Boston, MA Visitor's Guide: What to do + Where to Eat

boston guide header image 670
above outfit details are in this blog post

Nick and I each moved to Boston for school thinking it'd be temporary, but the charm of this small, historic city (with no shortage of seafood...yum) grew on us tremendously over time. We often get questions on what to do and where to eat, so finally pooled our favorites into this mega post! I'll be keeping this updated and will add any new or forgotten favorites. Let me know if you guys have any questions, and be sure to check out my map at the bottom to see where everything mentioned here is located! When traveling we like to visualize where all the places we want to hit up are located, then find somewhere to stay central to those.

Things to do
Walking
Boston is very much a walking city, so pack your flats! One of my favorite paths to walk is starting at Hynes subway station going along Newbury Street (our biggest shopping street), all the way to the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common. There you can also have a picnic, take kids on the (very slow-moving) swan boats or merry-go-round, and eat soft serve from the Boston Frosty truck. There is a week of gorgeous tulips in mid-spring, foliage a-plenty come Fall, or you can ice skate on the "Frog Pond" in the winter. From the Boston Public Garden, you can walk to either the small boutiques in charming Beacon Hill, grab a bite in Chinatown, or follow the Freedom Trail through Quincy Market to Charlestown.

Shopping!
Clothing and shoes under $175 are exempt from sales tax in Massachusetts, so I see many visitors shopping their merry hearts out. For individual items priced over that amount, the first $175 is still tax-exempt. Newbury Street is an outdoor shopping area with lots of high and low end shops, ranging from Zara, Forever 21, H&M, to Ann Taylor, Burberry, DVF, Kate Spade, Chanel, and much more. I also like the Copley Place & Prudential Center malls, which are right nearby. These indoor malls have department stores like Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Saks, and a variety of designer boutiques and shops like Sephora, LOFT, Banana Republic, Club Monaco, Stuart Weitzman, etc.

Boating
If the weather is nice, you can walk or run along the Charles River on the Esplanade path. You can rent kayaks or canoes from this company at several locations, or pedal boats from a small stand (no working phone # that I found...so unfortunately it's hit or miss if they are open) stationed near the Hatch Shell. From the river, you can see Boston on one side and Cambridge on the other. Pack some sandwiches and drinks to refuel while out on the water!
boston visitor activities_pedal boat rental charles river
H&M sweater, Rag & Bone cropped jeans (on sale!) sz 24, Soludos striped shoes

Other Popular Activities:

- Visit Harpoon brewery for a flight of beer, or more importantly, their freshly baked soft pretzels (the cinnamon sugar one with cream cheese icing dip ... droool). I also love to drink Downeast Cider but haven't yet been to their tasting room. It's located in Charlestown, the town where the Freedom Trail ends, and is open on the weekends.
boston harpoon brewery beer soft pretzels
- Stop by the Copley Square farmers market open on Tuesdays and Fridays, from Spring to Fall. Or if you're by the south end, visit the SoWa market which is open Sundays May - October, featuring food trucks, a vintage market, and tents run by small artisans.

- Pop into the historic Boston Public Library. Pinkies up for their tea set ($35 per person) of savory sandwiches and sweet treats, and of course your own potful of tea. The BPL is one of my most favorite spots in the city, although I'm a little biased since we got married there!
boston public library high afternoon tea catered affair
Afternoon tea set w/ matcha green tea lattes at Boston Public Library

- Take a Duck Tour which is an amphibious vehicle that hits up most of the city's major landmarks, then plops into the Charles river to show a bit of Boston via water.

- Catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, then down some famous biscuits from Sweet Cheeks BBQ (run by Tiffany Faison, a Top Chef finalist) afterwards.
boston best barbeque sweet cheeks BBQ restaurant fenway
Sweet Cheeks BBQ lunch combo + biscuits

- Explore the Boston Harbor islands via ferry or boat tour. Recommended for history buffs (hotspots include war forts and a historic lighthouse) or hikers, not those seeking beachy sand to sunbathe on.

