Travel

Boston Travel Guide – A California Girl’s Guide to New England

This year has been wild. I have traveled to so many different states and cities I can’t even keep track. As much as traveling is my favorite thing to write about, I have to really set time aside to cover everything. I planned a trip this year to head to Boston and New York City. One of my good friends was getting married in Boston, so I had to make a trip out of it since I didn’t know when I would have the opportunity to go back.

I stayed in the North End of Boston in a beautiful Airbnb. The North End was nice because of all the restaurants nearby and quieter feel. I was blown away by how beautiful the clean the city was. There was so much history to see as well as nightlife and shopping. I knew I had my hands full. Not only that, but I was going to be in Boston during the 4th of July so I knew it would be a trip that needed lots of planning.

Boston is a very walkable city which is wonderful. Plan your day accordingly and explore specific sections of the city if possible. There is a great deal to see so it is important the make an itinerary. Schedule a Duck Boat Tour your first day to better understand the city’s layout. I visited in July, so make sure to dress according to your season. Boston can be very hot or very cold. Walking around in the dead of summer was much more challenging than I expected.

Here are my top recommendations for Boston:

Housing:

Airbnb – this was my first time staying in an Airbnb, and I do not think I will ever be able to stay in a hotel again.  I did not realize how amazing Airbnb’s could be. The place I stayed in was so beautiful and colonial. The rooftop was my favorite part. You could climb to the top floor and look off on the most beautiful cityscape. The link to my specific apartment is here. 

Shopping:
Newbury Street – Newbury is packed with restaurants and shops. Alice and Olivia, Aritzia, Goorin Bros, Joie, and Madewell are just a few. I loved shopping there and checking out all the great restaurants. Everything is so photogenic and quaint.

Restaurants:
Atlantic Fish Company – 761 Boylston Street – this place was phenomenal! I ordered a delicious bottle of chardonnay (that I shared with the table) and ate one the best lobster ravioli dishes I have ever had. If you want amazing seafood in Boston – definitely check out Atlantic Fish Co.
L’Espalier – 774 Boylston Street – this was my favorite part about Boston. L’Espalier is the most incredible restaurant and bar. Its location is unassuming and I would have completely missed it had my friend, a Boston local, not taken me. The restaurant offers New England-French cuisine but I was there for the champagne and cheese. L’Espalier offers cheeses from around the world, including Spain, England, Portugal, France, Italy, and Australia but the New England cheeses were my favorite. They were so buttery and flavorful and unlike anything I have ever had. If you go to Boston, go to L’Espalier.
The Beehive – 541 Tremont Street – the Beehive was so fun! It plays live music and serves really tasty comfort food. The vibe was fun and unique. I love anywhere that plays live music. I am not much of a jazz girl but this place was a blast.
Bova’s Bakery – 134 Salem Street – Bova’s. Where do I begin? This bakery was out of this world. Not only was it jam packed with every kind of cannoli you could imagine, it was open 24 hours which is so hard to find! The bakery has been family-owned and operated since 1932. I loved going to this place because it was such a Bostonian secret. There are tons of popular bakeries that attract tourists, but this one was a recommendation from my local friend who wouldn’t let me leave Boston without trying it. You have to go to Bova’s!
Union Oyster House – 41-43 Union Street – Union Oyster House was one place I had on my wish list but did not have time to visit. It has been open since 1826 and is one of the oldest restaurants in the United States. There is so much history behind the restaurant, but my favorite story was that John F. Kennedy had his own table there. Not only has the restaurant served many famous customers, but the food is supposed to be phenomenal as well.

Nightlife/Bars:
Top of the Hub – Prudential Center Tower – 800 Boylston St, 52nd floor – this is another must-see. The Top of the Hub offers a beautiful view of Boston. They have a great bar and the restaurant is really nice. I love going to tall buildings when I’m in a new city because it gives a great perspective of the lay of the land.
The Liberty Hotel – 215 Charles Street – the Liberty is a unique hotel and bar. I didn’t stay here so I can’t speak to the rooms, but the theme is really neat. The Liberty was initially built as a prison in 1851 that was then converted into a hotel. It is definitely worth checking out – I have heard you can stay in the old jail side which sounds eerie.
The Lookout Rooftop and Bar – the Envoy Hotel – 700 Sleeper Street – the Lookout was incredibly beautiful. Make sure to get there early so you can scope out a seat and grab some drinks. I barely made it in time for sunset since the line was so long. The vibe is friendly and the views of the harbor are stunning.
Harpoon Brewery and Beer Hall – 306 Northern Avenue – I am a sucker for great beer so Harpoon’s was a blast! I came here on the 4th of July and did some tastings. This place was so lively and fun. I ordered the pretzel which is a must. The vibe is friendly and the staff was great.

