Boston Weekend Guide
48 Hours in an Iconic American City
This bustling New England city is a center for American history, higher education, sports and culture. Bostonians are known for their enthusiasm, pride and humor -- making a weekend in Beantown ample time to fall in love with Massachusetts' capital city.
Where to Stay
The Beacon Inn
In Brookline, MA, The Beacon Inn offers cozy bed and breakfast accommodations in 2 historic buildings. Original woodwork, turn-of-the-century craftsmanship and large decorative fireplaces provide 18th-century ambience with 21st-century comforts. The brownstone, located at 1087 Beacon Street, is close to Boston University while the 1750 Beacon location is steps away from Boston College and Washington Square.
The Liberty Hotel
The Liberty is a luxury hotel and one of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World. However, this hotel offers much more than evening turndowns, concierge service and HD TVs -- it's rich in Bostonian history. Built in 1851, the building was originally a reform prison of revolutionary design. There are preserved jail cells within the hotel restaurant, and the jail's former exercise yard is now a private, skillfully landscaped courtyard and garden. Detailed tours, including histories of Charles Street Jail's former inmates, can be arranged by the hotel concierge.
The Lenox Hotel
For a more traditional hotel stay, head to The Lenox Hotel. Centrally located in historic Back Bay in the heart of Copley Square, The Lenox is close to Newbury Street shopping and dining, the Museum of Fine Arts and Trinity Church. There are 12 corner units in the hotel with wood-burning fireplaces and the rooms on the top 2 floors of the 11-story hotel offer excellent city views. Constructed in 1900, The Lenox was designed to be the most luxurious and elegant hotel in New England; more than 100 years later, this landmark hotel is still one of New England's finest.
Where to Eat
Hamersley's Bistro is credited with putting the South End on Boston's culinary map. Opened in 1987 by husband and wife team, Gordon and Fiona Hamersley, the cozy corner bistro is a haven for foodies, featuring a menu that combines French comfort food and fresh local ingredients. The menu changes seasonally and offers about a dozen carefully considered entrees that can be paired with a bottle from their extensive wine list.
Boston's North End offers a plethora of Italian restaurants, but Mamma Maria's stands above the rest with its rustic Tuscan food. Its brownstone exterior is part Italian villa, part stately Boston mansion; inside, small romantic tables are privately arranged amid the Renaissance-style paintings. The seasonally changing menu is complemented by a comprehensive wine list featuring 120 Italian and American wines.
You're in New England, so eating seafood is a must. B&G Oysters is an unpretentious underground space where chefs hustle in an open kitchen behind the restaurant's white marble bar. B&G serves fresh Wellfleet oysters, clam chowder and lobster rolls in addition to a delicious selection of seasonal entrees.
What to See & Do
The Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail, marked by red paint or red bricks on the city's streets and sidewalks, is a 2 1/2-mile pathway linking 16 historic sites associated with the American Revolution and the early days of American independence. The trail goes through downtown Boston, the Financial District, the North End and Charleston. The customary order of the trail is to begin at Boston Common and follow the markers and plaques ending at the Bunker Hill Monument. You are free to wander the trail unguided at your own pace or partake in one of the free 90-minute ranger-led tours (keep in mind that no tours are available during bad weather or from October through March).
Take a Duck Tour
The Boston Duck Tours take place in signature WWII-style amphibious landing vehicles, colorful and unique transports you'll see commanding the streets of Boston. Their knowledgeable "conDUCKtors" will guide you through the landmarks of Boston before the amphibious vehicle splashes into the Charles River showcasing gorgeous views of the Boston and Cambridge skylines.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
This lively market features shops, eateries, bars and performances that flow throughout the brick and stone plazas and buildings. Quincy Market is the central 3-level building; sometimes you'll hear the entire marketplace called Quincy Market, but it also includes the North and South Markets. The food court serves a bevy of food choices and here's where you can find the bar that exactly replicates the TV show Cheers.
The bars and clubs in Boston close at 2 a.m. -- some even as early as 1 a.m. depending on city zoning. However, there's still plenty of night action to go around. In the city's trendy Leather District, head to District. This posh, modern restaurant and nightclub is a great place for dinner and late-night reverie.
For those who prefer a pub-like atmosphere, visit the Publick House in Brookline. Enjoy their vast beer selection from a plush chair in front of the fireplace. Belgians, pilsners, lambics, ales and stouts -- the Publick House has it all.
Head to Algiers Caf�� & Restaurant and feel smarter as you soak in the atmosphere of Harvard Square. Middle Eastern food and music, coffees and legendary atmosphere make this cafe a classic hangout. Order from a terrific selection of soups, sandwiches, falafel and hummus while you people-watch in this famed Boston neighborhood.
Travel Channel Insider's Tip:
Before you lay out your entire travel itinerary, pick up some insider tips from Boston.com's "Walk this Way" feature, where famous Bostonians guide you through their favorite hometown spots.