Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
May 22, 2012 01:44 PM

12 Hours in Boston!

Hi! Would love some help from the Chow community!

My family (2 kids, 14 and 12) has a layover from 10AM until 10PM in Boston this Saturday. It sounds like bad planning but we did it on purpose - a bonus trip to a great city we haven't seen before we fly to Europe.

Other than a Duck Tour in the afternoon, we have nothing planned other than a strong desire for some great seafood and Italian. We're looking for a local "institution" where we can get a flavor of the city. Is their a great seafood place we should try? Our Duck Tour leaves from the aquarium. Any suggestions for Italian nearby?

Thanks! After this, it's off to London and Paris in case anyone has a "can't miss" for while we're there.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The Aquarium is next to Boston's North End (historic Italian area):

    In it, Regina's Pizzeria is Boston's most famous pizza, great WWII wood fired oven. Interior unchanged since the 40's. Funky and really fun. On a Sat., you might get in if you were there when they open. Ditto Neptune Oyster in the North End, Boston's best seafood restnt in that part of town (some trad items and many innovative ones.) Teeny tiny, always packed, no reservations. If you get there by 10:30AM-11AM (when they open) you might have a shot at a table. Do searches for both and alot of threads will come up.It would take about 10 minutes to walk from Neptune to the Aquarium (about 20 from Regina's.)

    Modern Pastry and Anna's are the most consistently CH raved bakeries in the No.End. If you were shut out of both Regina's and Neptune Oyster, you might try The Daily Catch. There is also a trad. Rosticceria, Galleria Umberto, for snack food (big arancini/suppli and croquettes and thick square pizza slices )served cafeteria style.There's a big park between the Aquarium and the No End, where you can sit and look at the harbor.

    This also might be helpful on the Duck Tour:

    Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:

    Welcome in advance and hope you have a fun day here!

    3 Replies
    1. re: opinionatedchef

      Great suggestions, and just a logistical tip -- Boston is very walkable and you can easily walk from the Aquarium area, to Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market (a tourist destination, but not a chow destination unless you want to stop by Durgin Park for some very New Englandy Indian Pudding), through the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway to the North End for Italian and seafood. If you want a snack along the way, you'll find some food trucks on the Greenway.

      1. re: opinionatedchef

        I think you mean Maria's Pastry:, rather than Anna's.

      2. The North End, Faneuil Hall, Aquarium area should give you a great day! But I wonder:
        What will you do with your luggage? Are you planning on taking it with you on your tour
        of Boston? I am a former travel professional and would recommend you have an overnight bag
        as a carry on with a change of clothes and grooming products. Don't forget once you leave Logan
        you must re-check in again and go thru security. Recommended time for an international flight
        is 2 1/2 hours check in . Have a wonderful time!!

        6 Replies
        1. re: rob44

          Great question - thanks for asking. We'll check our bags through from our departure city. We'll carry a small bag with the necessities... A change of clothes, iPad (hard to believe that at one point this wasn't considered a necessity!) medicine etc. Our thought was to take the train (subway?) to Fanuel Hall and either train or cab back to Logan. For a 10PM flight, what would be your suggestion and when should we plan on leaving for the airport... We'll want to leave PLENTY of time... Have some nervous travelers in the crew. Thank you all!!!!

          1. re: Bahappyface1

            For a 10PM departure you need to be at the check-in line at 7:30. If you take the Blue Line
            from Government Center it is the 4th stop to the airport. If you get on at the Aquarium
            it is the 3rd stop. At that time of the evening should take 30 minutes at the max. The Blue
            Line goes to the Airport stop and service is pretty frequent at that time of the evening. Your
            international flight probably leaves from Terminal E but check with the airline before
            leaving your home. Safe and happy trip to all!!

            1. re: rob44

              Correction: if you get on the Blue Line at Aquarium, Airport is the SECOND stop (after Maverick.) From Airport station there are shuttle buses that will take you to all of the terminals.

              Another option from that general part of Boston would be to take the Silver Line bus from South Station, which stops directly at all of the terminals.

              1. re: rob44

                BTW, I scoffed at the 2.5 hour lead time and looked on the Logan website, which recommends 3 (!) hours before departure. I find that hard to fathom - but that said, this is Memorial Day weekend, so more time probably is a good idea.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  It's also an international flight, which is an earlier lead time since those board earlier than domestic flights.

                  1. re: VintageMolly

                    OP will only have to clear security--they'll be checked in and have no bags to check. How long can it take? I'd get to the airport 1hr before you wanted to be at the gate (if I were flying solo, I'd make it 30 min).

          2. As mentioned, you can walk a million places in Boston. Depending on what time your duck tour ends, I might go for an early dinner while grabbing treats during the earlier part of the day (agree that Maria's is a great pastry shop, get a "lobster tail" and split it between 2 or 3 people). It gets mixed reviews but a restaurant that has the feel I think you're shooting for is Antico Forno in the North End ( where you can make a reservation, which makes your life easier rather than trying to time things perfectly. (Plus you don't want to eat dinner on the airplane on an overnight flight, one of the ways to avoid jet lag.) There are several Legal Seafoods around which are convenient and usually dependable but don't get the highest marks. Places you can easily walk to in your time here are Charles St/Beacon Hill, downtown, Boston Common/Public Garden, Newbury St., Faneuil Hall, North End. And you can hop on the subway for other parts of town depending on what you want to do but if it's a nice day, wandering around the area close to Govt Center and the Aquarium will be nice.

            1. Saturday is supposed to be very warm. If I were you I'd skip the duck tour and instead take a Boston Harbor Cruise, the 1-hour harbor tour is very nice, and I believe it's hourly. James Hook Lobsters for lobster rolls/crab rolls for a picnic on the Greenway. Also lots of food trucks on the greenway now for those who don't want a seafood lunch. North End is on the greenway as well.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JudyHP

                One small caveat: there are far fewer food trucks on the Greenway on weekends (as I discovered somewhat to my chagrin last Sunday.)

                1. re: JudyHP

                  A harbor cruise is nice, but a duck tour will show you parts of the city you won't see from the harbor. Plus the duck tour will take you out into the Charles River so you get the best of both. I'd stick with your plan.

                  For North End dining where you can get get great Italian and seafood is L'Osteria. (I much prefer it over Antico Forno.) Lunches are very reasonable, but if you want seafood you will need to make it dinner. Here's a link to both menus.

                  As others have said, while in the North End, go to either Maria's (my preference for connolis or lobster claws), or Modern, for everything else, for desert. While in the neighborhood you can also visit the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house.