. For an art alternative, take the kids to the Museum of Science , which is surprisingly fun for adults too.

Day 3: Evening
Take in a game at Fenway Park , one of baseball's oldest and most venerable stadiums. If the Red Sox aren't playing, watch the sunset from the 50th-floor Skywalk Observatory at Prudential Center , and then head to Top of the Hub for dinner and a priceless view of the Boston skyline and the Charles River.



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