re: First time to Boston

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

re: First time to Boston

Postby Rob5TCP » Fri May 10, 2013 11:05 am

My girlfriend is flying into NY and we are going to Boston for Memorial Day weekend (first time for both of us).
While Saturday night her friend is making a lobsterfest for us in Rockport, we are looking where to stay and
what to do in Boston. Less concerned about places to eat and more on what to see using public transit.

One thing we have been told to do is take the Trolley tour of Boston before we do anything else.
Any contributions from travelers or natives are welcome. How easy is the subway to navigate ?

Thanks in advance.

Disclaimer: While I am a Yankee fan, I bear no animosity to the Red Sox (well maybe a little during the
playoffs). :sharebeer
User avatar
Rob5TCP
 
Posts: 1794
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby bill1958 » Fri May 10, 2013 11:17 am

Sounds like you may be a baseball fan- if so- catch a game at Fenway, the history there is impressive, even for non Red Sox fans. If Red Sox out of town, a tour is worth the trip. While touristy- check out the duck boats, freedom trail tour. I personally would stay at a hotel along the waterfront- from there you can walk to eateries of the North End/Quincy market (next to Fanueil Hall). If shopping is your thing, stay in the BackBay area at the hotels near Copley- from the you can shop Newbury St (Rodeo Drive of Boston), and the Copley area shops. If have time, you can shoot across the river to Cambridge and check out Harvard/Harvard Square.
User avatar
bill1958
 
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 5:22 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby jebmke » Fri May 10, 2013 11:21 am

Subway is easy to navigate. Check at a major station to see what kind of passes are available. Last time I was there, I got a 7-day pass that worked out well.

I used to do a lot of sailing in Boston Harbor. The view of the city from the water is, in some ways, better than views from land. If there is a Harbor cruise that fits your schedule, that might be worthwhile if the weather is clear.

The Sam Adams brewery has a nice tour and very good tasting activity at the end if you are into beer. You can get there via the subway.

The Kennedy Library is also reachable by subway (red line) and is worth a visit.

As Bill said, if you have never been to Fenway, try to take in a game if they are playing. Sometimes you can get tickets through Stubhub even if the game is "sold out".
Last edited by jebmke on Fri May 10, 2013 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
jebmke
 
Posts: 2709
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:44 pm

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby PR101 » Fri May 10, 2013 11:21 am

Some things to see: Faneuil Hall Marketplace and area, including North End (Italian restaurants + Old North Church); Museum of Fine Arts; Prudential Center (views); Navy Yard (USS Constitution); Boston Common/Public Garden. See Trip Advisor's list at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions- ... setts.html.

Note that Rockport / Cape Ann (including Gloucester) is itself a great vacation destination. Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester (heading towards Rockport) is my favorite area beach, though parking is limited if you're not a resident (easier after 2 pm).
PR101
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 8:56 am

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby lwfitzge » Fri May 10, 2013 11:29 am

currently work and previously lived in Cambridge.. agree w other suggestions... visit Cambridge from Harvard to Kendall all on the redline T stops. Walk to East Cambridge (20 min casual walk from, Kendall stop) to visit Museum of Science and from there catch a Charles river and land tour on the famous WWII-era duck boats.
lwfitzge
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:01 am

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby nomadgecko » Fri May 10, 2013 11:31 am

I would recommend a Duck Tour over the trolley.
Definitely walk some of blocks in Back Bay on Comm Ave.
Touristy, but historically very cool: the Freedom Trail.
nomadgecko
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:32 am

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby EyeYield » Fri May 10, 2013 12:09 pm

Depending what your interest are, there's the Museum of Fine Arts, which is not too far from Symphony Hall, which has free tours, I believe, or maybe if you're lucky John Williams might be performing while you're there.

(Probably sold out, but I found this notice)
Hooray for Hollywood
May 28, 2011, 8 p.m., $30-$119
Famed composer John Williams brings some of his most famous movie scores, including those from the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series, to Symphony Hall for a special show.

Hanging out in Copley Square, where the old Trinity church is reflected in the mirrors of the modern day Hancock tower is pretty interesting. Check for parades, before you start traveling.

