Hello New England. The 10 Best Places to Visit in Boston.
My Adventures through the Boston Harbor, from the North End to Rowes Wharf.
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Today I write to you from the great city of Boston, located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. While there are things I miss about waking up in my own bed, the view here is something quite unlike any other city I have been to and that makes the lumpy hotel pillows, considerable jet lag, and fatigue from the six-hour flight, less of a deterrent from traveling to New England.
While the views are one of the reasons I love this city, what makes up the skyline is perhaps the true treasure of getting to walk the cobblestone streets day and night. There is living breathing history on every street corner. Between the high rises and new modern apartments, a glimpse of the old state house brings you back to 18th-century revolutionary times. A walk along the harbor, you can hear clanging and ocean waves crash up against centuries-old seaports. Dinner in the North End allows flavor and taste to immerse you in the traditions of generational Italian families that settled here in times encapsulated now by our current history books. If your smelling pasta right now, I promise it tastes even better in the North End than what your nose may be trying to imagine.
Having stayed on the harborside of the city, I want to share with you my top ten places to visit, and that have proven over the years to be dream destinations, along with vegan & gluten-free friendly eateries along the way that I absolutely love and are criminally delicious.
Everywhere I go, I believe it's an opportunity to have a eat, pray, love experience, and you can't enjoy new places without enjoying new food along the way.
So where to start?
1. Rowes Wharf
Located on outer skirts of Boston's harborside, the Rowes Wharf is a modern development in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It is best known for the Boston Harbor Hotel's multi-story arch over the wide public plaza between Atlantic Avenue and the Boston Harbor waterfront. Along the waterfront, there is a marina, restaurants, a water transportation terminal, and a floating stage offering free concerts and movies during the summer.
From this perch, you can observe the city and bustling port, or catch a ride on one of the many different boats and get a look at the harbor side out at sea. From whale watching to harbor cruises, you can quite honestly find yourself getting lost at sea for hours in the best possible way. Due to COVID19, Boston saw much of its boating tourism disappear for a better part of a year but starting this April all of their cruises will be back for city-goers and fully operational with of course necessary restrictions to make sure that the health of its tourists remains the first priority.
So whether you want to stay ashore to take in the sights or get out to sea and experience the harbor in action, this Wharf is the place to be.
To book your island adventure, a day trip to the cape, or some one-on-one time with New England's whales, click here to learn more.
2.) Rose Kennedy Greenway
The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is a linear park located in several Downtown Boston neighborhoods. It consists of landscaped gardens, promenades, plazas, fountains, art, and specialty lighting systems that stretch over one mile through Chinatown, the Financial District, the Waterfront, and North End neighborhoods.
It is the best place to have a picnic, pick up a bite from food trucks that serve a whole host of cravings, anything from falafel to burritos, or soak up the sun with your furry friends while getting to take in the clock tower and beautiful skyline. The carousel is one of my favorite highlights, and while I am too old to ride it now, it is still a stark reminder of happy summer memories in this great city. If you have little ones though, this is a sure stop along your way through Boston.
While I believe the best kind of nourishment comes in exploration and discovering new destinations, nothing beats actually getting a meal that gives you a taste of the city your exploring. This place may not be Italian, believe me, we will get to that soon enough, but it is an amazing Vegan & Gluten-Free eatery that is a perfect breakfast or lunch spot on the go.
Cocobeet is one of the highest-rated juice houses and only 100% PLANT-BASED restaurant in Boston, according to Yelp and my taste buds. Five-star reviews are hard for me to dish out but this place I give a six. Bringing fresh cold-pressed juices, superfood smoothies, raw vegan fare, and detox juice cleanse to the Boston community, this restaurant is a must on your places to hit for good, nutrient-dense meals that will give you the energy you need to continue your adventures all around the city and also help the planet one bite at a time. With its pure ingredients, anyone that has food sensitivities or intolerances that can make travel especially difficult, this is your place to enjoy food freely and without worry.
As far as vegan places go, this one is one to put on the Boston bucket list.
A trip to Boston is not a trip to Boston if you don't visit a few historical sites so with this next stop, prepared to be taken back in time.
4.) Old State House
Built in 1713 to house the government offices of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Old State House is the oldest surviving public building in Boston and America’s oldest and finest example of British architecture. As the place where politics and economic interests merged, this architectural gem was at the center of events in Revolutionary Boston.
During the years leading up to the American Revolution, the Old State House was the symbol of Royal British power. It was the meeting place of three important government entities: the seat of the Royal Government, the Massachusetts Assembly, and the Supreme Judicial Court. It was also the location of the Merchant’s Exchange, important in the maritime trade in colonial Boston.
Needless to say, this centuries-old building witnessed monumental historical moments in revolutionary history we only get to ever read about in our history textbooks. This is a landmark that falls along the freedom trail, a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States, so if you are a history lover and want to get more deeply enthralled in time periods of the past, follow the red brick road for a day or two. The sights are worth seeing and won't fail to fascinate you in the process. You can actually visit the Old State House, and walk around inside on a tour, so if that is more your style, click here to schedule your visit or learn more about the hours and admission.
Anyone else still hungry? Me, literally all the time. This next place to stop and get some grub is a place I discovered about two years ago. It is a restaurant I highly recommend because their food has such good quality and houses a chef who has made it her mission to provide people in the city of Boston nourishment without all the nonsense.
