When you’re shopping for the proverbial “person who has everything,” there’s one piece of advice that always pops up: give them the gift of an experience. However, when it comes to gifts for her—the special lady in your life—dinner and a movie simply won’t cut it. Whether she’s a longtime resident or just a visitor, Boston is filled with interesting activities just waiting to be gifted. Check out our list of experiences for some creative gift ideas.
If she’d love a classy night out ...
Top of The Hub (800 Boylston St.): Make a reservation for a romantic meal with a gorgeous view to boot. The restaurant’s New American dishes are definitely enticing, but the sightseeing opportunities are the biggest draw. From the 52nd floor of the Prudential Center, the second tallest building in Boston, diners can spy the Charles River, historical brownstones, the Back Bay’s glittering skyscrapers, and sunsets over Boston Harbor.
Pro Tip: Diners who sit in the lounge are serenaded by a jazz ensemble every night; plus, it has its own menu that features the best of New England seafood.
Boston Ballet: The ornate Boston Opera House (539 Washington St.) is the performance home of the company. Since 1963, they’ve been presenting classical and contemporary dance to the city and audiences all over the world. A ballet is the perfect end cap to your romantic evening—find out whether she’d prefer a stripped-down, modern work or a beloved ballet like Swan Lake.
If she enjoys history but doesn’t want to be a typical tourist …
PhotoWalks: On these walking tours, participants get a hefty helping of photography instruction alongside the usual historical tidbits. Guide Saba Alhadi helps steer people away from touristy snapshots toward more creative photos they’d be proud to display. In Beacon Hill, for instance, tour-goers shoot stately Federal-style rowhouses and learn about the neighborhood’s distinctive features and important figures, like John Hancock and Robert Gould Shaw.
Ye Olde Tavern Tours: The Freedom Trail is a great trip through Boston’s colonial history, but all that knowledge might have some tour-goers wishing for a frosty beverage. Fortunately, Brooke Barbier—who has a PhD in American history from Boston College—loves beer just as much as she loves history. Her tours lead groups to important sites along the trail and at least three historic watering holes, including the Bell-in-Hand, a meeting place for revolutionaries.
If she’s been reading Moby-Dick and feeling adventurous …
Boston Harbor Cruises (1 Long Wharf): This whale-watching cruise comes from a partnership with the New England Aquarium. A high-speed catamaran whisks passengers to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a feeding ground for humpback whales, minke whales, dolphins, and more. Whales breach the ocean’s surface as aquarium-trained naturalists discuss the mammals’ behavior and scientists’ tracking methods.
Pro Tip: Trips typically last three hours but may run longer if captains have to travel farther to find whales.
Community Boating, Inc. (21 David G. Mugar Way): Out of all the gifts for adventurous girls, a sailing course is probably the best way for her to live out her preppiest fantasies. Established in 1946 along the serene Charles River, this public sailing center teaches beginners how to operate its fleet of boats. Once they’re certified, members can take sailboats, kayaks, and paddleboards out on the river.
If she wants to discover new hobbies …
The Dance Complex (536 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge): With rich wooden molding and large upper-floor windows, the studios at this dance center might have her imagining she’s stepped into Fame. Thankfully, though, she doesn’t have to be a prodigy to take classes here. The schedule includes the typical disciplines—ballet, jazz, hip-hop, salsa, tango—as well as more unusual offerings such as capoeira, West African dance, and Bollywood-inspired dance fitness.
Coolidge Corner Theatre (290 Harvard St., Brookline): For movie buffs, there’s no better place to find like-minded people than an independent theater. This art deco movie palace, which opened in 1933, screens everything from Oscar contenders and small indies to cult flicks and documentaries. Creative gift ideas might include a gift card to be used for tickets, or a membership for discounts and exclusive events.