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How to Spend an Extra Day in Boston

Boston prospers from a thriving tourism industry, feeding on its storied past

by Tom Austin

September 4, 2023

Boston / Photo: Jimmy Woo/Unsplash

Aside from the academic firepower of Harvard and MIT and the financial heft of such firms as Fidelity Investments and General Electric, Boston prospers from a thriving tourism industry, feeding on its storied past. In Beacon Hill, it’s possible to see the former homes of Henry James and Louisa May Alcott. The Black Heritage Trail includes such pivotal Underground Railroad sites as the Lewis and Harriet Hayden House. And in nearby Charlestown, the 1780 Warren Tavern was once a stomping ground for Paul Revere. Among many other pursuits, Boston lends a certain scope to drinking.

Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston

Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston / Photo: Courtesy of Chuck Choi

Opened in 2006, the architectural wonder that is the new ICA building is a cornerstone of the Fan Pier waterfront development along Boston Harbor, exhibiting everyone from Laurie Anderson to Andy Warhol. In September, the cutting-edge work on view includes Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Hope/Fear), from 2022.

Green Boston

Green Boston / Photo: Courtesy of Chris Labasco/Alamy Stock Photo

Boston has 2,300 acres of parkland, including Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace, a pedestrian walkway that encompasses Back Bay Fens. Meanwhile, the history of Boston Common is the history of America itself, from George Washington celebrating American independence to civil-rights events led by Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Newbury Boston

The Newbury Boston / Photo: Courtesy of Douglas Friedman

Situated within the 1927 Boston Ritz-Carlton building, The Newbury hotel is an axis of intelligent pleasure. The day begins with views of the Boston Public Garden, an eternal grace. The library features coffee and scholarly books on African-American poetry. From morning to night, from the curated art collection to the rooftop Contessa restaurant, The Newbury serves as a true refuge.

Female-Led Restaurants

Fox & the Knife / Photo: Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography

Boston is home to many acclaimed female chefs, starting with Karen Akunowicz of Fox & the Knife, which features such delectable dishes as whole branzino with salsa verde. And Tiffani Faison helms the seafood restaurant Dive Bar at High Street Place, a food hall opened last year with a symbol of female power, Mayor Michelle Wu.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum / Photo: Courtesy of Ally Schmaling

On January 1, 1903, Isabella Stewart Gardner opened her museum with John Singer Sargent painting away in the Gothic Room: Sargent’s work has remained in the collection. In 1990, 13 art pieces were stolen, and in 2012, the museum regrouped with a Renzo Piano addition. The Gardner endures, forever defined by an improbably beautiful inner courtyard.