Archer's Favorite Things to Do In Burlington
. Freedom Trail
This 2.5-mile red-brick trail through Boston’s historic neighborhoods tells the story of the American Revolution. Starting at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center, visitors learn about 17 locations and end the tour at the USS Constitution in Charlestown.
Photo courtesy of The Freedom Trail Foundation.
. Hammond Castle Museum
Built in the late 1920s by prolific inventor John Hays Hammond Jr., the castle was a wedding present for Hammond’s wife. It was their residence, as well as home to the Hammond Research Corporation. His work here garnered him the title of “The Father of Remote Control.” A self-guided tour begins with a short video presentation about the Hammonds and then leads visitors through the castle and its grounds. Please note that the castle is closed during the winter months and reopens every May.
Photo courtesy of Hammond Castle Museum.
. Hocus Pocus Tours
A repeat TripAdvisor award-winning tour, the 90-minute Hocus Pocus walking tour brings the Salem of yesteryear back to life. The tour guide is an exceptional storyteller, explaining the town’s history while visiting all the stops along the route. Learn about the Boston Strangler, The Old Witch Gaol (prison), The Witch Trial Memorial, Salem’s 300-year-old curse and more.
Photo courtesy of Hocus Pocus Tours.
. Mary Cummings Park
With more than 200 acres, Mary Cummings Park offers a great way for families to connect in the outdoors. The park provides outdoor recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat in a dedicated public pleasure ground. Adjacent to another 100 acres of protected conservation and recreation land, the park includes two soccer fields, several miles of trails, three major vernal pools, open meadows, upland forests, extensive wetlands and streams. A large portion of the park is designated Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) by MA Fisheries and Wildlife.
Photo courtesy of Mary Cummings Park.
Quirky metal Christmas trees. Colorful, whimsical pillows. Wall art, wreaths and hand-painted champagne glasses. Whether you’re looking for fun ornaments or unique serving plates, darling pig planters or that certain something you must have when you see it, Home is a browsing decorator’s delight.
Photo courtesy of Home.
. Crafty Yankee
Excellent customer service makes this fun gift shop a must-visit when in Lexington. Offering home accents, tabletop, crafts, pottery, bags, decorations, souvenirs, jewelry, art glass, baby gifts and greeting cards, browsing is a delight. Regular-priced gifts come with complimentary gift wrapping.
. Les Fleurs
Andover is home to Les Fleurs — a French-inspired shop specializing in fresh florals, botanicals and sympathy arrangements and wedding foliage and blooms. The shop sells a curated collection of home décor items that includes found and French antiques, bath and body products, candles, charming utensils, frames, prints and coasters.
Photo courtesy of Les Fleurs and Leah Haydock Photography.
. The Bancroft
This classic American steakhouse offers four different private dining experiences in addition to its dramatic dining room. A standout wine menu, handcrafted cocktails and, naturally, the finest steaks around. To try: the Seafood Tower, with lobster tails, local oysters, Wellfleet clams and shrimp cocktail.
Photo courtesy of The Bancroft.
. Boston Massacre Site
The Boston Massacre was one of the central events that led to the American Revolution. A cobblestone ring at the intersection of Congress and State streets marks the site of the March 5, 1770, massacre where civilians died. A few blocks away, the victims are entombed at the Granary Burying Ground. The Spirit of Revolution monument, erected in 1887, is in the Boston Common.
. King Richard's Faire
During the weekends of September and most of October, 80 wooded acres in Carver are transformed into New England’s biggest Renaissance Festival. Enjoy live entertainment all day on eight stages and by roaming performers, as well as exciting rides and skilled games. Watch and shop at talented artisan booths, and take a break from the action to enjoy Renaissance fare — giant turkey legs, decadent desserts and seasonal brews. There is plenty to do, see and eat during this immersive look back in time.
Photo courtesy of Tim Rice.
. The Paul Revere House
On the Freedom Trail between Faneuil Hall and Old North Church, the Paul Revere House is part of a historic experience that includes three buildings: the Paul Revere House, the Pierce/Hichborn House and Lathrop Place. Self-guided and traditional tours bring history alive.
Photo courtesy of The Paul Revere House.
The three-story, stained-glass globe known as the Mapparium is one of the key attractions at the Mary Baker Eddy Library. Experience “A World of Ideas,” an original presentation that blends words, music and LED lights to demonstrate how ideas have traversed time and geography to change the world we live in.
Photo courtesy of The Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston, MA.
. Museum of Fine Arts
Originally opened in 1876, the MFA moved to its current location in 1909. The MFA’s collection includes approximately 500,000 works of art that range from ancient Egyptian to contemporary, special exhibitions. The museum also is home to innovative educational programs.
. Boston Children’s Museum
Founded in 1913, the museum is the second-oldest and one of the most influential children’s museums in the world. Its exhibits and programs incorporate hand-on learning through science, culture, health and fitness, environmental awareness and the arts.
Photo by Lex Piccione.
. Kings Bowling
Since 2002, Kings Bowl America has blended retro-inspired décor with delicious appetizers, wings, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, burgers and entrees (plus desserts!) and nostalgic shakes, floats and bottles, plus a selection of brews and cocktails. Bowling, billiards, shuffleboard, air hockey and foosball round out the friends-and-family fun.
