Art and Architecture in Boston



Description:

Boston is a world-class city, which has a reputation as the home to some of our nation’s greatest schools, sports teams and perhaps even as the birthplace of American freedom. Nowadays Beantown is often overshadowed by its east coast cousin, the Big Apple, as nourishment for the freedom of expression. On closer examination, Boston is a picture of vitality and creative energy: its colonial styling and puritanical sensibilities juxtapose with modern architecture, bohemian cafes, a young liberal population, contemporary museums, public art, jazz clubs, fashion boutiques, international cuisine… the list goes on. Picking through Boston’s maze of streets to find its hidden treasures can be intimidating, as Boston’s “city grid” is more like a game of pick up sticks. Have no fear, with a little local guidance it becomes apparent that a lot of creative thought has been put into its city planning over the years, and at every corner, cattle crossing and carriage lane you can find evidence that Boston’s innovative and revolutionary spirit has never died.

Author: Adrianchap


Day 1 - Boston


Get started with a dose of art in Boston. Get off the T at the Museum of Fine Arts station on the Green Line. The museum should be immediately recognizable, as will many items in its extensive collection. But if you’re looking for a more unusual art experience, walk northwest along the Fenway and find the Gardner Museum. Isabella Stewart Gardner was the greatest art patron and collector of her day at the turn of the 19th Century. With a Laura Croft-like sense of interior design, Gardner stuffed her Venetian palace full of artistic treasures from around the world. What is perhaps as interesting as the exhibit is what you can’t see: the museum was robbed of some of its most notable pieces 20 years ago, which haven’t been recovered. Empty frames still hang which once contained works of Rembrandt, Manet and Degas, among others. A highlight of the museum is the palace’s vaulted atrium garden, which is unique and exquisitely beautiful.
Head back to the Museum of Fine Arts T stop and take a stroll eastward on Huntington Avenue (aka the Avenue of the Arts). Eventually (~ 1/2 mile) you’ll find Symphony Hall. Turn left onto Massachusetts Avenue and look for the First Church of Christ, Scientist, on your right as you continue up Mass. Ave. Its impressive structure and oversized reflecting pool may not inspire you to throw out your ibuprofen quite yet, but the Mother Church certainly turns heads. Down the street (you’ll pass Berklee Performance Center and Hynes T station) and around the corner is famed Newbury Street, home of Newbury Comics and many other funky and fashionable shops and boutiques, housed in old Boston brownstones. This also is great place to refuel, as hip coffeehouses and eateries abound, notably Trident Booksellers and the Otherside Café.
Close to the end of Newbury Street, with your stomach and hands full no doubt, you can take a right on Clarendon Street to see Boston's most interesting juxtaposition of old meets new. The elegant Trinity Church (Romanesque design by Henry Hobson Richardson, 1870s) is dwarfed by and reflected in the glimmering glass windows of the giant John Hancock Building (I.M. Pei, 1976). A great photo-op and a monumental metaphor that things never really change despite physical appearance, as our society once bound by the gothic structure of the churches of old find themselves now confined by glass-paned corporate complexes which seem to reach up and up but never out. Also of note in this neighborhood, across the street is the Renaissance-style Boston Public Library (Copley and Exeter), the nation’s first municipally supported public library.
Break out into some open space and visit the Public Garden (left down Boylston Street), a place where you can stroll without having to watch out for crazy Boston divers and T trolleys, but may have to make way for ducklings. The Public Garden was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (of Central Park fame) and is still the home of the Swan Boats. Across Charles Street is the Boston Common, with views of the gleaming gold dome of the State House, which you may recognize from Scorsese’s The Departed.
You are now in the heart of Boston and have several options for a satisfying end to your day. Jump on the Freedom Trail at Park Street and continue into the North End, if you’d like some pizza and cannolis with your history lessons, or head over to Faneuil Hall to eat at the nation’s oldest restaurant, the Union Oyster House (don’t worry the oysters are fresh). Alternatively head south down Tremont Street to see what’s buzzing at the Beehive (sorry for the hive-minded pun), where live Jazz and great food can be found.


1

Museum of Fine Arts

user rating

Location:

465 Huntington Ave
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA 2115

Contact:

tel: +1 617 267 9300
fax: +1 617 369 3165


2

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

user rating

Location:

280 The Fenway
Boston, MA 2115

Contact:

tel: +1 617 566 1401 / +1 617 278 5156 (Box Office)
fax: +1 617 566 7653


3

Church of Christ, Scientist (The)

Location:

175 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Contact:

tel: +1 617 450 2000


4

Boston Symphony Orchestra

user rating

Location:

301 Massachusetts Ave
Symphony Hall, At Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115

Contact:

tel: 617/266-1492


5

Newbury Comics

Location:

332 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02115

Contact:

tel: 617/236-4930


6

The Otherside Café

user rating

expert pick

Location:

407 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02115

Contact:

tel: 617 536 8437


7

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

user rating

expert pick

Location:

