Boston is finally beginning to feel more like home to me now that I have been traveling here every week for the last 2 months for work. My travel projects for the last year have typically been pretty short term, so I really didn't get that much time to explore Raleigh or Montreal to the extent that I have for Boston. While I am typically only in the city for 3 days out of the week during the weekdays, I have been able to explore a decent amount after work, especially since it doesn't get dark until pretty late nowadays. I have a pretty comfortable routine down from the time I wake up at 5am to catch my flight to the time I finally get to breathe back at home eating take out and reflecting on an exhausting week. While I do try to show some of my life in Boston on Instagram, like my morning latte snaps or running during sunset, keeping up with social media while I am there is actually pretty difficult given the fact that I can work some heavy hours during the week! But that's part of what I love about the work week. It goes by so quickly because I'm constantly busy and have less time to get lost in the social media frenzy. It gives me time to just sit back at night, edit photos from the weekend, and let my creative juices flow for what I want to share next.
I've been looking forward to finally spending a weekend in Boston, but I found myself coming back to New York for the last 7 weeks because of various plans that I had already made with friends and family. Memorial Day Weekend seemed to be the perfect time for my family to drive up from Jersey to visit with Dasher, and I even got to spend a night with two friends who happened to plan a trip in town MD weekend too!
My first two trips to Boston was to visit one of my best friends/current roommate, Crystal, while she went to school at Northeastern University. I can't even believe that first bus ride up was over 5 years ago! What's even more unbelievable was that my only two visits up until this past year, were in January. Truly blessed to have been staffed on a project in the most beautiful months that Boston weather has to offer. In this post, I really just wanted to document and write about some of my favorite places that I have grown to love so much over just the past few weeks. This city has so much charm and personality and I could definitely see myself living here!
Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market
Back when I came to Boston in 2013, I clearly remember Crystal taking me to visit Fanueil Hall and Newbury Street, but back then, I was way to cold to fully take in the beauty of this place. Home of Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market, Faneuil Hall is an urban marketplace and central meeting location lined with unique shops, restaurants and plenty of outdoor entertainment. I've been here so many times now in the past couple of months that I've definitely lost count! I just really love running past here and people watching outside. There are some seriously talented street performers playing outside Quincy Market every night reminding me that if I kept up my love of karaoke and singing in the shower, that could have been me. While I've only grabbed a bite to eat from Boston Chowda Company inside Quincy, there are dozens of food options to choose from for lunch and dinner or even an afternoon snack both inside the markets and the plenty of restaurants in the vicinity.
I can't believe I didn't discover Boston Common sooner! This place is my favorite oasis, and I find myself running through this beautiful downtown public park after work multiple times a week, even if I am staying closer to the North End. It's just so beautiful and peaceful in the evenings, and I love being surrounded by the sprawling lawn and lush greenery. I also enjoy dog watching here because this is the prime spot for locals to walk their pups.
Fun Fact - Boston Common was created in 1637! Wow.
The Memorial Day Flag Garden at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was one of the most beautiful tributes I have ever seen. I actually ran by coincidentally the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend after work, and I ended up taking my family there again to see it on Friday. Over 700 volunteers planted 37,000 flags, each one honoring a fallen hero from Massachusetts who died in wars from the American Revolution to present day. It was absolutely breathtaking.
Boston Public Garden
I first discovered Boston Public Garden after I ran through Boston Common for the first time. It was the most incredible first visit since all the tulips were in full bloom at the beginning of April. It colored the entire area in bright pops of red and yellow and it was stunning! By the time I saw them again in May, most of them had already died.
Fun fact- BPG is actually America's first public botanical garden in America, and it was actually created over two centuries after Boston Common was established, even though they sit right next to each other.
Famous for its swan boats, the Garden is actually home to a couple of real swans too. These two lovebirds have always been side by side the half dozen times I've passed by. It always makes me wish that Blake would come up and visit sooner.