The combination of the old history and the universities, with young minds, make Boston one of the most interesting cities in the world.
"The stock market is a giant distraction from the business of investing." - Jack Bogle
EyeYield
 
Posts: 267
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:43 pm
Location: Extremistan

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby mk_obelix » Fri May 10, 2013 12:11 pm

Try to do Boston Harbor Islands tour which is real fun.
http://www.nps.gov/boha/index.htm
--SMILE-- increases your face value
User avatar
mk_obelix
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:43 pm
Location: Northeast, USA

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby pellep » Fri May 10, 2013 12:11 pm

The public gardens are beautiful in late spring also...
pellep
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:12 am

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby otbricki » Fri May 10, 2013 12:45 pm

Old North Church (still a functioning church) and the USS Constitution are great. If you are into music the Symphony Hall is interesting, supposedly it has the best acoustics in the Western Hemisphere.
otbricki
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:28 pm

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby nimo956 » Fri May 10, 2013 12:59 pm

1. Boston is a walkable city. Don't take the subway (also known as the T) everywhere you want to go. Sometimes it's even faster to walk.
2. Museums- there's the MFA, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the ICA, and the Museum of Science. The MFA and Isabella Stewart Gardner are more traditional and to my taste. The ICA has a lot of crazy contemporary art. There's also the Aquarium, but I haven't been there in awhile and I think part of it is under construction.
3. Sadly, the BSO has already had their last performance for the season. They will be in Tanglewood now for the summer.
4. Check out the Charles River Canoe & Kayak. If the weather is nice, you can kayak along the Charles.
5. There are whale watches that leave out of Boston Harbor (by the Aquarium).
6. When friends visit, I often like to do a (self-guided) walking tour of the city. Start out in Back Bay/Copley. Go to Newbury St./Boston Public Gardens. From there head to Beacon Hill. From there down to State St. and the wharf area. End your walk in the North End where there are a lot of great Italian restaurants.
7. Cambridge isn't that far away, so I'd also check out Harvard Square if you get the chance.
8. Seeing a baseball game at Fenway is also a great idea.
9. The Middle East and a few other places in Central Square are great for local live music at night (tends to be a younger/slightly grungier crowd though)

Edit: Ok, you're lucky that I just put together a list of restaurant suggestions the other day for a friend (favorites are in bold):

North End
1. Taranta (Italian-Chilean) (http://www.tarantarist.com/)
2. Mama Maria (Italian) (http://www.mammamaria.com/)
3. Neptune Oyster (Seafood) (http://neptuneoyster.com/)

Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA)
4. Harvest (American) (http://harvestcambridge.com/)
5. Henrietta's Table (American) (http://www.henriettastable.com/)
6. Sandrine’s Bistro (French) (http://www.sandrines.com/)
7. First Printer (Seafood) (http://thefirstprinter.com/)
8. Upstairs on the Square (American) (http://www.upstairsonthesquare.com/)

Central Square (Cambridge, MA)
9. Rendezvous (French) (http://www.rendezvouscentralsquare.com/)
10. Thelonius Monkfish (Sushi) (http://theloniousmonkfish.com/central/)

Inman Square (Cambridge, MA)
10. Oleana (Turkish) (http://www.oleanarestaurant.com/)

BackBay/South End
11. Toro (Spanish Tapas) (http://toro-restaurant.com/)
12. Capital Grille (Steak) (https://www.thecapitalgrille.com/)
13. Grill 23 (Steak) (http://grill23.com/)
14. Mooo (Steak) (http://mooorestaurant.com/)
15. Anthony’s Pier 4 (Seafood) (http://www.pier4.com/anthonys.php#)
16. Gaslight Brasserie du Coin (French) (http://goo.gl/maps/b144L)

Brookline
17. Barcelona (Spanish Tapas) (http://www.barcelonawinebar.com/brookline.htm)
Last edited by nimo956 on Fri May 10, 2013 1:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
25% S&P 500/ 25% 30 year US Treasury Bond/ 25% Gold/ 25% Cash
nimo956
 
Posts: 458
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby Rob5TCP » Fri May 10, 2013 1:16 pm

Thank you for the suggestions - i was "overruled" on Fenway Park (she is coming from the Canadian NW and I am only 200 miles away). That will be on a trip I go with some
sport friends. We are discussing the duck vs. trolley for the tour plus a walking tour of the Freedom Trail. We also want to allow a morning just walking all around Boston and
maybe Harvard. We are probably going to do an evening cruise of the harbor, plus Faneuil Hall Marketplace (her choice). We may not enough enough time to see the museums
(would love to see the MFA and the Gardner Museums) but time is too limited to enjoy those. If we enjoy Boston enough, will put it on the top of the list
for a vacation just there.

We have about 15 hours over the two days before we head to Rockport and then on to Arcadia National Park.
It is going to be a BUSY few days.

Thank you again.

