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Visiting Boston for a weekend - trying to pick a neighborhood to stay in

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  • Aimee Oct 22, 2009 03:21 PM

We'd love to find an area with cute restaurants and cafes in walking distance. Any recommendations? Thinking maybe Beacon Hill. Thanks so much.

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  1. Other than the setting being "cute", is there anything else you are looking for in your meals? For example, a great brunch, a cozy bistro, some particular style of cooking, etc.

    Boston is a very walkable city. So, it could be very easy to cross from one neighborhood to another. Just thinking about neighborhoods, Beacon Hill certainly has a lot of charm. You might also enjoy the South End (not the same as South Boston) or Back Bay if what you are looking for is neighborhood ambiance. I'll leave the restaurant recommendations to others...

    5 Replies
    1. re: PinchOfSalt

      Thanks for the info. We're looking for some good, neighborhood restaurants. Price doesn't matter that much but we don't need anything too fancy. Love all kinds of ethnic. No kinds of chain restaurants or anything.

      It's good to know Boston is walkable. I will be there in Febuary though so I'm not sure how much walking we will be up for. I'm coming from Manhattan and I have a sense that boston is even colder!

      1. re: Aimee

        it's colder, lol and wetter for sure, but even if the weather is inclement, you can take the "t" quickly and easily. geographically, boston is tiny compared to nyc.

        beacon hill has its charms, but only a few places worth visiting to eat, beacon hill bistro, figs, bin 26 are all good, but not great, lala rokh is persian, good and unusual. scampo at the liberty hotel (the old charles st. jail) is very good but spendy.

        you would have easy access to the blue line and east boston is only a few stops away for excellent peruvian and salvadoran food at crazy cheap prices.

        chinatown and the north end are not far away either.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          ...and Cambridge is just across the River on a T line that has a stop (two if you count Park Street) in Beacon Hill. There's a lot of good food - ethnic as well as fine dining - in Cambridge. For example, you might want to try a Portuguese meal - not something easily found in NYC.

      2. re: PinchOfSalt

        Boston is "walkable" is a big statement. Frankly if you come to Boston, you'll want to see the North End, Cambridge (Harvard Square at the very least, MIT area, Central Square, etc.), Kenmore, Newbury Street, South End, etc. It's a lot of walking especially in February's weather. I personally would stay on the Cambridge side. Harvard Square being my top pick and Central Square my second pick. Most of my favorite "Boston" restaurants are in Cambridge (Craigie on Main, Oleana, Salts, etc.). Beacon Hill is a little stuffy and uneventful at night but it's definitely a nice neighborhood. Take a right or left off of Charles Street (Beacon Hill's main drag) and you won't see so much as a cat walking the streets past 8PM. Cambridge has a livelier side at night (mind you it's still Boston and the night is very short). Very good venues to see indie shows like at The Middle East or TT the Bears as well.

        1. re: kelly001

          I'm actually coming for a conference and unfortunately won't get to see too much. I was interested in a nice area for morning coffee and restaurants at the end of the day. Thanks for the info though.

      3. You could actually stay in the Italian Northend, full of restaurants & cafes, at a B&D w/a converted chapel on the street level & accomodations above. It's close to the several historical sites and the waterfront.

        1. The South End sounds exactly what you are looking for. It is charming, very walkable and filled with restaurants, etc. However, there are no major hotels there, although there are B&Bs which I know little about. The Colonnade Hotel straddles the South End/Back Bay and may be a good choice. If you are the B&B type you should go to Tripadvisor.com and search the reviews there for something that suits you in the S. End.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pemma

            I'll second the South End, probably the liveliest food scene in the city these days.

          2. You might think about the Park Plaza area...there are several hotels there (Park Plaza Hotel, Back Bay Hotel). The ambiance is a little more cityish, but you are close to Newbury St, the Common, and not far from the South End at all (maybe as close as hotels get). It is also just a few T stops from the North End, Cambridge, etc. You'd also be close to Chinatown (you mentioned ethnic food). It is a well-manicured part of the city...not "cute" per se, but very polished-looking. Right in the immediate area, you have Troquet (cozy French place), Via Matta (solid Italian), and Finale (a very popular dessert place).

            -----
            Troquet
            140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

            Via Matta
            79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

            1. Where is your conference is being held? Boston in February is often very cold, damp, and snowy and commuting can be miserable. Try to narrow down your options by trying to find a place to stay that meets your criteria and is reasonably close to your work destination. i.e. if you're going to be spending your day in the Seaport area, I wouldn't stay in Cambridge and vice versa.

              If your conference is in downtown Boston, I would google to find the B&B in the North End that another poster mentioned - I've looked at the place online. I believe it's the only B&B in the North End and it looked very special. And that is certainly a neighborhood that has lots of restaurants and cafes - some cute, some not - mostly Italian, but also has one of the best seafood restaurants in town - Neptune Oyster.

              1. In terms of food Beacon Hill is laaaaame. Only a couple of good places to eat, nothing truly great and everything overpriced and filled with snobs. That is generally the vibe of the neighborhood. Given your interests, I would recommend above BH: Central Sq in Cambridge, North End or South End. All of those areas have 'cute' places (assuming this means smallish places where intimate conversations are possible and the menu features some comfort food type choices). Compared to Beacon HIll, there are more options nearby and you will not be surrounded by remnants of (or pretenders to) the local aristocracy and hemmed in by the river, which will be the source of incessant bonechilling winds in Feb.