I was born and raised in the Midwest, and spent the first twenty-four years of my life never straying too far from the great states of Indiana and Ohio. So when my husband Michael and I moved to Boston to study at the CSTM, we found ourselves completely enamored with all the treasures and treats of East coast life. Without further ado, here is my completely subjective list of my ten favorite things about life in Boston: 

1. The North End 

This is without a doubt my favorite place to feast. Though I haven’t even come close to exploring all of the glorious options on Hanover Street and beyond, I do have a few to recommend. Giacomo’s has the best price points, if you don’t mind waiting patiently in line for your table. I have never been known to skip a post-dinner cannoli either from Bova’s or Mike’s Pastry

2. The Harbor Islands 

These 34 little jewels are just a ferry’s ride away from downtown Boston. In particular, I’d like to recommend Spectacle Island, which is the perfect place for a picnic lunch, a hike, or a free porchside jazz concert. I think that the ferry fare is worth it for the view you get of downtown Boston while you make your way over to the island. We’re big fans of grabbing lunch to go from Red’s Seafood in the Boston Public Market and carrying it with us over to the island (they supply a lot of the fancy seafood restaurants in Boston, but sell at cheaper prices from the market). 

boston skyline

3. Day trips to Kennebunkport, Portland, Newport, Salem, Provincetown, and Woodstock

Before moving to Boston, I had a big bucket list of New England towns that I wanted to explore while I had the chance to live out here. I’m happy to report that none of these charming little towns have disappointed. I have itineraries for all of these places, if you’re ever in need! 


4. The Barking Crab 

This place makes my list because it’s home to the very first lobster roll that I ate in Boston, the one that was the reward for moving all of our stuff into our attic apartment on our very first night living in Boston. We sat on the barstools facing the water and watched all the fancy business people commuting home over the bridge, sipping beers that felt absolutely indispensable. 


5. Newton Centre 

As far as I’m concerned, this village square has everything I need to be happy in life: a good thai restaurant (Four Spoons), the best bagel place (Rosenfeld’s), my favorite Boston ice cream (JP Licks), and a reliable number of benches to rest upon. 

6. Beaches 

As I am getting acquainted with this majestic body of water they call the Atlantic Ocean, it’s been nice to be able to explore beaches that feel a world away from the city. My favorite nearby beaches are Nahant, Crane, and Revere.

7. Coffee + Bakeries 

If I’m being honest, the majority of my meager grad student disposable income probably goes to coffees, pastries, bagels, and bread from the following extremely wonderful establishments: TatteFlourPavement, and Clear Flour


8. Harpoon Brewery

While there are lots of great places to get a beer in Boston, there are no other places that also let you get a warm fluffy pretzel alongside your brew. Their taproom is peak cozy with warm lights, board games, and long wooden tables. 

9. Back Bay + Beacon Hill 

If I venture downtown for any other reason than to eat my weight in pasta in the North End, it’s to explore these two neighborhoods. Charles Street in Beacon Hill is a historic picturesque street lined with brick buildings. It’s filled with restaurants and antique stores and is perfect for wandering. The Boston Public Library is a treasure trove of study spots, and you can walk down Newbury for window-shopping when you start feeling restless. In the winter, LA Burdick off of Newbury Street is a particularly cozy spot for hot chocolate or tea and a slice of cake. If you make it all the way down Newbury, you’ll be rewarded with Trident Booksellers bookstore and outdoor cafe. 


10. The Charles River 

What I’ve learned after living in Boston this past year is that, chances are, if you pick up walking, biking, or running anywhere along the Charles, you won’t be disappointed. Near where we live, we ride bikes on the Blue Heron trail around the Watertown Dam part of the river. Sometimes, we’ll park at the parking lot near Christian Herter park and ride our bikes along the Charles past Harvard and BU until we get to Storrow Drive and can enjoy the company of strollers, bikers, and runners along the Charles Esplanade. You can learn to sail from the folks at Community Boating, or rent a kayak and explore the incredible views from the basin between Longfellow and Harvard Bridge. The river, and all of its accompanying delights, are one of the things I’ll miss the most when our time in Boston comes to a close.