Need a neighborhood and restaurant to explore on Wednesday afternoon/evening
I'm finishing up at my conference at noon on Wednesday (staying at the Seaport) and want to pick one great neighborhood to visit (maybe do some Christmas shopping at unique shops) and have a good snack in early afternoon and dinner in early evening. I'm relying on my feet/public transportation to get me there, but will plan to take a cab back to my hotel after dark. I'm alone, so want to go somewhere that I will enjoy dining alone and will feel comfortable walking around around dusk.
Is Back Bay where I should go? How about Harvard Square? And where shall I eat when I get there?
I like all foods, but would prefer a place that is casual and comfortable this time around.
Today I walked to Quincy Sq/Faneuil Hall/North End, so I'd like to see a different neighborhood during my free time on Wednesday.
Thanks in advance
Charlottesville Va 'hound
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The ICA is a short walk from the Seaport Hotel and their gift shop has unique items. You could then walk to the Greenway, not so green this time of the year. It's a new park that hugs the waterfront and Sel de la Terre is just a great place for lunch. That's close to the Aquarium. I love to walk around Harvard Sq and the university itself. Great strolling. Upstairs at the Sq would be a fun dinner place. The food is great and so is the ambience. The Red Line will take you to So. Station and there you can grab a cab back to your hotel. Enjoy!
My hunch would be Harvard Square. No, it's not what it once was, but shops like Cardullo's (imported foodstuffs) and Black Ink (quirky housewares and small items) and Lush (luxurious emollients and other items for girl-type people) and Leavitt and Pearce (basically the store the cast of MAD MEN would shop in) and the Harvard Book Store and the Groiler Poetry Shop and Colonial Drug and my own personal Holy Trinity of Bob Slate Stationers, Newbury Comics and Twisted Village (quite possibly the single greatest record store of all time)...yeah, Harvard Square is where i would take people if we had a couple hours to kill.
Restaurant in Harvard Square: Upstairs on the Square is certainly fun, and it's a canonical local experience. I won't say it's the best meal you'll have in town, but I'm rarely disappointed there.
I agree on Harvard Square. They have their winter holiday lights up (being Cantabrigians, I would never call them Christmas lights and they're much cooler than most Christmas lights- sort of a swirling, Milky Way chaotic universe feel to them) and it's a nice little maze of streets to get lost in. You could also walk a few blocks down Brattle street and check out the Longfellow mansion- I think they usually have holiday house tours if that's your cup of tea. For an afternoon snack, Crema Cafe's coffee is excellent and their homemade English muffins have been getting raves. For dinner, you could also consider Tamarind Bay for creative Indian cuisine.
Please consider Beacon Hill and the shops on Charles Street. I've been walking that street once a week for awhile now to get to a regular appointment and I've really begun to notice how much Charles Street is what Newbury Street used to be. It has great places to eat and lots of very singular shops. Chains and food factories are not present in any number. It is charming. I would recommend Lala Rokh for a lovely Persian meal.
I'm sure others will chime in with their suggestions for dining in this area.
You would take the red line to the Charles/MGH station and begin strolling down Charles Street. Many of these shops do close early so you may want to shop first, eat second.
Make a stop at Savenor's Market at the beginning of the stroll for a great food shop. Maybe pick up a snack for the trip home.
I think Bostonians sometimes take Charles Street for granted. I know I did, but walking there all the time has opened my eyes a bit.