It just doesn’t get any better than Boston! My favorite U.S. East Coast destination checks off all the boxes, it’s easy to navigate, has a major airport, has year round sports, has established beer culture, has diverse lodging options, and a wide selection of restaurants. The downtown area is walkable, with the top notch public transit that makes it easy to get from the city center to the burbs.
Logan Airport, located across the Boston Main Channel is only 15 minutes from downtown. The MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) offers free transit from the airport to Boston’s South Station via their Silver Line. From South Station you can connect to most parts of the city using their subway system affectionately known as the “T”. MBTA has an efficient smart phone app that will help you navigate their transit system, and day passes are available.
Finding the right accommodations can be a bit tricky, especially if you are dead set on staying in a hotel. Most of the highly rated hotels in the downtown area are priced well over $300 per night. While I prefer staying downtown, you can save a bundle by staying outside of the city on one of the MBTA commuter rail lines. The airport hotels are also reasonably priced with easy access to downtown. My preference would be to rent a flat downtown, most are reasonably priced but should be booked well in advance.
With over 100 craft breweries in Massachusetts the beer industry is booming. It all started in the 1980’s with Samuel Adams and the Boston Beer Company. Boston Beer located in the Jamaica Plain area just a few blocks from the Stony Brook T Station offers a free tour with beer tasting and is a must do for beer-centric tripsters. This was one of the more entertaining tours with substantial time in the tasting room to sample the product. Harpoon Brewery, just a 5 minute walk from the Silver Line, has a huge beer hall and serves pretzels! They offer a brewery tour ($5) which includes 15 minutes in their tasting room to sample their selections. Last but not least on my “must do” Boston beer list is Trillium Brewing, 110 Shawmut Rd Canton MA. From South Station take the Providence/Stoughton Line to Westwood Station then Uber 2 miles to the brewery, total travel time is about 30 minutes. The Trillium taproom overlooks the production floor, look up and you’ll see the 5000 sq. ft. barrel mezzanine filled with oak casks! The casks are part of their wild beer program which features small batch beers fermented with native New England microbe cultures, a process that takes up to two years. Trillium will be opening a new brewery and restaurant mid 2018 in the Fort Point area of Boston.
Seafood lovers will love Boston. From scrod to lobster, delicious and fresh from the sea. Scrod, an acronym for Select Catch Received On Deck is usually cod, halibut, or haddock. You’ll find lobster prepared everyway imaginable but my favorite is the famous “lobster roll”, a grilled soft sided roll stuffed with a simple mixture of lobster meat and mayo. You’ll find lobster rolls all over the city, but in my opinion the best will be found at Yankee Lobster in the Seaport area next to Harpoon Brewery. Belle Isle Seafood, northeast of Boston in Winthrop and about 20 minutes walk from the Orient Heights T station is a close second. What’s the best deal on lobster? The Mount Vernon Restaurant in Somerville is Boston’s best kept secret serving 2 steamed lobsters for under $20! You’ll find oyster happy hour specials all over the city, plump, juicy and delicious.
The North End offers some of the best Italian food in the country, remember the best restaurants have the longest lines! While you are in the North End visit Mike’s Pastry and get a box of cannoli for the road. No trip to Boston would be complete without it!
If you have more than a few days in Boston day-trip options abound! From the North Station take the Newburyport/Rockport Line northeast of the city to Salem, Marblehead, Gloucester, and Rockport (1 1/2 hours). Portland Maine, a vibrant craft beer destination in it’s own right is just 2 1/2 hours away via the Amtrak Downeaster” from North Station. The Provincetown Fast Ferry can get you from Boston to Provincetown in 90 minutes to name just a few day-tripping ideas.
Boston is dotted with quaint bars, pubs, and watering holes waiting to be explored. Cheers, a neighborhood pub in the Beacon Hill area was the inspiration for the long running TV series. Formerly know as The Bull & Finch, the pub has served the Beacon Hill neighborhood for close to 50 years. Today, its more of a tourist attraction than locals hangout but still worth visiting. McGreevy’s on Boylston St, a revival of McGreevy’s 3rd Base Saloon is jammed with Red Sox memorabilia. The original pub, which opened in 1894 was a hang out for ball players, politicians, gamblers, and the birthplace of Red Sox Nation. Now owned by Dropkick Murphys bass guitarist Ken Casey, the pub was re-opened in 2008 with the support of baseball author and historian Pete Nash. With a bit of luck, you might find Ken Casey sitting in one of the back booths. Be sure to visit Lucky’s Lounge, a quirky 1950’s throwback in the Seaport area southeast of downtown. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a time warp complete with classic 50’s drinks, dim mood lighting, and red vinyl upholstered seating . Try to go on Sinatra night and have an “Old Fashioned” for me.
The Beer-Centric Traveler writes for Play Harder Tours… Please email Bill@playhardertours.com and start your travel planning today! For a complete list of recommendations please email with “Boston” on the subject line. I’d love to hear your suggestions too.