A Beginner’s Guide To... Boston And Cambridge
New York? Nah. Massachusetts is where it’s at.
Let’s face it, if you’re planning a trip to the US, there are some go-to cities that always jump to mind. But, if you’re willing to broaden your horizons beyond New York and Los Angeles (as great as they are), you can hit two magical Massachusetts cities in one long weekend. Enter Boston and Cambridge, the first you’ll definitely have heard of, the latter you may not have realised is just across the Charles River from its big sister.
So why visit? Here are just a few reasons to get you started…
1. They're home to both Harvard University and Fenway Park
Hit up Harvard in Cambridge and pretend you're Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, but just try not to spend all your money on hoodies in the many surrounding gift shops – nobody will believe you actually went there. Then hop across the Charles River into Boston and get yourself a $20 tour of Fenway Park, America's most beloved ballpark, and home to the Boston Red Sox. Or if you're lucky enough to be in town on a game day, even better – but again, mind your wallet around the merch store.
2. They host one of the biggest music festivals of the summer
So you've missed Boston Calling for this year, but you can bet next year's line-up will be every bit as amazing and eclectic – and who wouldn't want to go to a festival set on the Harvard University football field? This year's event attracted Chance The Rapper, Major Lazer, Migos, The xx and The 1975, to name but a few acts, plus a whole host of great local food vendors to keep everyone's energy up all weekend long.
3. There are some seriously cute accommodation options
The new Freepoint Hotel in Cambridge is a boutique offering that won't completely break the bank, starting at $199 per night for a king-bedded or double queen room, with a free hourly shuttle service to Harvard Square in the centre of all the action. If you've ever stayed at an Ace Hotel, the vibe is not too dissimilar, with modern, minimalistic decor and dark furnishings – though the locally-sourced artworks throughout definitely make Freepoint unique. Make sure you check out the bar and restaurant, too, but more on those later…
4. They're super easy (and cheap) to get to
No longer do return flights to the US have to cost you an arm and a leg, thanks to Norwegian, who operate four direct flights per week between London Gatwick and Boston Logan International Airport. The year-round economy service starts from just £140 one way, with super comfy seats and plenty of inflight entertainment, or if you feel like splashing out Norwegian’s Premium cabin starts at £400 one way. With inclusive dinner, drinks, luggage, fast-track security and lounge access, plus a load of legroom, it’s well worth it if you do have a little extra £££ to play with.
5. The shopping is sick
Head to Boston’s Newbury Street for all your high street favourites, like Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and US staple Madewell, before hotfooting it to Faneuil Hall Marketplace and visiting Newbury Comics – between the graphic novels and the vinyl you’ll be in there for a while.
Meanwhile, in Cambridge, you’ll find some seriously amazing vintage stores. The Garment District is HUGE if you have time to rummage (don’t be put off by the Halloween costumes on the ground floor), while Oona’s offers a much more refined selection of vintage and modern clothing, all at reasonable prices.
6. Cocktails are in plentiful supply
Y’know how some cities you visit are all about the wine or the beer, and you’re lucky if you can get an Aperol Spritz, let alone a full-blown artisan cocktail? Well, that’s not an issue in Boston and Cambridge, where there are a whole host of accommodating cocktail connoisseurs just waiting to whip up something special.
The aforementioned Freepoint Hotel has its own Kitchen & Cocktails by Matthew Gaudet in the lobby, offering a full menu of Manhattans, as well as an additional cocktail list (their Aviation is spot-on). Also in Cambridge, Daedalus is an unpretentious converted greenhouse, where the Gin Fizz just keeps flowing. Downstairs they have a bar playing all major sports games (British football, too), while upstairs there’s a dreamy roof terrace for catching rays.
7. Boston and Cambridge are a foodie’s paradise
It’s impossible to go hungry in Boston and Cambridge, especially if you’re a seafood fan, because they like their ingredients PHRESH from the water in New England. Cambridge’s Waypoint restaurant, run by Chef Michael Scelfo, is a must-visit for their raw bar and cocktails alike. However, even if oysters are your anti-aphrodisiac, the pizzas and sides (crab French fries and pistachio knots, oh baby) are among the best we’ve ever had. S/O to our waiter, Raphael, who was on-point with his recommendations and service.
Looking for something a little more low-key? Tasty Burger is the east coast’s answer to In-N-Out, with locations throughout Boston and Cambridge, and we can confirm their burgers are indeed TASTY. Plus they have a side option of 50/50 fries and rings, which will always be OK by us.
MTV Travelled With… Rooms at Freepoint Hotel Cambridge start at $199 per night. Visit freepointhotel.com for more information. Economy flights from London Gatwick to Boston Logan International Airport start from £140 one way. Visit norwegian.com to book.