Urban Getaway: Boston


Downtown Boston
Downtown Boston provides a great opportunity to walk around historical sites, taverns and markets.


With its beloved Bruins clinching the Stanley Cup in June after a 39-year dry spell, patriotism in Boston is booming. But the Bs’ big win isn’t the only thing drawing attention—and visitors—to the Hub. Boston also boasts high-end hotels, restaurants, shops, world-class museums and cultural attractions. Recent months have seen a flurry of buzz-worthy openings, which means that even seasoned Boston buffs will find something new here on their next visit.


The Four Seasons Boston’s Garden Suite
The Four Seasons Boston’s Garden Suite, is a great place to relax after a day of sightseeing.

When it comes to sightseeing, Boston is full of famous tourist traps. But if your clients want to break away from the fanny pack-wearing masses in favor of a more introspective experience, suggest a stop at the Museum of Fine Arts. The MFA set the arts community a-frenzy in April with the opening of its highly anticipated exhibition “Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass,” a collection of new and archival work by glass master Dale Chihuly. The exhibition ends August 7, but even if your clients can’t make it in time, there’s still plenty more to see. The museum’s new Art of the Americas Wing (through December 31), for one, also set tongues wagging when it debuted in late 2010. If contemporary art is more your clients’ speed, then the Institute of Contemporary Art, at Fan Pier on Boston Harbor, is just the ticket. In addition to its exhibitions and displays (and a funky gift shop), the ICA frequently hosts performances and special events. On August 20, the ICA—specifically, its roof, which hovers 80 feet above the water—will serve as the sixth stop on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series global tour.

Suggest that, while they’re at Fan Pier, clients stop at LouisBoston for some shopping. The ultra-exclusive store, which carries top designer fashion for men and women and houses the posh Salon Mario Russo, traded in its digs on Newbury Street in the Back Bay for its new, more contemporary space on the waterfront in early 2010. Back Bay is still considered Boston’s shopping hub, however, anchored by Newbury Street (Armani, Marc Jacobs, Valentino) and Copley Place (Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior), where a new Michael Kors Lifestyle boutique recently opened its doors. If your clients collect art on their travels, suggest a Boston visit for September 17 and 18. That weekend, United South End Artists, a volunteer organization comprising artists who live in Boston’s artist-saturated South End, presents its annual South End Open Studios, during which the public is invited to visit artists in their studios and, of course, purchase their wares.


Boston’s Theatre district is near Chinatown
Boston’s Theatre district is near Chinatown, which has more than 200 restaurants, ideal for an after-theater bite.

Combined with sightseeing and shopping, dining completes the tourism trifecta, and there are plenty of restaurants to pick from here. Boston restaurant scions Lydia Shire and Jasper White are co-culinary directors at the newly opened—and sceney—Towne Stove and Spirits, on Boylston Street in Back Bay, which serves “a delightful mingling of international flavors and solid American fare.” Within a few nearby busy blocks, Back Bay Social Club and a Boston outpost of Max Brenner also recently opened, joining the ranks of Back Bay’s hottest new dining (and dessert, in the case of Brenner) destinations. On July 8, in the Financial District, Hell’s Kitchen contestant Jason Santos debuted Blue Inc., his first solo effort, a 50-seat eatery serving dishes like calamari spaghetti with squid puffs. Of course, for every new option that opens, there’s a failsafe (and fabulous) veteran. Our shortlist of favorites includes The Beehive, a mustn’t-miss for jazz aficionados on Tremont Street in the artsy South End, and neighboring Hamersley’s Bistro, famous for its roast chicken, and Picco, an intimate eatery whose brick-oven pizza is purposefully well done yet perfectly chewy. For the best oysters in town, it’s Neptune Oyster on Salem Street in the North End, Boston’s frenetic Italian neighborhood. Have clients who are headed to a game at Fenway? Eastern Standard is the place for upscale yet casual pre- or post-game food and drink, while Bleacher Bar, in the underbelly of Fenway Park, offers a lively atmosphere on game day, plus ground-level views of the Green Monster from inside the park.

As for accommodations, Boston leaves little to be desired. Both the Taj and the Four Seasons, a celeb hot spot, are set at the edge of the beautiful Public Garden in Back Bay, just steps from shopping on Newbury Street. A stone’s throw from Copley Plaza and Boston’s iconic Prudential Tower, the Mandarin Oriental is home to the Forbes four star-rated restaurant Asana, as well as an otherworldly spa and an outpost of the high-end Mizu salon. Across town in Beacon Hill, the Liberty Hotel continues to draw the young, stylish set with its trendy restaurants, Scampo and Clink, and bars—the lower-level Alibi and a Veuve Cliquot champagne bar in the stunning lobby. Our personal favorite, however, is the boutique Beacon Hill Hotel on Boston’s historical, tree-lined Charles Street. The hotel’s cozy bistro is a neighborhood favorite for brunch and is the perfect starting point for a busy weekend in the Bean.

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