Disclaimer alert; I haven’t spent nearly enough time in Boston.  Not half as much as I’d like to, anyway.  It’s a city I passed through towards the end of my travels in 2013, en route to New York.  I bitterly regretted not having more time to spare.

Just a few hours from NYC, Boston is often overlooked as a travel destination.  Over the two days that I spent there, I quickly realized that there is a lot to love about the city in its own right.  The food, the parks, the architecture, the beer, the creativity…yup, Boston is my kinda city.  Here’s a few things that caught my eye:

The breakfasts

I always feel I have an emotional connection with folk who appreciate a good breakfast.  After all, it is the most important meal of the day.  Thankfully, this is a meal that Americans don’t believe in skimping out on!

Boston is bustling with eateries which’ll have you set up for the day, so whether you’re looking for characterful American diners, classic pancake houses or international bakeries, the city will have your morning fuel needs sorted.

Among some of the city’s more popular breakfast haunts are:

Flour Bakery & Cafe, Fortpoint

Famous for its sticky buns!

Zaftigs, Brookline

A Jewish deli which often has queues clamoring to get in and sample their challah french toast and potato pancakes.

The Friendly Toast, Kendall Square

Serving up hearty burritos in a retro setting.

Johnny’s Luncheonette, Newton

A throw-back, 50’s style diner, specializing in in french toast and fluffy omelettes.

In House Cafe, Allston/Brighton

With a breakfast menu that spans 14 pages, you won’t be short on choices at In House Cafe

The Architecture 

I love the variety of buildings you can find throughout Boston, from the industrial factories to the iconic red brick townhouses with their dainty shutters and ornate black railings.  Sure, it’s got its share of impressive skyscapers, but there’s a surprisingly European feel about the streets, with its cobbled lanes and tree-lined avenues.  It reminds me of a combination of some of my favourite cities; Melbourne, New York, Glasgow and Paris.

It’s surprisingly green!

Did you know that over 20% of Boston is taken up by parks?  Neither did I!  It’s always refreshing in an urban metropolis to have somewhere green to escape.  I fell a little bit in love with the city’s Public Garden, which during the spring time was just gorgeous with the smell of budding flowers and blossoming trees.  It was also hard to resist a ride on the iconic swan boats!

Other great places to stock up on fresh air include the Charles River Esplanade, where the joggers will have you lamenting that last hot dog, and Castle Island, home to a nifty sea fort and dog walkers a’plenty!

You’re never short of a sports game to watch

Home to the mighty Red Sox baseball team, basketball giants The Boston Celtics and masters of the ice, The Boston Bruins, Boston is the perfect place to head if you’re into your American sports.  Even if you’ve never been a fan of taking to the pitch yourself, it’s well worth heading to a game if you’re in town – even if just to soak up the infectious atmosphere!  Sports games are real social events in the States, and the excitement of a big  match can be felt rippling through the city from morning until the wee hours.

It’s awash with literary connections

For years, Boston was known as the “Athens of America”.  With its successful publishing houses and nearby Ivy League colleges, it’s no wonder that this city has been home to many of the country’s best-known writers.  If you’re a bit of a bookworm like me you might want to take a tour around some of the city’s most exciting literary sites, including the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (sounds creepy, I know, but if you fancy strolling around the graves of some of the city’s most prominent authors, this is the place to head), The Wayside (once home to Louisa May Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne), and the Omni Parker House, once a holiday stomping ground for Charles Dickens.

They like a beer or two…

More than 100 breweries in the state of Massachusetts alone, it’s safe to say that Boston is at the helm of an American craft beer boom.  The city is home to popular brands Samuel Adams, Trillium Brewing Company and Turtle Swamp Brewing, but also a number of independently owned brewing companies like Treehouse, Mystic and Brick & Feather.  Fancy delving a little deeper into the industry?  Why not take a tour at the Sam Adams Brewery?

The tunes

Boston’s music scene is legendary.  Quite rightly so.  With a community made up from a wonderful mish-mash of ethnicities and global settlers, fans of just about every music genre are not going to go deprived.  For folk music supplied by students from the elite Berklee, head to the Red Room @ Cafe 939.  For jazz, it doesn’t get much better than Wally’s Cafe.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra, fondly referred to as one of the “Big Five” across the States play most of their concerts in the city’s Symphony Hall; well worth a listen if you get the chance!

The art

Boston is fast establishing itself as one of the most important areas for art in New England.  The city is peppered with creative hubs, from street murals to award-winning galleries.  If you’re needing to top up on the inspiration levels or just want to find a peaceful haven, I’d recommend a wander through the Institute of Contemporary Arts down on the waterfront, or the Museum of Fine Arts, which is pretty fine indeed.  The Iris Gallery of Fine Photography is also a must-do for snap-happy travelers.

The People

They say that people make places; I couldn’t agree more.  From the moment we arrived in Boston (and were helped by some lovely locals who could tell that we were feeling a bit like little lost lambs), we were taken back by just how friendly and welcoming folk were.  Whether it was helping us out with directions or wanting to run through their Celtic ancestory once they picked up on the Scottish accents, we found Bostonians to be very forward but in all the right ways.  We’d also arrived just a few months after the devastating terrorist attack during the Boston Marathon.  The traces of loss and destruction could still be felt, but more important was the feeling of resilience and community amongst the city’s residents. We had a moment’s contemplation at the site of the attack, where hundreds of pairs of running shoes had been left in tribute to those killed, and couldn’t help but wonder about how apt the Boston Strong slogan was to become.

These are just a few fleeting impressions the city had left on me.  I’m determined to go back and explore Boston in greater depth and would love to be there during the Fall, when I’m told that the colours are at their most impressive.

Have you been to Boston before?  What would you recommend?

About The Author

A twenty-something-year-old with a penchant for travel and a never-ending supply of terrible puns.

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