Some Angelenos think you can’t see Boston in 72 hours — and they would be correct. But you can get a taste of Beantown, whether you’re in the city for a short business trip or a family visit.
The key to the Boston quickie is to get organized ahead of your trip. Choosing what to do and where to eat while you’re there is overwhelming — there are simply too many options. Pick a few select restaurants and attractions and enjoy an in-depth experience. Here are a few recommendations.
Where to stay:
Located at the edge of the up-and-coming Seaport District, the Envoy, one of the Autograph Collection Hotels, offers stunning views of the waterfront and the city skyline. I was able to snag a corner room, which featured two glass walls that allowed me to enjoy the foggy mornings and the skylit city in the evenings.
The spot is perfect for both business and pleasure — the location is just steps away from the financial district and a 15-minute walk to Boston Common and the Beacon Hill district. It’s also home to one of the most popular bars in the area: the Lookout Rooftop and Bar, which as the name aptly suggests, looks out over the city. Guests of the hotel get automatic entry into the bar, but if you opt to stay elsewhere, you’ll be waiting in line for the popular night spot.
The Envoy also participates in what’s been dubbed the Indie Film Project — created by Autograph Collection Hotels and in partnership with the Los Angeles-based Black List, Franklin Leonard’s support platform for up-and-coming filmmakers. As part of this partnership, guests get access to on-demand indie film content, which helps indie filmmakers get wider distribution for their movies. The hotel also hosts exclusive indie film screenings. While I was in town, the Envoy hosted director Aaron Katz for a screening of his new film Gemini.
Where to Eat:
When I cross the country, I like to crash at the hotel to ward off the jet lag. That’s when I really appreciate a hotel restaurant that goes above and beyond for dinner, like the Outlook Kitchen and Bar at the Envoy. The craft cocktails feature creative twists on both the lighter and darker spirits and there are plenty of local craft brews on tap or are available in cans.
Light bite highlights include a tender grilled Spanish octopus, or for something zestier, try the mussels served in a Thai coconut broth. If you’re famished, I’d recommend pairing the tender scallops with a side of the decadent mac ‘n’ cheese (and definitely opt to add the lobster). The can’t-miss dessert on the menu is the campfire torte, which will remind you of the s’mores at scout camp, complete with smoked housemade marshmallows.
Fine dining is coming back into vogue with its French linens and wood interiors. So it should be no surprise that Menton should make your short list of stops on your Boston trip.
Start with a glass of wine from executive wine director Cat Silirie’s carefully curated list from small growers. Chef Barbara Lynch’s menu is an excellent showcase of craft cocktails and seasonal dishes, which range from fine-dining staples such as creamy burrata paired with fresh greens, to inventive combinations such as octopus alongside housemade sausage. Standout desserts include the seasonal fruit tart and the delightfully colorful mini macaroons.
What to do:
If you only have a short time to spend in the city, then let the best of the region come to you. Boston Public Market is home to about 40 local food entrepreneurs selling everything from fresh apple cider and roasted nuts to fresh oysters that came out of the ocean that morning from local fishermen.
The space is great for shopping for local gifts or grabbing a quick lunch. Standout vendors include Appleton Farms, with some truly amazing cheeses; Q’s Nuts, which has some spectacular roasted nuts; and Red Apple Farm, which can quench that thirst for fall apple cider.
If it’s your first time in the city, you’re entitled to at least one touristy activity. Since this is one of the most filmed cities in the U.S., you might recognize plenty of spots around town from movies and television. On Location Tours provides a solid walking tour of both Boston Common, the 50-acre centrally located park, and upscale neighborhood Beacon Hill. Notable locations include the exterior of the bar from Cheers and several locations for the Oscar-winning film The Departed.
Your guide will also point out plenty of historical places of note along the way. It’s a great way to get a quick glimpse of the heart of the city when you’re short on time.
For Angelenos who are used to The Getty, LACMA and The Broad, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts provides a vastly different view of art history. The collection of American paintings caught my interest during my tour of the city. The museum’s holdings include Thomas Sully’s Passage of the Delaware and a vast collection of work from John Singer Sargent, including the intriguing Daughters of Edward Darley Boit.
Of course, there is plenty to see beyond early American artwork, the museum boasts vast collections from around the globe. Check the website to plan your visit and for current exhibitions.