Boston Journals

The Hub of the Universe

A travel journal to Boston by ShannonBrooke

Boston Skyline Photo, Boston, Massachusetts More Photos
Quote: I live in Boston, Massachusetts, and while I don't have the inside scoop on accommodations, I have been to many wonderful restaurants in this town, and take day trips on the weekend around the area.

The Hub of the Universe

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Boston Skyline Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
Top Cheap Things to Do in Boston Ride the Swan Boats in Boston Public Garden Take a boat out to the Harbor Islands. Walk around any of our lovely neighborhoods. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts on a Wednesday night (free!). Bike, walk, or jog on the Esplanade. Quick Tips: Best Time to Go Boston's weather is known for its unpredictability. A local saying is: if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes. Spring is most unpredictable. 80 degree days are followed by a snowstorm in April. Spring arrives late in Boston, bringing a lot of prec...Read More

China Pearl

Restaurant

Quote:
China Pearl is the best Dim Sum in Boston, and it is packed on Sunday mornings when Chinese and Caucasians alike arrive for a unique dining experience. The ornately decorated restaurant is split into three levels, but even with this many tables, there is usually a wait unless you arrive very early. I have a friend who says that China Pearl has some of the latest Dim Sum trends from Hong Kong, and they are also known for having vegetarian fare. I can recommend a few of the standout dishes. Barbeque beef buns is a bit of bbq beef cooked in a sweet dough. Lotus paste buns are similar, but filled with lotus paste - very sweet. Also, there are a great variety of spring rolls and dumplin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

China Pearl
9 Tyler Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02111
(617) 426-4338

Viet's Cafe

Restaurant

Quote:
Viet's Cafe is my favorite restaurant in Boston. Because of its location in Arlington, the wait and the price are lower than in Boston proper. Yet, this is the best Vietnamese cuisine you can get in Boston, offering more than just pho. The staff is extremely helpful, modifying dishes to your taste, and teaching customers about the food. I must recommend the fun experience of Banh Hoi. You are served rice paper wrappers and the mixings for a spring roll, and you roll your own. Another excellent choice is the Satay Noodle Soup. Cool your mouth off with a delicious bubble tea. Getting There The 77 and 79 bus from Cambridge follows Mass Ave and stops near Viet's Cafe in Arlington Center. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2003

Viet's Cafe
305 Broadway
Boston, Massachusetts 02474
(781) 641-2388

Tu Y Yo

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Environment Tu y Yo is a cozy restaurant, with soft Mexican music playing. The interior is brightly decorated and lit. The Food Tu y Yo serves up traditional Mexican food, which they are very proud to teach you about. That means no burritos, no chimichangas, and no nachos! Mexican food here is brought to a fine dining level, and I recommend you try one of the rotating specials. The vegetarian menu is far more extensive than typical, with 5 entrees. More creative than "cheese" enchiladas, the vegetarian entrees are such things as poblano peppers stuffed with diced apples and pine-nuts and covered in a mango chipotle sauce. The fish dishes here are also great, like the Pescado T...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2003

Tu Y Yo
858 Broadway
Boston, Massachusetts 02144
(617) 623-5411

Amelia's Trattoria

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
In a phrase, Gourmet food for a not-quite gourmet price. Amelia's is a small, warm restaurant in Kendall Square. It has an Italian flare, and a nouvelle-cuisine touch. Their seasonal menu and numerous specials offer much to taste and share. Complimentary bread exceeds expectation. The garlic bread was unique, and it was served with a bean puree that was far more delicious than it sounds. Tonight, I had a their trout special, topped with cockles cooked with scallions, and a side of snowpeas. I also had a taste of the seafood risotto. If the shrimp weren't overcooked, it would have been perfect. For dessert, my party of five shared three desserts. Luckily, each of us had...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 2, 2003

Amelia's Trattoria
111 Harvard Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02139
(617) 868-7600