. Burlington Ice Palace
This full-service indoor public skating rink offers winter fun for the whole family. The facility provides an extensive array of skating programs for all ages and abilities. The arena features light fare and snacks at its Ice Box Café, as well as dedicated rooms for parties and heated meeting rooms.
. Burlington Farmers’ Market
This community event brings local farmers, specialty food vendors and artisans together in Burlington. Fill your cooler with locally grown and produced fruits, veggies, meats, seafood, prepared and baked foods, flowers, plants, spa products, fresh eggs, local honey, juices, cheeses, handmade pastas and sauces — the list goes on. “For the Sprouts” are weekly children’s activities, plus visitors enjoy live music and educational demonstrations while supporting the local economy. Open 3:30 - 6:30 PM every Thursday, June 15 - October 12.
. Boston Common Frog Pond
In the heart of Boston Common is the Frog Pond — the oldest public park in the United States. In the winter, visit its winter ice-skating rink and learn-to-skate school; in the summer, enjoy the reflecting pool and a spray pool plus children’s carousel. Grab a bite to eat at the Frog Pond Café.
Photo © The Skating Club of Boston.
. Boston Harbor
The historic Boston Harbor, with the 43-mile linear shoreline Harborwalk and 34-island National and State Park, is a must-visit. The Harborwalk connects to more than 40 parks, several museums and beaches and hundreds of stores and restaurants. Year-round ferries and taxis transport island hoppers looking for outdoor recreation, historical information and relaxation.
Photo courtesy of Boston Harbor Now.
. Fenway Park Tours
Known as “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark,” Fenway Park is home to the Boston Red Sox and the Green Monster — the 37.2-foot-high left field wall. The one-hour guided walking tour gives a sense of this place where dreams are made and traditions are honored.
. Museum of Bad Art
When out-of-the-ordinary experiences are your thing, the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) delivers spectacularly. Three brick-and-mortar galleries in the Boston area bring the worst of art to the widest of audiences, with a $0 entrance fee. (NOTE: Email [email protected] for free tickets to the Somerville location.) How could you possibly say no?
“Charlie and Sheba” — Anonymous, From “The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks” by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco; used with permission of MOBA.
. Boston Marathon
With 15 participants in its 1897 inaugural event, the Boston Marathon has morphed into one of six World Marathon Majors and is arguably one of the most well-known road racing events. Approximately 30,000 runners register for the April event and around 500,000 spectators flock to Boston to watch the race.
Photo courtesy of FayFoto/Boston.
. Osteria Nino
What is more authentically Italian than a restaurant making its own mozzarella? Braised short rib so tender you could eat it with a spoon? Potato gnocchi made in-house? Stuffed mushrooms that get rave reviews all around? Osteria Nino brings a taste of Italy to 3rd Ave, along with superb service in a modern, relaxed atmosphere.
Photo courtesy of Osteria Nino.
This American grill’s rugged yet romantic atmosphere is the ideal backdrop for its chef-inspired menu selections made from scratch. Featuring a wood-burning rotisserie and open-flame grill, Redstone’s menu includes baby back ribs, rotisserie chicken, hand-trimmed steaks and cedar plank salmon.
. 3rd Ave
Unlike any other shopping destination in the region, 3rd Ave offers distinctive restaurants, unique shops, family entertainment and the area’s only Wegmans — all in a wonderfully walkable neighborhood town center. Shops and stops include 18|8 Fine Men's Salon, Boston Interiors, Cambridge Savings Bank, David's Tea, Dover Rug & Home, James Joseph Salon, Jenny Boston Boutique, Kohler Signature Store, LunchboxWax, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, The Shade Store, Xfinity and Xtend Barre. Looking for food and fun? Try Bedford Farms Ice Cream, Kings Dining & Entertainment, Osteria Nino, Redstone American Grill, The Bancroft, Tony C's Sports Bar & Grill and last but most certainly not least, the region's only Wegmans.
. Burlington Mall
This upscale indoor shopping center is anchored by Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sears and Primark and has 185+ specialty shops, an expansive food court and several sit-down restaurants, including Besito Mexican Restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory, Johnny Rockets, Legal Sea Foods and Uno’s Chicago Grill.
. Saint Anthony’s Feast
Every August, the “Feast of All Feasts” honors Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint Lucia with colorful parades, strolling singers, religious services, live entertainment and plenty of Italian and American food. Enjoy cooking demonstrations, a cheese tasting tent, a candlelight procession, an outdoor celebration of the Eucharist, a dance and the Grand Procession of Saint Anthony, in which the statue of the saint is carried throughout Boston’s North End.
Photo courtesy of Matthew J. Conti/MattConti.com.
. Jenny Boston Boutique
What began in 2004 as a store for affordable jewelry, handbags and accessories has grown into five bustling boutiques in Massachusetts. As with all five locations, the Burlington boutique additionally sells high-end clothing with off-retail pricing and offers a weekly Facebook sales event (Wednesdays at 8:30 PM EST). The warm, friendly staff and trendy, fun selection move Jenny Boston up the must-go-to list.