Historical Monuments:
The Freedom Trail –– the Freedom trail is another must-see when in Boston. Since I was there in July, it was a pretty brutal walk in the summer’s heat but it is worth seeing. The trail is 2.5 miles long with 16 different sites relating to the Revolutionary War. I downloaded a map and followed the trail. The trail is also marked on the ground throughout the entire city, which makes it easy to follow.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace – 1 Faneuil Hall Square – Faneuil Hall has been a meeting hall and marketplace since 1743. It’s one of the Freedom Trails stops but I must say it was not one of my favorites. I found it overcrowded and packed with shops that didn’t interest me much. It’s worth walking by to see the history, but I wouldn’t spend too much time walking around it.
Fenway Park – 4 Yawkey Way – I could not make it to Fenway while I was in Boston because the Red Sox did not have home stand while I was there. Next time, I plan to go, either to watch a game at Fenway or at the very least to do a museum tour, because of all the history behind it. Fenway is the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, so it is worth visiting simply for the history. Their tours of the stadium are supposed to be phenomenal so that will be added to my list as well.
Boston Public Library – 700 Boylston Street – this library is incredible! The library was founded in 1848 and is stunning on the inside. It is one of the largest municipal public library systems in the United States. It has over 23.7 million items! The artwork is breathtaking so just walking around and taking in the beauty is enjoyable.
Bunker Hill Monument – Monument Square, Charlestown, MA – the Bunker Hill Monument was neat. On the 4th of July I climbed to the top of it to peer out. It reminded me of the Duomo in Florence so if you are scared of heights or claustrophobic I would not recommend it. You walk up 294 steps of a spiral staircase and can look out a small window at the top. The monument itself commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill which was a famous battle from the Revolutionary War. I enjoyed visiting on the 4th of July since everyone was in such a patriotic mood already.
USS Constitution Museum and ship – Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, MA – this was another moment I went to on the 4th of July. I didn’t spend much time in the museum; the ship itself was much more fascinating. They allow you to tour the boat and look at the deck. This is where U.S. military superiority all began!
Boston Common – 139 Tremont Street – Boston Common is the oldest city park in the United States, established in 1634.
Boston Public Garden – 4 Charles Street – adjacent to Boston Common. Boston Public Garden to Boston is Central Park to New York. Translation: it is amazing. Go explore to walk around, check out the monuments, and people watch.
Acorn Street – Acorn Street, Boston – located in Beacon Hill, Acorn Street is one of the most photographed streets in all of Boston. I was shocked when I arrived at 10 AM. There were already a dozen people snapping photos all down the adorable cobblestone street. The charm of this Colonial American street is indescribable. Acorn Street is a no-brainer for any blogger.
Harvard University – Cambridge. MA – I cannot stop kicking myself over not making it to Harvard University while I was in Cambridge. I had friends who visited that said the campus was breathtaking and completely worth visiting. Next time I am in Boston there is no way I will miss Harvard again.
Boston Duck Tours – I loved this tour! You can learn more about it here: http://www.bostonducktours.com/the-tour/. To begin, you board a Word War II amphibious landing vehicle and tour the city. The driver gives you copious amounts of interesting facts about the city. The tour provides a great way to see much of the city without having to walk all of it. I recommend doing the duck tour on your first day in Boston. Once you do the tour, it will give you a better idea of what places you really want to see as well as a better understanding of where everything is. The trip concludes when the driver takes you straight into the Charles River. The vehicle is both a car and boat so it is a really fun experience. Here are just a few of the places they will take you:
–  State House
– Bunker Hill
– Boston Common
– Newbury Street
– Prudential Tower
– Copley Square

Drinking champagne cocktails,eating cheese, and snapping photos at L’Espalier.

Close up photo of the champagne cocktails.

The infamous cheese board from L’Espalier.

The view from my Airbnb rooftop in North End.

A shot from Acorn Street – the prettiest little street in all of Boston.

The Boston Public Library – filled with people researching on a Saturday afternoon.

A wide angle photo of the Boston Public Library.

A statue of George Washington at the Boston Public Garden.

A view from the top of Bunker Hill.

 

To conclude, Boston has abundant history and many remarkable things to see. While I experienced much of its history, I look forward to coming back to continue to discover the city. I hope this guide gives you a starting point of some noteworthy places to explore. If you have been to Boston before or live there currently, where are your favorite places? I would love to hear your go-to spots that I may have missed.

Xoxo,
Jewels

 

Please note: all photos were taken by Right Eye Imagery. 

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