Namaskar

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Namaskar is a newcomer to Davis Square's Indian food scene, and it seems to set to rival the reigning champion Diva in both artsy decor and cuisine. Namaskar's specialties are the vegetarian dishes of Western India. They offer all the standards too. Purple walls and subtle colored lighting emphasize the modern space. Rather than the traditional Indian wall-hangings, they had Indian prints which looked vaguely retro. A glass of ginger-mint flavored liquid was the first thing we were offered, while we made our choices from the menu. For our entire dining experience, the staff was incredibly attentive. Our water glasses were never less than half full, for example. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 7, 2003

Namaskar
236 Elm Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02144
(617) 623-9911

New Ginza

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
New Ginza is my vote for best sushi restaurant in Boston. While Fugakyu shines with its rolls, its sashimi isn't always the best and parking is difficult to obtain. Oishi is orgasmic with a Zagat rating of 29, but it is small and unromantic. At New Ginza, you have room to spread out in their light-wood panelled dining room. The modern, simple decor is a perfect match for the harmonious nature of their food. New Ginza offers all manner of Japanese food, and often feature exotic chef's creations. This is one restaurant where I always ask what the specials are. At the same time, they offer a consistent selection of creative rolls, or makimono. With a Celtics, Patriots, or a Red Sox roll, you...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 19, 2003

New Ginza
65 Galen Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02472
(617) 923-2100

Helmand

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Afghan food is not all that common in this area. It tastes like a combination of Turkish and Indian cuisine. Kebabs and koftas are familiar items on the menu. The sauces and naan-like bread served at the beginning of the meal remind one of an Indian restaurant, while the preponderance of eggplant smacks of Istanbul. Owned by the Karzai family of Afghanistan, Helmand is a fine dining restaurant, requiring reservations. The two-page wine list is respectable and well-travelled. We had an Australian Shiraz. There are apparently no Afghani wines available. The room boasts a light decor, one wall lined by wine racks. It almost has a rustic feel, with a real Middle-Eastern touch in the Islamic ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 28, 2003

Helmand
143 First St
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142
+1 617 492 4646

Quote:
This Chinese teahouse-gallery is unique in Boston. A cozy space on the corner of Shawmut and Dwight street in the South End, the Qingping gallery teahouse invites visitors to savor Chinese sweets, unique teas, and some very original art. When you find the place, you will know it by the faded Chinese lantern hanging over the weathered wooden doorframe. I met some friends there one Saturday afternoon and the eight of us took up the entire backroom. A comfortable sectional surrounds a coffee table. There is also a Chinese-style tea table and chairs available for seating. You are surrounded by dark, evocative artwork. The menu invit...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 18, 2003

QingPing Gallery Teahouse
231 Shawmut Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02118
(617) 482-9988

Fiore's Ristorante

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Ristorante Fiore"

Quote:
Website: www.ristorantefiore.com When my dad and sister were visiting Boston I wanted to take them to a restaurant in the North End. The Marriott made our reservations at Fiore. Little did I know what wonders of Italian food I was in for! We were seated in a roomy upper level, a far cry from the usual cramped quarters in North End restaurants. Despite the cloth napkins and fine china, the staff was very laid back. My sister wanted to know if they had pizza, and our waiter went downstairs to bring her a lunch menu. There were several other families with children in the restaurant, and yet the restaurant maintained a sophisticated feel...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 19, 2004

Fiore's Ristorante
250 Hanover Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02113
(617) 371-1176

Boston Duck Tours

Attraction

Quote:
Although the idea of a Duck Tour did not originate in Boston, it seems particularly appropriate because of Boston's famous ducklings from the book Make Way for Ducklings. Many visitors and new residents enjoy the Duck Tour of Boston, something most people choose to do only once. At US$23 per adult, it is quite expensive. However, group admission allowed our company to offer the tours for $10/person. Each amphibious vehicle holds 32 people. The duck travels around Boston on land before returning to the Charles and touring the water. The tour encircles the Boston Commons and Gardens, goes past the Pru, and through Fanueil Hall and the North End. Tickets and more i...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on August 18, 2003

Boston Duck Tours
3 Copley Place
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
(617) 723 3825

