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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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
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.Read More