I Need Some Travel Help!!!– New England / NE Bees

posted 3 years ago in Travel
Post # 3
Member
2126 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I live in Boston, so I will try to help!

  • Hotels: Since I live here, I don’t know much about the hotels except for that they are pricey. If you want to save some money, I’d recommend looking in some of the less central neighborhoods or on Air BnB. My favorite hotel is the Battery Wharf Fairmont, but it’s kind of expensive.
  • Must see: Fenway Park, but I see you already plan on doing that. SoWa market in the South End is something different to do and really cool (and I think it’s open by the time you’ll be here). If you want to go to a museum, I recommend the ICA over the MFA – the building is so cool and the Seaport area is a lot of fun. Mostly, I’d just recommend walking around. Boston is definitely a walking city and the best way to enjoy it is to do just that. Make sure you check out the South End, North End, Back Bay and Beacon Hill.
  • Restaurants: The South End is probably the best restaurant neighborhood in Boston. I’ve never been, but I’ve heard Toro is amazing. Personally, I LOVE the Regal Beagle in Coolidge Corner – they have amazing cocktails. On the same note, Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square is awesome, too. If you’re looking for something more low key, I love the Parish Cafe (two locations) for lunch or a casual dinner – their sandwiches are SO GOOD. If you’re in the mood for Italian food, the North End is the place to go, but a lot of the places are a rip off and not all that great (I recommend Panza).
  • Fenway area is the best. So many great bars. I love Boston Beer Works, the Yard House and Baseball Tavern (make sure you go up on the roof deck!), but you DEFINITELY have to go to Bleacher Bar. They basically cut a hole in the back wall and it’s situated in the outfield of Fenway – so cool.

Enjoy your trip – you’ll love it!

Post # 4
Member
1666 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

@Mrs_Amanda:  I can’t really speak about hotels or anything. As for my must see list:

Boston:

1. A good way to see a good portion of History is to take the Freedom Trail (the city has a website about it somwhere). It winds through part of the city and hits most of the major Historical sites in the city (such as Boston Harbor and the Old North Church). It takes you to Paul Revere’s House, but I would avoid going inside – its a bit of a tourist trap.

2. New England Aquarium. I only went once as a kid, but I loved it.

3. If you have time for a day trip (and a car) you could always drive to Cape Cod for the day. May is a bit early for swimming at the beach, but you could always go for a nice nature walk or head to Hyannis for shopping.

As for NYC (*I’m giving suggestions just for Manhattan; if you’re planning to visit the other burroughs then make sure you have enough time because getting around the city can take a while):

1. Times Square. . . there really is no good way to navigate it. Lol! It will definitely be packed with people on NYE though, so make sure you take only what you need and to bundle up warm. I’d suggest wearing a coat with a lot of pockets so that you can just stick your stuff in there and skip the purse.

2. You could see about seeing a Broadway Show while you’re there. “The Lion King” is the only one I’ve ever seen and it was amazing. I was more excited then the 5 year-olds in the crowd. Lol!

3. Central Park is beautiful and its a good way to reconnect with nature when you’re in the city. You can grab some hot chocolate and wander around for a little bit if it isn’t too cold.

4. Any of the Museums. Seriously, there are a ton of them and there is bound to be at least one that has something you guys are interested in. Discovery Times Square is a good place to start. They’ve had really cool exhibits on stuff like Harry Potter and the lost city of Pompeii – you may want to order tickets ahead of time though, because it can get really crowded over there.

I really don’t have any suggestions for restaurants for either city. We usually just run into whatever place is closest. They do have chain restaurants if you find yourself in a bind an unsure of where to eat.

And my number one tip for NYC: don’t act like a tourist. My FI’s family is originally from Brooklyn and nothing would bother them more than when people stand in the middle of a sidewalk looking around (try to stand closer to the buildings if you do that; it keeps things from getting congested). Just try to be polite and remember that there will be people attempting to get to and from work and you will be fine.

Post # 5
Member
5518 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 2012

Well I live in neither but can offer some advice.

