Sidetracked in Boston

 

Go beyond Faneuil Hall and Boston cream pie to experience the city like a local

 
 

World class museums, sports teams, historic landmarks and restaurants. People come from far and wide to experience all Boston has to offer, but what about the small, local experiences that make this city truly unique? Experiences like finding the best coconut lobster stew you’ll ever eat or tracking down a one-of-a-kind artisan piece in SoWa (an art and design district in the South End). When you stay at the Ascend Hotel Collection in Longwood or unpack your bags at the Ascend Hotel in Everett, it's easy to figure out where to go in Boston to live like a local.

 

where to go in boston for crave-worthy seafood

 

every visitor should eat at: 75 chestnut

Nestled among the brownstones and brick buildings in the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, 75 Chestnut is an intimate setting full of New England charm. While the menu aims for “regional American comfort food,” you can lean on seafood classics like their herbed clam chowder and hearty Nantucket seafood stew. You also can’t go wrong with their fresh Atlantic cod filet. Truly, a classic Boston experience.

local detour: eventide fenway

When they’re hungry, in-the-know locals head to Eventide Fenway for fresh, flavorful seafood at this new-to-the-neighborhood hotspot. “Boston might be full of seafood restaurants, but Eventide differentiates itself with slight tweaks on seafood classics,” says local resident Jenna Laniewski. Although oysters get top billing, you’ll also want to savor Eventide’s brown butter lobster rolls served on a soft bao-like bun, Maine lobster stew with coconut, and New England clam chowder with salt pork. To satisfy your sweet tooth, order the oatmeal cream pies.

the local verdict

“It's counter service option of dining and the roving servers mean you can instantly order more food—like when you need another half-dozen oysters.” – Jenna Laniewski

 

where to go in boston to see history come to life

 

every visitor should step back in time on: the freedom trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile stretch of 16 historic sites—including museums, burying grounds, a ship and costumed re-enactors (“Freedom Trail Players”)—that brings you to places pivotal to both Boston culture and the nation’s history. At the top of the must-see list are the site of the Boston Massacre, USS Constitution, Bunker Hill Monument and the Old North Church.

local detour: the mapparium

View the world from a different perspective at the Mapparium, a three-story stained-glass globe in The Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Opened to the public in 1935, it has been enhanced with an LED light and music presentation to show how ideas have evolved since.

the local verdict

“The Mapparium is unlike any other art institution in the city because of its vibrant colors and unique focus on the world. It’s also a perfect place to visit alone, with a partner or with kids in tow.” – Kylie Surgott

 

where to go in boston for epic entertainment

 

every visitor should get a ticket to: fenway park

The home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912, Fenway Park has also hosted everything from presidential campaign speeches to musicians like the Foo Fighters and James Taylor. Go on a walking tour of Fenway Park and sit atop the Green Monster, the fabled wall overlooking left field that stands 37 feet, 2 inches high.

local detour: emerson colonial theatre

The recently restored Emerson Colonial Theatre—it originally opened in 1900 and had a special re-opening in 2018 after a two-year refurbishment—is renowned for its history of being the birthplace of new Broadway musicals. In that tradition, it re-opened its doors to the public with a pre-Broadway run of Moulin Rouge! The Musical and is now a hub for a variety of live entertainment.

the local verdict

“The [restoration] makes it feel like you stepped back into history.” –Kristen Van Dyk

 

where to go in boston for garden variety fun

 

every visitor should embrace the outdoors at: the public garden

The first botanical garden in the country, The Public Garden still exists today as a place of beauty and peace. Make sure to enter the 24-acre park through the Arlington Street entrance (near Commonwealth Avenue Mall), where you’ll be greeted by an imposing, 22-foot-tall bronze statue of George Washington atop a horse. If you have time, take the 15-minute ride on the Swan Boats, operated since 1877.

local detour: the arnold arboretum of harvard university

Grab your walking shoes to take in The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, a 281-acre park designed in 1872 by the esteemed Frederick Law Olmsted (one of the masterminds behind New York City’s Central Park). The arboretum is a special experience, no matter what time of year you visit, but don’t miss the rose garden or the prized bonsai collection.

the local verdict

“The arboretum is the perfect place to come back to, as you couldn’t possibly take in everything at once. You’re still in the city but feel far away from urban life.” – Jan Driscoll

 

where to go in boston for city views

 

every visitor should take in the view from: top of the hub

Soak in the views from 52 floors above street level at Prudential Center’s Top of the Hub. From the lounge, as you enjoy your drink, you can see Fenway Park, Boston Common, the Public Garden and New England’s tallest building (formerly known as John Hancock Tower).

local detour: blossom bar

Cocktail aficionados won’t have to stray far to find mixologist Ran Duan’s Blossom Bar. The cocktails (for which Duan has won countless awards) are complemented by a menu of tasty shareable dishes like pork dumplings and dan dan noodles. The best part? Blossom Bar is just a five-minute, scenic walk from Ascend’s Boston-Longwood hotel.

the local verdict

"Blossom Bar has quickly become an asset to the neighborhood and offers a friendly space to try new drinks and dishes you haven’t sampled before.” – Claire Miller

 

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