Super Bowl Smackdown: Boston vs. Seattle

Each week, Yahoo Travel pits rival destinations against each other to determine once and for all which is the best. With the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots about to face off at Super Bowl XLIX we look at the two cities locked in a heated game-day rivalry: Boston vs. Seattle.

The Case for Boston

Lowell House, Harvard University (Photo: John Coletti/Photodisc/Getty Images)

As the Patriots get ready to crush the Seahawks, this is the perfect time for the rest of the world to crush on Boston. Sure, the rainy city across the country brought us such gems as Chihuly, grunge music, and crack coffee — but from seafood to style (yes, style), there are so many reasons why good ol’ Beantown wins over gloomy and sad Seattle.

Boston represents our national freedom, as it was the scene for much of the American Revolution. Our forefathers threw many pounds of tea (372 chests to be exact) into Boston Harbor just to prove a point and help earn our independence from the Brits. How much more significant can an American city be?

Get ready to trade in your plaid shirt from 1995 for a chic New Brahmin seersucker getup — this might be the greatest East Coast vs. West Coast battle of all time. And for the record, our (foot)balls are actually bigger than theirs.

Population: About 645,966

Student population: Boston is a hub for universities, with an estimated 350,000 college students and dozens of higher-learning institutions in and around the city. Notable and prestigious unis include Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Boston College, and Tufts.

Amy Poehler (Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Corbis)

Famous faces: Funnymen Conan O’Brien and Dane Cook are from Massachusetts, and hilarious ladies Sara Silverman and Amy Poehler are fellow New Englanders. Hot blonde Kate Bosworth hales from the South Shore, and True Lies actress Eliza Dushku was born in Boston, as were city kids Donnie and Mark Wahlberg. Hollywood hunks Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Chris Evans all hail from the Bean as well. Last but clearly not least, Stifler’s mom (from the American Pie movies), Jennifer Coolidge, is a Boston-born beauty.

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots (Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)

La Morra, Brookline, Boston (La Morra/Facebook)

Foodies and football: Forget hipster musicians and wannabe actors, athletes are the real celebrities in Boston — and our beloved boys know how to eat! Trending now: Italian.

Tom Brady put La Morra’s insanely awesome classic Bolognese on the culinary map. It’s the handsome quarterback’s favorite dish at this cozy Brookline spot. Coach Bill Belichick and his gorgeous lady, Linda Holliday, are also big pasta fans and regulars of Strega Ristorante, a Vegas-style Italian-American restaurant on Boston’s waterfront.

Nebo Cucina & Enoteca’s patio (Photo: Nebo Restaurant-Pallotta Sisters/Facebook)

Sister act Carla and Christine Pallotta of Nebo Restaurant Cucina & Enoteca incorporate real-deal Italian family recipes (think homemade gnocchi with Italian sausage and broccoli rabe and “Gino” pizza with hot cherry peppers and Italian sausage). The hot spot boasts fans like Patriots tight end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski and his father and brother (also football players), who head there for family-style dining.

Even Patriots wide receiver Julian Edleman and team owner Bob Kraft mangia, mangia, mangia. They get their fix at Davio’s Italian Steakhouse, which has locations in Boston, Chestnut Hill, and, conveniently enough, right inside Patriots Place at Gillette Stadium.

New England clam chowder (Photo: Eising Studio — Food Photo & Video/Stockfood)

Sensational seafood: Seattleites might know how to throw a fish, but nothing compares to Boston’s world-famous seafood. New England clam chowder is its own food group around these parts.

Make like an American hero — à la Daniel Webster or John F. Kennedy and chow down on chowdah at the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the US of A, Union Oyster House.

James Hook & Co. lobster roll (Photo: James Hook & Co./Facebook)

Pick up fresh lobstah right in town, at James Hook & Co., a family-owned restaurant offering live lobsters, lobster dinners, and killer lobster rolls. Down the road in the North End, get in line at the very tiny Neptune Oyster for one of the best raw bars in town. The perfectly curated wine list alone is well worth the long wait (up to three hours) to be seated.

Island Creek Oyster Farm, Duxbury, Mass. (Photo: Island Creek Oyster Farm/Facebook)

Finally, eat perfectly meaty, briny, buttery, and truly addictive oysters at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore Square, or take a tour of its Duxbury oyster farm 40 minutes south of the city.

Other seafood havens include Woodmans of Essex, Post 390, Wulf’s Fish Market, No Name Restaurant, Legal Harborside, The Daily Catch, Snappy Lobster, Atlantic Fish Co., and B&G Oysters, and the list goes on and on and…

Newbury Street (Photo: Jpellgen/Flickr)

Style mavens and game gear: Boston’s boutique-lined Newbury Street is filled with local shops, like women’s fashion boutique Crush and Euro-luxe outfitter Riccardi, as well as international favorites, such as Chanel, Rag & Bone, and Burberry. Tom Brady and his supermodel wife, Gisele Bündchen, have been known to shop the street.