BTW any "reasonable" hotels ($200 and less) in a good location that are good to stay at (maybe even free parking?)
User avatar
Rob5TCP
 
Posts: 1794
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby nimo956 » Fri May 10, 2013 1:26 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:Thank you for the suggestions - i was "overruled" on Fenway Park (she is coming from the Canadian NW and I am only 200 miles away). That will be on a trip I go with some
sport friends. We are discussing the duck vs. trolley for the tour plus a walking tour of the Freedom Trail. We also want to allow a morning just walking all around Boston and
maybe Harvard. We are probably going to do an evening cruise of the harbor, plus Faneuil Hall Marketplace (her choice). We may not enough enough time to see the museums
(would love to see the MFA and the Gardner Museums) but time is too limited to enjoy those. If we enjoy Boston enough, will put it on the top of the list
for a vacation just there.

We have about 15 hours over the two days before we head to Rockport and then on to Arcadia National Park.
It is going to be a BUSY few days.

Thank you again.

BTW any "reasonable" hotels ($200 and less) in a good location that are good to stay at (maybe even free parking?)


Boston is not that big, so only pick one tour. The duck tours are fun because it's a bus that turns into a boat and you get to go along the Charles. Then again, you don't get to do any walking, so I'd lean towards the Freedom Trail. You could also just do a self-directed tour as I described. If you are active, I would really recommend kayaking along the Charles. Fanueil Hall is nice, but very touristy. If you go shopping/eat lunch there, things tend to be expensive/overpriced. An evening cruise of the harbor will definitely be very nice. I'm not too familiar with hotels in the area, but anything around the center of the city is probably more expensive (around $300-$350 per night). Also, I laughed out loud when I saw your request for free parking!
Last edited by nimo956 on Fri May 10, 2013 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
25% S&P 500/ 25% 30 year US Treasury Bond/ 25% Gold/ 25% Cash
nimo956
 
Posts: 458
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby dm200 » Fri May 10, 2013 1:31 pm

See if the Boston Pops has a performance that you could attend

http://www.bso.org/brands/pops/features ... -pops.aspx
User avatar
dm200
 
Posts: 6560
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby LadyGeek » Fri May 10, 2013 2:21 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (Boston).
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.
User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17703
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby Calm Man » Fri May 10, 2013 2:22 pm

You will have a great time. And your looking into walking or the T is the way to go. Never drive in Boston. I lived there for over 10 years and never understood the roads. And the only place in the world I have seen drivers worst than we have in New Jersey is in Boston.
Calm Man
 
Posts: 2589
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:35 am

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby Random Musings » Fri May 10, 2013 3:56 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:BTW any "reasonable" hotels ($200 and less) in a good location that are good to stay at (maybe even free parking?)


Just in Boston last summer. We stayed at the Ames - all in (with parking) around $250 a night. We stayed second to top floor which is quieter. The location was excellent for walking, we did the entire Freedom Trail, Newbury Street and the Public Gardens, ate lunch and dinner in the North End where there is good Italian food - there was also a festival going on. Plus we took the T out to Harvard/Cambridge which was nice and took a tour of the capitol building. Basically, we did this in a day and a half with children.

By the way, on that trip, we hit Boston after we visited Acadia National Park. We always spend four days when we go there - lots of great hiking, climbing, biking and kayaking. If you have not been there, try to go hit the beach at night if the skies are clear. Overall, there is nothing too exciting about the food in Acadia (especially after visiting Boston), but there are a couple of decent ice cream shops. We just keep it simple up there, pack lunches for the park (and snacks) and eat pizza and stuff for dinner.

Also, not too far from Rockport is Owl's Head Transportation Museum (about a half hour drive south of Rockport). If you are into cars and such..... Camden is also close to Rockport (slighly north) - there are some great views of Camden if you either climb or drive up to the top of the nearby "mountains".

RM
User avatar
Random Musings
 
Posts: 5035
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:24 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby dickenjb » Fri May 10, 2013 5:53 pm

I usually stay at the Marriott Copley. Where the Craigslist killer struck.
Philly Chapter Coordinator
dickenjb
 
Posts: 2559
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:11 pm
Location: Philadelphia PA

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby GoldenGopher! » Fri May 10, 2013 6:28 pm

You won't beat the prices at 463 Beacon Street Guest House. It's an old brownstone in the Back Bay and really makes you feel like you live in the neighborhood. I enjoyed it anyway. They have some parking spots available for a reasonable price and the location is great -- it's only a 5 minute walk to the Hynes Convention Center T stop and close to the Massachusetts Ave (Harvard) Bridge.

Some of the furnishings are a little dated, but the prices are much more reasonable than many other hotels in Boston.

I walked the Freedom Trail and it was great. A couple places charge a small entry fee, but most don't or have a donation box. You can tour the state capitol building, which is interesting...as were most of the stops on the trail. Near Faneuil Hall, you can stop to eat at "America's Oldest Restaurant", the Union Oyster House. A bit of a tourist stop, but still interesting to see once. And at the end of the trail is Old Ironsides (USS Constitution) and you can walk up the 294 steps at the nearby Bunker Hill Monument.

