Stepping Out: Boston

By Giulia Pines

Boston, the consummate college town and one of America’s great cultural meccas, survived a year and a half without students during the pandemic. But the city’s respected universities, grand museums, eminently walkable streets, and classic baseball stadium were never going anywhere. With roots dating to the American Revolution and a decidedly traditional heart, this city now has its eyes on the future.

Walking Tours

Boston is, more than most American cities, a city of neighborhoods, and there’s no better way to explore them than on foot. Even if you have only a couple of hours, you can sign up for a last-minute walking tour of any area where you’re staying or working. Freedom Trail tours, which are perhaps the most well-known, often include costumed guides and take visitors through the city’s early history, which mirrors the history of the United States itself. More specific-themed tours explore Boston’s harbor and seafaring past, art deco architecture in the Financial District and Back Bay, and food-focused destinations such as the venerable Little Italy.

The Great Outdoors

Boston has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to green space, including Boston Common, the string of parks and waterways known as the Emerald Necklace, and the Charles River Esplanade. The city might have pretty serious winters, but that just means everyone enjoys the spring all the more. If you’re partial to water activities, you can rent kayaks to explore the Charles River, or hop into the cute, retro swan boats that dot the lake at the Public Garden. You can also time your visit to view showy summer blooms and ripening fruit at the Arnold Arboretum.

Ivy Bound

If you want to be around a high concentration of brain power, you’d best cross the river and pay a visit to Cambridge. Not only is it the home of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it also has attractive museums, a vibrant performing arts scene, and shops, restaurants, and student hangouts with deep roots. Duck into the Brattle Book Shop, around since 1825, or Grolier Poetry Book Shop, in existence since 1927. Meanwhile, the Harvard Museum of Natural History offers the requisite dinosaur bones and prehistoric mammals, but it also has unique wonders on display: the so-called Glass Flowers, intricate glass models of plant species produced by a Czech father-and-son team of glass artists over an entire lifetime, from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.


Boston often seems to sit in the shadow of New York City, but it has bona fides of its own when it comes to dining out. Thanks in part to a highly international population of students and academics, Boston offers cuisines from every country. The city has its own Chinatown, but it also has Vietnamese food in Dorchester, Caribbean food in Jamaica Plain, and Colombian food in East Boston. Meanwhile, new, buzzworthy restaurants are opening all the time. For a Japanese take on New England seafood, head to trendy izakaya Judy’s Bay in Cambridge. For gorgeously plated Sardinian- and Sicilian-inspired pasta dishes, check in with Bar Volpe in South Boston. And for a comprehensive survey of all the international influences that have transformed Parisian food, visit Café Sauvage, with French dishes tinged with elements from Ethiopia, Vietnam, and more. DW

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