Bucket List: The 12 Best Sites And Bites In Boston
In her Bucket List column, Lindsay Tigar, travel journalist for National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, and Vogue will introduce Glam to a new destination dotted around the globe. Follow her journeys across dozens of countries and countless cities.
When I think about why I ultimately decided to move to Boston, I remember a random moment in a California hotel room with my best friend, Jess. She’s a quirky, eccentric one, and that’s frankly what I love about her. We met, by fate, when both of us decided to uproot our lives and travel around the globe for a year, via the digital nomad program, Remote Year. Once our lap around the sun (and planet) came to a bittersweet end, we kept trekking together for months, having figured out how compatible we were as wanderlust buddies. Those 21 countries cemented our bond and created the kind of memory you can never recreate without constant movement and change.
While in Los Angeles exercising our tourist skills, she giggled, saying if I actually did move to Boston, it’d be like an episode of How I Met Your Mother: If we wouldn’t have said ‘yes’ to Remote Year, we would have never met. And if we hadn’t met, I wouldn’t have considered Beantown. And if I didn’t drive across the East Coast, I wouldn’t have met my future guy.
Since we have a true sister-like bond, it pains me to say she was right. Seven years in New York City and two years of traveling later, I took the leap of relocation fate and found an apartment in the West End — and very quickly, a wonderful partner, on Tinder of all places. My new lifestyle is mighty different than before, but it’s happy. Most of all, I found a new community and a smaller yet dynamic home base. As a travel journalist, I still hop a plane (or rent a car) at least once a month on assignment, but my humble abode gives me a zip code to call my own. And a home to my many plants that may — or may not — survive with my constant jet-setting.
Like I do with any new spot, once most of my boxes were unpacked, I set out to explore. The New England town has been growing in popularity recently — and not only for its legendary sports teams. With easy access to both New England and New York, it’s a hub for budding entrepreneurs and culinary geniuses. With a certain sense of pride and a surprisingly friendly nature, I’ve already found gems in this seaside city that I can’t recommend enough.
If your travel schedule — or your version of a Jess — has you making the trip to Boston sometime soon, here’s where to stay and what to savor in my new digs.
For a Tasting Menu: SRV
Not just a tasting menu — but an affordable, delicious one. I usually go for the tasting menu at a new restaurant. Because I tend to believe ‘chefs know best’ when it comes to food, I like nibbling my way through their top picks and curated cadence of dishes. What I loved about SRV — apart from the incredible pasta — was the accessibility of the tasting selection. At most fine-dining establishments, it’s a pretty penny to go this route, but at $40, it’s a steal for what you’ll enjoy here. Don’t forget to make a res, though, as they are always booked up.
For Baseball Fans: Hotel Commonwealth
Admittedly, I haven’t been to a Red Sox game — yet anyway. But if you are making the trek to Boston to see this team play, there is no better spot to rest your head than Hotel Commonwealth. How come? You can see the stadium from the guest rooms! For those who want to receive the upgraded treatment, considering booking their suite, The Fenway, that features many autographs and memorabilia, as well as two stadium seats on a private patio.
For Classic Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton Boston
Truth be told, I’m a sucker for a fancy, fluffy white robe and a pretty view. That’s exactly what you’ll find from every Ritz-Carlton and the Boston hub is no exception. Spacious, comfortable rooms, friendly, attentive staff, and best of all, a location that makes nearly every part of the city walkable. Make sure to grab a cocktail at their laid-back watering hole, The Avery Bar, and order the halibut at their restaurant, Artisan Bistro.
For a Celebratory Dinner: Meritage
Considering my boyfriend and I have only been dating for six months, we haven’t had too much to celebrate just yet. Even so, we are both big fans of champagne and wine, and we’ve come to the joint decision that any date together is reason enough to pop the bubbly. We toasted to simply being together when we dined at this spot in the Boston Harbor Hotel. It was recently redesigned and with an impressive, inspired menu. (We liked the oysters so much, we ordered more.) Bottoms — and shells — up!
For a Date Night: Bar Boulud
Jess and I dined at the beloved French restaurant, Bar Boulud, located in the Mandarin Oriental in Back Bay. It’s location can’t be beat, only a block from Newbury and a hop-and-a-skip from the Prudential Center. While we were catching up and chit-chatting, we couldn’t stop gushing about how ideal the restaurant would be for a first date. Though the dinner was delicious, all smothered in butter, what we loved most were the desserts. Order a few to share, with a smart cocktail, and let the sugar and booze sweep you away.
For Drinks With Friends: Lion’s Tail
I’m a big fan of the Insta-famous poet, Atticus, so when I opened the menu at Lion’s Tail and discovered one of his most famous quotes, I knew it was going to be ‘my spot’ in Boston. Since it’s right across the street from my boyfriend’s apartment, we frequently head here for a night cap. Even though they have a long cocktail list, I’m a classic kind of gal and order their dirty vodka martini, straight up. Though I’ve had many of these all around the world, this one is among the best I’ve ever sipped.
For Brunch: Precinct Kitchen and Bar
Fun fact: This restaurant used to be the police headquarters — hence the name — and now is now a local hang. They serve all meals, but for me, brunch is always the best, and Precinct didn’t disappoint. Carefully-crafted mimosas master the balance of OJ and bubbles, while the steak-and-eggs are cooked to perfection. Since you’re in New England after all, don’t skip out on the raw bar, with a variety of fresh-caught selections.
For Wine: Boston Chops
Some folks are beer lovers, others only want the top-shelf. But if you’re on Team Vino like me, you’ll appreciate the wide selection of whites, reds, rosés and champagnes from all over the world, largely due to their resident advanced sommelier, Nick Daddona. During the summertime, the restaurant hosts a weekly ‘Sips with Somms’ program, where you can learn more about your favorite grapes.
For Farm to Table: Asta
For our very first Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend took me to his favorite restaurant in Boston, Asta. Truth be told, he’s a little biased since the chef here used to work at Noma in Copenhagen, and as a Dane, that speaks volumes. Previously a pizza joint, this husband-and-wife run establishment features exposed brick, handmade pottery, and an incredible seasonal menu. You can choose between the five-course or the eight-course, with or without the wine pairing, and you’ll never know what you’ll get. We’ve been twice — and it gets more adventurous each time.
For Rooftop Views: Lookout
After a long work day, there’s nothing quite as palate cleansing as a great wind-down drink. For a gorgeous view and a creative offering of booze, stop by this hot spot atop The Envoy Hotel in the seaport district. You’ll definitely find your Instagram-worthy moment as you relax from back-to-back meetings and client demands.
For An Adventure Out of the City: Idle Hour
A quick Uber ride away is Quincy, an area right outside of Boston. Here is where many dwellers venture to for a club experience, an evening of karaoke or ya know, to save money on rent. If you happen to find yourself in the area, make a pit stop at Idle Hour. While the food is yummy, no doubt, what’s better is their curated cocktail list. A healthy mix of classics and unique creations will have you coming back for more.
For One Hell Of a Superbowl: Boston Harbor Hotel Presidential Suite
Caveat here: I was lucky enough to be invited to stay in this $15,000 a night (yep, you read that right!) suite as a media review. It’s the most luxurious in the city — and not just because of the jaw-dropping rate. It includes a kitchen, a fully-stocked bar, a huge patio with views of the harbor, two bathrooms, a full tub, a master suite, a media room, and a private elevator. It’s not exactly an option for most people, but if you happen to have a big ‘ole celebration with a group of friends? Or you need an event space? Split many ways, it could be worth the investment — especially since booze is included. Trust me, you’ll feel like royalty.
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