Out Destination: Boston

leonard-p-zakim-bunker-hill-memorial-bridge-courtesy-bonston-convention-and-visitors-bureau

Growing up in New York City, Boston was always an arch nemesis, especially when it came to sports. Yankees versus Red Sox, Jets versus Patriots; the rivalries are endless. No wonder it took me 33 years to visit the great city.

I discovered Boston is a city steeped in culture and tradition, even more so than New York. Known for its legendary battlegrounds, the city is also home to some of the most iconic figures in American history; Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Elizabeth Poole all called the area home. Architectural highlights are abundant throughout the city, from the Massachusetts Statehouse to the Cathedral Church of St. Paul to Paul Revere’s home; Boston is a history junkie’s paradise.

One of the best ways to experience the city is aboard the Boston Duck Tour. The land and river excursion will show you the major highlights on land, including the golden-domed State House, Bunker Hill, TD Garden, Boston Common, and Copley Square, before seamlessly turning into a boat and talking passengers on an adventure along the Charles River.

Boston’s culinary scene is an experience in itself. Foodies will be delighted by the array of authentic restaurants in both the North End (Little Italy) and Chinatown areas of the city. I suggest spending the afternoon admiring the Chinatown Gate and enjoying a traditional dim sum lunch at one of dozens of eateries in the neighborhood.

For the less adventurous types, Boston is also home to a realm of high-end establishments, most notably The Palm. Start off your meal with an order of Bacon Wrapped Scallops or Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with seaweed salad, pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy vinaigrette. The fish is extremely fresh thanks to Boston’s seaside locale. Follow up your appetizer with the Beefsteak Tomato Capri salad prepared with sliced tomatoes, basil, and imported mozzarella di bufala.

Entrees are limitless at The Palm. Even though beef reigns supreme, I recommend the Signature Palm Surf ‘n’ Turf. Guests can add a half lobster to their choice of any USDA Prime corn-fed beef selection on the menu. If you saved room for dessert, go for the Bag of Warm Doughnuts dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with chocolate and raspberry sauce. After a long day exploring the city, you deserve it!

Hotel choices are abundant. Two properties I recommend are The Liberty Hotel and Nine Zero. The Liberty is one of the most unique properties I’ve ever stayed at. Once home to the legendary Charles Street Jail, the hotel now boasts 300 guest rooms, a 24-hour fitness center, and business center. Do Not Disturb signs are actually replicas of cell keys; I even took one as a souvenir.

Furthermore, guests at the Liberty can dine at Clink, a restaurant featuring modern American cuisine prepared by classically trained chef Joseph Margate. Each dish reflects his intense focus on flavor and dedication to seasonal, sustainable, and local ingredients. Vestiges of original jail cells create cozy nooks for dining, and an open kitchen displays the theater of cooking as each stylish dish is prepared. Warm gold leather seats, butcher block tables, and granite accents add contemporary style to the dining experience. Another option is Lydia Shire’s newest restaurant, Scampo, which exemplifies contemporary Italian cuisine and design with a 38-seat private dining room, an outdoor patio, a house-made mozzarella bar, and an open kitchen that prepares brick-oven pizzas.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Nine Zero is a swanky boutique hotel, offering signature Kimpton Hotel hospitality and acclaimed style in the heart of downtown Boston. The property is centrally located across from Boston Common, steps from Beacon Hill, and is surrounded by the city’s top theaters, restaurants and shops. The views from any of its corner rooms are absolutely breathtaking, so be sure to request one if available. Internet access is complimentary at the property, which means more money to enjoy the nightlife.

Boston offers a plethora of LGBT bars and clubs. From The Alley to Fritz Lounge to dbar, the choices are almost endless, and there are nightspots for every taste and budget.

Overall, Boston is a wonderful city that deserves four to five days to really experience everything it has to offer. I’m definitely not waiting another 33 years to visit again.

photo of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge appears courtesy of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau