It should come as no surprise that Boston is a paradise for foodies who like to pair their gustatory delights with a side of history. Beantown is home to some of the oldest restaurants in America. The nation’s first cookbook was even published here—which makes sense considering some of America’s most iconic dishes were invented in the kitchens of Boston restaurants. Luckily, for gift givers, this makes finding gifts for foodies a breeze, since nearly every corner of the city offers up the chance to devour a slice of history. Read on for some delicious inspiration. 1. Get Shuckin’ at Union Oyster House In a city filled with historic restaurants, Union Oyster House may be the most historic of them all—opened in 1826, it’s the longest continuously operating restaurant in the entire US. As far as food gifts go, a night on the town rarely disappoints, so grab a seat at the bar to get a prime view of the oyster shuckers working their magic. Or, take a tip from famous Union Oyster House customer John F. Kennedy and dig into his favorite dish: lobster stew, preferably enjoyed while seated in the famous “Kennedy Booth.” 2. Taste the Pie That Isn’t at the Omni Parker House Hotel Foodies in the know are aware that Boston cream pie is really a cake, but Boston foodies know that you haven’t really had the dessert until you’ve had it at its birthplace: the Parker House Hotel. Far from your average boxed pudding cake, the Parker House’s version features roasted almonds around its sides, and an elegant spiderweb design lovingly made out of chocolate ganache and white chocolate. Whether you enjoy it in the historic hotel restaurant or order one to-go, it’s likely to be one of the most impressive gifts for foodies you’ll ever give. 3. Raise a Glass to a Founding Father at Sam Adams Brewery A tour of the company’s so-called “research” brewery isn’t just fun—it’s downright patriotic! Sam Adams considers this its “test” brewery, so aside from getting a glimpse into the beer-making process, visiting hop heads might also get the chance to taste a not-yet-released brew. Another bonus: the tour (and samples) are totally free. 4. Nibble Through the North End on an Italian Food Tour from Best Tours (Boston) Ask 10 Bostonians where to find the best Italian food in the North End, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. That’s why an Italian food tour is one of the best gifts for foodies—instead of choosing just one, they’ll taste cuisine at several spots in Boston’s iconic Little Italy neighborhood, while learning historical facts to boot. 5. Taste an Endangered Sweet at Durgin Park Once an integral part of the Thanksgiving meal for many New Englanders, Indian pudding is an iconic American dish in danger of falling into obscurity. Thankfully, a few Boston restaurants still serve the sweet, molasses-rich cornmeal pudding, including long-standing, blue-collar joint Durgin Park, a foodie institution in its own right.Read More
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Gift-giving holidays can be costly, both financially and mentally—apparel, electronics, and other baubles can add up, and coming up with a thoughtful, unique gift can take its own toll. Luckily, the gift of an activity can overcome both of these hurdles. Local activities are often inexpensive—making them great gifts on a budget—and unique, since most people give items rather than experiences. Concert Tickets Tickets to see a big headliner can run into the hundreds of dollars, but with a little ingenuity, you can often nab a pair of tickets to a local or even national act for less than $50. Tickets at the nonprofit music venue Club Passim cost as little as $15 each. And The Red Room at Cafe 939, the all-ages venue of the Berklee School of Music, hosts shows that run $10–$15 on average. Historical Tour Boston is drenched in history, but it’s easy for local residents to overlook important landmarks when they see them every day. Give the gift of a historical tour, and your loved one will gain a new appreciation for the buildings and statues they’ve stopped noticing. CityView Trolley Tours lets groups explore the city from the comfort of a trolley for around $25 per person, and the costumed guides of Cambridge Historical Tours mix history with humor during jaunts that cost $90 for a group of four—less than $23 per person. Kayaking Trip As full as Boston is with waterways, most of us stay landlocked year-round. A kayaking trip lets your giftee see the city from a new vantage point, taking in the skyline and city sounds while enjoying the peace of nature. A single kayak rental at Charles River Canoe & Kayak will run you $15 per hour; a double kayak is just $5 more. Fenway Park Tour For a budget-friendly gift, Red Sox tickets are a bit steep, but that doesn’t mean you can’t send that special someone to Fenway. Lasting about an hour and costing $18 per person, tours of the historic ballpark take place daily year-round and include visits to Pesky’s Pole and the Green Monster. Food with a Side of Fun A fancy dinner or a restaurant gift certificate aren’t usually budget-friendly presents, but for a beloved foodie, a gourmet gift doesn’t have to be out of your price range. A $30 gift certificate to Top of the Hub covers the price of two specialty cocktails, and brings with it stunning views of the Back Bay from 52 floors up. And Boston food tours, like the pizza and cupcake tours hosted by Best Tours Boston, offer a plethora of tastes for the price of one high-end restaurant meal.Read More
The City on the Hill. The Cradle of Liberty. Beantown. A city doesn’t earn this many nicknames by being boring, so if you’re looking for activities that make great gifts for men, there’s no better shopping catalog than Boston itself. Whether it's kayaking along the Charles River, sampling beers at the city’s many breweries, or something entirely different, chances are the Boston area has the perfect gift for him. Here are a few of our top recommendations. For Thrillseekers: Skydiving Boston lays claim to some of the most iconic buildings in the world, but how many people can say they’ve gazed at the city from 10,000 feet up? Or while freefalling at 120 mph? Local skydiving companies such as Skydive Barnstable let people do just that, and a Groupon for tandem skydiving is one of the more unique gifts for men—one that lets him see Cape Cod, Providence, and Boston from an entirely new perspective. (Just make sure he reads up on our beginner’s guide to skydiving before making the jump.) For Team Players: City Scavenger Hunts Oftentimes, the best gifts for boyfriends, parents, or close friends are activities that the two of you can do together. City scavenger hunts fit this bill perfectly, since they’ll require you and your giftee to work together answering questions, taking goofy selfies, and discovering things about Boston that you never knew before. Check out companies such as Crazy Dash Digital Adventures for more details. For Outdoorsmen: Urban Fishing Picture this: early in the morning, a group learns to forage for bait, cast nets, and paddle kayaks. Then, they float and bike out to some of the area’s best fishing destinations—which just happen to be in the heart of the city. This out-of-the-ordinary fishing charter comes courtesy of Fishaholiks. For Your One True Love: Rest and Relaxation If you’re looking for gift ideas for a boyfriend or husband, then couples massages are a good choice. But don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Getting him a Groupon for landscaping or interior painting might not seem romantic, but it’ll clear up both of your schedules and make room for the two of you to do something together. Maybe dinner and a movie. For Foodies (or Anyone Who’s Hungry): Fresh Seafood Food gifts are always a safe and reliable option, and Boston has its fair share of places to wine and dine your guy. Take advantage of the city’s access to fresh seafood at restaurants such as Yankee Lobster, which specializes in New England preparations of lobsters, clams, and crab cakes. For added authenticity, the restaurant fills its aquariums with water pumped directly from the Atlantic. For the Young at Heart: Amusement Parks and Video Games Sometimes the best gifts for boys and gifts for men are one and the same. If the guy on your list has ever mentioned a love of roller coasters or Ms. Pacman, then tickets to local amusement parks or a night at the arcade bar might be the perfect gift. These also make great gifts for dads, who can take their kids along for the day. Consider CoCo Key Water Park and its indoor attractions. That way, your gift won’t be spoiled by the harsh New England winter. For History Buffs: Museum Tickets True, someone who lives in or near Boston has probably already toured the city’s wealth of museums and historical attractions, but here’s a pro tip for history fans: look for a museum that frequently rotates its exhibits and brings in special attractions. You can also find out his favorite museum and gift him a membership.Read More