Guide to: Boston

Destinations, Local Life, Travel Tips

Boston, Massachusetts, USA Skyline at Fan Pier.

The City of Boston is, quite simply, enchanting. From its Swan Boats to its Southie accents, Fenway Park to Paul Revere’s Ride, it’s steeped in tradition and 300-year-old streets. That said, Boston is also a modern metropolis that sets national trends in food, fashion, style, and culture. It has everything one could want in a getaway and fall is one of its prime seasons (avoid the winter when the average snowfall rivals even that of our own, here in the tundra). Minneapolis─St. Paul International Airport (MSP) averages eight daily departures to Beantown via Delta and Sun Country airlines.
We recently asked one of the city’s rising tastemakers, interior designer Nikki Dalrymple, for her Boston hot list. Dalrymple owns Acquire Interior Design and has been named one of the “25 Most Stylish Bostonians” by the Boston Globe and one of “The Hot 50: The Next Generation of Design Stars Shaping the City” by Boston Home magazine. Here are her recommendations for how to do Boston in style.

Where to eat: Mistral has been around for some time, but it’s still my favorite go-to restaurant. I’ve never had a bad meal there. The atmosphere is romantic and the service is top-notch. (Pro tip: The bar is a great place to grab a drink and a quick bite if you can’t get a reservation.)

Where to take down a cuppa chowdah: If you want the best clam chowder (or lobster roll) in Boston, make a beeline to Neptune Oyster in the North End. You’ll need to show up 30 minutes before the doors open at lunchtime to avoid waiting an hour for a table. The best seats are at the tiny bar where you can chat up Jeff, the owner, or one of the other friendly staff members who know everything there is to know about seafood.

Where to enjoy a cocktail: I find that I am consistently recommending Drink in South Boston (a project by famed Boston restauranteur, Barbara Lynch). My team and I like to grab a drink there after a long day of meetings at the Design Center. I’m a big fan of vintage barware and the tools they use to create their craft cocktails. It’s fun to leave your order up to the bartenders’ discretion—they get it right every time.

Where to take in history: Paul Revere is synonymous with Boston, and it’s worth it to head to the North End to see his home. However, just a hop and skip from Revere’s house is the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. The monument was erected to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill, the first major conflict between British and Patriot forces in the American Revolutionary War. If you have the lungs for it, climb the 294 steps to the top to take in an amazing view of Boston.

Where to shop: At Acquire, we love to weave both modern and antique furniture and accessories throughout our clients’ homes, so I am always on the search for one-of-a-kind, vintage pieces. My current favorite treasure trove for antiques is the Cambridge Antique Market near the Lechmere T-station stop. It is five floors and chockablock full of stuff. You’ll have to do a lot of combing through dealers’ booths, but the payoff for one great find can be worth it!

Where to observe the locals: Weekdays the Boston Greenway (a mile-and-a-half stretch of parks in the city’s downtown center) is a melting pot of nine-to-fivers, college kids, and moms with strollers. It’s a great place to grab lunch from one of the many food trucks that park along the route and take in the urban jungle.

Where to go for a stroll: Nothing beats grabbing a cup of coffee and a pastry at Tatte Bakery in Beacon Hill, then strolling the neighborhood’s cobblestone streets. Charles Street has some great shopping, but detour off this main road to enjoy the neighborhood’s colonial-era architecture and hidden gardens.

Where to watch the ships come in: Head over to the Community Boating Building at the Esplanade Park and rent a kayak for the day. You’ll get the best view of all the sailboats that zip along the Charles River Basin.

What not to miss: Hands down, I would not miss the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Its amazing art collection aside, the museum’s interior courtyard is breathtaking in any season. Plus, I think the gift shop is one of the best curated boutiques in the city.

What to take home: Check out Olives and Grace in the South End. It’s an artisan shop that features emerging foods and products from across the U.S. The owner showcases a nice grouping of Boston-based giftware that is a solid departure from your typical Boston souvenirs—baked-bean t-shirts and lobster keychains.

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