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City Guide: What to Do in Boston

Make your own history in this storied city.

by Spencer Mahoney | August 19, 2020

Boston, Massachusetts is home to scenic stops like the Charles River, Beacon Hill, Boston Duck Tours, and Boston Common, fine art and learning at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, New England Aquarium, and Boston Children's Museum, and architectural accomplishments like the Boston Public Library, Prudential Center, and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. But if you want to get off the beaten path and away from a typical swan boat ride to find a hidden gem — make that The Freedom Trail — you'll have to talk to a local. Fortunately, Atomic Coffee Roasters' General Manager of Roasting Operations, Spencer Mahoney, is here to help.

The North Shore-based roaster is close enough to Boston to hop over for a day trip, while just far out enough to frequent all the lesser-known stops. Make your own history, while discovering the region's best places to enjoy the great outdoors, have a bite on the water, or just grab a seat and people watch. From the North End to the South End, here is a local's guide to what to do in Boston.

Capo Restaurant & Supper Club

443 West Broadway

South Boston, Massachusetts 02127

Open Monday to Friday 5:00 pm; Open Weekends 10:00 am

This popular bar and restaurant in South Boston captures all ages. Capo is one of the best Italian spots in the city, accompanied by (in more typical times) one of the best live music dance clubs on the weekends. Not to mention Sinatra Sundays, where Frank’s classics are performed live with a second-to-none brunch.

@caposouthbos

Trillium Brewing Company

50 Thomson Place

Boston, Massachusetts 02210

Open Friday to Sunday 11:00 am

Located in Boston’s Seaport District, Trillium is a great place to grab an IPA and a quick bite to eat while in the city. It’s a beautiful brick and beam building with a taproom on the first floor, a farmhouse-inspired menu on the second floor, and a rooftop deck on top. Brewery tour anyone?

@trilliumbrewing

Castle Island

2010 William J Day Boulevard

Boston, Massachusetts 02127

Open daily 6:30 am

Castle Island is a peninsula in South Boston that’s home to Fort Independence, a small beach, and great views of the city, Boston waterfront and incoming planes landing at Logan Airport. This is a great place to walk around in the summer, go for a run, grab a lobster roll at Sully’s, or just hang out and enjoy the views and cool breeze.

@hoverboston

Blue Hills Reservation

695 Hillside Street

Milton, Massachusetts 02186

Open daily 6:30 am

I’m an avid runner, and Blue Hills is one of the only spots close to Boston where you can find some true elevation gain. Great for running or hiking, the Skyline Trail is a difficult seven and a half mile point-to-point trail with approximately 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Great views of Boston’s skyline in the distance (hence the name).

@palates.and.places

Life Alive Organic Cafe

888 Commonwealth Avenue

Boston, Massachusetts 02215

Open Wednesday to Sunday 11:00 am

If healthy eating is more your thing, Life Alive is a hidden gem of a vegetarian restaurant that specializes in bowls, salads, smoothies, and juices. I always get the Adventurer (perhaps not so adventurous if it’s become my go-to), and a Ginger Crush (fresh pressed ginger, lemon, maple syrup, and crushed ice). They also have some epic smoothies.

@lifealivecafe

Salem

Known for the Witch Trials in the 1600’s, Salem is a great day trip from Boston, and is a bit closer to home for Atomic (home to our roastery, and one town over from our café). Salem has all of the touristy to-do’s, but also has great restaurants, beautiful historic buildings, a great waterfront, and more! Some things to do and places to go in Salem include Chestnut Street, the Salem Witch Museum, Ledger Restaurant & Bar, Bambolina Restaurant, Notch Brewing, Witch DR Glass Blowing Studio of Salem, Peabody Essex Museum, and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

If you take that day trip to Salem, come visit us in Beverly! We’ve been on Cabot Street since 1996, but originally across the street in a space a fraction of the size. Order a cortado, grab a window seat, and watch Beverly’s downtown pass by.

@salemwitchmuseum

Lucky's Lounge

355 Congress Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02210

Open Monday to Thursday and Saturday 4:00 pm; Open Friday 11:30 am; Open Sunday 10:00 am

An eclectic restaurant and bar in Boston's Seaport District, Lucky's Lounge is great for dinner and a craft cocktail, and a great place to enjoy live music and dancing post-dinner. From a lobster mac and cheese to ice cream, they have it all!

@luckyslounge

The Freedom Trail

Boston has a lot of history, from Quincy Market to the Boston Tea Party ship. A first trip to see all of the Boston attractions wouldn’t be complete without a walk down the Freedom Trail. This is a two to three mile marked path through downtown Boston is a nice walking distance. It starts at the Boston Common and ends at the Bunker Hill Monument, passing by 16 of Boston’s most historic sites along the way including the Old North Church and Old State House.

@thefreedomtrail

Fenway Park

4 Jersey Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02215

I’m not much of a baseball fan, but a tour of Fenway Park is a must. Or for a unique fitness experience, run the Spartan Race in November. You’ll run through the visiting team’s dugout, along the Green Monster, through the outfield, and round third towards the finish line!

@bretclancy