The city of Boston is a great and frequently underrated place to vacation in America. However, I decided to use my days off to venture into the city for a second time (during the winter...which is ill-advised) to get another experience of this city under my belt and visit family. While I highly recommend visiting Boston in the spring or summer since it is more fun to walk around, there is a lot to be said for a city that will get me active on a cold day! So here are the 8 things to do (cold or hot) in the city of Boston! Take a look...
8. Walk the Freedom Trail
Do NOT let this tip coming in at #8 make you think that this something that should not be prioritized as part of your Boston exploration. I mention the Freedom Trail first because it was the catalyst that led me to many of the other tips coming up on this list.
The Freedom Trail of Boston is a roughly 2.5 mile long path that leads you from the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, MA to Boston Common in the downtown area. We started our trail following by first climbing the monument which was...tough. Something about going up the 290+ steps in a circle really got to me. It was a much different experience than climbing the Arc de Triumph in Paris. Anywho, the "freedom" in Freedom Trail refers to the independence sought by Americans from Great Britain back in 18th century. Along the path you will find a variety of historical landmarks including Paul Revere's House, Faneuil Hall, and the Old North Church.
7. Visit the Historic North End
Flooded with great architecture, Italian food, and conveniently some of the stops along the Freedom Trail, the North End is a great place to spend a significant amount of your time during a stay in Boston. It is here that I felt like I was back in Italy with cafes on every corner, Italian restaurants at every turn, and I even heard a few grandmas speaking to each other in Italian. It was here that we were able to learn more about the trail, explore some historic buildings, and try the famous Mike's Pastry!
6. Go to Harvard
There is not much to say here other than "why not visit an Ivy League campus while you are there?" In all honesty I didn't do much on Harvard's campus, but it did give me the opportunity to visit their famous dinning hall...which is potentially the most beautiful dinning hall I have ever seen.
5. Try Toscanini's & Union Square Donuts
Named the best ice cream in the world by New York Times, Toscanini's was a must try for my visit to Boston. With unique flavours from Banana Fluff to Grapenut, there is something new for you to try and that will satisfy everyone in your group's cravings. Some of their more famous flavours include ice cream made with Guinness and another made with Bourbon. Was it the best ice cream I've ever had in my life? Hard to say...Movenpick will always hold the candle for me, but I definitely would love to try a tasting between the two one day!
As for Union Square Donuts, my only regret of the trip was not trying more of their flavours. These donuts are amazing!! With a seasonally changing menu, there is always something new to try when you visit and a new type of donut to become obsessed with! I tried some of the Maple Bacon & Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch donuts and it was blissful! Any donut fan should make this a priority to visit during your trip.
4. Book Tickets for the BSO
The Boston Symphony Orchestra was a great way to spend my last night in the city. Performing a piece that had never been publicly played before & rounding out the night with Beethoven's 6th was such a treat for the ears! Fun fact: I played the violin for 14 years and hearing Beethoven after nearly a 4 year orchestral break makes me want to pick it up again! Another great fact about the BSO is that their building, Symphony Hall, was constructed in 1900 and at the time the designers believed that Beethoven was the only composer who's music would never go out of style, so they had his name placed above the stage. While the BSO is not the same as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I will concede that it was quite the experience and they have found a special place in my heart.
Primark. Primark. Primark. Need I say more?! For those who are unfamiliar with them, Primark is an international retailer that was founded in Dublin, but mostly make famous by the UK. This is an amazing place where dreams can come true for my fellow shoppers and all at reasonable prices! The Primark in Boston opened in 2016 and is the first location for the company in the States. I am not so secretly hoping that they will bring one to Chicago!!
2. Museum of Fine Arts
For those of you who have been following me for awhile now, you know that I am a fan of museums! There is always so much to see and not enough time to see it in. The MFA was a great stop during my trip and I highly recommend it for anyone going to the Boston area. For more cost conscious travelers out there, it is free to visit the museum after 5 PM!! I was very excited to so their collection of Pollock's, Picasso's, Beckmann's and Monet's. Well without further ado, here are some of the amazing pieces I saw.
1. Dinner at Eastern Standard
One of the many amazing meals I ate while in Boston was at the Eastern Standard! Their elegant atmosphere and pleasant service were enough for me to love this spot, but little did I know that the food would live up to the hype I'd been exposed to. First up was the oysters my sister ordered and my roasted bone marrow. As far as oysters go, I am not an expert but my East-coast sister said that they were high quality! It was my first time trying bone marrow, and boy had I been missing out. It's a little tricky to explain, but imagine them bringing out some roasted bones, then you use a spoon to scrape out a butter-like core onto your baguette, and there you have it. The richest and yet simple tasting topping the world has ever experienced! Accompanying this first course, my sister and I got their Downeast Ciders to share. Let it be known that I am not a fan of beers, ciders, or ales in general. However, there is always an exception to the rule & I would 100% order this drink again.
We then moved on to round two: Steak Tartare and a 3 Cheese Charcuterie Board. Again, it was my first time trying steak tartare and while it was not my favourite dish of the night it comes with a two thumbs up recommendation. Now I do know my cheeses, and let me tell you these were great! I finally understood why they were on multiple lists for their cheese plates. I recommend getting one to share with your table if you make a visit to Eastern Standard.
Now most normal people who were feeling as full as we were at the time would have asked for the check, but there was no way that I could have left without trying their famous Butterscotch Bread Pudding. It was an perfect way to end the meal and left me wishing there was more space in my stomach. But enough with the chit chat, check out more pictures from our meal: