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Hidden Boston

22nd October 2023

From hidden speakeasies and historic landmarks, to tucked-away shops and hidden art installations, Boston has a depth of hidden gems just waiting to be explored. Whether it’s stumbling upon a quaint neighbourhood park or finding the perfect hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Boston offers endless surprises for those willing to venture off the beaten path.

Here are a few of our favourite hidden places in this great city.

First up, ideal for book lovers, is The Boston Athenæum. It  is one of the country’s oldest independent libraries, with a circulating collection of over half a million books, including everything from books from the 1800s to the newest releases. While the Athenæum is actually a private library that requires a membership to access, Day Passes are available for $40. Guests on a Day Pass can enjoy all parts of the Boston Athenæum that are open to members. Whether you are just looking to explore a piece of old Boston or have some serious work to get down, the Athenæum is a great choice.

Next is something completely different. The Underground at Ink Block is the city’s latest triumphant effort to repurpose a forgotten space, this
one tucked underneath a knotty snarl of South End/South Boston overpasses. The eight-acre park includes bike paths, boardwalks, a dog park and more than 150,000 square feet of mural work by artists from Boston, Los Angeles, New York and Puerto Rico. With a full events calendar, there’s no bad time to visit this unique space, from a graffiti festival to fitness classes and a rotating night market with a pop-up bar

At first glance, Bodega looks like any other convenience store, the window lined with faded bleach bottles and paper towels. Something’s odd though—the kid behind the counter is a little too stylish, the water stains on the ceiling are too perfect, the horse race on the TV seems to be caught in a loop and none of the bottles of detergent seems to have moved in months. Step in front of the faux Snapple vending machine, to activate the hidden sliding door and reveal the secret store within a store. Inside is the ultra-modern interior of Boston’s flyest sneaker shop—carrying rare kicks from Nike Tier Zero and Adidas Consortium, as well as deluxe streetwear and books on art and design. A great place!

In case you didn’t get the memo, the coolest neighbourhood in Boston is Eastie, and of course they’ve got a hot speakeasy. Next Door, a speakeasy and raw bar, is tucked away behind a hidden entrance near Pazza on Porter. First, you’ll need to get a reservation (walk-ins are tough), find the door and then glide through sumptuous curtains to a sexy 30 seat lounge with creative cocktails, a killer wine list and caviar for days. Yes, it’s in Eastie, and it’s absolutely brilliant.

On a nice day there’s nowhere better to stroll than in the downtown Public Garden. The Victorians ushered in this new style of park which featured the gardener’s art. They designed vibrant floral patterns in the Garden which utilised new techniques of collecting, hybridising, and propagating plants. With access to showy annuals and greenhouse-grown plants they bedded the Garden with colourful displays and planted exotic imported trees. In the early days, some complained that the unnatural combinations of colourful plants were garish beyond the bounds of good taste! Now Boston calls the Public Garden one of its greatest attractions.

How about a great steak to round off your day? Bogie’s Place is tucked inside a back room of cocktail bar JM Curley. Only the tiniest of signs points you to the doorway in back, but beyond is a Lilliputian chophouse doling out classics: caviar tray service, a wedge salad and surprisingly affordable steak cuts, adorned with the likes of bone marrow and foie gras butter. Equal love is given to the sides (sauteed spinach, bone marrow) as well as classic cocktails like the French 75 and the Ward Eight. Don’t even think about making this a family affair! Bogie’s Place is adults only.

Enjoy your virtual tour of Boston! And click here for ten Great Books set in the City

Tony for the TripFiction team

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