underground tours | boston

July 21, 2010

Welcome to the newest feature on leShrimp – Underground Tours. This series will bring you the best of the best from big and small towns across the country, straight from the people who know them best and love them most – the locals! Our first tour comes from Bethany, the lovely artist behind Dirksen Dabbles (the blog and the shop). She recently moved away from Boston but wanted to share her city love with us anyhow, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result! 

I lived in Boston from August 2007 until one month ago.  My oh my how I already miss it!  While I lived in this gorgeous city, several friends and family decided to make it their vacation getaway.  Let’s just say that I have the touring of Boston down pat.  Because Boston is a well known tourist city, it is easy to find guides for what to do during a trip.  Those are all find and good, but don’t give you the real experience of life in the big city.  I am here today to share my own personal top ten guide to Boston.

1.   Best Harbor Moment – When it’s night, go find a seat on one of the piers.  There are tons of them all along the east side of the city.  You most likely will end up looking at the airport across the harbor.  The lights mixed with the smells and sounds of the harbor are intoxicating.  There is a sign guided “Harbor Walk” along the piers as well.  It’s great for a romantic stroll or restful way to end a busy day of Boston.

2.   Best Brunch – Okay, so I’m gonna take you out of the pretty downtown city for this gem.  Out in Allston, the locals are usually students of Boston University.  Try to ignore them and get to Deep Ellum for a hands down gourmet brunch.  I can’t really explain how good it is.  Bar by night, brunch by day facility….doesn’t get much better than that.  Plus the 20’s decor is awesome.

3.   Best Italian Food Deal – The North End of Boston is known as Little Italy.  Hanover is the main street on which several wonderful restaurants are located.  However, they are often found with lines out the door.  Our little secret…turn the corner off of Hanover to Prince street at stop in at G’Vanni’s.  They have a deal that if you come before 6:00 you get 2 entrees and one bottle of wine for only $30!  

4.   Best Day Trip Out of Boston – I always used to forget Boston is right on the East Coast.  I say take advantage of the venue by traveling to the North Shore.  This space is a string of several towns along the coast North of Boston.  My favorites are Gloucester and Rockport.  So beautiful…so easy to get to.  Towns are full of cute shops and amazing New England fisherman views.

5.   Best Historic Site – Many people go on the “Freedom Trail” while in Boston, which is a literal line painted on the ground taking followers to different Revolutionary War sites.  This is a great tour, but very overpopulated.  If you want a quieter setting I suggest you visit Warren Tavern in Charlestown.  It is the watering hole that the historic figure Paul Revere frequented.  Great old feel in a fantastic part of town.

6.   Best Sports Moment – Sorry for the typical response, but go to Fenway for goodness sakes.  If you don’t want to pay the ridiculous prices to get in, then just walk around the stadium before a game starts.  There is a great buzz surrounding the structure and you can snag a hot dog before heading to a local sports bar to watch the game.  

7.   Best Local Experience – Want to know what it’s like to really live in Boston?  Don’t have a car.  Take the “T” (the subway), take the bus, walk, take a cab.  It’s really freeing to be without a vehicle.  Plus, parking is horrific, not to mention the roads are old cow paths so you will never understand how to get anywhere.  The public transportation system is the cheapest I’ve ever seen at only $15 for unlimited rides for and entire week.  

8.   Best Way to Feel Stupid – Walk around one of the 30 colleges and universities  in this ridiculous city.  My favorite for sheer beauty is Boston College.  My favorite for posterity is Harvard.  Harvard also has a great center of town in Cambridge that is fun to walk through.  Visiting Harvard in the fall is a must for optimal leaf color.

9.   Best Cheap Fill Up – One word.  Burritos.  Go find one of the few “Anna’s” in town.  It’s a local chain that has only a few locations.  For under $5 you can get their super burrito.  Need I say more?  It’s super.

5.   Best Inner City Oasis – A city is a city and green space is at a premium.  I suggest you take a stroll through the Back Bay Fens.  This space is comprised of private lots for sale or rent that people can use as their personal garden space.  Some grow food, some grow pretty flowers, all are unique.  

Do you love where you live? I am looking for more Underground Tour submissions. Now that you’ve got the format, get your camera out, and show us your favorite indie shopping haunts, coffee shops, and other off-the-grid faves. Just leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address and your city, and I’ll be in touch!


  1. I live in Boston right now and am about to move back to the San Francisco area. I love this profile of my adopted city – especially that you know about G’vanni’s. Seriously, best Italian food around. Followed up, of course, by a something sweet from Mike’s Pastry. Thanks for the sweet ode to Boston!

  2. It’s great to see a personal view of Boston. I used to live close by and it’s true that it’s a city with many hidden parts.

    I can put together a guide for Helsinki, I’m moving away for a year but I’m still around for a few days! And the also one for Marseille, that could occupy some of my time in August 🙂

    Gali [gali.medATgmailDOTcom]

  3. I like this a lot. I would love to see more things like this. I like knowing what others think of places that they live or have lived.

  4. I have never been to Boston- but now I really want to go! I love this new series- fabulous!

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