Boston: Top Attractions

Boston: New England refinement with a 21st-century twist  (PhotoDisc)

Newbury Street Shopping
Boston's equivalent of New York's Fifth Avenue may lack the glitz of its southerly neighbor, but it more than makes up for it in charm and panache. The seven blocks of Newbury Street from Arlington Street to Mass Ave are chock-full of chic clothiers (Alan Bilzerian, Zegna, and Armani), sophisticated cafés (Sonsie and Armani), antiques stores (Autrefois), and galleries galore (Barbara Krakow and Judi Rotenberg are among the finest). And don't overlook the fabu Louis Boston—even though it's one block over on Boylston.
Additional Info: www.newbury-st.com

XV Beacon
XV Beacon hotel offers the intimacy of a private residence on the edge of Beacon Hill and downtown Boston. Rooms are flooded with high-tech gadgets and endowed with traditional styling; service is utterly impeccable and oh-so-discreet. Dine at the renowned Federalist restaurant, which captures the stately tradition of a private club. The chef culls ingredients from a rooftop herb garden and the wine cellar packs distinctive and cult vintages. The hotel offers a complimentary chauffeured Mercedes for in-town use.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel
Countless celebrities and nearly every U.S. President since Howard Taft has stayed at this grand dame since it opened in 1912. Little wonder: Choice suites feature artwork and memorabilia chosen by curators and archivists of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Science, and other prestigious Boston institutions. For the utmost, go for the "Gold Service"—which offers amenities a cut above the hotel's already high standards. The elegant Oak Room is regarded for its steaks, the clubby Oak Bar is perfect for cigars and cordials, and the lobby is resplendent with crystal chandeliers and conservative grace.

Four Seasons Boston
The Four Seasons Boston, across from the Public Garden and adjacent to the Theater District and Back Bay, enjoys a prime piece of New England real estate. No matter the demands of your trip, top off your visit with a pampering session at the spa or a dip in the rooftop pool. Linger over a superb meal at the blow-your-socks-off Aujourd'hui, where modern French cuisine dazzles daily. The hotel's deluxe suites offer Old-World luxury and innovative flexibility with bird's-eye city views. Ever attuned to today's travelers, the hotel welcomes children with pint-sized bathrobes, as well as bedtime milk and cookies.

The Wauwinet
This serene retreat gracefully blends island charm with the sophistication of an historic European inn. Just far enough away from the town of Nantucket to leave the comings and goings behind, the out-of-this-world Wauwinet is adjacent to the Great Point Wildlife Sanctuary, where endless seaside wandering awaits. It's all about the service here, from enjoying popcorn with your videos to lobstering with locals. The Wauwinet meets every desire. Topper's restaurant consistently garners awards for its cuisine and wine pairings—put yourself in their hands and don't worry about a thing.

The Charlotte Inn
This rarified hideaway, a minute's walk from historic (and bustling) downtown Edgartown on Cape Cod, offers guests a rare kind of tranquility. The elegant 1865 Edwardian home exudes pretentiousness-free, Old-World ambience that lingers, energizes, calms, and inspires. Rooms contain original art, goose-down pillows and comforters, hand-cut crystal, hand-made European draperies, and fresh-cut flowers. Dinners at the glass-enclosed L'Etoile celebrate the subtle complexities of simple ingredients culled from the local landscape.

L'Espalier
Enshrined within a 120-year-old Back Bay brownstone, L'Espalier is arguably the finest restaurant in Boston. Chef-owner Frank McClelland approaches his art as an alchemist, and what emerges is culinary gold. Dining here is undoubtedly an event—a special event. The three dining rooms are atmospheric, the tuxedoed wait staff gracious and welcoming, and the sommelier exquisitely unerring. The oft-changing menu contains ingredients drawn from the forest, sea, and farm, then assembled into a rich palette of worldly cuisines.
L'Espalier: 617.262.3023, www.lespalier.com

Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall
One of the world's most highly regarded concert halls is also home to one of the world's finest orchestras—a rare coupling that results in musically innovative performances and beloved classics. Symphony Hall, built in 1900, was the first orchestral music venue designed with acoustic principles in mind. It retains its cutting edge, particularly when the 125-year-old Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) takes the stage. If you chance to hear the 4,500-pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ, you'll remember it for a lifetime. The BSO performs its 2005 season under the rigorous baton of James Levine, his inaugural as music director. The very popular Boston Pops, a subsection of the BSO, perform "concerts of a lighter kind of music," as described by BSO founder Henry Lee Higginson.
Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall: 617.266.1492, www.bso.org

The Wang Center and the Boston Ballet
Two very different theaters constitute the Wang Center, each a stellar venue for exuberant performances. The 80-year-old Wang is a visually stunning venue for world-class theater, music, dance, and film. It houses the internationally acclaimed Boston Ballet, renowned for its repertoire of timeless classics and groundbreaking productions. While the 85-year-old Shubert Theatre is nowhere near the size of the cavernous Wang, its richly elegant interior provides pure pleasure for smaller productions.
The Wang Center: 617.482.9393, www.wangcenter.org
Boston Ballet: 617-695-6950, www.bostonballet.org

Boston Lyric Opera
This internationally acclaimed company features promising talent in front of the floodlights as well as behind the scenes. Venues are varied, but performances are big. A recent production of Carmen on the Common was attended by 140,000 fans over the course of two evenings. A bottle of wine, a couple of lawn chairs, and a warm summer evening on the Common with the Boston Lyric Opera in full swing will soothe all opera fans.
Boston Lyric Opera: 617.542.4912, www.blo.org

Published: 25 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Boston

$275-$565
Average/night*
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#1
Lenox Hotel
$385
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#2
The Langham, Boston
$359
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#3
Loews Boston Hotel
$328
Average/night*
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#4
Fairmont Battery Wharf Boston

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