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Cultural Treasures

A hotbed of history, art, music and renowned educational institutions, Boston is the perfect getaway for travelers who crave intellectual stimulation along with great restaurants, sports and nightlife. New England’s cultural capital is home to dozens of museums, from the massive Museum of Fine Arts to the storied Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Symphony Hall hosts not only the famed Boston Pops but also top acts from around the globe. All these cultural wonders, and more, await your discovery.

A telescope overlooks a lush green park with tall buildings in the distance

Day

1

MORNING
  • Breakfast Institution.

    Blue-collar construction workers and cops sit shoulder to shoulder with politicians at Mike’s City Diner, a Boston institution in the South End neighborhood. Devotees line up at 6 a.m. to start their day with the excellent homemade corned beef hash and Mike’s Special, hand-carved ham, eggs, grits and toast.

MIDDAY
  • View the Masters.

    Opened in 1876, the Museum of Fine Arts has amassed nearly 500,000 works, making it one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world. You could easily spend an entire day here and not scratch the surface. In an afternoon, tackle the new Art of the Americas Wing, featuring four floors of American art or galleries devoted to greats like Kahlo, Monet and Picasso.

AFTERNOON
  • See the World.

    Marvel at the Reflecting Pool at Christian Science Plaza before visiting the Mary Baker Eddy Library. Here, you can stand inside a three-story, stained-glass globe known as the Mapparium.

EVENING
  • Cityscape and Tunes.

    Experience 360-degree views of the city from Boston’s highest restaurant and bar, Top of the Hub. Time your visit to sunset and toast the day with a signature cocktail like Le Hub Negroni. The lounge features a live jazz ensemble nightly at 7:30.

  • Light, Late Bite.

    Open until 11 p.m. on weekends and 10 p.m. on weeknights, Porto, from star chef Jody Adams, serves bright, fresh Mediterranean-inspired fare featuring mostly local seafood. Small plates, like barrel-aged Greek feta, and octopus with eggplant, chickpeas and harissa, are perfect for sharing.

Day

2

MORNING
  • Garden of History.

    Caffeinate with a latte at the Thinking Cup, a popular café on Tremont Street just steps from the Boston Common, America’s oldest park. Wander the grounds, then cross the street to the neighboring Public Garden, the first public botanical garden in the U.S., and take a ride in the city’s iconic swan boats.

AFTERNOON
  • Walking History Lesson.

    The Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile stretch lined with 16 sites pertaining to the American Revolution can be experienced alone via a downloadable map or on a guided tour. Highlights include visiting the home of Paul Revere and the Old North Church, where two lanterns were hung in the steeple to warn that the British were coming.

  • A Taste of Italy.

    The Freedom Trail snakes through Boston’s North End, which is also known as Little Italy. Detour to Mike’s Pastry for a box of the legendary cannoli and other Italian sweets.

MIDDAY
  • View the Masters.

    Opened in 1876, the Museum of Fine Arts has amassed nearly 500,000 works, making it one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world. You could easily spend an entire day here and not scratch the surface. In an afternoon, tackle the new Art of the Americas Wing, featuring four floors of American art or galleries devoted to greats like Kahlo, Monet and Picasso.

EVENING
  • Rock Out.

    Catch a show at the Paradise. This intimate Boston rock haunt features local bands in the lounge area, along with exhibits by local artists. The two-level back room hosts big-name acts, which have included the likes of R.E.M. and U2.

  • Izakaya Reinvented.

    One of Boston’s hottest new restaurants, Uni has a hip vibe and a menu of pristine sushi as well as creative Asian small plates like beef short-rib bulgogi tostadas and king crab yakitori.

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Day

3

MORNING
  • Sugar High.

    The South End’s Blackbird Doughnuts bakes fresh batches of sweet goodness using local ingredients. If you prefer savory to sweet, try the everything “bagel,” a whipped cream cheese-stuffed brioche doughnut topped with toasted garlic and poppy seeds.

MIDDAY
  • Art Heist.

    Famously robbed of more than $500 million of artwork in 1990, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum showcases the art patron’s collection of 15,000 objects, textiles, furniture, sculptures, paintings and more. There is a $10 million reward for information that leads to recovery of the 13 stolen works.

  • Shuck your Lunch.

    Chef Barbara Lynch runs a mini restaurant empire in Boston. One of her most beloved spots, B&G Oysters, features a raw bar as well as a BLT with lobster that puts any lobster roll to shame.

AFTERNOON
  • Starchitecture.

    South Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art is lauded for both its modern art collection, which often includes traveling big-name exhibitions like “Steve McQueen: Ashes,” and its striking, sharp-lined exterior designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

EVENING
  • Not Your Ordinary Orchestra.

    Hear the world-famous Boston Pops direct from the fabled acoustics of Boston’s Symphony Hall.

  • Classic Cocktails.

    End your evening in swanky style and sip one of the 10 signature martinis served at the 1950s-inspired Avery Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston.