It’s been a while since I travelled anywhere, so I was totally thrilled when I was accepted into a two week coding program on the East Coast. I was keen to take the opportunity to take a little weekend trip to visit one of my childhood best friends, who moved down to Boston two years ago. Luckily for me, she called ahead and made reservations at all of her favourite places around town.
Like most cities, one weekend in Boston was certainly not enough – I’m already making summer plans! But if you’re like me and only have a few days to explore, I’ve got just the list for you.
Where to eat
Thelonious Monkfish. This was the first restaurant I went to after arriving on a rather rainy Friday night as it was right down the street from Andrea’s lab in Cambridge. Living up to it’s name, Thelonious Monkfish is a sushi restaurant that also happens to have a rota of fantastic live jazz every night. The menu is full of even more punny gems – I probably spent thirty minutes reading the menu and was in stitches the entire time! That being said, the food did not disappoint. If you do decide to go on a weekend, make sure you book in advance, this place was packed.
Saltie Girl. Being so close to the sea, Boston has a lot of great seafood options, and Saltie Girl is the best of the best if that’s what you’re after. It’s boutique restaurant with a kick ass, lady power vibe to it. There’s a huge selection of tinned seafood, as well as a gazillion other options like lobster waffles and snow crab toast.
Gaslight Brasserie. We went to this little French-style gem in the South End in search of what I was told would be the best moules frites in all of Boston. I was not disappointed! Andrea booked a week in advance, and the earliest seating on a Saturday night was 9pm, so be sure to keep that in mind in planning.
King and I. Andrea and I walked by this homey little restaurant on Charles Street a dozen times during my time there, finally popping in after chilled watching the sunset on the Esplanade. This is exactly the kind of restaurant I love – friendly service, no reservations needed, and quality dishes that don’t break the bank. You can find one of these enduring restaurants in every big city I can think of, but that’s exactly what makes it so comforting.
JP Licks. This little ice cream shop has a couple of locations throughout Boston, and we popped into their Charles Street location in Beacon Hill after having dinner across the street. They have fun monthly flavours as well as the classics, and is worth checking out if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
What to do
Boston Common. I visited as the buds on the trees were just starting to peek though, and I cannot imagine how glorious this park must be once everything does blossom. I loved strolling though the grounds, listening to musicians play and snuggling the occasional doggie. I can’t wait to come back when the weather is warmer to rent a swan boat and have a little picnic under the shade of the willow trees.
Newbury Street. While I’m not hugely into shopping on holiday (especially when I’ve already crammed every inch of my carry on bag) but I still loved strolling along Newbury Street. It has a great, buzzing energy as well as the classic red brick aesthetic, and it was fun popping into some of the smaller boutiques. If shopping is your thing, you’ll be set. Newbury Street a whole range of shops from Uniqlo to Burberry, getting fancier as you get nearer to Boston Common.
Fenway Park. The park itself is home to the beloved Boston Red Sox, but the surrounding neighbourhood by the same name is worth checking out too even if you don’t love baseball. There were lots of great bars and restaurants, and had a buzzier character than some of the other neighbourhoods I went to. That being said, I can’t wait to catch a game at the stadium when I visit again over the summer!
Isabella Gardner Museum. I had just enough time to squeeze in a visit to this museum and am so glad I did! It was one of the most bizarrely beautiful places I’ve been to, and certainly not something I expected to find in Boston.
Esplanade. Andrea and I went to the Esplanade for sunset. Yes, it was freezing and unbearably windy, but it was also so beautiful. From the little dock we found, we had a gorgeous view of the city skyline and Charles River. In slightly better weather I can imagine this being a perfect spot for a whiling away the afternoon.
Boston Public Library. When you’re on holiday, visiting a library isn’t the most obvious choice, but this one is totally worth it. The Boston Public Library is soaring marble pillars, intricate tiled ceilings dedicated to , and the most dramatic study hall I’ve ever seen. We made an occasion of it and stopped by The Courtyard Restaurant, tucked right on the main floor, for an afternoon tea. It felt a little blasphemous, but it was fun nonetheless.
Beacon Hill. I could honestly spend days wandering around Beacon Hill. With its hilly cobble stoned streets and flower boxes overflowing with tulips and hydrangeas, Beacon Hill is easily the one of the most romantic places I’ve been. Every single corner is photogenic, but the most famously instagrammable is Acorn Street. Unless you get there very early or during particularly crummy weather, you’ll probably have to wait a bit behind a few other groups to get your snaps though.
This is only a little list of the things I enjoyed and can personally recommend, but there is still so much more I have planned for my next trip to Boston. The Freedom Trail, Quincy Market, Skywalk Observatory, Harborwalk, and Kelleher Rose Garden are all at the top of my list!
Where to get coffee
Tatte. This little local chain was love at first sight. I went to a couple of different locations during my time there, and each one has serious Parisian cool girl vibes without ever trying too hard. Maybe one day they’ll expand to Detroit? A girl can only dream…
Curio Coffee. This little Cambridge outpost had a fantastic selection of specialty coffee and . And while you’re there, get the waffles. You’ll thank me later.
Where to stay
Because I’d traveled to Boston specifically to spend time with Andrea, I ended up staying at her apartment. While we were wandering around the city, I did make some mental bookmarks of some places I’d love to stay when I do return.
Beacon Hill Hotel. located right on Charles Street, is an obvious choice. Aside from being right in the middle of the most outrageously charming neighbourhood, you’re also really well situated for exploring the city. Boston Common is a stone’s throw away, and everything else is either a fifteen minute walk or easily accessible through the Charles Station.
The Verb. I didn’t actually get a chance to explore inside here, but just walking past made me want to book a night. The Verb has some serious rock n’ roll vibes going on, and was in the centre of all the great spots around Fenway Park.
I arrived into Alewife Station, and taking the train into Boston was a breeze. You’ll save a few cents on every trip if you pick up a Charlie Card, which is free but only ‘sold’ at certain convenience stores. For the most part, everything was extremely walkable, but some of the lines run a little screwy along the river, some journeys were worth us piling into a Lyft or Uber Pool for. There’s also a public bike-sharing network known as The Hubway that is extremely economical at just $15 for a long weekend pass. I didn’t try it out on this trip, but I think it would be a great option during the warmer months.
Now that you’ve heard my favourite spots around Boston for a weekend trip, I’d love to hear what’s on your radar. If you’re planning any New England trips in the future drop your Instagram handle in the comments so I can follow along!