You've heard about the Bull & Finch Pub, a.k.a. Cheers... Instead, check out Doyle's Braddock Cafe
Do you really want to be the umpteen-millionth tourist lining umpteen-millionth tourist lining up to see a faux rendition of a up to see a faux rendition of a Boston pub made popular in a TV Boston pub made popular in a TV series that was never filmed in its series that was never filmed in its interior? Surely not, with all the interior? Surely not, with all the real pubs in Boston. A favorite of real pubs in Boston. A favorite of journalists, pols, and locals alike journalists, pols, and locals alike is Doyle's in Jamaica Plain. This is Doyle's in Jamaica Plain. This is a comfort zone with character: is a comfort zone with character: Historic murals and political posters Historic murals and political posters cover the walls, the big wooden cover the walls, the big wooden booths are like little hideouts, and booths are like little hideouts, and the bar, complete with brass railing, the bar, complete with brass railing, was used in the . lm "Mystic River." was used in the film "Mystic River." The beers and ciders are carefully The beers and ciders are carefully chosen; the long menu lists pub chosen; the long menu lists pub favorites and a pretty good pizza. favorites and a pretty good pizza.
Doyle's Braddock Cafe
3484 Washington St., 3484 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-2345. MBTA: Orange Line to Green Street.
You've heard about the view from the top of the Pru... Instead, check out the view from across the Harvard Bridge
The poor Prudential Center skyscraper has been maligned for its looks almost since it went up in the wave of urban renewal. The view from its 50th-floor skywalk helps make amends for this fault, but everything is so tiny from way up there. Skip the nosebleed elevator ride and instead walk down Massachusetts Avenue across the Harvard Bridge toward Cambridge. You will be treated to a more dramatic view of the Boston skyline, with the Charles River in the foreground. This is an especially lovely view at dusk, with the sunset reflected in the glass panels of buildings downtown and the lights winking on.
Massachusetts Avenue, spans the Charles River from the Esplanade in Boston to the MIT campus in Cambridge. MBTA: Green Line B, C, or D train to Hynes/ICA, or E train to Prudential.
You've heard about the Old Granary Burying Ground... Instead, check out Forest Hills Cemetery
You won't miss the Old Granary Burying Ground, in the middle of town next to Park Street Church: There lie the remains of patriots including Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and Robert Treat Paine, and possibly (though no one knows for sure) Mother Goose. But although it isn't in all the guidebooks, Forest Hills Cemetery is a fine example of the sprawling garden cemeteries established in the 1800s (along with Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge). Poets e.e. cummings and Anne Sexton are buried here, as are suffragist Lucy Stone and playwright Eugene O'Neill. It's full of Victorian-era sculpture and architecture, and dogs, bicyclists, and picnicking groups are welcome to roam its 275 acres. A walking tour of the graves of famous women will take place on July 25; that night, artist Thomas Matsuda will burn a 20-foot circle of branches and sticks in a ritual inspired by Buddhist tradition.
Forest Hills Cemetery
95 Forest Hills Ave., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-0128 MBTA: Orange Line to Forest Hills.
You've heard about the New England Aquarium... Instead, check out the Mapparium
Penguins and sharks and jellyfish, oh my! But really, the New England Aquarium is a lot more fun when you have children in tow. Save the marine explorations for another visit; a more grown-up adventure awaits inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library at the Christian Science Plaza. Inside a stained-glass globe that stands three stories high, you can listen to a series of quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary Baker Eddy, Martin Luther King Jr., and others, or a recorded song. Opt for the song for a full sense of the unusual acoustics in this glass echo chamber. It's a real history lesson, because the map was drawn in 1935, and the names of countries reflect that. The admission fee of $5 includes access to the Hall of Ideas, where a recently installed fountain reflects projected quotes by famous thinkers and local children.
Mary Baker Eddy Library, 200 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 888-222-3711. MBTA: Green Line B, C, or D train to Hynes/ICA.
You've heard about Mike's Pastry... Instead, check out Caffe Paradiso
Dinner in the North End should be high on your list, and the number of great Italian restaurants to choose from is legion. Most of these places don't traffic in dessert; for that you make another stop, at one of the bakeries or cafes in the neighborhood. But don't be fooled by the tourists toting their boxes from Mike's or the Modern Pastry. All it means is that they missed out on divine cannoli at Caffe Paradiso. There is no more relaxing way to cap a meal in the North End than sitting at a small round table, sipping cappuccino, and waiting for your chocolate-chip cannoli or gelato as you watch the world go by.
255 Hanover St., North End, 617-742-1768
You've heard about The Old North Church... Instead, check out St. Stephen's Church
"One if by land" and the rest of Longfellow's poem about the midnight ride has lured the throngs into the Old North Church over the years. But some historians have cast doubt on whether this church, Boston's oldest, was really the one in which lanterns were hung to warn of the approaching Redcoats. St. Stephen's Church, on the other side of the Paul Revere Mall, is the only one built by Charles Bulfinch still standing in Boston. Simeon Skilling, a shipbuilder, did much of the carving in the church. Boston sculptor Angelo Cascieri designed the stations of the cross. In 1995 it was site of the funeral for Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, who grew up in the North End and was baptized here.
St. Stephen's Church
401 Hanover St., North End, 617-523-1230
You've heard about the Freedom Trail... Instead, check out Historic Boston Walking Tours
The Freedom Trail, a 2 1/2-mile ribbon of red brick, doesn't have a monopoly on colonial history. It was created in 1958 as a way to bring tourist money into depressed parts of town. Many of the sites have nothing to do with the Revolution nor any connection with one another except proximity. With a little planning and $15 you can have a lot more fun following Ben Franklin or Abigail Adams (actors, of course) around as they relive the city they knew. Friday and Saturday mornings, respectively, through the end of July.
Historic Boston Walking Tours
Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington St., Boston, 617-482-6439 ext. 22. MBTA: Orange Line to Downtown Crossing
You've heard about the Paul Revere House... Instead, check out the Longfellow House
A couple of low rooms on North Square that hold a small collection of Revere's works in silver are all that mark Paul Revere's life, so we advise you to skip it. The home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the bard of Boston who helped make Revere a legend, has been recently renovated and gives you an excuse to visit Harvard Square. This large, stately manse is one of many that line Brattle Street on Tory Row, named for the British loyalists who built them. The original owner had to vacate when the Revolution started; it then served as General George Washington's headquarters. Longfellow, who acquired it through marriage, entertained friends Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and other great literary minds here, and their etchings and other gifts fill the rooms.
105 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-876-4491. MBTA: Red Line to Harvard Square.
You've heard about Durgin-Park... Instead, check out Omni Parker House
Let's see... Olde Yankee pot roast served with Olde Yankee crabbiness in a no-frills room that could use an update? Or Boston cream pie, Parker House rolls, and scrod in the opulent Omni Parker House hotel? This is the real deal, a grand dame of Boston where John F. Kennedy announced his first bid for Congress. The history practically oozes from the walls, the service is gracious, and the food is first-rate traditional. Other facts to impress your friends: Charles Dickens gave his first reading of "A Christmas Carol" in the hotel, and Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh both worked here.
Omni Parker House
60 School St., Boston, 617-227-8600. MBTA: Orange Line to Government Center.