More than books await you at the Central Branch of the Boston Public Library, the second-largest public library in the United States with a collection of more than 23.7 million items. The vast majority of its collection is at the Central Branch, including a research collection of more than 1.7 million rare books and manuscripts. Its collection of rare or historically significant books and manuscripts is reason enough to browse the stacks. Still not convinced? The building itself is an architectural work of art. Inside, you will find paintings, tapestries, and a vaulted entrance. Outside, you’ll find an Italian-Renaissance-inspired courtyard with manicured greenery, and fountain sculpture.
Editors’ tip: Free public tours are offered daily. You don’t need a reservation for a party smaller than eight people.
Approx. 16-minute drive // 35-minute MBTA ride // 2-mile walk from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
This 43-mile long walkway along Boston’s shoreline connects all of the waterfront neighborhoods to each other as well as the Boston Harbor. Check out the shops, public art, and historical exhibitions located along the path. Take in the stunning views of the waterfront and the surrounding architecture on a morning run or leisurely after-dinner walk.
Approx. 5-minute drive // 10-minute MBTA ride // 0.5-mile walk from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
If you’re a fan of a place where everyone knows your name, step inside the pub that inspired the television series, Cheers. Opened in 1969 as the Bull & Finch Pub, the renamed establishment now boasts a gift shop, bar, and restaurant with offerings inspired by Cheers characters, including the giant Norm burger.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace is comprised of four buildings: Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market, set around a cobblestone promenade. Shop at boutiques and major chain stores; enjoy a meal from one of the food stands featuring classic Boston ingredients (lob-stah, anyone?); and visit historic landmarks, including Faneuil Hall, the market building that was the meeting place for patriots before, during, and after the American Revolution.
Approx. 12-minute drive // 21-minute MBTA ride // 1.3-mile walk from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
It may not be summer anymore, but gelato is a must year-round. This Mass.-based gelato company uses fair-trade, local, and seasonal ingredients to make its various gelatos, such as almost cheesecake (robiola cheese with Sicilian pistachios and raspberry coulis), tiramisù, and bacio (a mix of chocolate and hazelnuts). They also offer dairy-free and vegan options, including strawberry, honeynut squash, and chocolate & habanero pepper.
Approx. 5-minute drive // 10-minute MBTA ride // 0.7-mile walk from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
Going to Mike’s for cannoli or lobster tail pastries is a treasured tradition for locals and tourists alike. Founded in 1946 by Michael Mercogliano, the original Italian bakery is located in the North End with additional locations in Cambridge and Somerville. The lines are long but worth the wait.
Editors’ tip: Mike’s is cash only.
Approx. 11-minute drive // 30-minute MBTA ride // 1.5-mile walk from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
From art galleries to book stores, restaurants to fashion boutiques, there’s something for everyone and every budget along the eight blocks of Newbury Street. Located in the Back Bay district just steps away from Copley Square (a famous public square) and the Prudential Center (a popular shopping mall), Newbury Street is a great place to grab dinner, pick up a souvenir, or simply take a stroll.
Approx. 17-minute drive // 40-minute MBTA ride // 2.3-mile walk from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center