Boston may look like a mini-Manhattan but the capital of Massachusetts has a charm of its own. Boston resident, Johanna Wightman, gives us the low down on one of America’s most enjoyable cities
Name: Johanna Wightman
Occupation: Business Development for Fluent Mobile
Are you a local girl?
Kind of. I hail from London but have been in Boston for the past two years studying and so it has become my second home.
What’s it like to live in Boston?
Great. For an outdoors type like me, it’s a very liveable city with lots of beautiful outdoor recreation areas. I also enjoy the variety of affordable restaurants and music venues that the city has to offer.
What is your favorite thing about Boston?
The Charles River. Take the No. 1 bus down Mass Ave over the Harvard Bridge and you’ll be treated to a wonderful view of the river as well as the city skyline. It was while on the No.1 that I decided to move to Boston.
If for some reason the river doesn’t wow you – maybe you’re from Mars or something – take a walk along the esplanade and then stop for a drink at the outdoor cafe by the Half Dome.
Why should we visit Boston?
For a glimpse into America’s history (Boston makes much of its colonial past) and the academic community of Cambridge – home to Harvard University.
How long do we, ideally, need?
You can easily get to grips with Boston in a long week-end: it’s a compact, walkable city.
How can tell you locals from our readers?
Bostonians wince at the mere mention of Quincy Market (it’s a tourist trap akin to Leicester Square in London) and avoid at all costs whereas visitors flock there in their droves!
Bunker Hill is a great place to relax and unwind on a summer’s day while Au Bon Pain (a popular cafe in Harvard Square) is a top spot for people watching! If lounging doesn’t satisfy, get your adrenaline going on the Charles River bike and running path.
If you’re visiting during the hot summer months, chances are you’ll be craving a cold ice cream. Enter JP Licks: these guys have stores all around town dedicated solely to the consumption of the creamy concoction.
For something more savory make for Mike’s Pastry on Hanover Street, Figs Pizza on Charles Street or Darwin’s Sandwich shop on Mount Auburn Street. And of course, you can’t leave Boston without visiting a burger bar. The best burgers in Boston are those served up at Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage in buzzing Harvard Square. Wash down your burger and onion rings with traditional Boston lime rickey (club soda, lime, and raspberry cordial).
Literature lovers will want to head to the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge’s Harvard Square. The family-owned store sells used, new, and bargain books.
Elsewhere Oak (245 Newbury Street) stocks a great selection of quirky gifts and kitsch, handmade clothing.
Where should we stay?
The Liberty Hotel (www.libertyhotel.com) was once a jail but is now one of the best hotels in Boston! It’s also on one of the most attractive streets in the city: Charles Street.
Alternatively, check into The Kendall Hotel (www.kendallhotel.com). This converted Fire station offers 65 great value guest rooms in a prime location.
Any insider tips for our readers?
Absolutely. If you’re in the mood to watch a weird and wonderful movie, head to Harvard Film Archive (http://hcl.harvard.edu/hfa/). On Mondays, check out the Open Mike Night at the Lizard Lounge (www.lizardloungeclub.com) in Cambridge: you get to see some hilarious performers without paying a penny!
Anything else you want to add?
A walk along the two-and-a-half-mile Freedom Trail (www.thefreedomtrail.org) is definitely worth doing: it’s one of the best ways to get acquainted with Boston and to see the city’s historic landmarks including Faneuil Hall and the Old North Church. The path begins at Boston Common and ends in Charlestown at the Bunker Hill Monument. If you do go, try to get to Bunker Hill (the 221-foot granite obelisk that marks the site of the first formal battle of the American Revolution) before 5 pm so you can climb the tower and enjoy unrivaled views of Boston.
Thanks, Johanna! For more information on Boston visit www.bostonusa.com