. Cape Cod National Seashore
With 40 miles and more than 43,000 acres of sandy beaches, marshes, ponds and uplands, Cape Cod is an idyllic place to get away from it all. Scenic views include lighthouses, wild cranberry bogs and the Atlantic seashore. Enjoy the beach, or explore the area via hiking, biking and canoeing. Visit during the off season for free parking and no crowds.
Photo courtesy of Doug Lemke/Shutterstock.
. FAN EXPO Boston
New England’s biggest comic book convention is in August every year at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. This family-friendly celebration of pop-culture fandom includes meet-and-greets with favorite heroes, celebrity guest panels, autograph sessions, workshops, shopping opportunities and plenty of cosplay attractions.
Photo courtesy of FAN EXPO Boston.
Just 45 minutes from Burlington is the charming coastal town of Rockport, MA. Home primarily to fishermen and artists, Rockport has numerous galleries, museums and performing arts centers, as well as colorful buildings and ocean-inspired gift shops. Try Roy Moore’s Fish Shack to taste the freshest seafood dishes while overlooking Rockport’s Old Harbor and Sandy Bay.
Photo courtesy of Rockport USA.
. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Northeast of Burlington by 1.5 hours is Portsmouth, NH. Bursting with history and museums, the tourist haven also has New England’s largest water park, plus a marine and science discovery center. Watch for whales, tour lighthouses, canoe and kayak, take a lobster tour or cruise the harbor — then visit some of the many breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries.
Photo courtesy of Michael R. Goodman.
. The Butterfly Place
Open Valentine’s Day through Columbus Day, The Butterfly Place in Westford, MA, is less than 25 minutes from Burlington. Its indoor garden is home to hundreds of free-flying butterflies from New England, as well as tropical species from all over the world. Watch a video about the butterfly life cycle and see koi fish, quail birds, caterpillars and other creatures up close.
Photo courtesy of Bob Wilson.
“America’s First Destination” is Provincetown due to its pilgrim heritage. At the northwest tip of Cape Cod Bay and two and a half hours southeast of Burlington, the quaint town is a popular tourist attraction. Almost three-quarters of Provincetown is preserved in its wilderness state as part of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park. It’s also a haven for artists and a preeminent destination for LGBT visitors and residents.
Photo courtesy of The Provincetown Chamber of Commerce.
. Peabody Essex Museum
Known as PEM, Peabody Essex Museum houses approximately 1.8 million items, including 400,000 books, manuscripts and documents. Its campus has 22 historic buildings, including a soaring glass atrium. Just 35 minutes east of Burlington, the museum offers guided tours on a reservation basis. The family-friendly Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center is designed for visitors of all ages.
Photo courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum.
. Boston Duck Tours
It’s the “Best IntroDUCKtion to Boston”: Step aboard one of the DUCKs — a WWII-style amphibious landing vehicle — and enjoy the narrated sightseeing tour of Boston. The tour guide then “splashes down” the DUCK directly into the Charles River for a spectacular view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines.
Photo courtesy of Boston Duck Tours.
. Pressed Café
With breakfast served all day and a Mediterranean-inspired menu, Pressed Café brings fresh, fast, flavorful food to The District in Burlington. The micro-roasted coffee and espresso are local, from the George Howell Coffee Company, and teas, smoothies and raw juices round out the beverages. Choose from soups, salads, paninis, signature bowls, an impressive vegan menu, three specialty toasts and a kids’ selection.
. As Good as It Gets Café
The Phantom Gourmet has given As Good as It Gets Café an A+ rating, which parallels customer reviews. This all-day breakfast establishment serves up home-style favorites — how do you like your eggs? — as well as breakfast paninis griddle goodies and assorted pastries. A coffee corner offering New England’s Best coffee selections is available for a quick stop. Lunch is also served, with jumbo sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads and more.
Photo courtesy of As Good as It Gets Café.
. Seasons 52
Seasonal ingredients prepared using rustic cooking techniques is the Seasons 52 calling card. The lunch menu includes a variety of starters — try the Shrimp Scampi Skillet or Whole Roasted Cauliflower with a three-cheese sauce — thoughtful flatbreads, soups, fish, seafood and “pasture” dishes, handhelds and sides. And don’t forget the carrot cake. Sunday brunch features special chef creations plus $5 brunch sips.
This American bar and grill offers a variety of steaks, chops, seafood, sandwiches, soups and salads. An elevated chef’s table in front of the open kitchen provides culinary entertainment. The Greatroom’s communal table encourages socializing. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Chopps is a great locale to watch the game and nosh.
. Prince Street Café & Bakery
A scratch kitchen that avoids processed ingredients is the time-tested recipe for Prince Street Café & Bakery. Making its own dough, breadcrumbs, sauces, pizzas and calzones, the restaurant also makes paninis, salads, specialty sandwiches and an assortment of delicious pastries. A short but customizable breakfast menu includes bagels, omelets, breakfast sandwiches and sfogliatelle — a pastry with thin layers of dough filled with an orange-flavored ricotta cheese filling.
. True North Coffee Café
A locally owned, independent coffeehouse, True North provides a homey, neighborhood atmosphere for its customers. Hot, frozen and iced specialty coffee beverages are espresso-based and customizable. It also serves hot and frozen hot chocolate, hot teas and fruit smoothies, plus delightful baked goods and gourmet desserts made on-site. A savory selection of sandwiches rounds out the menu.
