Things to Do in Boston: Staff Recommendations

In addition to being the site of the 2019 Social, Behavioral, and Educational Research and Advancing Ethical Research Conferences (SBER19/AER19), Boston, MA, is also PRIM&R’s hometown. We asked PRIM&R staff to share what they recommend to see, do, and eat in the city. Try out some of these suggestions if you’re joining us here for SBER19 and/or AER19!

Boston Public LibraryKelly Whelan: I love visiting the Boston Public Library; the architecture is gorgeous and you can stop by for free tours at certain times of week (or you can just walk around on your own any time). You can even get a bite to eat or a drink in either the Map Room Tea Lounge or the Newsfeed Café (where you can listen to/watch a live broadcast of Boston’s local NPR station, WGBH). Fenway Park is also a short Green Line-ride away from the Hynes. Even if you’re not a big baseball fan (I personally am not) it’s a charming old park and the tours a pretty fun. If you’re over that way, I recommend Time Out Market (food hall style dining) for lunch, snacks, dinner, or drinks.

Darby Hull: I think the New England Holocaust Memorial is worth a visit. The memorial is outside so you can visit any day or time.

Ellen Tubbs: My top recommendation to our Boston visitors starts with a delicious meal in the North End (Vinoteca de Monica, Daily Catch, Limoncello, Carmelita, etc). Be sure to save room for a Florentine cannoli from Bova’s Bakery; I’ve tried many cannolis in the North End and these are my favorites by far! After eating is a perfect time to walk the Rose Kennedy Greenway, which you can enter where Salem St. meets Cross St., right outside the North End. The 1.5 mile contemporary park offers beautiful landscapes, public art, fountains, historical sites, and a carousel right in the middle of the city. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.

Autumn in Boston Public GardenConnie DiCocco: A visit to Boston isn’t complete without a stroll through Back Bay, which is conveniently located outside the front door of the Hynes Convention Center! Newbury St. has tons of cafés, boutique shops, art galleries, and more. Commonwealth Avenue (or Comm Ave. as it’s called in Boston) has a beautiful promenade down the center of the street for walking, sitting, people watching, and enjoying the beautiful architecture of the area. At the eastern end of both Newbury St. and Comm Ave., you’ll arrive at the Boston Public Garden. While it is November and the flowers are well past, it’s still a beautiful place to visit. At the other side of the Garden, you’ll come to Charles Street, which is at the foot of Beacon Hill and another truly spectacular neighborhood to explore. Once you’ve strolled around as much as you can stand, I encourage you to find your way over to  75 Chestnut St., which is one block off of Charles St. This is the most adorable, yummy, and quintessential Boston restaurant in the area. It’s my favorite place, and hopefully will be yours as well.

Joanna Cardinal: Hungry? Why not try one of my favorite restaurants in the area: Fox and the Knife in the city, Sarma in Somerville, or head over to Cambridge for Little Donkey. If it’s nice out, a stroll up and down the Charles River Esplanade is lovely, and if it’s not so nice out, I’d suggest going to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—formerly the private art collection of Isabella Stewart Gardner, the museum is a really unique experience. While you’re there, make sure to keep an eye out for the empty frames throughout the museum, still hanging since an art heist in 1990 which remains unsolved.

Tim Badmington: If you’re into the craft beer scene, just across the street from the Hynes is a bar called Bukowski Tavern that has one of the best beer lists in town, with options both local and from farther afield. It has dive bar vibes and is cash only (though there’s an ATM). If you feel like you’re heading in the wrong direction, you’re probably fine—incongruously, it’s embedded in a parking garage.

Beacon HillNora Murphy Silverman: I like to stroll the narrow, crooked, hilly streets of Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood. When you’re walking through this neighborhood, admiring the gas-powered street lamps and narrow brick houses, it feels like it might still be the 18th century. Check out the boutiques and cafes on Charles Street if you want to pop back into the present day.

All of us at PRIM&R are looking forward to seeing those of you who are attending our upcoming conferences, and we hope you try out some of our suggestions while you’re here! You can find even more ideas for your visit at