- Check the Boston Calendar for a list of local happenings, events, classes, or other things to do.

- Visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Gardner Stewart art museum (indoor courtyard pictured below), or the Museum of Science.
isabella stewart gardner art museum boston italian courtyard garden
Getting Around
A rental car is not necessary while in Boston unless you want to do a lot of day trips to the outer areas. In fact, finding and paying for parking is quite a burden, so I always suggest visitors take Uber, Lyft, a cab or try public transit on our MBTA train system.

Where to Eat and Drink
Breakfast & Brunch
- Jugos - I'm far from a "clean" eater but this place is tasty and fresh. My favorites are the juices, frozen acai or pitaya (dragonfruit) bowls, and toasts loaded with chicken salad or avocado. I have a weakness for coconut + cacao chocolate nibs atop my bowl...tastes like dessert!
boston jugos juice acai pitaya fruit bowls
Acai bowl from Jugos

- Gaslight - French cuisine restaurant with yummy egg dishes (I like the Vigneronne style)

- Tatte - A very cute local bakery/café with multiple locations, easily some of the most Instagram'd spots in town. I like the location in charming Beacon Hill, but be warned it's a zoo at weekend brunch time!
Boston best brunch breakfast tatte bakery gaslight
- Dim Sum - for the actual "ladies wheeling around push carts full of dim sum" experience we go to Hei La Moon (weekends only, and good for bigger groups). If it's just the two of us or if it's a weekday, we usually do Great Taste, where you can order dim sum off a little checklist daily until 4pm. They also have this traditional dish we love which is braised beef brisket & tendon over seared rice noodle rolls (pictured in the iron pot below) - it's only written in Chinese on the wall and not in the regular menu. My mom ordered it once and now we just point or pull up this pic!
boston chinatown great taste chinese restaurant dim sum
Dim Sum faves: shrimp & chive dumplings for me, sweet custard buns for Nick

- Coppa - Italian small plates spot in the south end with an outdoor patio, and a few additions during brunch hour including "hangover" pizza and Shakshuka baked eggs in a yummy sauce.

- Coffee - I'm more a tea person, but Nick's favorites are the Thinking Cup on Newbury Street (right by all the shopping) or the Buttery in the south end. If you've seen the movie Spotlight, Rachel McAdams' character enjoys the Buttery which is right in my hood...had I known, you can trust this closet Notebook fan would've been lurking outside at the time!!

Lunch & Dinner: Loosely ranked in order of a super casual to nicer ambiance
- Pho noodle soup - Best vietnamese in town is definitely up for contention based on personal preferences, but mine has to be either Pho Viets at Super 88 food court or Pho Hoa in Chinatown. Neither really have an "ambiance" so we usually just slurp with our heads down or get it to-go. At Pho Viets, Nick and I fight over the beef stew soup over egg noodles and their hefty banh mi sandwiches. My usual at Pho Hoa is just the Dac Biet beef pho, substituting in the thicker round rice noodles.
boston best vietnamese noodles banh mi_pho viets hoa
Pho Viets beef stew over egg noodles, grilled pork & cold cut banh mi sandwiches

- Chicken & Rice Guys (note: no seating. They also have several food trucks which you can track here) - probably my favorite grab & go lunch spot. Modeled after NYC's popular "Halal guys" but actually tastes like real meat. A small combo (chicken & lamb gyro over rice) is usually plenty to fill me up - don't forget to douse it in their yummy sauces!

- Taiwan Cafe - Best soup dumplings in town, which doesn't say much if you have a Din Tai Fung near you...but most of us don't. What to get: juicy soup dumplings (transfer to your soup spoon carefully, nibble a hole off the top, and sip the soup out slowly to avoid a traumatic mouth-scalding experience), regular pan-seared dumplings, scrambled egg with beef & tomatoes rice plate (comfort food), Szechuan style white fish in spicy broth ("shui zhu yu").