Photo courtesy of True North Coffee Café.
. The Hawthorne
Boston’s The Hawthorne is 45 minutes southeast of Burlington and worth the stop. Aiming to be a “part of the continuum of bar, saloon and tavern as a hot bed of revolution, intellectual discourse and romantic pursuit,” The Hawthorne’s mixologists craft well-balanced cocktails in an environment that’s more like a living room than a pub, and the service is consistently gracious and impeccable.
Photo courtesy of The Hawthorne.
Open five days a week (not Sunday and Monday), Backbar is northwest of Boston. Find it by going into an alley, locating the red lit sign and passing through a nondescript door. Inside, it’s cozy and hip, described by some as a hipster speakeasy. It’s readily apparent that the bartenders love what they’re doing — which benefits patrons in all the best ways.
Photo courtesy of Backbar.
. Burtons Grill & Bar — Burlington
For a sophisticated yet casual atmosphere, Burtons aims to “delight every guest” one at a time. Reviews rave about the General Tso’s Cauliflower, Roasted Beet salad and Crab Crusted Haddock. The menu includes gluten-sensitive, paleo and vegetarian options. An attentive staff and consistent cuisine make Burtons a frequent stop for locals and travelers alike.
. Norman Rockwell Museum
“Dedicated to education and art appreciation inspired by the legacy of Norman Rockwell,” this museum showcases nearly 1,000 original paintings and drawings. Visitors can also view Rockwell’s original art materials, library, furnishings and personal items. Two hours from Burlington, the museum is kid-friendly, hosting scavenger/treasure hunts and providing a creativity center and audio tour for children.
. The Bancroft — Burlington
A classic American steakhouse, The Bancroft is also an excellent choice for cocktails and wine. With a reputation of having “a killer bar” with “fabulous, innovative craft cocktails” that are seasonally appropriate and a rotating wine list that’s unpretentious yet innovative, The Bancroft does not disappoint.
Photo courtesy of The Bancroft.
. Sweet Thyme Bakery
Ten minutes southwest of Burlington is Sweet Thyme Bakery. Cakes are available in several sizes and made with its own sponge cake a decorated with fresh whipped cream. Other specialties include cheesecakes, yogurt walnut chocolate cheesebars, roulades, cupcakes, butter cookies and a bread of the day. Try a sandwich, wrap, salad or soup — and the bubble tea — before indulging in a sweet treat.
. LaCascia's Bakery & Deli
For more than three decades, LaCascia’s Bakery & Deli has been the place to go for baked goods, deli service and catering needs. Offering homemade items alongside imported Italian cold cuts, top-shelf cheeses, just-baked Italian breads and take-home meals, LaCascia’s is Burlington’s one-stop shop. An internet-review favorite: Steak Tip a la Fred: Marinated sirloin steak tips with grilled onions, pepperoni and jalapeño cheese.
Just down the street from Archer Hotel is the region’s only Wegmans. The wildly popular supermarket has been voted as the best grocery store in America, noted for its excellent shopping experience. Also raved about is its ready-to-eat section. (Salad bar? Check. Chicken wings? Sushi? Check. Check.) The Burlington store has a full made-to-order pizza menu and another for old-fashioned submarine sandwiches.
. Burlington Players
Presenting approximately four shows a season, Burlington Players has been producing plays and musicals since 1985. The adult, all-volunteer theatre group has been nominated for and won numerous Distinguished Achievement and Special Honors (DASH) awards. The troupe also produces two plays a year with the Winnemere Family Theater and runs the Children’s Theater Workshop.
. LaCascia's Bakery & Deli
Burlington’s LaCascia’s Bakery & Deli has been a staple for more than 30 years for baked goods, deli service and catering needs. In particular, the bakery uses locally harvested fruits, cheeses and eggs and imported chocolates. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a variety of cookies, pastries and pies, plus freshly made breads and rolls. Seasonal pies include Key Lime, Mince Meat, Pecan, Pumpkin and Squash.
Versatile, customizable, timeless, durable and comfortable: all important qualities in a couch, and all qualities that describe Lovesac products. Washable slipcovers add convenience to these soft foam “sactionals” and “sacs” — an investment meant to last a lifetime.
. The House of the Seven Gables
Built in 1668 for Captain John Turner I and subsequently expanded, altered and restored, The House of the Seven Gables made its mark in literature when Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his famous novel about the house in 1851. Open year-round, the seaside house is one of the largest timber-framed mansions still on its original foundation in the United States. Climb the secret staircase, relax in the period seaside gardens, shop for unique gifts and take part in family activities.
Photo courtesy of The House of the Seven Gables.
. Museum of Science
One of the world’s largest science centers, the Museum of Science has a rotating schedule of temporary exhibits, IMAX films and Planetarium shows, plus 700+ interactive exhibits. Hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, a butterfly garden and incredible 4-D film experiences help make this a must-visit for people of all ages. Save lunch for after a go on the Thrill Ride 360˚ simulator.