I also really liked the historical Fenway Park tour. A friend of mine is not a baseball fan at all and ended up saying at the end of the trip that it was the highlight of her time in Boston. I guess they don't call it the Cathedral of Boston for nothing.

There is also the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Dorchester, another interesting stop.

Also walked around Harvard campus for a short time. Most of the buildings are closed to the public, but during the school year (when I was there) the campus is a hub of activity with the streets full of many sights, sounds, and shops. I have heard MIT buildings are open to the public and would probably be more interesting, so you might want to do some research into that before you go.

Have fun! Boston is a great place to visit.
Last edited by GoldenGopher! on Fri May 10, 2013 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
GoldenGopher!
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:36 pm

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby DoWahDaddy » Fri May 10, 2013 6:38 pm

Honestly, you can go with any of the above recommendations, or none of them and explore on your own, it's that great a town.

One thing I'll say is they do a tour of Fenway, which sounds dreadful, and I detest tours of all types, but I swear I remember 20 unique and interesting facts about Fenway from that tour which gave me a sincere appreciation of the history of the team and of the game itself. Don't miss it.

I'd look into the boston park plaza, its right by the gardens in the middle of town and reasonable. Just know ahead of time that the hotel rooms are built for people from the 1700s, and apparently they were much smaller than us.

Enjoy the trip.
Me: 75/25 stocks/bonds
Son: 45/45/10 matchbox/hotwheels/thomas & friends
DoWahDaddy
 
Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:32 am

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby Rob5TCP » Fri May 10, 2013 10:25 pm

There is much to plan and absorb in the next 10 days (before we leave).
I have Groupons for a Walking tour of the Freedom Trail and the combination trolley tour and cruise of the harbor.
The biggie will be the hotel, though Priceline has a couple of 4*'s for around $200 (PLUS PARKING and INTERNET).

Thank you for the suggestions.

Bar Harbor (the day after Memorial Day) is a lot easier to "navigate" what to do then Boston.
User avatar
Rob5TCP
 
Posts: 1794
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby bill1958 » Fri May 10, 2013 10:55 pm

Regarding Bar Harbor, I'd disagree with the previous poster regarding the food there. It's been 7-8 years since I was last there, but my wife and I have had several good meals there, as well as in Southwest Harbor (not as well known, but also on Mt Desert Island). Be sure to have the pop overs at Jordan Pond- after a hike around the pond. The pop overs are a locally renowned treat.

Enjoy
User avatar
bill1958
 
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 5:22 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby Tristrex » Fri May 10, 2013 11:33 pm

Making the climb up the Bunker Hill monument gives you quite a nice view of the city. You might consider doing that after you've been to some other places already, that way you can orient yourself and actually appreciate the view.
Tristrex
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:10 pm

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby rossasarus » Sat May 11, 2013 12:44 pm

it may be too late for this trip, but next time definitely go to the top of the hub for a drink. 34(ish) floor up, and a great view of the city. The dining menu is a bit pricey, but the drinks are a bargain considering the view.

http://www.topofthehub.net/
rossasarus
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby beachplum » Sat May 11, 2013 1:06 pm

Fanuiell Hall as someone else noted is a tourist trap. the buildings are historic and that's about it. I've never taken an official walking tour, since I've walked to all the places since living here for 20+ years, but I would highly recommend it since it should take you by all the historic sites downtown.

I would eat either in the North End or on Charles street in Beacon Hill. Hopefully the walking tour takes you thru Beacon Hill which is one of my favorite historic areas.

Charlestown is another beautiful historic area with the Bunker Hill monument that one can climb for a great view and is easy to get to via the "T".

Enjoy your trip!
beachplum
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:11 am

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby nisiprius » Sat May 11, 2013 2:35 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:My girlfriend is flying into NY and we are going to Boston for Memorial Day weekend (first time for both of us).
While Saturday night her friend is making a lobsterfest for us in Rockport, we are looking where to stay and
what to do in Boston.
I don't know or not you whether you will have time, or can talk her friend into driving you around Rockport, or whether either of these offbeat, quirky things would appeal to you. However... just sayin':

http://www.paperhouserockport.com

The Newspaper House. I've visited it twice. I believe it's worth a visit IF you are in the Rockport area if you have time. But, you know, maybe 45 minutes. And only if the idea appeals to you. And you definitely need a car and maybe a GPS, as it's just tucked on a random residential road. It's just there, admission is $2 on the honor system, you just walk in and look or if the owner is around they may say hi.