338 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02115

Contact:

tel: 617 267 8688
fax: 617 247 1934


8

Trinity Church Boston

user rating

Location:

206 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116

Contact:

tel: +1 617 536 0944
fax: +1 617 536 8916


9

Boston Public Garden

user rating

Location:

Arlington, Boylston, Charles and Beacon streets
Boston, MA 2116

Contact:

tel: +1 617 522 1966
fax: +1 617 522 3968


10

Boston Common

user rating

Location:

148 Tremont St.
Between Beacon, Park, Tremont, Boylston, and Charles Sts
Boston, MA 2203

Contact:

tel: 888-733-2678 (Tourist Information)
fax: +1 617 424 7664 (Tourist Information)


11

Massachusetts State House

Location:

24 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02133

Contact:

tel: +1 617 727 3676(Reservations)


12

Freedom Trail

user rating

Location:

15 State Street
Suite 401
Boston, MA 02109

Contact:

tel: +1 617 242 5642 / +1 617 242 5689
fax: +1 617 357 8303


13

North End

user rating

Location:

Hanover and Salem streets
Boston, MA 2113

Contact:

tel: +1 800 7 3326 7866 (Tourist Information / Toll Free)
fax: +1 617 424 7664 (Tourist Information)


14

Pizzeria Regina

user rating

Location:

11 1/2 Thacher St
Boston, MA 02113

Contact:

tel: 617/227-0765


15

Mike's Pastry

user rating

Location:

300 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113-1835

Contact:

tel: (617) 742-3050
fax: +1 617 523 2384


16

Faneuil Hall

Location:

Congress Street
Dock Sq (Congress St and North St)
Boston, MA 2203

Contact:

tel: +1 800 7 3326 7866 (Tourist Info - Toll Free)
fax: +1 617 424 7664 (Tourist Info)


17

Union Oyster House

Location:

41 Union Street
Boston, MA 02108

Contact:

tel: +1 617 227 2750


19

Beehive (The)

user rating

Location:

541 Tremont Street
Boston Center for The Arts
Boston, MA 02116

Contact:

tel: 6174230069
fax: +1 617 423 0096


Day 2 - Boston


Starting again in Back Bay, but this time, after breakfast at Bagel Rising (736 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston), head up Mass Ave, the main vein of the city, towards and over the Charles River. Enter Cambridge, Boston’s funky but well educated twin sharing the same river. Be prepared for a beautiful view of cityscape and boats dotting the water (not nearly as dirty as it is famed to be), but if you happen to look down at the bridge itself, you may see markings in regular intervals along the sidewalk. The whole bridge has been marked out in Smoots. Oliver R. Smoot was a short MIT frat boy pledge who was notoriously used by his fellow brothers as a unit of measure in his drunken and passed-out state for the entire length of the Harvard Bridge as a creative way to complete their initiation. MIT’s history is full of such lore. On the Cambridge side of the river you can see the great MIT dome, which has been ritualistically and wildly decorated throughout the years as part of a long tradition of MIT pranks or “hacks.” Imagine it, if you will, as a giant jack-o-lantern or a colossal resemblance of R2D2. Looking back toward Boston you can see the two John Hancock buildings side by side—the smaller was once the tallest building in Boston until new architecture sprung up around it. The old Hancock building (now the Berkeley Building) has a useful feature that you can utilize from this view. The lights on top actually tell today’s forecast if you know the code. Just remember the rhyme: Steady blue, clear view./ Flashing blue, clouds due./ Steady red, rain ahead./ Flashing red, snow instead. During baseball season, flashing red means the Red Sox game has been called on account of rain.
Farther down along the Charles River on the Cambridge side, Memorial Drive is closed on summer Sundays to all but foot and bicycle traffic, and is a pleasant place for family outings. Continue down Mass Ave, though, and you’ll be on your way to Harvard Square. There are scores of small restaurants along the way, with cuisines representing many different countries. The Middle East is notable for having, in addition to its great food, the reputation for being one of Boston’s greatest rock venues. Mr. Bartley’s Burgers is a student favorite for cash-only and famously named finger food. Harvard Yard will eventually appear on your right, where you cannot pahk your cahr, by the way, but you can bring your cow to graze still (by law!). Harvard Square is another mash up of old and new where stretches of designer outlets are dotted with outrageous throwbacks: comic books, records, retro fashion are flying off the shelves here. Shop or just hang, the place is teaming with street musicians and performers, and an interesting array of students and locals if you are into people watching. If you keep going up Mass Ave and take a right on Chester Street, you’ll be in Davis Square. Among the wide range of dining choices is Redbones BBQ, famous for delicious eats and an overwhelming selection of craft and local beers on tap to wash down your meal. If beer and BBQ aren’t Boston enough for you, then save room for dessert. In New England we eat more ice cream per capita than any place else in America, so naturally we have some of the best. That said, JP Licks (4 College Ave, Somerville) may be the best of the best.


1

Harvard Bridge (Smoot Bridge)

Location:

Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 2215


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