. USS Constitution
Inside Boston National Historical Park as part of the Charlestown Navy Yard and part of Boston's Freedom Trail, the USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. Step aboard “Old Ironsides” and hear the story of the ship from interpretative historians. Please note that the USS Constitution is a National Historic Site that’s maintained in its 1812-era configuration; as such, it is not ADA-compliant. The neighboring USS Constitution Museum has interactive galleries that explain the ship’s centuries-old history.
. Plimoth Plantation
Immerse yourself in this living history museum that replicates the 17th-century Plymouth Colony. Based on ongoing research, archaeological excavation and records, the historical interpreters interact with visitors, explain their everyday lives and answer questions, as well as demonstrating daily tasks. The museum is home to the 17th-Century English Village, the Wampanoag Homesite, Plimoth Grist Mill The Nye Barn with rare and heritage breeds of sheep, goats and cows, a craft center, and a cinema. The museum is also in charge of the Mayflower II — a full-scale replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth in 1620; the ship is currently at Mystic Seaport for restoration.
. Newbury Street
Eight blocks of some of the best shopping, beauty services, dining and entertainment in the Boston area were once under water. What is now the fashion-forward Newbury Street was part of the Boston Harbor until the mid-1800s. Once the area was filled in, the buildings were constructed utilizing European design elements. It was an instant residential success and became the most sought-after locales. Today, its eclectic establishments have earned its nickname as “the Rodeo Drive of the East.”
. Harpoon Octoberfest
Celebrate all things beer at the Harpoon Octoberfest in South Boston. Oompah music and other live bands, bratwursts and a variety of food truck vendors, chicken dancing and, of course, Harpoon Brewery beers on tap. Take the tour of the Harpoon Brewery to learn about how the beer is made, and enjoy the tasting room. The event’s soft pretzels earn serious kudos, so cave in to your craving.
Photo courtesy of Harpoon Brewery.
. New England Aquarium
Focusing on ocean exploration and marine conservation, the New England Aquarium offers a myriad of exhibits and is home to thousands of aquatic animals. Animal encounter programs include a meet-and-greet with Harbor Seals and Myrtle, the Green Sea Turtle, plus a behind-the-scenes tour. The IMAX Theatre shows several movies that aim to educate, as well as mesmerize the audience.
Photo courtesy of New England Aquarium.
. Capital Grille
Amid art deco chandeliers and warm mahogany paneling, The Capital Grille serves dry-aged steaks, seafood and more than 350 world-class wines. Quintessentially romantic, it has attentive and knowledgeable service and makes sure to note special occasions in delightful ways. Reviewers can’t say enough good things about the Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and the Soy Glazed Brussels Sprouts With Bacon get a special nod.
Photo courtesy of The Capital Grille.
. Legal Sea Foods
On the first level of the Burlington Mall is Legal Sea Foods, a popular local chain with a large seafood, fish and sushi menu. Multiple reviewers rave about the fresh oysters, clam chowder, lobster roll and crab cakes. The dessert menu includes Boston Cream Pie — naturally — as well as other sweet selections. In the mood for a liquid dessert? Try an Espresso Martini, Hot Toddy or Mexican Coffee.
Photo courtesy of Gustav Hoiland.
. Wink & Nod
Visionary cocktails crafted from scratch is the name of the game at Wink & Nod in Boston’s South End. Imagine sitting in a old-time speakeasy with a twist of modernity, sipping The Noble Pursuit or Thank God It’s Islay or perhaps tasting a flight of top-shelf Scotch selections. Then order a bite from the rotating menu — every six months, a new restaurant group runs the kitchen. One visit offers Indonesian fare; the next, a blend of Spanish, Portuguese and Basque cuisine. A pleasant surprise is around every corner.
Tuscan design and Tuscan cuisine make L’Andana a memorable experience. House-made pastas and gnocchi steal the show, while the steak and seafood options round out the Italian menu. The swordfish gets high marks, as does the Crisp Chicken Milanese. The mixologists are consistently highly praised (one reviewer claims that the Bulleit Old Fashioned is “just about the best cocktail” he’s ever had — high praise. And the attentive staff is one of the best around. Buon appetito!
. Pyara Spa and Salon
When it’s time for pampering, look to Pyara Spa and Salon in Burlington. It offers a full menu of spa services, including manicures and pedicures, hair removal, makeup services, body treatments, facials and massages, plus enhancements (neti massage, ayurvedic eye treatment, lash and brow tinting, lash extensions) and spa packages. The salon provides hair styling, coloring and enhancement services. Try cryotherapy to reap a whole host of benefits, including speeding recovery, reducing injuries, improving sleep and increasing energy.
Image courtesy of Pyara Spa and Salon.
. Aine's Boutique
This highly recommended boutique offers a curated collection of women’s clothing and gifts, along with top-notch service. Looking for a fun top to wear or a perfect-fitting pair of jeans? Maybe some interesting earrings plus a scarf that screams, “Buy me”? You’re in luck. A small sampling of lines includes Mystree, Last Tango, ZSupply, Silver Jeans, Kut From the Kloth and Jojo.
. Life Time Athletic
With locations throughout the United States and in Canada, Life Time offers “all the building blocks of fitness and training, and then some.” Sure, you’ll find plenty of state-of-the-art equipment and machines, as well as classes, programs and sports options; you’ll also be treated to inspiring, thoughtfully designed spaces — plus fresh towel service, premium toiletries and hair dryers, and lounges with Wi-Fi. Don’t forget classes especially for kids, a café and poolside bistro and a salon-spa.
