5-Hour Itinerary is a new series—based on the New York Times' "36 Hours"—in which we serve as your guide to the ultimate Boston day-trip, stringing together thoughtfully chosen locations and activities into a one-of-a-kind itinerary.
Welcoming millions of tourists every year, Boston has flourished as one of the most visited cities in the United States, if not the world. It has also been classified (and rightly so) as “America’s College Town” due to the significant number of colleges and universities in and around the city, attracting students from all over the world. Consequently, Boston is an incredibly young, dynamic, cosmopolitan city that is easy to navigate and has something for everyone to enjoy. Luckily for us Boston College students, we have easy access to this incredible city any day of the week.
While Boston is renowned for its many iconic sites, it also hides secret gems that are often overlooked, or perhaps unheard of. Everyone likes to have a city experience where they get to beat the crowds and discover new places that may be secluded and less well-known, but it can be daunting figuring out the right places to look.
For a fresh college perspective on the unique, off-the-beaten-track features concealed amid the bustling city of Boston, try out these spots. You will not be disappointed.
1. Himalayan art and culture ~ Newbury Street, Boston
While Newbury Street may seem like the typical shopping street of Boston, this authentic Himalayan gift store isn't on everyone's radar. For a different shopping experience, meander your way into Prim-La and enjoy a shopping experience that will transport you to the ancient world of Nepal and Tibet with it’s variety of unique tapestries, jewelry, silk scarves and decorative items.
2. Doughnuts better than Dunkin' ~ Tremont Street, Boston
No day is complete without satisfying your sweet tooth, and fortunately— and simultaneously unfortunately for those trying to be healthy—Boston has a lot of solutions. Why not skip your regular Dunkin' Donuts run and instead try something different with a visit to Blackbird Doughnuts. This spot features wicked awesome flavors like Salted Pepper Lemon, Coffee & Bacon and Black Raspberry White Chocolate, to name a few. But don’t be surprised to see different things on offer, as their flavors are always changing. These decadent, fluffy doughnuts are not to be missed.
3. Ink up your life ~ Charles Street, Boston
Take a walk down Charles Street in Beacon Hill, a street edged with boutique shops and eateries, its quaint brick buildings and cobblestone side streets capturing the essence of old colonial-era architecture. Wander your way into Black Ink, a charming alcove for paper lovers filled with an extensive stamp and gift card collection, creatively designed wrapping paper, and decorative trinkets that make for unique gifts you won’t find anywhere else.
4. Tastes of Turkey, Lebanon and Greece ~ Belmont Street, Cambridge
Cambridge is now the embodiment of a rather bohemian image, brimming with liveliness and housing an eclectic mix of eateries, coffeehouses, quirky shops and street performers. Give this multi-college town a try and loosen your belt for a visit to Sofra Bakery & Café, which offers a unique mix of Middle Eastern dishes. Indulge in traditional meze platters of Moroccan carrot salad, tahini hummus with homemade pita bread, chickpea barley salad with dried cherry and radish or stuffed spicy flatbreads. Enjoy these mouth-watering dishes for a different eating experience that will satisfy your every bite. Before leaving, be sure to check out the Sofra store, which includes prepared signature foods, spice blends and more to take home with you.
5. Bring a book and cozy up ~ Brattle Street, Cambridge
While chai tea lattes are always popular in the fall, it is only right to end your day at Tealuxe, a small and quaint tea spot in the heart of Cambridge. This is a nice time to be reflective, get some work done and enjoy a quiet and peaceful escape from loud crowds while sipping on endless cups of tea from an overwhelmingly wide selection. The small size of this tea spot is what adds to its charm and warmth, with two-seater round tables in the back and a winding staircase adorned with fairy lights leading up to a small loft overlooking the rest of the shop. If you ever need a second to get away from the hectic demands of your daily life, this is the place to go.