- For good ol' New England seafood, there's the fisherman shack James Hook where you can grab a roll to-go or Yankee Lobster Co (right by Harpoon Brewery), both of which are a bit toursity. Alive & Kickin Lobster is a no-frills seafood "garage" in Cambridge with whole lobsters, steamers, and simple, yummy lobster sandwiches, and Tony's Clam Shop in Quincy has rolls, fried seafood & steamers right by the water. If you haven't had steamer clams before, they are so big & tasty when in-season...our out-of-town visitors can never get enough! Neptune Oyster is the most hyped spot for lobster rolls and seafood - their food is always yummy and I like the ambiance, but it's a small spot and a wait could easily set you back ~ 3 hours.
tonys clam shop boston quincy seafood lobster roll
Lobby rolls, steamers, and fried shrimp from Tony's Clam Shop

- Shabu Zen (2 locations) - my weekly go-to for comfort food, especially in colder weather. If you haven't had shabu or hot pot before, your ingredients come uncooked so you cook them quickly in a boiling pot of broth, then eat with a dipping sauce that you mix up in your little sauce cup. What to get: combos (either the pick 2 meats combo, the seafood, boneless shortrib, or the tontoro pork combo) that come with veggies, rice or udon noodles; whole shrimp to add flavor to the house broth, and watermelon smoothies.
boston shabu hot pot restaurant chinatown
Hot pot feast

- Salty Pig - Restaurant with large patio right by my afore-mentioned shopping malls focusing on charcuterie, pizzas, and craft beer ... aka the express path to my husband's heart. I do appreciate that they make a lot of their own charcuterie and pasta. Sundays are "red sauce Sundays" with cute checkered table cloths.

- Holly Crab - If you like cajun-style seafood boils, this place really hits the spot with seafood that comes in plastic bags smothered in garlicky, spicy, buttery and citrusy goodness. Put on the bib and rubber gloves, and leave your white silk blouse at home. Their crawfish are small, so our favorite is the shrimp, mussels, and king crab legs (a splurge but so good) in holly crab medium sauce with sides of corn and sausage in the bag. For a night of gluttony, we usually start by gorging here and then roll ourselves 2 blocks away to Limoo Tea Bar, which serves boba & milk tea cocktails! Nick's go-to is a carafe of Taro whiskey milk tea with boba, "to share."
holly crab boston cajun boil seafood restaurants
spread at Holly Crab (don't be deceived by my staging...everything comes in bags!)

- Best dollar oyster spots (note: these happy hours are subject to change) - You can't come to New England without indulging in fresh oysters, but they can add up at the usual $3+ per piece! Precinct has $1 oysters daily from 4 - 6PM, and a cute patio for when it's nice out. Les Zygomates wine bar has them weekdays 3 - 7PM at the bar area. And Marliave has $1 oysters daily at either 4 - 5PM, or 9 - 10PM. Their oysters for some reason often lose their brine (my favorite part) by the time they reach me, but on the plus side Marliave has some yummy house-made pasta dishes like their Sunday Gravy.
boston dollar oysters happy hour precinct restaurant
Precinct $1 oyster happy hour

The Daily Catch (multiple locations) - small, "cozy" Italian seafood pasta spots known for their lobster fra diavolo dish made for sharing. We also love the aglio olio, which is their house-made squid ink pasta (you can substitute this noodle in most of their other pasta dishes too, for a small charge) tossed with oodles of garlic and ground calamari.  I keep highlighting the spots with fresh house-made pasta, as some of the most popular Italian spots here don't make their pastas or even their sauces! We prefer the Brookline location for this restaurant, as the North End one has rushed and at times, rude service (neither take reservations).
Boston Italian Seafood Pasta Daily Catch
Daily Catch Lobster Fra Diavolo for 2; various squid ink pasta dishes

- Barcelona Wine Bar - tapas spot with 2 locations in Boston. This is actually a chain restaurant from CT but I think they do a great job with ambiance and catering to local tastes. Reservations are actually accepted, for those who plan ahead! What to get: charcuterie, hanger steak w/ truffle sauce, pork belly, Tuscan kale salad, patatas bravas (potatoes doused in garlic aioli), wine flights.