5.) Kala Thai Cookery
Located in Downtown Boston, Kala Thai Cookery is the purveyor of fine Thai Cuisine from the esteemed Chef Manita Bunnagitkarn. With a degree from Johnson & Wales and training under Todd English, Manita Bunnagitkarn could very well have gravitated towards fine dining. Lucky for us though, the skilled chef set up shop here, concentrating on providing MSG-free, made-to-order Thai food. It is by far one of the best Thai places in the city and you can either take it to go or sit inside their cozy restaurant on the corner of Hanover Street and enjoy watching the bustling city from your corner booth or counter seats. As it says on their menu, their food is crafted with love, and I promise this is something evident with every single bite taken. They are Vegan & Gluten-Free friendly as well so again, another great spot for those of you with allergies or food sensitivities! To learn more about this restaurant, or if you are ready to order your takeout, click here.
6.) New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium is a public aquarium located in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to the main aquarium building, attractions at the New England Aquarium include the Simons IMAX Theatre and the New England Aquarium Whale Watch, which operates from April through November. The aquarium has more than 22,000 members and hosts more than 1.3 million visitors each year.
If your a lover of the sea and want to meet some creatures and critters up close and personal this is the place to do it. This is by far one of the most popularly visited places for Boston tourists so due to the pandemic similar health safety restrictions have been put into place but the aquarium is back and open for visitors at reduced capacity after almost a year of having its doors closed to the public. This is an exciting month because once again the public will be able to get to see a glimpse into the ocean and take part in learning about all the mysteries it holds, a rare opportunity we don't have on a normal basis.
For more information on how you can plan your visit or see what the aquarium has to offer as far as once-in-a-lifetime experiences (I promise, you don't want to miss out on them), click here to learn more.
Now, as promised more food. I like so many others have a soft spot when it comes to good Italian cuisine, and the city of Boston is not in short supply of it. But what about good Italian food when you have dietary restrictions? Well, fortunately for you, no need to look any further than the North End.
7.) Dolce Vita Ristorante
When you take a right on Hanover Street, Dolce Vita, there lies an Italian family-owned restaurant whose proprietor, Franco Graceffa, is on a mission to make his kitchen your home away from home.
From ravioli to linguini, and a whole host of appetizers that will take you to Italy and back, nothing about this place will disappoint you. Also, did I mention the gluten-free pasta?
With a menu that is easy to navigate, you can create a dinner exactly to your liking, and as Franco always says "If you don't like my food, you don't have to pay for it! We make anything and everything". While this is not a vegan kitchen, there is plenty of pasta, bread, and marinara sauce to satisfy your stomach and a wonderful staff that does a great job when it comes to dietary sensitivities you may have.
This place is authentic as it gets, and if you are as in love with Italian food as I am, then eating here goes without saying.
Do it for the pasta and for a memorable evening on the town because if the food is not entertaining enough, the old man with his accordion sitting in the corner booth will give you memories that will last a lifetime.
Ready for some more history? This is another destination that also falls on the freedom trail of Boston.
8.) Paul Revere Statue
Paul Revere, an American silversmith, engraver, early industrialist, and Patriot in the American Revolution is someone well known in American history for the role he played in the American Revolution.
He is best known for his midnight ride to alert the colonial militia in April 1775 to the approach of British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord. This statue by Cyrus Edwin Dallin is installed in Boston's Paul Revere Mall near the Old North Church in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Down the street in the North End between bakeries and Italian restaurants, this statue sits as a reminder of one of the most important events in the American revolution and a landmark that often goes amiss amongst the masses passing through Boston on a regular basis.
For more historical information, or if you are curious about seeing more historical sites on your trip to Beantown, click here to learn more about different tours and trails your can follow to get the full historical experience that this great city has to offer.
While the history of this city is by far the most important to take in and enjoy, the one thing you can't leave without doing is indulging in the best of what Boston's bakeries have to offer.
Need I say more?
9.) Modern Pastry
Modern Pastry cakes, cookies, candies, and pastries have been a part of Boston area gatherings for many generations. They are one of many bakeries in the heart of this city but needless to say one of the few with dietary-friendly options at their disposal. While unfortunately, they don't offer a vegan delight, for those with gluten intolerances this is your lucky day. Their signature whoopie pie and cannolis are available gluten-free upon request and are just as delicious as the real deal. Also, what's not to love about yet another family-owned business providing what has to be some of the best pastries Boston has to offer? Did I mention it is an award-winning Italian bakery? Now, you will come to learn about Mike's down the street, but if you want quality, quantity, and not having to wait in a line down the block of Hanover then this is the place to be for your midnight sugar pick me up.
For more information or to see what else this tasty place has to offer, click here to learn more. The pictures don't do their treats the justice they deserve, but I find that they are a good motivator to getting yourself to the north end every so often.
And, while we are on the subject of the North End, we might as well end with one of the best places to take a deep breath and relax in all of Boston. The Long Wharf, located conveniently in the North Ends backyard.
10.) Long Wharf
Long Wharf is a historic pier in Boston, Massachusetts that was built in the early 18th century. It once extended from State Street nearly a half-mile into Boston Harbor, landing adjacent to Faneuil Hall. Today, the much-shortened wharf functions as a dock for passenger ferries and sightseeing boats. Long Wharf played an active role in American history from colonial times through the nineteenth century. As sea trade was the economic basis for the colonies and the new nation, Long Wharf's position as the pre-eminent wharf in a major port makes it especially significant.
It is a designated historical landmark by the state of Massachusetts, but only one of many that this city has to offer.
While the history if it is needless to say fascinating, the views are equally as captivating in their own right. Overlooking Logan International Airport and the entrance to one of the biggest ports in all of Massachusetts, you can sit and take in both new beginnings for travelers from all over, and also witness the start to journeys that only can start here in the city of Boston. If you stay long enough, the city will speak to you, you will learn more about its character, charisma, and charm, and soon you will be calling this place what I have been calling it over the last decade.