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Best Local Scene in Boston

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Rocky Neck Art Colony, located to the south of Gloucester, is a district that promotes artistic expressions. This area has been an abode for artists for over 100 years. Its location on a peninsula, offering magnificent views of the waters, is a great place to ignite creativity. Popular artists who have used this place as their thinking seat include, John Sloan, Fitz Henry Lane and Milton Avery. All kinds of artworks, ranging across paintings, jewelry, pottery, photography, textile design and more can be viewed and purchased here. Regular tours around the colony are also conducted; check the website or call ahead for more details.

Boston Common is one of America's oldest park in the heart of Boston, offering recreation opportunities and a glimpse into history through numerous monuments to the past. Designated as public space in the 1640s, British soldiers later camped here during the Revolutionary War. Part of the Freedom Trail, the park adjoins the Massachusetts State House and Beacon Hill. A favorite spot is the Frog Pond, which doubles as an ice skating rink. The park is the beginning of the Emerald Necklace, a seven-mile (12-kilometer) string of local parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, a popular landscape architect.

This large pond was carved out by glaciers during the last Ice Age. Unusually deep and cold, Jamaica Pond is linked via underground channels to other bodies of water along the Jamaicaway. The park features one path for walkers and runners and another path for cyclists. During the summer months, you can rent a rowboat or sailboat, or you can fish for trout, bass, salmon and perch. Besides these activities, city folks also flock to Jamaican Pond for theater performances, concerts and children programs.

Steeped in history, this is one of Boston's most beautiful neighborhoods. Home to statesmen, artists and intellectuals, "The Hill" is also the site of the State House, which is the beginning of the Freedom Trail. Lovely cafes and majestic brownstone buildings line the narrow, cobblestoned streets next to the Boston Common, America's oldest urban park. At the bottom of the hill, along Charles Street, are several antique shops and boutiques to pick up unique souvenirs. This charming neighborhood has managed to preserve its history without becoming artificially quaint. Another important and most visited feature of Boston is Acorn Street. This street is surrounded by beautiful colonial-style houses, giving it an earthy feel, which will transport you to the era gone by.

Beyond the borders of the Back Bay is a friendly neighborhood that features exciting, trendy shops, theaters and restaurants on tree-lined streets of brownstone buildings. Culinary explorers will enjoy eating along popular Tremont Street, and even the tiniest streets of the South End district are full of cafes and bars. The Aquitaine French Bistro serves French cuisine in elegant surroundings. Head to the Delux Cafe & Lounge for a great atmosphere, lots of locals, and hearty hamburgers and pizza. The forever trendy Club Cafe has a hopping after-work crowd and fun theme nights.

Spread out around the picturesque Boston Harbor, this acclaimed national recreation area is made up of 34 independent islands and peninsulas. This pristine area covers roughly 1482 acres (599.7 hectares) and allows visitors to truly absorb Boston's underrated natural beauty. An outdoor enthusiast's dream come true, the park offers an impressive selection of activities from beachside camping and hiking to kayaking, swimming and fishing. The islands are also home to a myriad of heritage sights like the Fort Warren, dating back the times of the Civil War and the oldest lighthouse the country, the 18th-century Boston Light. To access the recreational area, just hop on the harbor ferries that depart from Quincy, Hingham, Downtown Boston and Hull. Park rangers are usually on board the vessels and will be more than happy to assist you with your trip.

A stunning progression of pristine wetlands and marshes, the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge skims the rivers of Concord and Sudbury, covering more than 250 acres (100 hectares) of diverse habitats. The Sudbury unit of the park's is home to a visitor's center, while the Concord unit is replete with trails. A safe haven for native flora and fauna, the entire reserve is primarily known as a birdwatching destination that is home to everything from Blue-winged teals and black ducks to mallards and wood ducks. Also sheltering a number of mammals, Great Meadows bustles with red fox, cottontail rabbits, squirrels, weasels, beavers and White-tailed deer.

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