I travel to Boston for work several times a year.  Yes hotels are pricey.  You really need to establish a budget for hotels.  DH and I stayed in the financial district and it was priced well and still walkable to a lot of things (tho maybe not fenway).  I second the freedom trail.  I would also suggest taking a day trip up to Salem for the day.  It is a bit “witchy” but it is a very cute colonial town with lots of interesting things to see.  Little Italy in Boston is actually pretty good too.

I have never spent the night in NYC as hotels are so expensive I limit my trips to day trips.  There really isn’t much to “navigate” in terms of times square.  It’s just a bright, congested area.  Many offices more than shops or anything of the like.  As far as my own recommedations, Central Park is a nice walk.  But it is enourmous and one can easily pass a whole lot more time in here than expected,  Pick a museum and go, just one.  They are all pretty great tho.  As far as food goes, you will have tons of options.  Try to plan ahead of where you’d like to eat based off your days itinerary.  No need to be bouncing around trying to eat particular food when there’s deliciousness everywhere.

Post # 6
Member
1157 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I live in Boston, and my most important piece of advice is to schedule your trip as late as possible in May. Boston is a college town and all the commencements tend to cluster around the second and third weekends in May. This means high hotel prices, low availability, and more tourists than usual!

In addition to the Freedom Trail, Aquarium, and Fenway Park, I would suggest:

-Harvard Square (great to walk around, tons of shops & restaurants)

-Sam Adams and/or Harpoon Breweries

-Duck tour (yeah, it’s a really touristy thing to do but it’s a really good way to see the city)

-The Public Garden (in the Common) is just gorgeous at that time of year

Restaurants to check out:

Cambridge: Cambridge Brewing Company, West Bridge, Hungry Mother, Area IV (they make their own mozzarella fresh every day)

Boston: The Eastern Standard is great for a pre-game meal. Make sure you make reservations! Also, Legal Sea Foods, Union Oyster House, literally any restaurant in the North End. 

If you like sushi and don’t mind shelling out $$$ for an amazing, once in a lifetime experience, go to O Ya. 

Post # 7
Member
6273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

NYC is expensive.  NYE will be even more expensive. 

Post # 8
Member
545 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Mrs_Amanda:  Boston native here!

Hotels: I really like Kimpton Hotels and there are 3-4 in Boston/Cambridge.  They offer AAA/CAA discounts and I bet you can find prices for under $200/night. I also like the idea of AirBnb, some good neighborhoods to search in would be Beacon Hill, Back Bay, and the South End. 

Must See List: Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, the institute for Contemporary Art, The Aquarium + whale watch, and do this walk: strolling along the Esplanade, through Beacon Hill, the Commons + Public Garden, then up Newbury Street.

Restaurants: you can trust Yelp in Boston if you are in a neighborhood and looking for a bite to eat. But here are my suggestions. I like more grown-up bars frequented by young professionals where you can come as you are and have really good food.

Fenway: There are a lot of cheesy (to me) sports bar places that I never went to, except for the Yard House. It’s a national chain, it’s fine if you want the rowdy sports bar atmosphere. But if you want a nice meal before/after the game I recommend Elephant Walk (French/Cambodian) or Audobon Circle, a nice bar with great food.

I’ll break the rest down by general neighborhood:

Back Bay/Downtown/South End

-JM Curley: nice bar, good food

-Myers & Chang – modern Chinese

-Silvertone: again, nice cozy bar with good food

-Trident Cafe: serves food all day, also a cute bookstore

-Delux Cafe: tiny, quirky bar with good food

-Bukowski Tavern: rowdy rock n roll bar, giant beer list, it comes in book form!

Beacon Hill

-Panificio: cafe

-Figs: Todd English’s pizza place

-Clink: fancy and expensive bar in the Liberty Hotel, a former jailhouse, worth seeing!