Find power preppy looks and authentic antiques along Charles Street in picturesque Beacon Hill, where beautiful brownstones house many of Boston’s elite.

47 Brand has a selection of good-looking game gear. (Photo: 47 Brand/Facebook)

For game gear that’s actually chic, make your way to 47 Brand for cozy knit hats and vintage-cool tops. Diehard fans have been buying cheeky tees and tops at local e-tailor for over a decade. It even sells Boston-themed candles called “Sweet Caroline” and “Wicked Kissah.”

The Liberty Hotel (Photo: Liberty Hotel Boston/Facebook)

Hot hotels: Formerly a jail and currently a multiplex of fun, The Liberty Hotel is a playground for adults almost every night of the week. Famed chef Lydia Shire runs Scampo onsite, serving up Italian with a twist. Dine on mozzarella with king crab, avocado, and green mustard oil; suckling pig al forno; or truffled buckwheat burrata ravioli.

For drinks, people watching, and hooking up, head across the hall to the famous mug-shot and jail-cell decorated Alibi Bar & Lounge for a lively crowd and heavy-handed pours.

(Photo: XV Beacon/Facebook)

Beacon Hill’s politicos and power suit travelers opt for the ultra-chic XV Beacon, situated in a turn-of-the-20th-century Beaux Arts building around the corner from the State House. Each room is individually (and may we say impeccably) designed with features like cozy fireplaces and four-poster beds. The best part? It offers free luxury sedan service for guests. Downstairs, Mooo… restaurant’s subterranean wine cellar holds about 4,000 bottles of rare wine dating all the way back to the 1700s.

Sweating it out: The Patriots cheerleaders have been known to frequent cult favorite Barry’s Bootcamp for a cardio and strength training fix, while supermodel Bündchen and hubby Brady have been spotted at Soul Cycle in the posh Chestnut Hill.

Runners along the Charles River (Photo: Aris Gionis/Flickr)

Other local athletes have been known to work out during the off-season at one of three Equinox locations, or by walking alongside the gorgeous Charles River, which separates Boston from Cambridge.

Pigskins and viewing pleasure: If you don’t have the pleasure of watching the big game live in Arizona, find the next best thing in the form of a crowded bar — of which there’s no shortage in this town — or a restaurant hosting a viewing party.

Cask and Flagon (Photo: Cask and Flagon)

If Cask and Flagon’s 60-inch, high-def flat-screen TVs aren’t convincing enough, it’s also giving Pats fans an opportunity to give back via a fun take on deflate-gate. Bring in a new, regulation-size football (either deflated or inflated) and receive a free appetizer. The balls will be donated to Good Sports, a nonprofit organization that gives athletic gear to disadvantaged young people. In true Bostonian form, we can poke fun at ourselves and do some major good at the same time.

Seth Greenberg’s French newbie resto Bastille Kitchen will be hosting a Super Bowl XLIX viewing party in the très chic Chalet Lounge Prive, screening the game on a life-sized screen and offering up Super Bowl-inspired treats with a French twist. It’s free to attend, but an RSVP is required.

Ginger barbecued pulled pork sandwich at PARK (Photo: Instagram/@Parkcambridge)

Across the river, at Gronk-approved PARK, Chef Greg Guevin is serving “elevated” interpretations of football food in the form of Baja fish tacos and ginger barbecued pulled pork. Watch those silly seabirds get exterminated on a large projector screen.

The Case for Seattle

(Photo: Stuart Westmorland/Corbis)

It’s déjà vu, baby! Super Bowl XLIX will mark the beginning of a new football empire. That’s right, the defending champs are back for a chance to finally dethrone New England to become the NFL’s new dynasty team with their second Super Bowl win in a row, while superstar Russell Wilson stands on the precipice of snatching the torch from Tom Brady to become America’s quarterback. And while the big boys settle their football differences on the field, we’re here to settle a more personal dispute: Which is the better city? Oh, that sound you just heard was me, trying not to laugh.

Seattle is the artsy, hipster jewel of the Pacific Northwest — the birthplace of the band Nirvana and the raucuous ’90s grunge movement, and later, the home of Starbucks and the American coffee trend. It’s a city of outdoorsmen and great natural beauty, of organic food and startups. And what does New England have besides Harvard and a little foliage?

Population: 652,405

Mario Batali in New York City on Feb. 9, 2013 (Photo: Jessica Earnshaw/Demotix/Corbis)

Famous faces: The famous faces you’ll see around town in Seattle are a refection of the city’s achievements in food, art, and music. Film director Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire) has deep Seattle roots, as does former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank and new blockbuster star Chris Pratt both come from Seattle, and celebrity chef Mario Batali has a home here.

Hotel Max (Photo: Hotel Max/Facebook)

Hot hotels: You’ll find most of Seattle’s best hotels downtown, such as Hotel 1000, a supertrendy hotel that’s totally unassuming yet utterly luxurious. This design boutique is a Seattle superstar: gorgeous, with modern rooms, city views, and a greeting of sparkling wine from your tatted-up host.

