After toughing it out in a suburban Massachusetts town with more Dunkin’ Donuts locations than actual restaurants for three years as empty nesters, my parents decided to spice up their lives and move to the Hub. When they decided upon Beacon Hill after apartment hunting all over Boston, two thoughts crossed my mind:
- My mother will never survive the T.
- I know nothing about Beacon Hill.
As it turns out, my mother has mastered the T—as has my dog—and Beacon Hill is worth getting to know. Surrounded by city treasures such as the Common and the Esplanade, here are some gems to take advantage of in and around Beacon Hill, via the Park Street stop on the green line.
State House tours
The iconic gold-domed building houses much of Boston’s rich history, and tours are free. Even better than the historical knowledge that you will gain from a tour, however, are the laughs that you are sure to share with your pals over the General Hooker Entrance:
The Black Heritage Trail
For history buffs who have exhausted the Freedom Trail, walking the Black Heritage Trail is another means of experiencing Boston’s past firsthand. Concentrated primarily within Beacon Hill, the Black Heritage Trail covers locations throughout Boston that were pivotal to the city’s abolitionist movement leading up to the Civil War.
The Boston Common & Boston Public Garden
After a long afternoon of taking in Boston’s history, the Common and the Public Garden are two beauteous parks to sit, enjoy a picnic and build your Instagram clout. For only $5, you can also go skating on the Frog Pond, and starting in April you can experience the Public Garden from the inside of a Swan Boat for $3. Note: If you refer to the Common as the Commons, you can expect an angry swarm of Massholes to come after you. And rightfully so.
Charles Street, which runs between the Common and the Public Garden, leads up to a picturesque strip of boutiques, restaurants, nail salons and more. Although for the average college student the majority of Charles Street shops are only good for window-shopping, it’s the perfect location to kill time and fantasize about having actual money.
Charles Street also boasts a JP Licks, and if you’re seeking a more adult pick-me-up, The Sevens Ale House is an affordable pub where you can unwind after a long day of picnicking and window-shopping.
The Hatch Shell
During those rare New England months of sunshine, the Hatch Shell is an ideal place to catch free outdoor concerts and other summertime events. Home to Boston's famous 4th of July celebration, featuring an annual performance by the Pops, the Hatch Shell is located on the Charles River Esplanade.
If you’re looking to splurge a bit, or if you want to take Throwback Thursday to the next level, Carrie Nation Restaurant will throw you right back into the roaring 20s. After being greeted by hostesses dressed as flappers, you can be seated in the elegant red and gold dining room for brunch, lunch or dinner or make your way back to the hidden speakeasy for a drink or two. This dimly lit cocktail lounge features a drink menu that allows for all of the fun of the prohibition era without any of the actual prohibition.
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. Cheers is just that place. There are two Cheers locations in Boston, but don't be fooled by the Faneuil Hall imposter—the original is located right on Beacon Street.Featured image courtesy of Amanda Ikard/Gavel Media