Photo courtesy of Life Time Inc.
. MarketStreet Lynnfield
This open-air shopping village has more than 70 national-brand stores and local boutiques, plus more than 15 dining experiences. Anchored by Kings Bowl America and Whole Foods Market, the shopping mecca has something for everyone. An ice skating rink is open from mid-November through February each year. The nine-hole King Rail Reserve Golf Course is adjacent to MarketStreet. And Muse Paintbar lets the creativity flow alongside cocktails and palettes.
Photo courtesy of MarketStreet Lynnfield.
. Prudential Center
This indoor shopping destination in the heart of Boston offers a solid shopping experience all year long — and especially in the winter months. More than 50 shops and nearly 25 eating establishments, plus a Skywalk Observatory with 360-degree views of the city, make Prudential Center worth the visit. There’s also a public art program, and the center hosts periodic art shows.
Photo courtesy of lipofsky.com.
. Copley Place
With approximately 75 stores — many of them high-end national brands and boutiques — Copley Place brings distinctive shopping to historic Back Bay. Retailers include Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Tiffany & Co., Jimmy Choo, Rigby & Peller, Tourneau, Salvatore Ferragamo, David Yurman, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Burberry and Versace. Grab a delicious bite to eat at Legal Sea Foods or Au Bon Pain.
. Newbury Street
Stroll up one side of Newbury Street and then down the other and you’ll come across some of the most fabulous boutiques, salons, galleries and dining opportunities in the city. The charming neighborhood is home to Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Cartier, Galerie d’Orsay, Bella Sante Day Spa, Valentino, Ugg, Nordstrom Rack, Alton Lane, H&M, Dry Bar, Pratesi, Fresh, O’bag, Camper, Marine Layer, Duxiana, Soo Dee, Dr. Martens, Dirty Water Dough Co., Toscana Day Spa, Amorino Gelato, Crush, Mother Juice, Hempest, Fjallraven, Muji, Patagonia and Room & Board, among many others.
. Mike's Pastry
Known as “the home of the cannoli,” Mike’s Pastry is one of the most famous Italian bake shops in Boston’s North End. The array of cannoli options include nearly 20 flavors. Also available are a variety of biscotti, macaroons, cookies and a ricotta pie. Don’t leave without your on-the-go cannoli stash: Mike’s Famous Cannoli Package lets you assemble your cannoli when and where you’re ready to enjoy them.
. Harvard Square
More like a triangular space than a square, historic Harvard Square can also refer to the neighborhood surrounding the popular intersection. Buskers entertain the plentiful pedestrian traffic, which passes by an international newsstand, the MBTA subway entrance, a visitor information kiosk and “The Pit” — a sunken, open-air performance space. Upward of 8 million visitors each year come for the shopping, dining, entertainment, education and camaraderie that’s abundant in Harvard Square.
. Richardson's Ice Cream
Part of Jordan’s Furniture Superstore, Richardson’s Ice Cream comes from a dairy farming family that’s been producing homemade dairy products for generations. A huge selection of premium ice cream includes Death By Chocolate, Coffee Oreo, Crunch-a-saurus, Maine Black Bear, Cherry Vanilla and Green Tea flavors. You can also get 95 percent fat-free yogurt, sherbet, no-sugar-added ice cream and sorbet, as well as farm-fresh milk. It’s a feast for the eyes, too, with several huge jelly bean displays, a BeanStalk™ Adventure Ropes Course and an IMAX 3-D movie theater.
. The Restaurant
This cafeteria-style restaurant serves home-style meals that’ll make you miss your mama. The friendly staff, extensive menu and reasonable prices make it a repeat visit for visitors and locals alike. Lunch offerings include fresh-cut salads, wraps, sandwiches, char-broiled burgers, shaved steak sandwiches, grilled house Reubens, pasta and seafood selections and house favorites. The newly designed bar chills its beer to 32 frosty, tasty degrees. The Restaurant is also open for breakfast and dinner, but don’t be late; it closes at 8:30 PM Monday – Saturday and 1 PM Sunday.
. American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.)
Founded in 1980, The American Repertory Theater at Harvard University’s Loeb Drama Center develops new, groundbreaking productions for its audiences. Whether contemporary theatre or Shakespeare, musicals, dances or student productions, A.R.T. delivers high-caliber performances in a space with no bad seats in the house.
. The Cannon Theatre
This intimate black-box experience brings family-friendly shows to the Boston area. Established in 2007 and set in an old mill with high ceilings, this nonprofit theatre is a place for people to sit back, laugh and get lost in the moment. With only 50 seats, The Cannon Theatre is home to consistently impressive sets, detailed costumes and entertaining performances.
Photo courtesy of The Cannon Theatre.
. Clover Food Lab
Perhaps unlike any other breakfast (or lunch) place you’ve tried, Clover focuses on offering only the freshest selections. To do this, the restaurant doesn’t have a freezer; instead, it keeps a small stock of just-picked foods on hand, which means the menu is small and changes day to day — and it sometimes runs out of ingredients. This philosophy gives Clover the ability to experiment with its food and create simple, healthy, fast food from scratch.