It is a house and furniture built out of tightly rolled, varnished newspaper. It is charming... in a way. Let me put it this way. I honestly believe that of all the pianos in the world made of tightly rolled-up varnished newspaper, I do not think you will ever see a better piano made of tightly rolled-up varnished newspaper than this piano made of tightly rolled-up varnished newspaper. I can't find my snapshot of the grandfather clock, which features tightly rolled-up varnished newspapers from all 48 states, each one oriented and rolled in such a way that you can read the headline and the city name.

Image

Another it-may-not-be-great-but-it's-definitely-unique Rockport-area attraction is an outdoor hike, moderately easy: the Babson Boulder Trail, which is where the "Keep Out Of Debt" boulder is, and about two dozen more ("Help Mother," "Spiritual Power," "Get A Job,"), which were created by Roger Babson, the pioneering financial statistician, who was famous for saying "Sooner or later a crash is coming and it may be terrific" a few weeks before October 29th, 1929. For more background on Babson and Dogtown Common area, there is a 2009 book, Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town by Elyssa East, which I own but have only dipped into here or there.

Point is, good, bad, or indifferent, these two places are definitely unique.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.
User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
 
Posts: 24787
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 10:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby investomajic » Sat May 11, 2013 3:14 pm

I love Boston! Others have given you great suggestions, I will only add information on the subway, as you requested.

The Subway is relatively easy to navigate. Just remember when you come to a subway station, "Inbound" means into downtown Boston and "outbound" means away from downtown Boston (it actually refers to specific stations, but this is much easier to remember). The only potential confusing part may be when you take an outbound green line train -- you will have to get on the correct train which can be identified by letter. Pretty easy once you get used to it, but you can't just hop on any green line train going outbound (west, anyways).

You can get a 7 day subway pass for around $20 per person. This will give unlimited subway use for those 7 days.

It may not be obvious from a subway map of Boston, but you can get to/from the airport easily using mass transit. To get to the airport, take the subway to "South Station" and, from there, find the Silver line heading towards Logan airport. It will be a bus. Your 7 day pass will allow you to use this bus. To get from the airport, simply reverse this route. The silver line bus will stop at all terminals. I'm not certain of this but you should be able to purchase a 7 day pass at the airport. Ask around.

And finally, as others have mentioned, Boston is a very walk friendly city. So much so that it may be faster to walk to certain places than take mass transit. The best tip I can give you on this is be leery of transfers ... it might just be faster to walk if you have to transfer subway lines. Here are 2 examples:
- If you are in downtown Boston and need to get to Cambridge (red line). It is almost always faster to walk to the nearest red line station instead of taking the closest train and transferring to the red line.
- If you are at MIT (Cambridge) and need to get to Fenway (and other things around that area), it is probably faster just to walk down Massachusetts Ave. instead of taking the red line and transferring to the green line.

Have fun!
investomajic
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:01 pm

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby Sandman62 » Sat May 11, 2013 4:06 pm

jebmke wrote:The Sam Adams brewery has a nice tour and very good tasting activity at the end if you are into beer. You can get there via the subway.
If you do the Sam Adams tour, skip the gift shop and go get free glasses at Doyle's Pub when you buy a pint:
http://doylescafeboston.com/Sam_Adams_Trolley.html :sharebeer

Also suggest:
1) Go to Skywalk Observatory atop the Pru: http://www.prudentialcenter.com/shop/sh ... .php?id=64. Free audio tour that takes you around the perimeter and explains everything you see. It's $15 each but you can get a free discount card at info booth in lobby that discounts $2. Parking is cheap too, something like $12 for 4 hours if you have the Skywalk or any other Pru store you spend $10 at validate.
2) You can get half priced tickets to theater at http://www.bostix.org/page/onsale_today on Copley Square or in Fanueil Hall. We saw Jersey Boys this winter, but considered Blue Man Group. Just verify that they're not selling obstructed view.
Last edited by Sandman62 on Sat May 11, 2013 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sandman62
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:22 pm
Location: Rhode Island

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby Harold » Sat May 11, 2013 4:07 pm

investomajic wrote:It may not be obvious from a subway map of Boston, but you can get to/from the airport easily using mass transit. To get to the airport, take the subway to "South Station" and, from there, find the Silver line heading towards Logan airport. It will be a bus. Your 7 day pass will allow you to use this bus. To get from the airport, simply reverse this route. The silver line bus will stop at all terminals. I'm not certain of this but you should be able to purchase a 7 day pass at the airport. Ask around.

Can also take the Blue Line from the airport (my preference since a bus called the "Silver Line" just seems a letdown).

nisiprius wrote:The Newspaper House.

