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Downtown Boston during Boston Marathon

I am traveling to Boston with my husband and three daughters, ages 18 to 26, to watch one of my daughters participate in the marathon.

We will be staying in Copley Square 3 nights and I'm looking for fun, ethnic, inexpensive to moderately priced restaurants within walking distance for both lunch and dinner. We enjoy all types of food, especially Thai, Italian, and seafood. I'd also love to find a great Oyster Bar.

We've never been to Boston, so any suggestions would be very helpful!

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  1. Where in Copley Square are you staying? The Marathon disrupts movement in the area and makes it difficult to get around. Also, what days will be here and what is your definition of "inexpensive to moderate"? Boston restaurants tend to be expensive, particularly near Copley Square.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BBHound

      Thanks for replying! We are staying at the Marriott. We fly in late Friday and will leave Tuesday afternoon. I'm just looking for quick lunches around $10 per person and dinners between $15 to $20 per person plus beverages.

      I'm assuming we need to get out of area we are in to find what I'm looking for so we'd be willing to take public transportation or walk if possible.

      1. re: Tia Clark


        check out the recent thread above. unless you go very downscale, $15 pp for dinner is very difficult here.

    2. 17-minute walk to B&G Oyster.

      35-minute walk to Neptune Oyster in the North End through the Public Garden and the Common.

      1 Reply
      1. re: skylark938

        Second the B&G for oysters and seafood in general. I'm hesitant to start making recommendations without understanding the OP's "moderate".

      2. Thai Basil on Newbury has good Thai food - lunch is inexpensive and quick. Chili Duck on Boylston St. is also good for Thai.

        A good Italian restaurant in the North End is Massiminos - you could walk or just take the T a few stops downtown.

        207 Endicott St, Boston, MA

        1 Reply
        1. re: eckjac

          the replies also should factor on what days the op will be here and when they want to eat where. race day boylston st. will be fenced off and getting from one side to the other very difficult. newbury st. and kenmore square and beacon st. will be mayhem. better suggestions are to get away from copley square completely.

          secondly, yes, a little help on what the op considers inexpensive -- cuz b&g ain't it.

        2. I thought I'd take this thread in a slightly different direction...Downtown Boston, especially will be packed, packed, packed! during Marathon tome, with long waits at eating places, too. But don't despair! Your kids are plenty old enough to get on the Green Line (subway) with you (also VERY packed around Copley those days, but bearable as you move farther away) and it's a quick hop to the North End .

          The North End - our "Little Italy" will also be packed (make reservations, or be flexible) but has lots of places, check this board. (It's also walkable from Copley, but not close.)

          Two other options - parts of the South End are easily walkable from Copley (suggestions, Hounds?) - and Allston/Union Square (20 minutes outbound by T/B Line) has INCREDIBLE cheap and expertly prepared ethnic food of all varieties! (Carlo's Cucina, Korean, Taiwanese, Szechuan, but those are just my faves...) Do a search on Union Square.

          Finally, a possible adventure! Speed's hotdogs are just superlative for many on the board (many threads) - and are a bus ride (#10 bus) from Back Bay station on the orange line, You eat them in the middle of a parking lot, but as I said, it's an adventure!

          Speed's Hotdog Wagon
          54 Newmarket Square, Boston, MA 02118

          4 Replies
          1. re: fredid

            Note to the OP - don't confuse Union Sq in Allston with Union Sq. in Somerville. The area that fredid is describing is better known as the area around Harvard Av. in Allston (or just Allston). Union Sq. in Allston has Deep Ellum (nice beer bar), TJ Scallawag's (spelling? it's a vegan pizza joint) and Yoma (Burmese). As a sidenote, I think Carlo's Cucina has closed recently.

            Union Sq in Somerville more than holds its own, chow-wise, with Korean, Mexican, Salvadoran, Peruvian, Portuguese, Indian, better-than-average pubs. You have to take a bus, though (no subway).

            1. re: digga

              No, you're thinking of Rangoli, the old Indian place. Carlo's is still packing 'em in.

              And technically, the area centered around the intersection of Harvard and Brighton is usually called Allston Village. Union Square Allston, a couple blocks west, is the confluence of Cambridge, Washington, Brighton and North Beacon, where Twin Donuts is.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                Thanks for the Carlo's correction. With all the dark restaurant fronts I've been seeing lately, the last thing I want to do is to spread mis-information.

            2. re: fredid

              Don't forget, for Marathon Day, or part of it, the Copley T stop is closed, so you'll have to consider Arlington or Hynes Convention Center stops.

            3. Some good (some great!) inexpensive restaurants within walking distance (and south, away from the crowds):

              Picco on Trement - variety of food and pizza all made with fresh ingredients
              Giacomos on Columbus - good Italian
              Myers+Chang on Washington - new Asian
              Indian at the Pru food court - very good and right next to you
              Legal Seafood at the Pru or Copely - for the chowder ONLY (otherwise it's too expensive for not great food)
              House of Siam on Columbus - thai
              Masa on Trement - for brunch, southwestern with a GREAT brunch deal

              You are also very centrally located and can walk to the North End (little Italy), Chinatown, Newbury St. YOu could even take the green line T (subway) to Brookline - a whole 'nother lsit (let me know if you want recs).

              505 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

              Giacomo's Restaurant
              431 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116

              439 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116

              House of Siam
              542 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02118

              Myers + Chang
              1145 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

              1. For Saturday lunch, some South End places offer a good deal on Brunch. Union has a good one for $9.95 as does Aquitaine. Union does it alsoon Sunday but only from 10-11am.

                For the day of the Marathon, Boylston St in Back Bay is fenced off and there is no where to cross. Even the local MBTA station is closed off. Your hotel is south of Boylston and Newbury St is north. The entire area turns into a zoo and us locals tend to hibernate for the day. I would gravitate to the South End which adjoins your hotel with some of the excellent suggestions above. I would add Coda and Anchovies, both on Columbus Ave., to the list. They are reasonably priced and close to your hotel.

                1. It is only on Marathon day that Copley area is fenced off - I work in the area and on non-race days you can get around - but you should expect delays...... on race day be prepared to pick a side of the street and stay on that side all day.
                  Dinner at $15-20 is going to be very hard around here.

                  If you like Tapas - Tasca's on the B line to Brighton is good and they have been running specials for dinner. I agree Coda is good but does tend to have a crowd after work.

                  1. Additional information: On the Sunday before the Marathon, there will be a 5k race starting on Boylston at Exeter and ending at the Marathon finish. Once again, the Boylston St. corridor will be blocked off. Starts at 8am so should be done in an hour or two. Sunday brunch in the South End would be attractive then.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BBHound

                      And make reservations at those places that take them (even the less expensive restaurants often do) - this area of Boston is PACKED with runners, visitors and other hungry people.