- Toro - another tapas spot, by Ken Oringer, one of my favorite chefs in town. What to get: The cheesy Mexican-style corn, seafood paella (better than others in town; half size is plenty for sharing!), roasted cauliflower, bone marrow topped with braised oxtail. Go when they open to put your name down, otherwise expect a 1-3 hour wait at dinnertime.

- Drinks - Nick and I have opposite tastes in alcohol (he's a beer, whiskey and scotch man, and I prefer anything but) but one thing we can agree on is we both love the drinks at Shojo. If you don't like strong tastes of alcohol, I'd recommend their gin gin mule with housemade ginger beer, reiko greene with giant cucumber ice cube, cold tea for 2 which is a bit insidious, or "agogo" drink. Snack on their chicken & waffles (egg puff-style waffle), creamy chicken bacon & broccoli noodles, or mini pork belly buns in-between drinks. Nick also likes the menu-less bar Drink where you blab out what types of things you like in a beverage and the bartender makes you something, while you munch on their complimentary buttery popcorn.


If you're visiting Boston and do check out some of the above spots, leave me a comment and let me know what you think! And for fellow Bostonians or those who have been here, I'd love to hear what some of your favorite places are!

73 comments:

  1. Now I really want to visit Boston! Thanks for the wunderful guide <3
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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  2. Love that you include food for different eaters! And the blossom photo is amazing!
    xx
    Margaret

    www.maleemaleehong.com

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  3. Thank you for this post! We are really wanting to visit Boston for the first time sometime soon, and I'm saving this for future reference. We are looking for a place to stay where we won't need a car, but is also affordable. So far, all the hotels we find are out of our price range. We are open to visiting any time of year, whatever offers the best in terms of affordability.

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    1. Hi Jeanette - what is your budget per night for a room? Given that info, perhaps others can share lodging recommendations per their experiences. Also have you looked into Air B&B or other similar sites? I know several friends and family members chose route that when they came for our wedding and were happy with their stays.

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    2. Try Priceline, using the "name your price" option. Boston has a ton of hotels, and the city is compact enough that it's hard to go wrong. September (but not Labor Day) is a nice time to visit.

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    3. Hi Jeanette - we just returned from Boston yesterday, our first visit to this amazing city. I'm ready to go back. We used airbnb.com for lodging. 7 nights of lodging cost $968. We also took advantage of the GoBoston Card that allowed us entry to many attractions. Check out www.smartdestinations.com then select Boston for details. NOTE: If you are a Costco member, you can purchase these cards through Costco online at a reduced cost. I purchased the 3-day pass for $86.99 rather than the regular cost of $109. We used public transportation during our visit. The transit system, MBTA.com is wonderful and very easy to use. Their website has a "Trip Planner" that I used a lot. We purchased a "7-Day Charlie Ticket" which allowed for easy access on the subway, trolley and buses. This is the way to go. The only time the transit system did not work for us is when we had to get to the airport by 4am. So we used Uber for the very first time. I would definitely use Uber again. Very convenient. I hope some of these tips will help you in your planning. We also have to travel on a budget so I did a lot of searching prior to getting to Boston.

      Jean - I have followed your site for several years now. I truly admire you and your style. Thanks to you, I have changed, or shall I say, improved my style. Your post on visiting Boston published while I was visiting, but from your previous posts, I was able to experience many sites based on your recommendations/photos. The BPL is amazing. I enjoyed the Public Gardens and Swan Boats. And the pastries at Tatte are wonderful, to name a few. I only wish I could have run into your while enjoying this beautiful city. I hope to return someday.

      Thank you for your posts. I always look forward to them.

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  4. What a timely post! I'm heading there this weekend for the Paul McCartney concert and haven't planned anything (other than a hotel) yet! Thank you!!!