I sure hope there's no smoking allowed anywhere near the place!

Rob5TCP wrote:Priceline has a couple of 4*'s for around $200

For this kind of trip, I'd always use Priceline's name your own price. Unless there's no availability, you're pretty sure to get a top star rated hotel for a much lower price than any mentioned thus far.

A unique and fascinating (if you're into that sort of thing) site that hasn't been mentioned is the Mapparium.
Harold
 
Posts: 3071
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:50 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby Rob5TCP » Fri May 31, 2013 9:26 pm

Thank you every one for your suggestions: We got back last night.

We stayed 2 nights at the Lagnham Hotel downtown -- got a great rate of $162 per night with Priceline (it
was a slow time - Memorial Day weekend). It was a first rate hotel with great service and we had afternoon
tea.

As for eating out, we were invited to a dinner with a friend of hers cooking a lobster casserole (80% lobster).
We did the freedom trail and trolley tours and cruise.

Finally Bar Harbor was magnificent. One of the most beautiful places I have seen on the East Coast.
Again - thanks to everyone - lots of great ideas,
User avatar
Rob5TCP
 
Posts: 1794
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby protagonist » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:40 pm

My personal Boston guide I prepared for visitors from the UK a few years ago about this time of year. Wise to add that you bear no animosity to Red Sox fans. (laughing...)

Boston/Cambridge guide for you…..

Climate:

Late May is usually beautiful but can rain. Expect anything from 50s to 90s. Today I am wearing a tank top and shorts. Yesterday I needed a jacket.

Transportation:

The “T” (subway) goes most places you would want to go cheaply and easily in Boston, Cambridge and adjacent suburbs, and Boston and Cambridge are big walking cities. I’d think twice about renting a car in the city, until you want to leave town. If you don’t know your way around, Boston is probably the most confusing city to drive in the USA (like London in that regard) and drivers can be way rude. Also parking can be difficult and expensive if you don’t know where to go.

Neighborhoods that may interest you:
I will list some of my favorite restaurants in each neighborhood. Some of the recommendations may be outdated. I’m not a restaurant critic so don’t shoot the messenger….

Boston:

Beacon Hill: Very close to you. Beautiful upscale neighborhood, very old, nice architecture…the main street with upscale shops/cafes, etc is Charles St…the little windy side streets are very pretty. At one base of Beacon Hill is the Charles River, separating Boston from Cambridge…Community Boating is there, where you see the sailboats on the river. I was a member when I lived there…perhaps I can still take you out sailing, I don’t know.
Restaurant:
Lala Rokh. Very good Persian and very beautiful and romantic.
There’s a Thai place I used to like here too, but I forget the name.

Esplanade: Not a neighborhood, but a beautiful walk on a nice day on the edge of the Charles River, running from the Science Museum along the north margin of Beacon Hill through the north end of Back Bay and way beyond. At night in the summer there are free concerts and movies at the hatch shell along the esplanade. I don’t know if these will have started when you are there. People jog, skate, flirt, bike, etc along this way.

Boston Common/Boston Garden: A large central park which borders the south end of Beacon Hill and the east end of Back Bay…nice place to hang…many free musical and theatre things happening here in the summer…political soapbox speeches, doggies, frisbee games, stuff like that. Cheers bar (from the TV show) is along the northern end..I’d advise to avoid it, unless you are obsessed. As a pub it sucks. It’s just a tourist trap.

Back Bay: Runs west from the Boston Common and the streets are roughly alphebetized east to west. Very trendy, upscale. Commonwealth Ave. is residential, pretty, tree-lined. Newbury St. is THE trendy shopping street in Boston with boutiques, galleries, yadayada.

There are some good restaurants here…A good sushi place and a good Thai, and I forget the names (I’m helpful, huh?) I’d need to find them.

North End: One of my favorite neighborhoods..I used to live here. Old Italian neighborhood with big mafia presence and great food. Hanover St. is the main drag with many interesting side streets. The east margin is the waterfront, which is also sort of interesting…seafood and the aquarium are there.

North End Restaurants:

The Daily Catch. On Hanover St. Great funky old place where you sit on a bench and get served really good fresh Italian seafood out of a pan. The Monkfish Marsala and Pasta Putanesca are some of my favorites…they are also known for their calamari. I heard they may have gone downhill in quality since they opened up other branches, I don’t know. If you go, only go to the one on Hanover St.

Giacomo’s, or Sage, or Pomodoro: Some of my favorite North End restaurants. Very good Northern Italian and Italian seafood.

Caffe Vittoria: Good Italian coffeehouse…espresso, cannolis, etc. There are many other such places along Hanover St. as well.