Hotel Max is another downtown favorite and the ultimate hipster hotel. (Gumball machine? Check! Vintage record player? Check!) It has efficient text-message concierge service, sexy design, and great photography decorating the walls and small but cozy rooms.

Inn at the Market snags the city’s best location for a boutique hotel — just steps from Pike Place Market and exquisite brunch at Bacco Cafe. The rooms are spacious, with terrace views looking out onto the water.

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is the grande dame of Seattle stays, an old-world Georgian-style building that’s every bit as charming as it is opulent. The rooms are large and ornate, dressed in dark woods that create an elegant and private feel, a kind of decadence you’ll pay a pretty penny for (ahem … make that a lot of pretty pennies).

Bar Sajor (Photo: T. Tseng/Flickr)

Any given Sunday brunch: Bar Sajor is the Super Bowl champ of long, lazy Sunday brunches, a charming, almost rustic space of soaring high ceilings and wood-burning fireplaces. The food is superfresh and creative, such as their Neah Bay black cod topped with a fried egg, sourced from local farmers. This is the place you come on a Sunday when you have nothing else to do, all day, besides sit with a glass of rosé or a hot cup of coffee.

Foodies and football: New England would be wise to sit this one out. Let’s start with Seattle’s best new shrine to locally sourced food, Westward, the hottest reservation in town, a nautical powerhouse of fresh ingredients matched with a spectacular view of Lake Union. Grab a seat at the chef’s counter and indulge in their fresh oysters.

The Whale Wins (Photo: The Whale Wins/Facebook)

The Whale Wins is another touchdown, Renee Erickson’s victory dance after her last restaurant, The Walrus and the Carpenter, received universal praise as the city’s new hot spot. This white-and-blue cottage is ideal for brunch, but their wood-fired shared plates make for one of the city’s best dinners.

And while Seattle is famous for its stripped-down, repurposed, minimalist style, Canlis proves that they can sack New England in the romance department. This is a groundbreaking five-star restaurant, helmed by a three-time James Beard-nominated chef, where the gents come dressed in sports coats and you nosh on exquisite cuisine of the highest artistry over candlelight and the twinkling city that surrounds it.

Sensational seafood: New England seafood is a lot like the Patriots — it was once the best thing going, until Seattle stepped up and took its place. Besides, there’s a reason why Seattle’s known as Seafood City, USA, and Etta’s is one of its biggest claims to fame, a classic Pike Place fish joint with oversized booths and an equally oversized menu of local catches.

Jonathan Sundstrom takes a more elegant approach to seafood with his Seattle U. haunt, Lark. Known for his baked eel, Sundstrom is the city’s most eco-friendly chef, responsibly sourcing his fish from small, family-owned businesses. His Alaskan spot prawns are the best in the country.

Fish and fries from Pike Street Fish Fry (Photo: Pike Street Fish Fry/Facebook)

And then there’s the legendary Pike Street Fish Fry, a hipster haven down on Capitol Hill, where the food is a perfect spiral of local cod and oysters and calamari yet oh so fried and greasy.

Style mavens and game gear: If you think Seattle is all grungy hipsters with unkempt beards, you’re (mostly, kind of…) wrong! Seattle is a sleeper hit of a style city.

Start on Ballard Avenue, where urban-chic boutiques dot the scenic street.

A world away, you’ll find funky Fremont Street, a strip of independent stores, family-owned shops, and Merge, a long-time fashion favorite, to give you that downtown-kid look.

Totokaelo (Photo: Totokaelo/Facebook)

You can never overlook the Pike area, the city’s trendiest spot with some of its trendiest shops. Pike’s Totokaelo is where we look for stylish, creative footwear.

As for Seahawks gear, you can’t beat the source, so skip the Sports Authority and online retailers and head to CenturyLink Field to get the most authentic game gear around.

Pigskins and viewing pleasure: If you can’t make it to the actual Super Bowl, there are plenty of places in town for fans to cheer on the team.

Buckley’s in Belltown is a popular football bar with four big screens and a private room for private sports parties. We also love their steaks and ribs, awesome for huge groups of rabid Seahawks fans.

Auto Battery bar (Photo: Auto Battery/Facebook)

Then there’s Auto Battery, and if this trendy sports bar looks like a rundown, abandoned auto-repair shop from the outside, that’s because it is. But inside, it’s a laid-back spot with a few big screens, delicious specialty drinks, craft beers, and some gourmet comfort food.

And check out Cinebarre, a resto-theater where you can watch the big game on the big screen and dine on hearty dishes while you do it.

Check out more smackdowns in places across the world:

Smackdown: Scottsdale vs. Phoenix

Smackdown: Walt Disney World vs. Disneyland

Music City Smackdown: Austin vs. Nashville

Video: Patriots and Seahawks Are a Good Match

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