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  5. La Bijoux Bella | by miaTuesday, July 12, 2016

    A parfait get around guide for the city. I love the Vietnamese Pho noodles, they are the best. I think that's where I'll be for the whole duration if I visit Boston. Great post! :)

    La Bijoux Bella | by mia

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  6. Love these outfits! Beautiful pictures!
    -Cheyanne
    www.lifeofcheyanne.blogspot.com

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  7. Great list! I recommend most of the places you listed. I would only add a few places.

    I recommend Row 34 in the Seaport for their oysters, burgers and lobster roll. In my opinion, it's the best lobster roll in town. More oyster options include island creek oyster and B&G oyster. I like the selection of local and west coast oysters.

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    1. Yum, I also love the Island Creek / Row 34 family! Am booking an oyster tour of their farm in Duxbury with some friends... can't wait!

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    2. I didn't realize you could do that! An oyster tour sounds like a slice of heaven to me. I'd love to hear your experience of the tour.

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  8. Amazing!! thanks so much for introducing me to Boston!! Looks like I'll be going to Boston this September. Love from Australia, Melbourne.

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    1. I would love to visit Australia some day! I hope you have an amazing time here if you do visit. xo

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  9. As a fellow Bay Stater living in Cambridge across the river, I'd like to recommend Oleana (amazing Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food) and Flour Bakery. There are so many great places to eat!

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    1. Oleana is a good one! And Nick would definitely second Flour and their chicken avocado & jicama sandwich : )

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  10. Jean - What a great compilation! I've lived in Boston my whole life (third generation French/Irish!) and was so happy to see some new spots I haven't tried on your list. If you and Nick haven't tried Giulia in Cambridge (Mass Ave between Harvard and Porter), you should! The chef owner almost makes me cry with his flavor combos (pasta making begins daily at about noon) and they have a 5-course tasting for $65. Two side-notes... Boston Common is singular, as is The Public Garden. Tatte is owned by a friend of mine - not a chain - but she has a few shops from Beacon St. to Beacon Hill! Also Joanne Chang's Flour (and her drool-worthy sticky buns) would be a great addition to the list! Can't shake my Boston love! ;) Yaay!

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    1. Thanks! Updated about Common and your description of Giulia had me at pasta-making. Sounds reasonably priced too for the 5 courses! I had thought Tatte entered "chain"-dom when they joined forces with Panera...it's interesting to see what they will do next!

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  11. Great guide! I'm originally from Connecticut and have friends/family in Boston, I would say that I have only done about half of these things! Can't wait to check out the rest!

    xoxo
    Sharan
    www.MyGoldenBeauty.com

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  12. So great meeting you at Shojo last night! This guide is perfect timing for us, as we are in Boston this week for our honeymoon. We've been having a lovely time in your city! Meeting you was the cherry on top! Cheers! :)

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    1. Hi S! Congrats again to you lovebirds and I only wish we had the chance to chat more last night! Hope you two enjoy the rest of your honeymoon! xo

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  13. This is the best what-to-do post ever. Thank you!!

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  14. Boston looks so beautiful!! Looks like such a lovely time :)

    Enclothed Cognition

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  15. Sales-tax exempt shopping?? I'm on my way! lol

    www.maggiealamode.com

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  16. As a Boston gal myself, I agree on all your recommendations! I mean how amazing is Sweet Cheeks!? I could eat those biscuits and honey butter on the daily ;) Love this post!

    xoxo
    Tess | Sequins are the New Black

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  17. I did not know about the sales tax exemption in MA! Good to know :) Really helpful.

    www.dressupchowdown.com

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  18. Definitely bookmarked your guide for when I go and visit Boston!!

    Meghan | BeyondBasicBlog.com

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  19. I went to college in Boston, for me it was temporary. It's funny how just yesterday a couple of friends, who also went there, talked about visiting and seeing it with fresh eyes. Reading your list brings me nostalgia, reading about newbury, the walking, the boats, the southend, and the baseball games. Thankfully, you don't have one restaurant I recognize. Taste palettes should change in seven years. Now, I can't wait to go visit and taste a new side of Boston.

    www.convdesobremesa.com

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  20. I've always wanted to visit Boston, it look like such a lovely place.