There is a really good lunch spot about a half block off the main part of Hanover St…I forget the name..would have to find it….and lots more.


South End: Used to be a ghetto…now very upscale and trendy. Good restaurants, many along Columbus Ave.

South End Restaurants:

Icarus: Really good, creative, nouvelle. Lots of fish dishes and others.
Nightengale: Supposedly great…I never tried it.
Sister Sorel: Another place I never tried that has a really good reputation as a local pub.

Chinatown: Some really good (and also some really bad) Chinese restaurants.

Chinatown Restaurants:

Some of the ones I like are Hei La Moon, Peach Farm, and East Ocean City .

Everybody has their favorite Chinatown restaurant where they go exclusively. You pick your seafood out of a tank. They often have great fresh specials like pea pod stems….

Theatre District: Was a high-crime red light district 20 years ago and has had a revival with lots of live theatre, trendy restaurants and clubs.

Restaurant:

Pho Republique. Vietnamese noodle shop (I think this is where they moved to…)

Lansdowne St.: Eurotrash trendy discos. Kind of ugly.

Cambridge:

Harvard Sq.: Home of Harvard Univ., great bookstores and record stores, street musicians, coffeehouses…lots of students and tourists. A few good and lots of bad restaurants. Right next door is the Cambridge Common which is a little park to hang in.

Harvard Sq. Restaurants:

Cambridge 1. Good pizza.
Lulu’s Tealuxe. Great tea house right in the middle of Harvard Sq…good place to chill, drink tea and watch people. The Crème de la Earl Grey is my favorite.

Café Algiers: Not the greatest coffee or food, but decent, and a fun,classic bohemian place to hang out with outdoor seating as well, very bohemian atmosphere, was truly great in the sixties.

Central Sq: Much funkier, grittier, more ethnic than Harvard Sq, though that is changing and the yuppies are moving in. I used to live here. They say there are Harvard Sq. types and Central Sq. types. Home to a lot of good ethnic restaurants , coffeehouses and alternative clubs, especially along Mass. Ave. and in nearby Inman Sq.

Central and Inman Square Restaurants:

Oleana: 134 Hampshire, near Inman Sq. Delicious. Fantastic place. Middle Eastern, more upscale. 134 Hampshire St. Perhaps my favorite Boston/Cambridge restaurant.

Andala Café: Little Middle Eastern coffeehouse and restaurant, inexpensive, nice place to sit outside near Central Sq., good food and teas. 286 Franklin St

Muqueca: Very good interesting funky little Brazilian restaurant near Inman Sq. 1008 Cambridge St

Punjabi Dhaba: Excellent Indian takeout in the heart of Inman Square, very inexpensive with limited counter seating.

The Miracle of Science: At the southern tip of Central Sq, near MIT (walking away from the Harvard Sq direction). My favorite local pub. I like the veggie burgers with tomato chutney , the shrimp skewers, and, to drink, the dark and stormies. Very friendly…what Cheers SHOULD be like. Another good friendly pub w/ good food is the B Side Lounge.

Toscanini’s: There is fantastic ice cream all over Boston/Cambridge, especially Cambridge, but this one is the best of all I think. The New York Times calls it the best ice cream in the world. I like the espresso chip and cappucino. Other good ice cream places in various locations around Cambridge/Boston are Herrell’s and Christina’s.

Carberry’s: A few blocks off Central Sq. Icelandic-American coffeehouse and bakery. Not the coolest atmosphere of all the many central sq. coffehouses, but the best coffee, croissants, etc.

Some other Boston/Cambridge restaurants I really like:

Elephant Walk: Near Porter Sq., Cambridge. Really good and interesting Cambodian. I love the Salade Cambodgienne, and this really fantastic stuffed avocado thingie.

Barking Crab: For basic New England old time seafood..clam chowder, lobster, steamers, etc…maybe not the best, but good, and the location is fantastic..you sit out on the water, outside in the good weather. A bit pricey, but this stuff always is in the city. I’d guess a lobster that would cost $8 where I live is probably about $20.

Emma’s: My favorite pizza place…very thin crust, wood-fired oven, wow. It’s in a nondescript neighborhood of Cambridge (Kendall Sq…home of the Kendall Sq theatre, a multiplex art cinema). 40 Hampshire

Oishii: Chestnut Hill, Brookline. Great sushi.

Helmand: Very good Afghani restaurant in a non-descript boring neighborhood in Cambridge with truly amazing bread. 143 First St.