Jamaica Plain (if you visit the Sam Adams Brewery)

-Ula Cafe (same building as a the brewery)

-Ten Tables (fancy, my all-time favorite restaurant in the city)

Near Harvard Square in Cambridge

-Cambridge 1: flatbread pizza

-Cafe Algiers: mediterranean lunch or coffee

-Clover: cheap but healthy and delicious breakfast/lunch


Also in May, the weather can be iffy! So don’t bring all shorts/t-shirts!  

Post # 10
Member
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Don’t forget Qunicy Market/Faneuil Hall in Boston! 

Also, I second vermonster’s advice about planning properly in May. If you come during graduation, you will be able to go nowhere. Major streets in the city are closed, and the ones that are open will be very traffic-y. Your other option is taking the T, but that will also be horror to ride due to all the people coming in for the graduate ceremonies.

And definitely do a duck tour! They may sound silly, but they are so fun and informative! Plus, you get the drive right into the Charles River!

If you go to the public gardens, make sure to take a ride on the swan boats.

If you’re feeling fancy, eat at the Top of the Hub restaurant at the top of the Prudential Center. 360 views of the city! 

Post # 11
Member
1157 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@Mrs_Amanda:  The Sam Adams tour is more informative in terms of the ingredients and process of making beer, as well as how to properly taste beer. The tour is free, and you get a tasting glass and three samples at the end. After the tour, there is a guy who drives a “party trolley” to Doyle’s, which is a bar/restaurant that was the first to serve Sam Adams beer. A lot of movies have been filmed there, and if you order a Sam Adams beer they let you keep the glass. Highly recommended. However, it’s in an area of the city where there’s not a whole lot else around there.

Harpoon is in a better location, certainly- right on the waterfront. Their tour costs $5, for which you get a tasting glass and unlimited samples for 20-30 minutes. They have a big beer hall and absolutely delicious pretzels made from the spent grains, with all sorts of dipping sauces. It’s a really nice place to hang out, and it’s within walking distance of some great seafood restaurants (like Legal Harborside). 

So, if you’ve never been on a brewery tour, go to Sam Adams. If you have (let’s be honest, all beer is pretty much made the same way), go to Harpoon. 

Post # 13
Member
2169 posts
Buzzing bee

@Mrs_Amanda:  I don’t have time to write a full out reply right now, but I’m just going to list some restaurants in Boston that I love. 😉

When you go to the North End, you have to go to The Daily Catch. It is the best restaurant there, and I’ve tried a lot. They don’t take reservations and it’s small, though, so you’ll likely be waiting for a table for a bit.

If you end up in Davis Square (not sure why you would, it’s less touristy), go to Posto.

If you’re in Harvard Square, go to Harvest.

If you find yourself in Kendall Square (near MIT), go to Evoo or Fuji.

I love Clover for lunch. They have just opened several new restaurants and should also have their food trucks up and running by the time spring rolls around. Btw, definitely get the rosemary fries.

If you’re in the South End, go to Toro.

I also like Bistro du Midi, which has a really nice location right near the Public Gardens.

And I like Oiishi for sushi.

Sorry I’m on my phone so I can’t type too much right now.

Post # 14
Member
6026 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’ve done Times Square in New Year’s Eve and it pretty much sucks. If you want a “good” spot to view the ball drop and the entertainment, you’ve got to be on the street by about 1pm, and it’s cold, you’re standing the whole time, no bags allowed, no bathrooms. People are well-behaved most of the time but there’s always some idiot that thinks he/she can push their way to the front, and that’s when the shoving starts. There’s a very good police presence to keep things under control at least, but it’s really a giant shit-show and it looks a lot more fun than it actually is.

If you can afford it, get a hotel on Times Square and watch the crowd from the comfort of your room. Buy drinks and snacks to tide you over, because getting through the crowds after about 2pm is pretty much horrible. Or find a fireworks cruise on the river for midnight.

Post # 15
Member
2169 posts
Buzzing bee

As for bars, I like Drink, The Druid, Brick & Mortar, and Lord Hobo.

Three of those are in Cambridge, lol. I tend to go to bars around that area, because it’s closer to home.

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