The Enormous Room

Attraction

Quote:
The Enormous Room is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of Central Square. You can rest on the pillows that line the room, and order a plate of mezes - Middle Eastern snacks that can be either vegetarian or meatolicious. The platters are a great deal for sharing. You'll also want to order up some drinks, which will be delivered to you. Sometimes when the music gets going, it can be quite hard to hear your friends. The DJ and music changes each night, but is generally quite listenable. Getting There Take the T or drive to Central Square. The Enormous Room is on Mass Ave, above the Central Kitchen. Look for the red elephant on the door. Heads Up This is a bar, so you will get I...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2003

The Enormous Room
569 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, Massachusetts 02139
(617) 491-5550

Boston Harbor Cruises Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
Boston Harbor Cruises offer many different cruises and ferries. One of the budget options is to take a ferry to George's Island.

For $7, you get a two-way 45 minute ride through Boston's harbor, a narrated tour as you go, and a stop at George's Island.

George's Island features an old fort, lots of trails, and a dock where ferries depart to other Harbor Islands. How to Get There There is a booth at Long Wharf, near where the boats leave. Take the T to Government Center or Haymarket and walk through Fanueil Hall, following signs to the Aquarium. Long Wharf is right next to the Boston Aquarium.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2003

Boston Harbor Cruises
One Long Wharf
Boston, Massachusetts 02110
+1 617 227 4321

River Gods

Attraction

Quote:
Tucked away on River Street in Central Square, River Gods looks like a humble neighborhood bar on the exterior. Inside, you step into another world. Gargoyles, elaborate medieval crosses, and even a miniature stonehenge decorate this small dark bar. The bar is lit up by an elaborate metal candalabra and a variety of Arabian lamps. Don't forget to look up! Comfortable padded benches offer one option, but some bottoms may prefer the throne-like chairs at another section of the bar. My friends have said the pub food here is tasty, but perhaps a bit heavy. It has been called "New-Age Irish". I can speak for the drinks however. My cape-codder was perfectly mixed. There is always som...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 4, 2003

River Gods
125 River St
Boston, Massachusetts 02139
(617) 576-1881

ManRay Nightclub

Attraction | "Man Ray"

Quote:
Manray is now closed at this location. I will update it when the new location opens.Website: ManrayClub.Com I have been a regular at Man Ray since 1995, and while things change, things always remain the same. Man Ray is one of the longest running alternative clubs in Boston. Actually, it's in Cambridge, meaning that you can still smoke there as of August 2003. I have gone consistently on Wednesdays and Fridays, occasionally dropping in on a Saturday. Drinks can be expensive. The best deal are the frozen margaritas served up in the front room. Manray has three rooms. The Cage is the la...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 4, 2003

ManRay Nightclub
21 Brookline St
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
+1 617 864 0400

ImprovBoston at Back Alley Theatre

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "ImprovBoston"

Quote:
ImprovBoston is an intimate and inexpensive place to view Improv. Improv is improvisational comedy, similar to the TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?". The audience is encouraged to participate. For example, the audience might be asked to yell out animals, movie genres, or uncomfortable situations. Sunday nights feature a three hour show for only $5 - Sgt Culpeppers Improvisational Jamboree. For each of the first two hours, a different local improv troupe performs: the visiting troup and then the house troupe. Then, audience volunteers come out onto the stage for the final hour for an improv contest. The remaining audience votes. This is a small theater, with a maximum of four rows o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 8, 2003

ImprovBoston at Back Alley Theatre
1253 Cambridge St
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
+1 617 576 1253

New England Aquarium

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

New England Aquarium Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
The New England Aquarium is a huge structure, recently remodeled, on one of Boston's wharves. While here, you can also visit the IMAX theater with a combination ticket. The Aquarium's biggest attraction is the large central tank. You wind your way up around the tank or choose an inlet to view the fish. The tanks contains over 100 different species of marine wildlife, from sharks to giant sea turtles to 'rays. From one spot, you can watch the whole tank swim by. Sometimes it is exciting to watch one of the marine biologists dive into the tank to feed the fish. The penguins are another major attraction. The penguin exhibit stretches around the central tank on the first floor. There ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 19, 2004