My Favorite Music Club if you like real funky:

Wally’s on Mass. Ave. near Columbus, in the South End on the edge of Roxbury. A Boston institution. Great local jazz, no cover charge, really interesting crowd from the down and out to the very serious musician. Don’t even think of going before 10-11 PM. The neighborhood is dicey, but I’ve never heard of anything bad happening to people here. Real friendly. Europeans wind up here too, because there is a nearby youth hostel.Wally opened the place about 70 yr ago and just died, age 101, always in the bar. It may scare you if you go unescorted and scare easily. It’s happened to other European friends of mine. I love it. Maybe I’ll take you.

Out of town escursions:

Cape Cod. A little over 1 hr to the bridge and another hr to Provincetown (P’town to the locals)
(double that if traffic). There is also a ferry from Boston to P’town which may run by the end of May. The outer cape is the nice part, along the National Seashore (about 25 mi beach with dunes, wide sand, etc…beautiful). Prettiest places to stay are Truro and Wellfleet, esp. Truro…not expensive in May. Many nice beaches (Marconi, Head of the Meadow, lots of others…) You’ve got to check out P’town (fantastic place to stay there is the Land’s End Inn). P’town is probably the gay capital of the world, as well as an old Portuguese fishing village. Don’t miss the female impersonator shows- great talent even for us straight guys. Many of the performers are from Broadway/ Off-Broadway .

The Islands:
Ferries from many places. The main ones:
Martha’s Vineyard- Gay Head, or I think they now call it Aquinnah or some such thing, is probably the most beautiful beach in MA. Lucy Vincent Beach is also very nice but private (you can sneak on easily). The main towns (Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, Edgartown) are tourist traps. The rest is beautiful.
Nantucket- Farther from shore, very beautiful, all houses grey, very exclusive, beautiful beaches, can be snobby.
Block Island: The most “downhome”, limited car traffic, not crowded, a bit funkier than the other two, cool place. The beaches are not as nice as some on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Maine Coast:

The Mass. coast has many beautiful wide sandy beaches and warm water in the summer. The Maine coast has wilder, more rugged beauty and freezing cold water…rocky cliffs, probably more like the W. Coast of Ireland.
Some recommendations:
Biddeford Pool: (NOT Biddeford itself, but Bidderford Pool)…Beautiful, tranquil place about 2 hr north of Boston…stay at John Oddi’s guest house. You can buy lobsters, clams at the local seafood store and cook them up in Oddi’s kitchen, or there used to be a great little restaurant w/ outdoor seating on the edge of the salt pond, with the best blueberry pies I ever ate (this was years ago…may not still exist).
Bar Harbor: About 5 hr north of Boston…National Park with beautiful mountains overlooking the sea, islands, very beautiful place and probably not crowded in May. Just before you cross over the bridge onto the island there is a great lobster place on the right where you pick your lobster out of a tank and they steam it outside in these huge wooden vats that have been there for at least 100 yrs…..

Northampton: This is where I live, about 1 ½-2 hr west of Boston by car. It’s a very nice university town, very easy going and very liberal, with good food, music, theatre, festivals etc, nestled in the Connecticut River Valley with beautiful rivers, mountains (small ones) and farms all around. Rated #1 small city arts town in America.

Mountains: White Mtns. Of New Hampshire (2 hr), Green Mtns of Vermont (3 hrs), Berkshires (2 hrs).

New York City: 4 hr. by car, but I would recommend the train instead. It’s New York. Need I say more? (There is a fast, expensive train that I think does it in less than 3 hr…the regular train takes 4-5.)

Montreal . 5 hr.

Quebec City. 7 hr.

Washington DC. 7-8 hr.
protagonist
 
Posts: 2180
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:47 pm

Re: re: First time to Boston

Postby protagonist » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:54 pm

nisiprius wrote:
The Newspaper House. I've visited it twice. I believe it's worth a visit IF you are in the Rockport area if you have time. But, you know, maybe 45 minutes. And only if the idea appeals to you. And you definitely need a car and maybe a GPS, as it's just tucked on a random residential road. It's just there, admission is $2 on the honor system, you just walk in and look or if the owner is around they may say hi.

It is a house and furniture built out of tightly rolled, varnished newspaper. It is charming... in a way. Let me put it this way. I honestly believe that of all the pianos in the world made of tightly rolled-up varnished newspaper, I do not think you will ever see a better piano made of tightly rolled-up varnished newspaper than this piano made of tightly rolled-up varnished newspaper.



Are the keys made of tightly rolled-up varnished newspaper? Of course the strings are not. I'd like to hear it played. It's a shame nobody actually lives there.

Rockport is a pretty town...especially nice this season.
protagonist
 
Posts: 2180
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:47 pm


Return to Personal Consumer Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 26 guests