I've been to many Chinatowns in my life - NYC, San Francisco, Toronto, LA, Brooklyn, D.C. and even in Lima, Peru! I've always found it interesting to compare these neighborhoods because they each have their own unique vibe. I was actually really excited to explore Chinatown after work one day since I had briefly passed it on my walk to my hotel near Boston Common. I ended up eating at Shoju that night and then grabbing a bubble tea at Teado after. My parents were actually pretty excited to visit Boston's Chinatown too to see how it compared to the ones we frequented in New York.
Boston's version is actually smaller than I thought it would be, but pretty authentic when compared to the one in D.C. There are some great restaurants (according to Yelp) and some yummy bubble tea and dessert shops too, so I definitely recommend checking out this special neighborhood if you visit Boston and haven't had a chance to explore Chinatown yet.
Boston's Long Wharf is actually a historic pier that is now used a a dock for ferries and sightseeing boats. When I think of Long Wharf I usually just think of the Marriott hotel property, which is probably my favorite hotel to stay in in Boston because of it's perfect location. It's the best place to walk through on a warm, summer night and an equally great spot for a great photo op! Boston's surrounding waters may not be blue beaches, but it's Wharf is incredible and gives so much added character to this city. Needless to say, Dasher loved every minute too.
To be honest, I had to do some Googling myself to distinguish the Wharf from the Waterfront because I'm definitely not a Boston local. I actually work right near the Waterfront in the Financial District, so I had already seen some parts of it from my earliest days working here. From food trucks and cruises, to bars, restaurants, and the Harborwalk, there are plenty to do on Boston's Waterfront. Since we stayed at the Westin Boston Waterfront, it was a quick 10 minute walk from where we stayed to get to the wharfs.
Need more ideas of what to do in this area? Check this list out.
Haymarket is one of America's oldest open air markets, and while it opens early everyday (most days at 8 am), it also closes before I can get to it at a reasonable time after work. By the time I get back to my hotel, change, and get in a quick workout, all the fruit and vegetable vendors have already been long gone. I was super excited to finally check it out with my family on a Friday afternoon. We got a box of strawberries, which was super fresh, but honestly couldn't buy too much since we were going to be out and about for the day and weren't planning on cooking. I could definitely see myself coming here and shopping for inexpensive and fresh produce to cook with every week. Actually, I kind of look forward to the day where I am in a city with a kitchen long enough to hit up the local farmers market and meal prep for the whole week. Hopefully one day!
The North End Boston's Little Italy is easily one of my favorite parts of the city. You could easily get lose in the maze of streets in this old historic neighborhood, and that's why running here in the evenings is so fun. There is so much good food in the North End, and I wish I could stay here longer every week just to eat my way through Hanover and Salem Street. Over the last few weeks, I've tried Al Dente, Camelina's, Neptune Oyster, and don't forgot Modern and Mike's pastry for a sweet treat any time of the day! Mike's Pastry is absolutely an institution here, and while I don't love cannolis as much as ice cream, I've had my fair share since my first visit in 2013.
Boston Public Market
BPM was actually a new discovery for me since I never knew it existed until I stumbled in here one day after hopping out of an Uber on my way to the airport and found out my flight was delayed. I love this place so much because
1) It's indoors with air conditioning
2) It has over 35 food stalls and vendors housed under 1 roof
3) It's never too crowded when I visit.
You can find seasonal and locally sourced food from both Massachuseetts and the New England area, and you could come here a dozen times and still find something new to try or sample. There's everything from home-brewed kombucha and prepared breakfasts and dinners, to baked goods, meat, poultry, seafood, produce and so much more!
This seafood eatery is one of Boston's staples, and I have yet to pass this restaurant once without a line out the door. I waited almost 7 weeks to finally try it out, mostly because I've never had the patience to wait by myself here for a seat and because they don't do takeout orders. We put our name down on a Saturday night at 5:45pm and was told that it would be a whopping 4 hour wait (CRAZY!) We were determined to try it since my friends and I have heard a lot about it. We passed time by heading back to Quincy Market, chilling in Boston Public Market to get juice and tea, and even getting a yummy meat and cheese salad from Monica's Mercato and eating it by the wharf to pass the time. 3 hours later, we were finally called for our seats!
