Boston is a city steeped in history and contrasts. Its red brick buildings, brownstones, and prestigious universities lend the city a certain European swagger, while the warehouses and textile mills still hark back to its industrial foundations. Boston played a pivotal role in the independence movement of the 18th century and was the hub of America's revolutionary activity during the colonial period. The residents' ardent support of independence earned the city the nickname of 'The Cradle of Liberty'. During the 19th century Boston was vital to the development of American culture. The economic elite, the so-called Boston Brahmins, breathed new light, pushing new boundaries for social ideals and the arts. Their contribution to scientific, educational, and social change was unprecedented in the New World and earned the city the nickname of 'The Athens of America'. The 20th century saw Boston's influence wane, as the frontier cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago grew in importance. However, with new technology industries, a burgeoning financial center, development in health care, and the higher education institutes continuing to draw great minds to the city – one in five Bostonians are at university and there are more university students per square foot in the city than any other in the Western Hemisphere. The city is regaining its significant economical and cultural influence.
Where to Stay in Boston
Bostonians attach a great deal of pride to their neighborhoods. When in the city, if you ask a local where he or she is from they will more often than not refer to the neighborhood, rather than the city. So be prepared to decipher the abbreviation i.e 'JP' (Jamaica Plain), 'Dot' (Dorchester), 'Southie' (South Boston) or 'Eastie' (East Boston). Charlestown, situated at the end of the city's celebrated Freedom Trail, is largely a residential district. Wimdu has a variety of family-friendly Boston apartments and vacation rentals in the neighborhood, perfect for those who want easy access to Downtown and other tourist sights, such as the Bunker Hill Monument. The sprawling residential neighborhood of South Boston is home to loyal locals, and has the largest Irish and Irish-American populations in the country. Wimdu has an array of high-quality listing that will enable you to immerse yourself in the neighborhood and make the most of some of the fantastic restaurants in 'Southie'. The Back Bay has the widest selection of accommodation and Boston's best shopping and people-watching spots, from the terraces of cafes and bars that characterize the district.
A Day Out in Boston
The Esplanade is a green piece of land designed by the much-celebrated Central Park planner Frederick Law Olmsted. If the sun is out, migrate with Bostonians to this recreational area and enjoy picnics, sunbathing, and feeding the water fowl.
If you then cross the river and continue west, you'll each the campus of Harvard University. Admire the steeples and spires of one of the world's most renowned universities, stroll around Harvard Square, then pop into the distinguished Harward Book Store. If none of that made you want to return to your books; try one of the 50-odd burger variations at Mr Bartley's Burger, which has been serving students of the Ivy League for more than four decades. The sweet potato fries alone will make you want to doth tweed and talk philosophy.
The Freedom Trail is the key for those wishing to find out more about Boston's revolutionary past. Starting at the Boston Common, the red-brick path snakes past 16 historical sites that chart the conflict. From the Old State House to the Old North Church, you will learn how contemporary America was born.
Next head to the North End, home to Boston's 'Little Italy'. The narrow lanes and winding streets lack nothing in 1920s atmosphere. End your stroll with dinner in one of Boston's celebrated Italian restaurants and watch while the neighborhood buzzes around you.
The heartbeat of Boston's nightlife is in 'Southie' (South Boston), with its brownstone-clad streets, independent restaurants and bars, and lively local art. The Behan and Brick and Mortar are both highly-recommend.
Where to Eat in Boston
While better known for its outstanding museums, cultural activities, and universities, the Boston food scene is now gaining pace and reputation. The diversity of the city's neighborhoods is reflected in the fare on offer. In the North End, Boston's 'Little Italy', traditional European cooking is the backbone. You will find most of the big name restaurants in Downtown and Back Bay, while the enclaves of Cambridge, Sommerville, and Jamaican Plains are where the emerging food scene is developing strongest.
Towne Stove and Spirits, the latest haunt from celebrated local chef Lydia Shire, is located in the Back Bay area. An ideal spot for brunch, lunch, or dinner. The homemade maki, New England clam chowder, veal osso bucco, and Peking Duck are all star attractions on the menu.
Sibling Rivalry is run by two brothers who create 'dueling menus' that utilize one set of seasonal produce. The results are often breathtaking. The fall menu featured a salad of roasted beets with a goat's cheese fondue, while the other brother – determined to not be outdone – created boneless short ribs of beef with roasted beets, ragout of salsify, pearl onions, and carrots.
Posto takes pizza very seriously. And rightly so. The homemade mozzarella, locally-sourced ingredients, and the dedication to cooking guidelines laid out by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana echo this fact. As well as fine pizzas, Posto does other Italian classics very well. Nana's meatballs, Caesar salad with white anchovies, and gnocchi with braised beef are all highly recommended.
Petit Robert Bistro has reignited the authenticity into Boston's French food scene. Comfort, unpretentious and affordable fare are the staples of this townhouse restaurant. The quenelles, soupe a l'oignon gratinée, and boeuf bourguignon are superb. Finish off with tarte tatin, and you can almost smell the Gaelic countryside.
Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar houses a fine selection of tap beers and cocktails, but it is the collection of over 100 whiskies that draw in the crowds. The celebrated oyster bar delivers sobering but delicious oysters from Wellfleet and Island Creek. The restaurant offers fine-ding options too. The ground sirloin burger and risotto con funghi are particular favorites.
Getting Around Boston
Although famed for being 'America's Walking City', the public transport system is cheap and efficient. Known locally as the 'T', it offers subway, trolley car, and boat services to almost every point in the city's vicinity. Tickets for the 'T' can be purchased at every subway station and many convenience stores.
Taxis are also available throughout the city. The cost of taxi fare from Logan International Airport to central Boston is approximately $35.
'Hubway' is Boston's equivalent to the Velib system in Paris. There are over 1000 bicycles available at 100 stations across Boston. You can choose between a one-day, 2-day, and monthly pass.