Photo courtesy of Clover Food Lab.
. Kittery Outlets
More than 120 famous brand-name outlet stores make this collection of stores an outlet lover’s dream. About an hour north of both Burlington and Boston, the town of Kittery has been a vacation destination for more than a century. “America’s Maine Street for Shopping” includes (among many others) Kittery Trading Post, J. Crew, Express Outlet, Lululemon Outlet, Crate & Barrel, Under Armour Outlet, Banana Republic Factory Store, Calvin Klein, Champion, Old Navy Outlet, Levi’s Outlet Store, Loft Outlet, Timmy Hilfiger, Gap Factory, Addidas, New Balance Factory Store, Hanna Andersson, Barbour Outlet and several food stops to fuel the shopping frenzy.
. Connors Farm
This working farm produces a wide range of fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers and hosts a bevy of attractions for every age. With a seven-acre corn maze, barnyard animals, cow milking, gemstone mining a grain train, pumpkin tetherball, tug-o-war and horse swings (to literally name just a few), everyone will find something new to experience.
. French Lessons Boutique
With five locations in Massachusetts and one in California, French Lessons Boutique blends timeless pieces with the latest trends. The boutique carries a curated selection of designer styles — think Diane Von Furstenberg, All Mankind, Rebecca Taylor, Trina Turk, J Brand, Nanette Lepore — for a pulled-together, eclectic look.
. Hancock-Clarke House
This walk through history takes visitors through the home of Lexington’s first two ministers and the house where John Hancock and Sam Adams were staying on April 18, 1775, when Paul Revere stopped to tell the two men that British troops had left Boston. Built in 1737, the Hancock-Clarke House offers a guided tour that begins with an orientation film, includes the Treasures of the Revolution exhibit and a walk through the Colonial herb garden. Typically open on weekends April through October.
. Corner Antiques
For eclectic antiques, cool collectibles and out-of-the-ordinary home décor, stop by Corner Antiques. Tucked behind Benjamin Moore ColorWorks, the small but chock-full shop has good prices on unusual finds and unique gifts, all thoughtfully curated by the friendly owner.
. Essex River Cruises & Charters
Wouldn’t it be nice to let someone else steer while you relax and enjoy the New England view? May - October, Essex River Cruises & Charters offers narrated cruises on the Essex River. Add on a traditional New England Clambake or Barbecue on the tidal beach — a mostly secluded area that’s ideal for beach games, swimming, sunbathing, volleyball and camaraderie.
. Elements Massage
“Beautiful, professional, quiet and peaceful” — and known for truly listening to clients and delivering great results — Elements Massage offers “The Elements Promise™ guarantee. Massages offered include Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, couples, prenatal, aromatherapy and Himalayan salt stone. A special intro rate entices first-time customers, and The Elements Wellness Program™ is a month-to-month membership ideal for repeat clients.
. Blossom Nails & Spa
Great reviews and a focus on manicures, pedicures and facial waxing make Blossom Nail & Spa a popular place to get pampered. Whether you’re interested in a French, American, gel or acrylic manicure, a single color or fun design, the manicurists listen to what you want and don’t rush the process. Unwanted facial hair? The staff will help your face feel soft and smooth and your eyebrows sculpted to perfection. Call ahead for an appointment.
. Ideal Image
Ideal Image works to help people feel their best via laser hair removal, Botox and fillers, skin lifting, fat reduction, BBL/BroadBand Light therapy, Ultherapy and other nonsurgical techniques. The Burlington location gets rave reviews for its cleanliness, friendly and helpful staff and positive results.
. Smolak Farms
Visitors to this progressive farm pick fruit from the orchards and shop at the farm stand and bakery. Children can go on a hayride, attend a summer program and visit the farm animals. Along with hosting festivals throughout the year, they also have a Christmas tree farm to complement their full calendar of December workshops and events.
. Legoland Discovery Center Boston
Kids love Legoland! This indoor playland encourages visitors to build with Lego blocks, race Lego cars and get inspired at Miniland, where Lego replicas of Boston’s best buildings are displayed. Sign up for block-building workshops, meet favorite Lego characters, tour the Lego factory and ride the indoor Kingdom Quest and Merlin’s Apprentice rides. Two play zones have slides, a jungle gym and climbing walls, and a 4D cinema is sure to please.
Photo courtesy of Legoland Discovery Center Boston.
. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Presenting classic and modern home furnishings, the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Signature Store is in Burlington’s 3rd Ave shopping mecca. In addition to furniture, it offers eco-friendly, American-made upholstery, lighting, rugs, bed linens, artwork, mirrors and accessories. Experienced designers can offer suggestions based on your needs and style.
. Greater Boston Stage Company
Previously the Stoneham Theatre, the Greater Boston Stage Company is a 15-minute drive east from Burlington. The professional regional theatre produces six or seven shows each year and provides year-round training and performance opportunities to students grades 1 - 12 in its education program The Young Company. Expect a lineup of regional premieres and fresh interpretations of popular work.
. Head of the Charles Regatta
Every October, more than 11,000 of the world’s best crew teams descend on the banks of the Charles River for the two-day rowing competition, and it’s a sight to behold. With a full-time professional staff and 1,700 volunteers, the event requires a full year of preparation.