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  21. Jean
    Can you read Chinese? I'm from Taiwan and live in California now. Think about taking my son to Chinese School once a week so he can learn it.

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  22. Hi Jean
    I'm pretty curious where and how you learn your Chinese? My son is fluent in both English and Mandarin, but not good at reading or writing. I need to do something so he can start learning early.

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    1. I still know it since it's the only way to communicate with my grandparents (who are pretty active on Chinese social media and write daily posts, haha). I think Chinese Sunday schools are plentiful in Cali and definitely a good option, but continuously using it at home is the best way to reinforce it. You could have your kids read fun books in Chinese geared more towards their interest, also there are fun games too for learning foreign language reading and writing that can be played on a phone or iPad.

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  23. I've never been to Boston but it's definitely a city that I'd like to visit one day! It looks so beautiful and I look forward to trying the food since I love seafood so much!

    Polly
    http://gemsandjoy.com

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  24. My boyfriend and I were just in Boston yesterday! We visited the public library, public garden/common, stopped for a drink at a Thinking Cup, and had an early dinner at Taiwan Cafe. Guess we did pretty well! :)

    Jen | affecionada

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  25. I'm visiting Boston this coming weekend so this article couldn't have been more perfectly timed! Can't wait to try out these places :)

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  26. I just have one question ... how do you stay so slim?

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  27. Oh cherry blossoms! What a lovely roundup of spots to visit. Thanks for the visual and culinary treats! Your blog is always just what I need to start my day Jean... that and an occasional Thinking Cup Vanilla Ginger latte!

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  28. Love love love this post. Can't wait to check these out next time I'm in Boston. Thanks for the recommendations! ;)

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  29. LOVE the daily catch! This is a very thorough and helpful guide! I had no idea what I was missing. I am bookmarking it for my future trips!

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  30. Going to Boston next month, this was very helpful! Love your blog btw :) xx

    Sam from http://eclecticelite.com

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  31. Thanks for the recommendations Jean! Living in Cambridge, I'm sometimes not as familiar with restaurants on the Boston side of the river, so always great to hear about new places :)

    A few recommendations I have for the cambridge area for those who have more time to spend in the Boston area (would also like to add +1 on Flour and Giulia mentioned in above comments):
    1. Bagelsaurus (porter sq) for the sea salt bagel with honey rosemary cream cheese! I could eat that cream cheese straight out of the tub. I promise you it's worth the trip to Porter!
    2. Alden and Harlow (Harvard sq) - small plates style, excellent food, fun with a group
    3. Harvard's museum of natural history for the glass flowers

    Hope you get to try/visit if you haven't yet!

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  32. Amazing blog!!!!!!!!! Can't wait to check out the places you recommended!

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  33. I moved away from Boston years ago and your post reminds me of how much I miss it! I'm very happy to see Shabu Zen make your list, as it is one of my comfort foods as well. I would recommend getting cannolis from the North End, at both Mike's and Modern...let the rivalry continue! ;)

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  34. All the food here looks amazing, I really want to make a trip here now.

    http://ohduckydarling.com

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  35. Great post! As a fellow Canto (and relocated from Cali), I loved seeing your rec for Chinese and Viet dishes! However, I will have to disagree with you on Taiwan Cafe's soup dumplings. I've only had them once, but it was obvious they were not fresh (my mom taught me you can tell they've been frozen by the pink goop that appears in the dumplings). Dumpling House are still my favorite, but I like everything else at Taiwan Cafe!
    Also, have you tried Double Chin in Chinatown? I think they're fairly new, but it's a really cute HK Cafe and the food was delicious (except their cha siew... i would go across the street for that). Their desserts look amazing, but havent tried yet. Would love to hear your thoughts!

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  36. Great recommendations! You didn't mention sushi, but I know you're a fellow Douzo fan - any other good places you've tried?

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  37. Bookmarking this post for when I eventually travel to Boston (it will happen one day!). What a great roundup of things to do. Tea at the library sounds amazing!

