Boston has history, certainly: Paul Revere, the Tea Party. But what draws most visitors to the New England city these days is its far more modern sensibility, one rich in culture, fashion, and really good food. There’s no bad time to visit, though summer and fall are when the city is at its most spectacular, and walkable, with a bounty of bustling restaurants, modern museums, and unique shops all in walking distance from whichever upscale hotel you choose (and there are plenty). Read on for making the most of a weekend in Boston (just don’t call it Beantown).
Close to both Fenway Park and Boston University (prospective parents take note) the Hotel Commonwealth is the official hotel of the Boston Red Sox (and Boston native Steven Tyler’s favorite place to stay in town). Several themed multi-room suites offer beyond-comfortable accommodations for longer stays—the Terrier suite, with BU memorabilia; the Rathskeller Suite, with design informed by a “band on tour” aesthetic. Three new restaurants from Blue Ribbon Restaurants, including Blue Ribbon Sushi, round out an impeccable stay. The Liberty Hotel, in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, is housed in the former Charles Street Jail. But the hotel pays homage to its past without being gimmicky. Hotel bar Alibi is charmingly decorated with wrought iron bars throughout, while the 90- foot lobby atrium features the jail’s original windows and historic catwalks. In summertime, the Boston Harbor Hotel can’t be beat: Its waterfront location isn’t just for the views. Watch the sun set over the Atlantic from the patio of the in-house Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, which hosts live music from a floating barge Tuesday through Saturday nights, as well as regular outdoor movie nights. The hotel can also arrange a private wine tasting with the hotel sommelier and guided Harborwalk tours. Set on the edge of the Boston Common, The Newbury is a modern reinvention of an iconic 1920s building that’s housed such famous brands as Ritz-Carlton and the Taj. In fall and winter, book a Fireplace Suite, one of 42 two-room suites with wood-burning fireplaces and a dedicated fireplace butler on call to build your fire using your choice of wood: birch, cherry, oak, or maple.
Where to Eat:
The Boston outpost of the Nantucket hotspot, Nautilus Pier 4, in the bustling Seaport, overlooks the Harbor, but your attention will be on the food, sized to share: a globally inspired, Asian-leaning menu of offerings (the blue crab fried rice is a standout) and a cocktail list that’ll make your head spin even before your second La Vida Verde (avocado-infused tequila, orange, lime, and salt foam). Contessa, on the rooftop of the Newbury Hotel, is as impeccably designed in high-glam style as the hotel it sits atop (courtesy of Ken Fulk). Its Northern Italian fare is equally exceptional—house-made pastas, pizza, bistecca alla fiorentina for two, as well as house-made gelato for dessert. If you’re looking for the most-perfect Instagram post, head over to Yvonne’s [https://www.yvonnesboston.com] a dreamy restaurant placed in a vintage-styled space filled with crystal chandeliers, velvet sofas, and hand-clipped Calcatta marble floors. The shareable plates make for the perfect dining experience with friends. The Back Bay’s Saltie Girl will provide your seafood fix, with fish many ways—raw, tinned, fried, and smoked—including the requisite New England lobster roll, served either warm or cold (or you could opt for the fried lobster and waffles instead). Wash it all down with a tall glass of rosé from a sprawling wine list. Ask to sit in the upstairs bar.
What to Do:
Don’t miss a visit to the waterfront Institute of Contemporary Art known for giving emerging artists their first-ever museum shows, or the MFA Boston, with standout permanent collections in Textile and Fashion Arts and Musical Instruments, in addition to the more expected works. Of course, with such a rich history, you can’t just ignore Boston’s past. You’ll get a full scope of the story of the nation’s founding by following the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile walking route of the most historic sites in the city. Boston Common is the oldest city park in the United States and is great for an afternoon visit. Check out the Ether Monument and the swan boats before making your way to the Parkman Bandstand for photo moments. Pay a visit to the Old State House, which has stood as a symbol of liberty in Boston since it was built in 1713. It was here that several civic events took place that sparked the American Revolution.
Where to Shop:
There’s Newbury Street, of course, where you’ll find such luxury brands such as Chanel, Burberry, Valentino and Tiffany & Co., as well as smaller national brands like Jenni Kayne, Credo and Rag & Bone. But Beacon Hill’s Charles Street has upended Newbury as the go-to for memorable shopping. Aimee Lombardi’s French + Italian curates the best of the best from European clothing brands (and a few domestic finds, too) in an airy second floor space. Down the block, Dress keeps it a bit more casual with run-around-town essentials, plus home décor.
Local retail legend Dava Muramatsu’s revival of Matsu, her long running Newbury Street boutique, now on Charles, is a multi-sensorial space full of all sorts of treasures, from tabletop to jewelry from her own line, Nymph, to clothes that include the whimsical tutus for which Muramatsu has become known. A bit further afield, the Boston Harbor Hotel offshoot of beloved South End home décor boutique Modern Relik, Home at Rowes Wharf, is an immaculately curated gem filled with Assouline and Taschen tabletop books, Diptique candles, Brenda Holzke ceramics, and an in-house furnishings line, all overseen by Louis Boston alum Thomas Lapan—a delight for hotel guests and destination shoppers alike.