Travel

Downtown

Establishment neighborhood
The Ritz-Carlton
10 Avery St., Downtown Crossing
When you check in, you can choose rooms looking out on the cityscape or on the historic and verdant Boston Common. Go with the latter. If you go in the fall, you’ll wake up to sweeping views of the changing leaves in America’s oldest public park. It’s pretty unbeatable. The hotel is attached to an Equinox gym, and guests are welcome to use the facilities as well as the spa (where therapists are particularly good at sports massages). Aside from the sumptuously comfortable interiors and amenities, the real draw here is the hotel’s walkability factor. You’re only a few steps away from the boutiques of Newbury Street and the charming cobblestoned roads of Beacon Hill, home to many of the city's best restaurants. If you’re traveling with littles in tow, the toy-laden red wagon in the lobby means you don’t have to bring half the playroom on your trip, and Boston Common makes a great playground.
Boston Harbor Hotel
70 Rowes Wharf, Downtown Crossing
Right on the water in scenic Rowes Wharf, this hotel manages to give a subtle nod to Boston’s colonial past by way of décor—heavy, dark wood, a billowing American flag in the lobby, and windows overlooking the harbor in practically every room. Guest rooms are traditional and comfortable, with blue accents underscoring the hotel’s proximity to the sea. Even the rooms that don’t overlook the harbor have a great view (of the city skyline), and the deep tubs are a welcome relief after long days of historical sightseeing. Summer is the season to visit, as the location is right by the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a lush green space with flower gardens and water fixtures perfect for an early beat-the-summer-heat run, and the hotel hosts live music and movie screenings on its deck. Conveniently, guests have the option to avoid the traffic and take a scenic water taxi to the hotel’s marina from Logan airport.
Union Oyster House
41 Union St., Faneuil Hall
Housed in a prerevolutionary building and open since 1826, Union Oyster House is a little touristy but it makes sense why: It’s iconic Boston, and the clam chowder is out of this world. Go at least once—it’s located on the Freedom Trail so you can stop in along your walk. Bonus: It’s also steps from the famous New England Aquarium (which is right on the water), where littles can check out a multistory tank, a gorgeous penguin sanctuary, and get up close and personal with seals.
Flour Bakery
12 Farnsworth St., Downtown
Flour Bakery is best known for their pastries and desserts (owner Joanne Chang famously beat Bobby Flay when he tried to take on her sticky buns in Throwdown), which are more than enough to justify a visit. Less famous but equally good are her lunchtime sandwiches and salads, which can be ordered at the counter and taken to go. Needless to say, the bread on the sandwiches is game-changing—we’re partial to the focaccia—and it’s kind of sinful to leave without taking dessert to-go, also. Locations in the South End, Cambridge, and Back Bay.
Bon Me
100 Hanover St., Downtown
Bon Me was started by Boston natives Patrick Lynch and Ali Fong, who ran it as a food truck in the early years. Now, their Asian-style cuisine is served at restaurants across the city. The Chipotle-style ordering system asks you to choose between a sandwich, noodle salad, rice bowl, and green salad—then, choose from fillings like tofu, pork, and chicken. Veggies are included no matter what, and it's worth noting that the sandwich is by far the most popular item. These guys are expanding fast, with more than ten food trucks scattered around the city, and locations in Cambridge (Fresh Pond and Kendall Square), Chestnut Hill, and the South End.
Boston Common Coffee Company
515 Washington St., Downtown
As its name suggests, this place feels like classic Boston. You won't find any fancy décor, but the coffee is really solid and the baked goods are famous in the neighborhood. Stop by on Thursdays, when they introduce new donut flavors (although if Boston Crème is an option, your decision's already made for you). It's really meant to be a place where people can meet and get work done, so you'll be grateful for the abundant seating options and reliable WiFi. P.S. How could you not love the coffee shop that made cookies shaped like deflated footballs after deflate-gate last year? There's a second location in Downtown along with one in the North End.
Boston Common Coffee Company
103 Canal St., Downtown
As its name suggests, this place feels like classic Boston. You won't find any fancy décor, but the coffee is really solid and the baked goods are famous in the neighborhood. Stop by on Thursdays, when they introduce new donut flavors (although if Boston Crème is an option, your decision's already made for you). It's really meant to be a place where people can meet and get work done, so you'll be grateful for the abundant seating options and reliable WiFi. P.S. How could you not love the coffee shop that made cookies shaped like deflated footballs after deflate-gate last year? There's also a location in the North End as well as a second outpost downtown on Washington Street.
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