    Also, no sales tax below $175 on clothes? That's AMAZING. Living in Chicago, where everything has the highest sales tax in the country, I couldn't be more jealous!

    Lifestyle by Joules

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  38. Love these tips!

    www.eatwearwander.com

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  39. Thank you so, so much for this post! I am moving to Boston in a couple months to attend school, so this wonderful little guide is definitely making its way into my main bookmarks :) On a related note, you mentioned your new hairstyle in your previous post (your hair looks gorgeous, by the way), would you mind letting me know where you get your hair cut/colored? Having a trustworthy hairstylist in the Boston area would be unbelievably helpful!

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  40. Wow, no sales tax under $175? I'd have a field day. I haven't been to Boston before, and I'd love to visit. Definitely on my travel list!
    Julia // Little Miss Haute Couture

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  41. This blog came at the most perfect time! Going to Boston next week with my family and we are foodies!! Thank you for the customized Google Map too! I can't wait to try out some of your suggestions!

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  42. this is awesome. thank you for this! i will be referencing this whenever we finally get chance to visit!

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  43. I moved away from Boston in January to San Francisco. Personal favs/recs in Boston = Flour, Sam Adams brewery, Blunch (omg, the chocolate chip cookie is to die for), TASTY BURGER (imo better than in-n-out... it was my last meal of Boston), mei mei food truck, Ogawa coffee (Famous latte artist from Japan), Primark (haha), walking around Boston Common and stopping by Earl's sandwich for a bite, and of course Harpoon.

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  44. One of my favorite restaurants and very favorite coffee roaster is in Boston! You guys should try Craigie On Main in Cambridge, and George Howell (I think there's also a location in Boston Public Market now) for coffee. Don't add anything to your pour-over or chemex and let the beans shine. I'm also a huge fan of Giacomos in Little Italy, even though the line is always long.

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  45. I never knew what to do in Boston when I visited a couple years ago....thanks for sharing this!

    Characters & Carry-ons

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  46. Are you really under 5 ft tall? You look so tall, like 5ft6..

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  47. There is no better guide than the one coming from a local! Thanks for sharing these wonderful spots. Your post brought so many great memories! My husband and I visited Boston exactly this time last year. I fell in love with the city from day one and cannot wait to go back. It was so nice to walk around every nook and cranny of the city and stroll among quaint neighborhoods. Boston definitely has a lot of character, and very relaxed vibe, especially in summer. We covered a lot of ground, but there is still so much I didn't manage to see though and Harpoon brewery and Isabella Gardner Stewart art museum will definitely be on my priority list next time I visit. My husband and I also indulged in the local gastronomy. Loved Thinking Cup for coffee and cannot recommend The Pavement Coffeehouse in Newbury strongly enough! Their Spanish latte and bagel sandwiches were fantastic! Neptune Oyster was great (scallops as well as well as their lobster roll!), and I am still dreaming about that cheesy Mexican-style corn from Tapas. Some other spots I would encourage to try is Pho Pasteur in Chinatown for a scrumptious pho and Craigie on Main for a nice tasting menu. Also, Sacco’s Bowl-Haven by Davis Square in Cambridge is an old-school bowling alley with cool vibe with a retro restaurant with wood-fired flatbreads and beer. We had a blast there with friends one day. Hope to be back soon, will surely use your tips! :) xoxo, nano | www.travelwithnanob.com

