View over glistening Back Bay at night

One city, five ways: Boston

With its many layers of history – and one-way streets – Boston can sometimes obscure all that it has to offer, but investment in developments and improvements in cultural and public spaces has brought an exciting vibrancy to the city. Here, visitors of every type will be delighted with the Boston they find

Visitors entering the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The art connoisseur

The Venetian palazzo-inspired Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, with its stunning interior courtyard, is an intimate way to spend an afternoon with the glories of Gardener’s personal collection. Wander through the individually decorated rooms filled with antique tapestries and Roman chests, furniture and sculpture, and works by Rembrandt, Titian, and Matisse that she gathered during her travels. While just a few blocks away is the world-class Museum of Fine Arts Boston – an exciting art scene is developing in the new Seaport District, a formerly industrial area across Fort Point Channel. The modernist Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) sits directly on Boston Harbor with cantilevered, glass-walled galleries that face the waterfront and are filled with mixed-media exhibits from emerging and established modern artists. A free ferry connects the museum with the new ICA Watershed, a seasonal art space just across the harbour in East Boston. A few blocks from the ICA, chef Barbara Lynch’s Sportello is equally minimalist, but there is nothing spare about dinner here with her famed handrolled pastas such as pici with uni and calamari and cavatelli with pancetta and eggplant.

Homemade pasta and pizza in a Boston restaurant

The gourmand

For years Boston’s food scene was pretty much seafood and stodge, but these days the city’s chefs are highly sought after across the globe, opening outposts from New York to Dubai. Two of those chefs, Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, are behind Toro in the South End, whose pintxos and tapas draw never-ending crowds, who also flock to their small-plates Italian enoteca, Coppa. At Alcove on the Lovejoy Wharf near the Charlestown Bridge, the menu takes advantage of the rich farmland and bounteous seafood of Massachusetts’ south coast region with dishes such as Jonah crab claws, pumpkin sage soup, and whole roasted branzino with yellow squash and fennel salad. Head to Cambridge for top-notch sushi at Sakana or venture out to Somerville’s Bow Market, where vendors of pierogis, South Shore style pizza, craft brewers and other emerging restaurateurs populate the narrow storefronts. If you want to stay closer to home, the iconic Lobby Lounge offers impeccable afternoon tea and more.

Bostonians walking towards the Old North Church

The family traveller

What young one (or young at heart one) doesn’t love following the red bricks of the Freedom Trail tracing the birth of a nation and the USA’s Revolutionary War history? Follow the trail to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, where on hot summer days kids cool off in the splash pads and spray fountains. Head onwards to Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood, the North End, which also has a proud Italian immigrant heritage. The narrow streets are crammed with historical sites to be explored, from the peaceful Copp’s Hill Burying Ground to the colonial-era Paul Revere House. The Old North Church on Salem Street is where the sexton hung the famous “two if by sea” lanterns to let Bostonians know the British were coming. Down Salem Street, Bova’s Bakery is the best spot to reward ‘best behaviour’, with a delectable cannoli or sfogliatelle, or alternatively pop into one of the North End’s many other Italian pasticceria.

Take advantage of Mandarin Oriental, Boston’s family getaway package – you’ll get adjoining rooms, a Mini Mate Kids Adventure Program for the little ones, and Go Boston Cards for the family, that’ll grant you access to more than 40 of the city’s landmarks and attractions.

Escalators inside The Prudential Center

The luxe lover

The chicest shopping in town is found on Newbury Street, which runs from the Boston Public Garden at one end to the Harvard Club at the other, in Boston’s Back Bay. In between, the wide street is lined with top-tier designers, jewellers and purveyors of luxury goods, from the vicuña cashmere of Loro Piano to the Palm Beach preppy clothes of Lilly Pulitzer. The surrounding streets are also home to art galleries and bookstores. Nearby, savvy shoppers also seek out luxury brands such as L.K. Bennett (there’s even a Tesla showroom) in Copley Place and the Prudential Center, next to Mandarin Oriental, Boston. For lunch, refresh with a seafood tower of oysters, littleneck clams, lobster, sea urchin and crab topped with caviar at Saltie Girl.

View of the glistening Boston cityscape from the water

The business traveller

Downtown Boston is just 15 minutes from Logan Airport, and includes the Financial District, Theater District and Boston Harbor, plus some of the city’s most visited sites such as Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, as well as top-class restaurants and nightlife that keep the streets hopping well into the wee hours. At Yvonne’s near Boston Common, the mahogany-backed and marble-topped bar with its plush, high-backed seats make solo dining an event. Work it all off the next day with a brisk tour of the waterfront along the Boston Harborwalk or a morning run with Mandarin Oriental, Boston’s General Manager Philipp. Top tip: if you’re catching a morning Acela train to New York or Washington from South Station, stop for the wickedly indulgent Boston cream pancakes at South Street Diner, with its classic chrome exterior.

Mandarin Oriental Boston
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Mandarin Oriental Boston

776 Boylston Street , Boston Massachusetts 02199, United States of America

+1 (617) 535 8888

Clothing inside a Boston Back Bay boutique

Where to shop in Boston

Mixing elegant boutiques with funky salons and trendy galleries, Boston’s award-winning Back Bay area has become a magnetic hub for Boston’s fashionable elite, but knowing where to start your shopping experience on the picturesque streets can be half the challenge