In short, I enjoyed our food a lot, but I've had some great lobster rolls and seafood in Boston that I don't think a 3+ hour wait is worth it for a seat here. I'd say to try it out if there was a short wait, but if not Pauli's next door is bomb too.
*Kumamoto oysters (top)*
Bluefin tune crudo (Italian for raw)
Maine Lobster Rolls (hot with butter) aka STAR of the show!
Zen Japanese Grill and Sushi Bar
Finding places to eat with a pup in tow was actually a bit more difficult then I expected it to be. While we had pizza at Boston Common for dinner on Friday night, I found a yummy Japanese Restaurant near the park again for our lunch on Saturday. Takoyaki and unagi fried rice were definitely on point! It was so nice to enjoy the warmth outside with the fam and Dasher even had his own seat for the meal.
Flour Bakery + Cafe
If you're a fan of Food Network's Throwdown with Bobby Flay, chances are you've seen the sticky bun episode with Chef Joanne Chang. I remembered watching that delicious baking throwdown years ago, but it never really occurred to me that Flour Bakery was in Boston until I did a Yelp search for desserts once I came here. Guys, these sticky buns are my greatest obsession. Sometimes I'll grab one during lunch to have with an afternoon coffee, and it makes my day that much better. There's nothing like an warm, ooey, gooey sticky bun with caramelized pecans to save a stressful day. Oh, the banana bread is also pretty bomb too and so is the sticky bun bread pudding!
My friends Aash and Sarah raved about the oat milk latte they had earlier in the morning before I met up with them at Quincy Market, so it was only natural that we decided to go back the next day and I got to try one for myself. We sipped on our to-go lattes while waiting in line for brunch at The Paramount since there was a Tatte in Beacon Hill, but ended up at a different Tatte later that day after walking around Copley Place. This bakery is HEAVEN and I wish I got to try all of the yummy pastries on display. I can vouch for the oat milk latte though - that was fabulous!
This local brunch hotspot has been on my radar since the first week of my project, but it was just not possible to try it during the day since I don't work close to either the Beacon Hill (OG) or South Boston locations. Honestly, I was really surprised by the type of restaurant ths is because I expected typical NYC bougie brunch considering it's popularity. In reality, Paramount almost has diner vibes, and you wait in line all the way through ordering at the kitchen counter and grabbing your food when you pay at the cashier. It's almost a bit like ... a cafeteria line? After you grab your food, you head to an empty table in the restaurant among all the hungry people on line. If your food isn't done yet, a waiter will bring it over when it is. The line does move fairly quickly , and it took about half an hour from the time we got on line out the door to when we placed our order at the start of the kitchen line.
We ordered the burrata toast (left), chorizo toastada (right), blueberry pancakes (bottom right), and an extra side of fruit (bottom left).
James Hook & Co.
This family run business knows it's seafood! I've been eyeing James Hook & Co. for the past couple of weeks now but just never had the chance to try it since it closes early on weekdays and I haven't stayed a weekend in Boston until this one. After my family dropped off their luggage in our hotel rooms, we headed straight here for lunch. The line on a busy Friday was about 20 minutes to order and then another 20 minutes waiting for our food. While you can order other seafood besides lobster (crabs, tuna, shrimp, crabcakes, etc.), most people come here for the lobster rolls. You can choose between regular and large rolls for a $4 price difference, so we splurged a bit and all got some large lobster rolls and shared a lobster and clam chowder. It's safe to say that this is one of the best, if not the best lobster roll I've ever had. For 24 bucks, it's actually a steal for h ow much fresh lobster meat you get. I highly, highly recommend coming here for your lobster roll fix.
I love you Boston! Can't wait to spend my summer right where I belong.