Boston is hands down my favorite city. I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s due to the same kind of chemistry that we experience with our favorite people. When I’m in Boston (or almost anywhere in New England for that matter), everything feels right with the world.
Recently, several of my friends moved there, and this weekend we went to visit one of them to ogle at his apartment (which can fit about 7 of our NYC apartments into it with some extra space left over), explore the city by foot, and eat at some really tasty restaurants.
We started on Friday evening with dinner at Steel & Rye, a trendy restaurant in Milton, MA. They serve cocktails, which were quite good, and new American cuisine, in a cozy atmosphere that was perfect for a few hours of catching up.
Saturday began with a trip to the Museum of Fine Art, and we spent a couple of hours checking out several galleries. The tickets are pretty pricey if you’re not a member ($25/person), but it turns out it’s worth it. Besides the usual art that you might expect, there are tons of galleries featuring interesting and often hilarious modern art, videos and new media, and the best gift shop/book store I’ve ever encountered at a museum. The galleries are laid out in such a way that visitors aren’t overwhelmed after several hours of browsing, and there are plenty of spots to relax (including on some of the art), and interesting things to see everywhere you go.
For lunch, we walked the 40 or so minutes to Chinatown, via the residential part of the Back Bay, and had some amazing dim sum at the Winsor Cafe. It’s a very no frills spot, and you’ll likely have to share a table, but the delicious food is worth it and will cost you practically nothing. Afterwards, take your pick of bubble tea places and wash everything down with some black milk tea.
After lunch, we continued our Boston trek into the North End, the Italian section of town. It’s known for its many adorable restaurants and bakeries, as well as the Old North Church and statue of Paul Revere. This is an area that should not be missed. It’s always happening, and there’s tons of history and cute little side streets to last you a couple of hours. We were hoping for a cannoli from the famous Mike’s Pastry, but the line was far out the door and it was way too chilly to stand in just for dessert. I do recommend it though!
Luckily, Boston is a pretty small city and can be explored by foot if you have the time and desire. From the North End, we walked to the Boston Common and the Public Garden and then through Newbury Street, the gorgeous strip that is home to Boston’s best shops and boutiques, and plenty of restaurants and cafes. I call this the Madison Avenue of Boston, and it is definitely one of my favorite areas.
Newbury Street will lead you back to the Back Bay, where you’ll find the Prudential Center – the tallest skyscraper in Boston and home to the Top of the Hub, a restaurant and bar on the 52nd floor. We had dinner reservations elsewhere, but we stopped here for a pre-dinner cocktail. Though you won’t get a window seat if you go for drinks only, you’ll easily be able to catch the view. The cocktails were surprisingly delicious and the cost (~$12) was way lower than I expected. You may have to wait downstairs for a while as they do fill up, but the visit is worth it and they have excellent crowd control, so you won’t be squished between tons of people fighting for a glance out the window.
We ended the evening with an incredible tasting menu at Asta. You’ll need reservations relatively far in advance for this one (we were on a waiting list and got a call that afternoon because there had been a cancellation) but the experience is well worth it. We added the wine pairing onto the tasting and loved every single one. I’ll share a couple of my favorite picks in a later post!
On Sunday, we woke up and headed to the Seaport for a tasting at the Harpoon Brewery. You can opt for a tour (highly recommended if you’re a beer fan) or just order a flight and relax and chat with the friendly bartenders. It’s an airy space with tons of tables and seats at the bar, so it’s perfect for a laid back Sunday morning!
After our beer tasting, we realized that the dim sum from the previous day had made a little too much of an impression on us, so we went back to Chinatown for more at Gourmet Dumpling House. Just as good, just as cheap.
Afterwards, we strolled around the beautiful Beacon Hill neighborhood, which is a combination of dream homes and blocks of coffee shops and boutiques. We grabbed some coffee at a local cafe to warm up, and continued walking until we were by the Charles River. Despite the cold and cloudy day, there were lots of joggers out and the water was sparkling with the light of an early winter sunset.
And that’s 48 hours in Boston! We headed back towards the center of the city and over to South Station to catch our Amtrak back to NYC, clocking in at about 12 miles of walking over the course of two days. If walking isn’t for you, the subway is easy to navigate and will take you anywhere you need to go.
All in all, it was a great weekend!