It's no secret that the next few months are prime-time for escaping New York City to witness the changing colors of New England. Using one vacation day to spend a long weekend in Boston can provide all that seasonal splendor—kaleidoscopic leaves, crisp air, collegiate optimism—plus a host of other unique cultural experiences.
As part of our Fall 2012 Getaway Guide, we share our picks for the best places to sleep, eat, drink, shop, and explore in Beantown, including special tips from American Express Travel Insiders on how to maximize your time in the city—and the money in your wallet. You can do all this and more in three days...and just one day away from your desk.
WHERE TO STAY
A room at 15 Beacon
For Platinum Card members, American Express offers room upgrades upon availability, special check-in and check-out times, and breakfast options through their Fine Hotels & Resorts program, at participating hotels such as Boston Harbor, Fifteen Beacon, Four Seasons, The Liberty, Mandarin Oriental, and the Ritz-Carlton, for a value of up to $450 per stay.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Barbara Lynch is one of Boston's culinary heavyweights, with three super-popular restaurants in town—No. 9 Park, B&G Oysters, and The Butcher Shop. B&G Oysters and The Butcher Shop are right across the street from each other on the South End, so we recommend hitting both in one shot-start at The Butcher Shop and sample their extensive wine list along with the pâté and terrine platter, then pop over to B&G for fresh oysters and a yellowfin tuna club sandwich or the sweet, tender Maine lobster roll.
Crab legs at The Barking Crab
For more casual fare, try The Barking Crab on the waterfront for just-caught shellfish platters or stop by cult pizza joint Galleria Umberto for a hearty Sicilian-style slice. The Oak Room at the Fairmont Copley has long been a Boston mainstay, and after renovations and a relaunch as the Oak Long Bar + Kitchen over the summer, it's more of a must-visit than ever.
Looking to embark on a marathon brunch during your Boston weekend? Check out Aquitaine on the South End, where the Brioche French Toast with bacon is the perfect sweet-savory mix, and the Mimosas are extra fizzy.
Sam Adams offers brewery tours, where visitors (21 and over, of course), get to sample special malts and smell the Hallertau hops. Harpoon Brewery, the largest craft brewer in New England, has weekday tastings and weekend tours.
WHAT TO DO
A Freedom Trail marker in Boston
To explore our colonial past, American Express Travel Insider Maureen Johnson recommends visiting Lexington and Concord, where the Revolutionary War started. "Be sure to stop at the Minute Man Historical Park and the Lexington Green, where the first shot was fired," she says.
Johnson also suggests checking out the Freedom Trail, which is a 2.5-mile urban walking trail (either marked in brick or by a red line) that allows visitors to find 16 historical sites, including Paul Revere's house. The trail's unique fall options include a midnight tour by lantern light.
Adidas JS Wings 2.0 at Bodega
If you'd like to get a little shopping in, try Good Boutique for unique furniture and housewares, cool-kid sneaker boutique Bodega, or the smartly-edited and influential Louis Boston, for men's and women's clothing by lines like Transit and Marni.