Sure, it's hard to resist the temptation to visit Cheers...

MY ROUGH GUIDE

Favourite building

If one building symbolises the Boston of yesteryear - pious and political - it is the Old North Church, the red-brick edifice with the tall white steeple soaring over the North End. The oldest church in Boston, it was famous for one night in 1775 when two signal lanterns shone from the belfry, warning Bostonians of an impending British attack by sea.

Scenic city walk

In Boston there is no more famous walk than the Freedom Trail, which links several Revolutionary War sights downtown. But I found a more picturesque promenade in the opposite direction. Beginning at Boston Common, follow Beacon Street to the west, and you'll pass by elegant 19th- century Federal-style town houses. Then cross over to the graceful Public Garden, with its formal plantings and "Swan Boats" on the lagoon. Exit at the Commonwealth Avenue Mall - now you're in the well-heeled Back Bay district - and walk four blocks further west. From there, you can hit the shops of Newbury Street or grab a bagel in Copley Square.

Best hotel

As Boston hotel prices continue to escalate, The Lenox, in the heart of Back Bay, is still a relative bargain. Built as Boston's answer to the Waldorf-Astoria in 1900, this lively, refined hostelry exudes an atmosphere that's both cosmopolitan and cosy - like Boston itself. If you stay during the winter (November to March, roughly speaking), request one of the rooms with a working fireplace.

Best bar/lounge

Sure, it's hard to resist the temptation to visit Boston's landmark watering- hole, Cheers, but what the bar that TV made famous has in touristic appeal, it perhaps inevitably lacks in charm. Far better to do your imbibing at the Top of the Hub bar, 50 floors above the city in the Prudential Tower (you can see from the ocean to New Hampshire), or the Cafe Budapest, a fabulously flowery, romantic spot on the basement- level of the Copley Square Hotel.

Graveyard shift

If you spend any amount of time in Boston, you're bound to come across one of its numerous historic cemeteries. Don't miss Copp's Hill Burying Ground, in the North End. Here, Cotton Mather - one of the judges at the Salem witch trials - is buried, and some of the tombstones bear witness to their use as target practice by British soldiers during the Siege of Boston in 1775. From the burying ground, you can see right across Boston Harbor to Charlestown and the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), the oldest commissioned war vessel afloat in the US Navy.

Biggest let-down

Corporate America has encroached on old Boston in a big way with the arrival of the FleetCenter, a modern, Gargantuan sports arena downtown that replaced the atmospheric but ageing Boston Garden as chief venue for the Boston Bruins (hockey) and Boston Celtics (basketball). A soulless, hypercommercial affront to Bostonians' sensibilities, it looms as a symbol of Boston's diminishing resistance to the forces of late '90s capitalism.

Favourite foods

More so than most American cities, Boston is made up of a patchwork of small neighbourhoods with distinct identities, and nowhere as strong as in the North End - today the city's teeming Little Italy. Though traditional red-sauce restaurants abound here, my favourite eatery turned out to be Marcuccio's, with delicious seafood dishes and a tangy take on Caesar salad. In concert with a postprandial cappuccino at the very Old World Caffe Vittoria - where there always seems to be a Frank Sinatra tune blaring from the juke-box - it's almost as good as Italy. If it's a slice of pizza you're after, repair to Galleria Umberto on Hanover Street - only open from 11am to 2pm, and worth queueing for.

fact file

Getting there

Regular flights to Boston's Logan International Airport from London Heathrow are available on numerous airlines. Trailfinders (0171 937 5400) quote pounds 445 return during the summer (American Airways) and pounds 291 return from October (Iceland Air).

Where to stay and eat

The Lenox Hotel (617 536 5300) is at 710 Boylston Street.

Filene's Basement (617 542 2011), 426 Washington Street.

Marcuccio's (617 723 1807), 125 Salem Street.

Cafe Budapest (617 266 1079), 90 Exeter Street.

Top of the Hub (617 536 1775), 800 Boylston Street.

Pizzeria Regina (617 227 0765), 11 1/2 Thacher Street.

Galleria Umberto (617 227 5709), 289 Hanover Street.

Emack & Bolio's (617 247 8772), 290 Newbury Street.

Other information

Contact Bay State Cruises (617 457 1428) for cruises to Provincetown. The fare is $30 return, $18 one way.

Keep up with the latest developments in travel by subscribing to the free newsletter 'Rough News', published three times yearly. Write to Rough Guides, IoS offer, 1 Mercer Street, London WC2H 9QJ. A free Rough Guide to the first three subscribers each week.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: MI Developer

    £35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...

    Recruitment Genius: Fitness Manager

    £20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Manager

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...

    Recruitment Genius: Learning Team Administrator

    £17500 - £20500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for a great te...

    Day In a Page

    Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

    Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
    General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

    All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

    The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
    How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

    How Etsy became a crafty little earner

    The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
    Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

    King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

    Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
    Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

    Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

    The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
    Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

    Don't fear the artichoke

    Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
    11 best men's socks

    11 best men's socks

    Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
    Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

    Paul Scholes column

    Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
    Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
    London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

    Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

    Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
    Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

    Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

    Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
    Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

    Khorasan is back in Syria

    America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
    General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

    On the campaign trail with Ukip

    Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
    Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

    Expect a rush on men's tights

    Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
    Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

    In the driving seat: Peter Kay

    Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road