. Battle of Lexington Re-enactment
Every year, the 1775 Battle of Lexington is commemorated on the third Monday in April with a historical re-enactment of the famous battle. Performed by members of the Lexington Minute Men Company and His Majesty’s Tenth Regiment of Foot, the re-enactment takes place at 5:30 AM and evokes the revolutionary spirit that fueled the American Revolution.
. Lexington Venue
Need an artsy escape but don’t want to fight the crowds at a multiplex theater? Give Lexington Venue a try. The nondescript entrance leads to a cozy, clean, well-maintained theatre that shows more-quirky films. Popcorn? Check. Cold drink? Check. Comfy seats and back-in-the-day charm? Check, check. Lots of dining options are within walking distance, ideal for before or after the show.
. Café Escadrille
For four decades, Café Escadrille has been wowing guests with its upscale classic American fare. The extensive menu has Escargo Bourguignonne, Stuffed Shrimp and Roast Prime Rib — blackened on request — that all receive high praise. And its wine list? Enormous and wide-ranging. For a specialty coffee to accompany your Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake served with blueberry compote, try the Escadrille Coffee: combining cacao, mint and raspberry liqueurs.
. Artistry on the Green
This multi-award-winning restaurant has its home in the historic Inn at Hastings Park. Serving a select menu weekdays and different expanded menus on Saturday and Sunday, Artistry on the Green incorporates fresh, seasonal ingredients and innovative cooking techniques to create New England breakfasts for all occasions.
Photo courtesy of The Inn at Hastings Park & Artistry on the Green.
. The Friendly Toast
When you have a hankering for breakfast all day plus lunch and dinner options, great service, a fun-and-funky atmosphere and selections of tasty flights, The Friendly Toast in the Burlington Mall doesn’t disappoint. Homemade breads and granola are on the menu, as are Cheesecake French Toast, Irish Benny (aka Benedict with house-made hollandaise and corned beef hash), chicken and waffles, avocado toast and a make-your-own section. The mimosa flight brings high praise — cheers!
. True Balance Day Spa
This Burlington day spa has a multitude of devotees. Offering facials, waxing, manicures, pedicures, spray tanning, makeup applications and eyelash extensions, True Balance prides itself on cleanliness and excellent service in a peaceful environment. For custom nail art, ask for Sam Rasphoumy — he uses a paintbrush and acrylic paint to create mini works of art on nails.
. Twist Bakery
Everything at Twist Bakery is made fresh from scratch, and organic when possible. Open for breakfast and lunch, they receive consistently positive reviews for food, service, value and atmosphere and can accommodate diet restrictions of the top nine food allergens. Don’t miss the French Toast Breakfast, the Goat Cheese, Apple & Bacon omelette or the avocado toast with your choice of toppings.
. Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Near downtown Boston’s waterfront, Faneuil Hall is abuzz with activity. The 200,000-square-foot retail and office space includes more than 70 local and national shops, and the 160,000-square-foot cobblestone marketplace space attracts talented street performers and musicians. Hungry? You’re in serious luck at the historic Quincy Market Colonnade — a very-Boston food court extravaganza.
Photo courtesy of Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
. Davis Farmland
For outdoor family-friendly fun, head to Sterling’s Davis Farmland. The Children’s Discovery Farm includes North America’s largest sanctuary of endangered farm animals, Imagine-Acres geared toward young children’s imagination, Adventureland with bouncing, crawling, slithering, scooting, sliding and riding activities, and Play & Spray — New England’s largest zero-depth water spray ground. In the fall, an additional fee lets you pick your own apples and pumpkins.
. Bunker Hill Monument
Paying tribute to the patriots who fought at the battle of Bunker Hill (which is actually on Breed’s Hill), the 221-foot granite obelisk towers over a statue of Dr. Joseph Warren, a leader of the early American Revolution who died there in battle. Wear comfy shoes — it’s a 294-step climb to the top.
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
. Backyard Food Truck Party
Fun for the entire family, this annual fall food truck festival each November highlights an array of food trucks, craft beers and live music. Between bites, hop on the Sky Ride for a trip to the mountain summit. Or take part of jumbo yard games, such as Connect 4, Jenga, Ironman Obstacle Course, cornhole and ladder ball.
. Terra Patio at Eataly Boston
This 2,000-square-foot rooftop oasis boasts a view of the Boston skyline, plus herbaceous cocktails and rustic dishes from the wood-fired grill. The space is greenhouse-inspired, with lush greenery and twinkling lights. To try: Spiedi sul Ceppo (aka "Skewers on a Log") — a grilled selection of in-season produce, meat and seafood sourced from regional farms.
Photo courtesy of Eataly Boston.
. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
The library delves into the life and times of the 35th president of the United States and his wife, Jacqueline B. Kennedy. The museum has high-def, large-screen projections, interactive displays, remastered films and original artifacts that help tell the story of President Kennedy’s 1,000 days in office.
. Taste of Burlington
Every September, the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) hosts Taste of Burlington — the area’s largest annual food event. Along with live entertainment and raffle prizes, attendees can try delicious samples from more than 20 restaurants, caterers and bakeries from around the Burlington area.
Photo courtesy of Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce.