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Boston: January 2020

I’ll be in Boston on vacation from January 16-21. Amazing flight deal from MDW-BOS for $158 and I’m at the Wyndham Beacon Hill for $139 a night. This is over MLK weekend so I assume business travel is way down.

It seems probably more complicated than it is to get from Logan to the hotel. I’d rather use public transit unless it’s not a realistic option.

The Museum of fine arts and the JFK museum are high on my agenda. I’ll do some of the Freedom Trail as well. I’m well aware of the weather, I’m a Chicagoan so I’ve got the warm weather clothes and know when to abandon ship if the weather turns brutal. I can be just as happy drinking a couple of good beers while the weather gets nasty.

My interests are art, history, beer, sports, music, and theatre.

There’s Harvard ice hockey at home on January 17, that seems like a great way to spend time, perhaps visit Harvard that afternoon?

I’m traveling solo, but are there any good seafood restaurants that would be fine for just me? I’d be fine eating at the bar.

Any other ideas or suggestions?

Posted by
1256 posts

You could take the (free) Silver Line bus from the airport to South Station, then the Red Line subway to Charles/MGH. From there, it’s only about three short blocks to your hotel. Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
16765 posts

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is also excellent. It's about 1/3 mile from the MFA, but it may not be the most fun 1/3 mile in January. On one January day when the sidewalks in Boston were icy, I was afraid the wind was going to blow me into the street, and the walk between the two museums is very exposed to the weather.

If you visit both museums within two days, you get a $2 discount on the second entry fee. But keep in mind that the Gardner isn't small and the MFA really isn't small. The (rather pricey) MFA ticket allows you to return to the museum once within 10 days, but it appears you cannot take advantage of that if you've gotten the $2 discount for having previously visited the Gardner Museum, so it seems best to go to the MFA first.

Posted by
191 posts

You could take the (free) Silver Line bus from the airport to South Station, then the Red Line subway to Charles/MGH. From there, it’s only about three short blocks to your hotel

This is basically what I did in August, except I took a shuttle at the airport (55, maybe?) to the "Airport" station, then took the blue line to the Bowdoin T station. I was flying on a red-eye from the West Coast, so I checked out Google street view for the walk from the T station to the hotel (in case I was bleary-eyed). It's a very easy walk. I liked the hotel – great location.

Just a few blocks southeast of the hotel is the Museum of African American history. It was also an easy walk from the hotel to the historic part of town, including Old North Church and Paul Revere's house. We ate at the "Bell in Hand" tavern and enjoyed both the food and the ambience.

Posted by
4948 posts

From the historic area, you can walk across the bridge to the USS Constitution (if its not being repaired) and then on to the Bunker Hill memorial area.

Posted by
2409 posts

The quickest and easiest way is to take the MBTA Blue line to Bowdoin and then a very short walk to the hotel. There are easy terminal buses that will drop you at the airport MBTA station, which is the blue line, so not much thought involved.

The Silver line bus takes longer and can get bogged down in traffic as it is not always in a devoted lane, and then too you need to walk thru South Station to the correct direction on the Red Line, which is just one more thing for a newcomer to Boston. It is also less direct.

PS, The oldest part of Boston is near your hotel, around it, really, to some degree (check out the West End Museum to see what urban renewal did your hotel’s areato before people kind of smartened up) but the “historic” part of Boston includes the South End and Beacon Hill, Back Bay down to Kenmore Square, into Cambridge to Harvard Square, and into Charlestown. There is much to do in Boston in January, inside and out, so get a good guidebook and pick what you like to do. Also remember the theatre district to see what is there, as well as Symphony Hall or Jordan Hall etc. in January. Feel free to IM me if you have any specific questions.

Posted by
3133 posts

The time we can afford to visit Boston is in the winter as well as the weekend after Thanksgiving which we just did. You know from being in Chicago, you bundle up to enjoy the beautiful cold weather in Boston!

I love Boston and you will have a blast on your own. Do you enjoy bookstores? If so, take the red line to Cambridge and get off at the Harvard station and visit the Harvard Coop. A superb place for breakfast at any time of day is a five minute walk away at Zoe‘s. If you enjoy pancakes, this is the place. Since it looks like you’re taking the Red line to Harvard anyway, these two suggestions could enrich your visit.

One thing I noticed while in Boston over Thanksgiving weekend is that it looks like during weekends, bus service will replace the Red Line at certain parts of the route. Now since you will be there during a long weekend, perhaps they will suspend the maintenance of the Red line and keep it open like they did during Thanksgiving weekend. Go to the MBTA website to find out.

Also, pick up a Charlie card from the many MBTA employees handing them out at turnstiles. Charlie card fares are cheaper than Charlie ticket fares. The tickets come from the ticket machines which sounds kind of obvious. 😂. We saw they only gave them out on weekdays so if you arrive on Friday, get one from an MBTA employee. Think about how many times you may be using the T ( both bus and rail) and you might decide to buy an unlimited service you can put on the Charlie card.

Go to the Union Oyster House and sit at the oyster bar to watch the man behind the bar shuck oysters and enjoy some of the most delicious oysters you will ever have plus chowder or lobster bisque. Whatever you like.

Posted by
4 posts

For beer - Trillium in the Seaport district (Fort Point) is time or should I say taste well spent. They now have a restaurant as well. You could look into a tour of Fenway Park as well. If you do that, Trillium has recently opened another location in the Fenway area.