ll archives: An Insider’s Guide to Boston

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Boston: home of the American Revolution and fanatic baseball fans. To be honest, historical tours and a Red Sox game are a pretty good start. But if you want to go beyond 101, here are a few places to start.

Italian

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Boston_2

Photo: FJ Gaylor

You will obviously be having Italian in Boston’s famous North End. Honestly, just go wherever there’s a line. That method has never led me to bad pasta.

The real local debate in the North End is, surprisingly, over the cannoli: Mike’s or Modern Pastry? Both have their supporters. If you’re a stickler for an orderly line, I’d suggest going to Modern. (Mike’s is rather reminiscent of trying to push your way onto the subway at rush hour.)

The Life of the Mind

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Boston_6

Photo: Harvard Book Store

Boston is home to some of the best independent bookstores in the country. On the Boston side of the river, Trident on Newbury Street. Discount books, the best selection of magazines in the city, and an in-house bar. What’s not to love? On the Cambridge side of the river, Harvard Book Store (not associated with the university). Be sure to check their event schedule before you visit, just to see if you need to pick up tickets to see one of your favorite authors or public personalities.

Local Brew

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Boston_

Photo: Harpoon

Skip the Sam Adams tour in Jamaica Plain and head to Harpoon’s recently expanded Tasting Room (definitely a must for any IPA lovers). There’s often a line to get in during the summer, but their unconventional flights are worth it. Better yet, try one of our local microbreweries, like Aeronaut or Cambridge Brewing Company.

Escape the City (while still in the city)

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Boston_4

Photo: Eric Kilby

For a nature walk, you can’t beat the Jamaica Plain Arboretum: everyone’s favorite getaway within the city itself. Alternately, take a booze cruise to get out on the Harbor and get some salty sea winds in your face. Sunset cruises are super-fun, and you get to see all of the small islands just off the coast while getting some local history.

Food History: Boston Cream Pie

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Boston_7

Photo: PDX Food Love

Lovers of food history should stop by the downtown Omni Hotel, home of the Boston Cream Pie. For an unconventional take that wins over even the haters, try the Boston Cream Donut at Union Square Donuts in Somerville.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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Boston_5

Photo: The Boston Day Book

Gardner was a wealthy patroness of the arts who curated an impressive collection, covering all the walls in her house. In her will, she left her home as a museum with strict instructions not to move a thing. (As a result, there are still empty frames hanging, where paintings stolen in 1990 used to hang.) The courtyard in the center of the estate is a particular must-see if you need some good ol’ girlboss solitude.