New England may be known for quaint and quiet towns, but Boston’s got a bright-lights-big-city vibe. (Photo: Corbis Images)
Boston is a city filled with great moments. As a place that breeds innovators, it has a culture that is constantly evolving. That makes exploring all the more interesting. When you visit, you’ll have your pick of historical versus modern, or traditional versus rebellious, places to see. You need to visit all of them. But if you have to decide when and how to navigate, pick a Thursday night — and follow our lead to make your evening all-inclusive. Here’s your evening itinerary:
4 p.m. East Coast oysters are infamous in Boston. Kick-start your evening in the Leather District with an amazing oyster happy hour at Les Zygomates wine bar. Fresh out of the Chesapeake Bay and only $1 a pop, these gooey crustaceans practically invite you to indulge — and with little remorse. The special is from 4 to 6 p.m., but you only need an hour.
You don’t have to shell out big cash for these big shells at Les Zygomates. (Photo: Les Zygomates / Facebook)
[Warning to all Boston novices: Alcoholic beverages are not discounted during happy hour in Massachusetts. It’s illegal. As an alternative, restaurants reduce prices of the next best thing: seafood.]
5 p.m. Next, take a walk through Boston Common. Ya know, the oldest park in America. That one. When strolling through the Common during any season, it’s bound to be picturesque. This time of year, the park is beautifully filled with winter white and blue hues. You might as well treat yo’ self to a cheesy moment. Go to the Frog Pond, lace up some ice skates, and do a few laps for $15 (skate rental fee included). The entry line tends to be long, but it moves quickly.
There’s never a dull moment when you’re sharpening up your skating skills. (Photo: The Boston Common Frog Pond / Facebook)
6 p.m. After ice skating, visit Charles Street, which intersects with the Common. Too many people make the mistake of bypassing it. This quaint cobblestone street is located in the heart of Boston’s most historic neighborhood, Beacon Hill. Get a glimpse of what looks like Old Europe but now feels youthful. The shops, too, deserve a peek. In contrast with Newbury Street, the home of larger brands and chains, Charles Street has emerged as a destination for Boston’s best boutiques and indie finds. If you plan on doing more than window shopping, know that this is the ritzy part of town, and prices are a little higher. A 16-ounce jar of pistachio butter from Fastachi is $21, but it’s gourmet — aka totally worth it.
You may recognize Charles Street from the movie The Departed. (Photo: The Departed)
7:30 p.m. After roaming and ice skating, head south to Haley House Bakery Café, a spot in Roxbury that’s slightly hidden in a residential parking lot. Thursday is the only day it’s open past 6 p.m., so take advantage. Dining here is similar to scenes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Everyone’s related, at least in spirit. Even if it’s your first time, you’re likely to make a new friend. With linear wooden tables and walls adorned with locally handcrafted tapestry, the space is designed for guests to get acquainted.
For your meal, order Boston’s best sandwich, the jerk chicken grilled cheese (veggie option available upon request). Add a hearty side of mac and cheese, sweet potato mash, or house-made ginger slaw.
It’s nearly impossible to resist this cheesy deliciousness from Haley House Bakery Café. (Video: Jeta Stephens)
For dessert, go for the moon-sized chocolate chip cookie. It. Is. Heaven. And it’s made without preservatives, so it’s not that bad to polish off the whole thing.
The coolest of the cool factors at Haley House is its mission to make high-quality food accessible to all members of the community. Your meal will cost less than $20 but will make your stomach, your wallet, and, most of all, your conscience smile. When you go, tell Jeremy, the manager, that we sent you. He’ll take great care of you.
9:30 p.m. Now that you’ve skated, seen remarkable sights, and eaten, it’s time for some music. Your destination: the South End’s Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, which has some of the best feel-good jazz in Boston.
You really can’t go wrong when you end a night with jazz at Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen. (Photo: Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen / Flickr)
11 p.m. Final stop: Liquid Art House (LAH). It opened last year and is slowly changing Boston’s social scene. Guests range from highbrow to hipster, which is a big step away from the city’s traditional — and somewhat polarizing— establishments.
Skinny jeans and suits are welcome at the Liquid Art House. (Photo: Liquid Art House / Facebook)
But back to the menu of experiences. LAH is a restaurant / art gallery hybrid. You have the option to splurge on drinks, dinner, big-ticket masterpieces, or all of the above. We recommend going for the sips and enjoying the bold, Basquiat-like atmosphere. Start by choosing from the lineup of signature artistic and fruity cocktails, many of which have names like “The Optimist” or “The Muse,” and then scan the walls, which are decorated with edgy artwork made by local up-and-comers. But a warning: Everything here is for sale — we’re talking silverware, chefs’ aprons, plates, chandeliers, portraits, and more — so watch yourself if you’re a drunk shopper! If you do buy something, though, at least you won’t have to drag it to the next bar. Once LAH closes, Boston pretty much shuts down for the night … so you can go home and rest up for Friday.
If drinking fancy cocktails like these right before bed is wrong, who wants to be right? (Photo: Liquid Art House / Facebook)