One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston is where history was written — literally — for the country. For its surprisingly small size, it packs quite a punch. Multiculturalism is woven into the fabric of the city: the lineage of early immigrant settlers has mixed in with the diversity brought in by thousands of international students every year. Move between the hyper-educated planes of the world’s largest educational institutions, aka Harvard, MIT, Berklee, Boston University, Tufts and Babson, to the more artistic and bohemian lanes of Jamaica Plain and Roxbury, further down to SoWA — Greater Boston offers something for every kind of interest.
OF BATS AND BALLS
When it’s sports season, good luck trying to reach anywhere on time in Boston. Your patience will be tested as the traffic inches forward at a snail’s pace — particularly if one of the home teams are playing. The locals love their sport, and with good reason: Boston’s teams are winners. The Red Sox (baseball), New England Patriots (American football), the Bruins (hockey) and the Celtics (basketball) rarely disappoint. If you’re in the city while the home teams are playing, hit the legendary Fenway Park or TD Garden to catch a game in person. If you want to do it for free, pick from a line-up of old-and-new-school sports bars sitting side by side at Fenway Park or Boylston. Grab a hot dog, some locally brewed beers and keep the tortilla chips and guacamole coming. Don’t forget to pick your team and put on your cheering hats.
If you like your cardio and want to take in the sights of the city, strap on your running shoes and start at the banks of the Charles River. The city is home to one of the world’s oldest and most competitive marathons: the Boston Marathon. Naturally, running is more than a culture here. Adventure gear junkies, Newbury Street has it all.
OF WATERING HOLES AND MORE
Let’s just say that the city loves its beer. You’ll find a fairly standard selection in the most nondescript bars. However, we do recommend that you head to some of the local breweries. Samuel Adams, for instance, is steeped in history and stands for the entrepreneurial spirit that is part of Boston’s DNA. The brewery offers free tours on all days of the week except Sundays. The Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall, Trillium Brewery and Turtle Swamp are other great options. Across the Charles River, the John Harvard’s Brewery and Cambridge Brewing Company are favourites among those living in Cambridge. The Irish immigrants being one of the early settlers of Boston, their Gaelic influence is hard to miss. So, if you prefer chugging down hops with some culture served on the side, head over to one of the many Irish-themed bars dotting the Boston landscape. J.J. Foley’s, one of the oldest familyrun pubs, has been serving beer and burgers for over a century. Mr. Dooley’s Tavern in the Financial District offers live acts every week. So does The Black Rose, a popular hangout near Faneuil Hall that throws in Irish musicians with early happy hours. If you are in the mood to experiment, the ArtScience Cafe at Kendall in Cambridge will not disappoint. The cafe combines experimental gastronomy with great design; the Titi Monkey cocktail with an edible monkey wearing a suit is a must-try.
The Harpoon Brewer & Beer Hall
ARTS & CULTURE
History buffs, start with a walk along the Freedom Trail, a 4km route that you can navigate on your own. Sixteen historical sites later, you are likely to be a veritable expert on the American Revolution. If you want a quiet space and free WiFi with fine examples of Renaissance books thrown in, the Boston Public Library at Copley is it. With 19 million volumes, this is the second largest public library in the United States. On weekends, you might even pass a farmer’s market in the parking lot outside the library. The city’s two big art institutions — the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) — are far from stuck-in-time monoliths. On the first Friday of any month, the two institutions shed their sobriety and mix things up with art, music and cocktails. The MFA Late Nites held once every few months offers a museum experience unlike any. Groove to bhangra music, admire a Rothko or squeeze in a meditation session — all in one evening If you prefer performance over the visual, Boston is never short of live music, theatre or comedy. Look up gigs at the Paradise Rock Club, House of Blues or TD Garden. The upcoming months will see acts such as Maroon 5, Radiohead, Bruno Mars, Arctic Monkeys, Elton John and many more. Free concerts offered by students of the world-famous Berklee College of Music are a great option for last-minute planners. A few minutes south of the music school, Wally’s Jazz Cafe offers cheap beers and live blues or jazz. And, if your tastes run towards the classical, plug into some Shostakovich or Brahms at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The Boston Public Library
House of Blues
Barklee College of Music
START IT UP
Since Boston tops most lists when it comes to new ideas in entrepreneurship and innovation, it’s a good idea to check out the startup ecosystem here that offers everything from co-working spaces to venture cafes and accelerators in every size. Pick between the Venture Cafe at Kendall MIT, Roxbury Innovation Centre in Roxbury or the District Hall in the Seaport district for a talk, a workshop or just some inspiration. The technology campuses of Harvard and MIT can easily take up a day’s worth of browsing. And for those who prefer something more hands-on, Artisans Asylum, a makerspace that brings together artists, designers and engineers, will give you several things to do.
Roxbury Innovation Centre