New England Aquarium
Central Wharf
Boston, Massachusetts 02110
(617) 973-5200

Salisbury Beach

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Quote:
There are two parts of this beach: the state park and the public beach. We went to the beach in order to visit the boardwalk and walk along the ocean. This beachtown is much smaller than a New Jersey shoretown, with a very short "boardwalk", which is actually just a concrete street. The beach is rocky, like all New England beaches, and is not combed. Early in the season, only a few of the concession stands are open. A Lebanese fellow operates a stand here with Mediterranean food and, of course, fried dough. The town pretty much seemed abandoned and I wasn't sure if those boarded-up windows were just seasonal. There were no lifeguards on the beach, and what appeared to have been a pier was entir...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 1, 2004

Salisbury Beach
Beach Rd Rt. 1A
Boston, Massachusetts
978-462-4481

Hopkinton State Park

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Quote:
For a day of water sports near Boston, there's no place more convenient than Hopkinton State Park. The park offers beach picnics, hiking, sailing, canoeing, and kayaking. We visited one day in August to rent canoes and kayaks. The large, glassy lake offers plenty of space, even when all the boats are rented and there are many people on the lake. There are three islands where you can get out of your boat and relax. Also, if you continue under an underpass, you come to a river area with lots of large boulders. This area presented a bit of challenge to me on my first day in a kayak, but seemed to be a great deal of fun for others. It was al...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 9, 2004

Hopkinton State Park
Rte. 85, Hopkinton
Boston, Massachusetts
508 435-4303

Blue Hills Reservation

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Quote:
Who knew that there was an outdoor paradise so close to downtown Boston? Just down I93, five miles south of Boston, the Blue Hills reservation offers outdoors activities for everyone. There are lakes for swimming and boating, trails for mountain biking, and of course, hiking.We went to start off the summer hiking season, beginning with one of the more challenging trails - the Skyline Trail and the Big Blue. It wasn't technically challenging, but the hike definitely start out vertical and stayed that way for a while. There is a lot of exposed granite to clamber over. This is a family hike that anyone in reasonably good shape should be able to easily complete in a few hours.At the top of...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

Blue Hills Reservation
1904 Canton Ave
Boston, Massachusetts 02186
(617) 333-0690

Middle East

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Middle East Restaurant and Club"

Quote:
The Middle East Restaurant and Club is a venerable institution dating from the middle of the 20th century. My parents ate in the corner bakery when I was in the womb, and today, I belly dance there! Everyone in the area recognizes the Middle East's purple arches on the corner of Brookline Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The club/restaurant has several venues within the complex, a basement for bands, two restaurant venues, the Mid-East upstairs for smaller bands. Zuzu is their upscale middle-eastern style tapas restaurant and bar, and it is snuggled between the Middle East Upstairs and the Corner. The Corner (on the corner, in fact) contains both a bar and tables, and a small stage where m...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 12, 2007

Middle East
472 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
(617) 354-8238

Quote:
The Boston Public Gardens has been a budget traveller's activity since it was established in 1837, the first public botanical garden in the US. The park consists of 24 acres bound by Arlington, Boylston, Charles and Beacon Streets, and is nearby the Boston Commons. A swanboat ride is a delightful budget activity. The swanboats are peddled like a bicycle by the boat's captain while visitors sit in open-air rows. A huge swan sculpture hides the captain, creating the appearance of large swans gliding on the water. While many other tours in Boston are outrageously expensive, the traditional swan boats only cost between $1 to $2.50. They operate from April to mid-September. The Swanboats are c...Read More

Neighborhoods of Boston Metro

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
A traveller can have fun exploring our neighborhoods, and also it may help them to choose a hotel near things that interests them. I will do a brief overview of some of the Boston neighborhoods, based on the T-stop you use to get there. Davis Square The hippest neighborhood in Somerville, Davis Square is the place to find great food, some bars, coffee shops, and bookstores. It is also nearby Tufts University. Harvard Square Harvard Square is changing, from a place with lots of funky local businesses to a place with some funky local businesses and quite a few major chains. Still, it's a shopping and eating destination. The Garage, a small indoor mall, is the spot where you'll find Japane...Read More