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  48. There is no better guide than the one coming from a local! Thanks for sharing these wonderful spots. Your post brought so many great memories! My husband and I visited Boston exactly this time last year. I fell in love with the city from day one and cannot wait to go back. It was so nice to walk around every nook and cranny of the city and stroll among quaint neighborhoods. Boston definitely has a lot of character, and very relaxed vibe, especially in summer. We covered a lot of ground, but there is still so much I didn't manage to see though and Harpoon brewery and Isabella Gardner Stewart art museum will definitely be on my priority list next time I visit. My husband and I also indulged in the local gastronomy. Loved Thinking Cup for coffee and cannot recommend The Pavement Coffeehouse in Newbury strongly enough! Their Spanish latte and bagel sandwiches were fantastic! Neptune Oyster was great (scallops as well as well as their lobster roll!), and I am still dreaming about that cheesy Mexican-style corn from Tapas. Some other spots I would encourage to try is Pho Pasteur in Chinatown for a scrumptious pho and Craigie on Main for a nice tasting menu. Also, Sacco’s Bowl-Haven by Davis Square in Cambridge is an old-school bowling alley with cool vibe with a retro restaurant with wood-fired flatbreads and beer. We had a blast there with friends one day. Hope to be back soon, will surely use your tips! :) xoxo, nano | www.travelwithnanob.com

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  49. Myers and Chang is beyond my favorite. Then Sorelina, Toscano and L'Espalier.
    My fav lunch spots: Luke's Lobster, Flour, Tatte, Sweet Green, Render Coffee and Shake Shack every now and then.

    I'm looking forward to trying more dinner spots in Cambridge. I'm in real estate in Boston so I find myself over there often during the day but then don't make it back over the river at night very much. Hopfully in the Fall when the market cools down a tad...

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  50. My husband and I moved to the Cape a few years ago and the number one biggest thing I miss is a good bowl of pho! Can't wait to get to Boston and try your recommendations. Thanks!

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  51. I've lived in Boston my entire life and definitely agree on a lot of the places you listed! Some of my other favorites:

    Piattini Cafe - it's a hidden gem on Newbury St! Their lunch menu is super affordable and all of the sauces taste homemade.
    Oath Craft Pizza - 1 location in South Station and another in Chestnut Hill
    Q Restaurant - sorry Jean but I have to say that Q > Shabu Zen!
    Bottega Fiorentina - cute little Italian eatery in Coolidge Corner, an equally cute neighborhood with a great independent bookstore and theater
    Pad Thai Cafe - a hole in the wall for cheap Thai food near Hynes
    Pho Basil - another great Vietnamese/Thai place, this one is on Mass Ave across from the Christian Science Church
    Santouka Ramen - they have 2 locations now! 1 in Harvard Sq and 1 in Back Bay. worth a visit if you're craving ramen (and not from California ;)
    Sugidama - another hidden gem, they serve soba in Davis Sq!
    Tea Do - best bubble tea in Boston IMO

    I can go on but will leave it at that :)

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  52. Thanks for the detailed guide. Saving for later bc Boston has been on my list for such a long time now....

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  53. Thanks for this post! I'm moving back to Boston soon for b school (was there for undergrad 8 years ago) and I realized I have no idea where to eat anymore. Glad to see Shabu Zen is still a hit! Hope to bump into you one day. -minnie

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  54. Hi Jean, Do you know the name of the nail color you are wearing in the picture with the oysters?

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  55. We visit Boston every year, but there's always something new to check out. Thanks for the helpful guide - will be sure to check out some of these places during the next drive up!

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  56. I will be visiting Boston this in August this year. Your post is pretty helpful and makes me look forward to being there.

    x https://footlooseheels.wordpress.com/

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  57. I was in Boston last year at about this time and it's a beautiful laidback city. I had a blast.

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  58. Thank you for this awesome tips. I will definetely bookmark this post to come back before my next trip to the US.

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  59. Thank you Jean for this post! My husband and I road tripped through all of New England and ended up in Boston for a few days. We have been doing that trip every several years since and this year we are going again. We only got lucky with the foliage once. Other times we went too early or too late. From your experience, when would you say foliage is at peak in Boston? Beginning of October, mid Oct? Thanks!

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  60. Hi Jean,
    This may be a noob question, but I've always wondered how do you create the customised google map?

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  61. Thanks for these great tips. Making reservations as we travel next week. Any ideas on things to do with my 15 year old . . . that may pry him away from his phone??

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  62. Great tips, thank you. Any ideas on what to do with our 15 year old son? Anything to pry him away from his phone??

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