Are you planning a trip to Boston, Massachusetts? If so, you’d definitely wonder what are the top things to do in Boston, what attractions are must see, where are the most interesting local restaurants, bars and so on and on!
As this is written I’m on a Wow Air flight on my way home from my first Boston vay-cay. And after doing my share of research and absolutely loving my stay in the New England capital, I wanted to share my best Boston experiences with you and hopefully help you make the most out of your own trip. Let’s get on with it.
Boston is the home to an AMAZING beer scene and craft brewmanship. Being one of America’s leading craft brewing cities the selection is very interesting and there are tons of bars that make their own in-house beers that can only be found at that exact location.
Secondly, as big newbies in N-America, we also really enjoyed to try other more known American beers that we don’t have back home in Iceland but have heard about numerous times.
Alright, this is a little awkward.
But coming from our small Iceland – a country with a never ending list of amazing once in a lifetime activities to do, there is one little downside. Everything is rather expensive and the selection of imported things is often limited. And this time I am mainly talking about clothes and other fashion wear etc.
So, when Icelanders travel – We shop. And sometimes we even travel simply to shop! However, that is not something that I have planned my trips around so far but this time we decided to take our time and update our wardrobe. In the heart of Boston you will find most major shopping brands and there are lots of stores at Newbury st. and the surrounding streets + in multiple malls around the city like Prudential centre. We also rented a car and travelled to Wrentham Village, a big brand outlet mall.
7. BOSTON’S NORTH END
Often called Boston’s Little Italy, the North End is the largest Italian community in the US. Really beautiful little neighbourhood right inside down town Boston where it simply feels like you have teleported to different part of the world. Here you will find amazing Italian restaurants, coffee shops and pastries.
Tanja & I used this as the perfect warm up for our Italy trip next month and did a Little Italy food tour around the area.
The tour we did is called “Off the Eaten Path” and was really delicious and almost more of a historic tour of the area than a food tour.
6. BEACON HILL
A super beautiful and a little more quiet neighbourhood in down town Boston. We heard that this is the home of the rich and therefore cafe’s and shops in this are are sometimes slightly more expensive than elsewhere.
Beacon hill is beautiful to walk around and Boston’s well known brick houses with small cute gardens are everywhere. Here you will find some shops but a nice selection of restaurants and cafe’s. It is also one of the “Instagram hotspots” in Boston as many of the streets and especially Acorn Street are really photogenic and popular among “Instagrammers” and photographers.
5. FOOD & DRINK in BOSTON
Without writing too much about this enormous topic here in this section, I just really wanted to mention that the food & drink scene in Boston is REALLY exciting. The selection of restaurants seemed to be endless with strong traditions (mostly seafood) and exciting new trends. And of course a huge influence from around the world because of it’s immigrants from everywhere around the world.
Also, I could see a big cocktail culture with lots of exciting craft cocktail bars. We visited one bar that was on the top of my list, Wink & Nod that was really really interesting. Basically a “hidden” speakeasy with old school cocktails and a unique pop up kitchen that rotates international chefs every 6 months. I was also very interested in visiting another cocktail bar called DRINK but unfortunately didn’t fit it into this trip.
4. BOSTON COMMON / THE PUBLIC GARDENS
Wow. As this is not something I would find in my city, Reykjavik or in Iceland at all, these things really amaze me.
Beautiful green parks in the middle of a large city – letting you get in touch with nature although you are surrounded by a metropolitan city. And tons of birds, dogs and wild squirrels are running around with the view of huge skyscrapers and glass buildings in the back. I really enjoyed walking and running around these parks and would recommend a visit.
3. OLD VS. NEW
One of my most favourite parts about Boston was the contrast between old and new. Honestly, I have never experienced anything like this. In Reykjavik we have old and new houses standing near to each other but this was something different. The contrast was simply so much greater. Churches or other buildings from the 1600s literally a few steps away from 150 floor glass skyscrapers. And somehow it just works. I thought that was really really cool.
Obviously Boston is this huge historical hub in the US and you will clearly see that by just walking around.
2. TOP OF THE HUB
This was one of our favourite experiences in Boston. The Top of the Hub is a fine dining restaurant + cocktail bar on the 52nd. floor of the Prudential tower with an absolutely amazing view.
The food was good, the drinks were better and the view obviously made the whole experience as special as it was. We decided to visit for lunch as we wanted to enjoy and photograph the views. I think we sat & drank for at least two hours and really had a blast.
1. RUN AROUND BOSTON
Before my trip I had heard & read from million different people and medias that Boston is a perfectly walkable city. And it’s true. Although a rather large area, it’s ridiculously easy to navigate Boston and once you have visited some of the major areas and attractions you will feel like you know the area quite well.
But the problem for me is that you walk slowly … and sometimes you have a stunning girlfriend with you that wears only heals (???) and is not always in the mood to walk for hours and hours hah! So, I woke up a little early most mornings and before we officially started our days I went out for approx. 1 hour run around an area that I hadn’t already visited – And returned home with some super unhealthy breakfast in bed for us = Everybody happy!
After having done everything on this list here above and of course many other things, I think running around Boston may be my favourite thing to do from this trip. It is the perfect way to see & explore a new beautiful area, do it fast and stay in shape in despite of all the eating and drinking!
EXTRA – Here are 3 things that I would really love to do but didn’t do this time in Boston:
– I have heard that Boston has a HUGE Food Truck culture. As an massive foodie this was something I definitely planned on doing but unfortunately forgot / didn’t find the time for at this time. Definitely a priority for the next trip!
– Another highly recommended thing to do from friends & other travel blogs is visiting the University campuses, Harvard/Cambridge etc. This wasn’t something that I or Tanja got overly excited about but on the other hand I am sure that once I would dig into it and do the research, it might be something really cool to do.
– I hope to someday have a lot more time to visit and then I would really enjoy to rent a car and drive down the East coast, visiting Boston, New York and Washington DC all at once with a couple of days stops in each city. And visit other interesting cities or areas that are close by or drive even further south!
I hope my Boston highlights have inspired, helped or entertained and when you get to visit Boston yourself, I hope you’ll be able to make the absolute most out of your own trip. Feel free to get in touch if I can help in any way. Thanks for the read, enjoy!