Before moving to Boston, neither Johnny nor I had ever even stepped foot in the city. But it was love at first sight. We were moving from New York City, and I was expecting more of the same. But, no, no, no. First, Boston is pretty small. Since it’s one of our country’s oldest cities, I was expecting it to be big and sprawling. But you can walk all of Boston proper in just a few hours’ time. And almost all of it is easy on the eyes. I loved New York, but sometimes you had to search for the beauty. But Boston takes pride in its gorgeous history. The city is so well preserved, and each neighborhood has its own look and charm.
Since we’ve moved away, I’ve had so many people ask me what Boston’s like as they express that they’ve always wanted to go. And I always tell them the same thing: “Visiting Boston doesn’t have to be a big, expensive vacation! It’s just the right size that you can see all you want over a weekend.” And then I say, “Go, now. Spread your wings, little bird!” Okay, I wish I said that last part.
Johnny and I were on a tight budget when we lived in Boston (since we were still paying off our debt), but we still enjoyed the city without breaking the bank. I wanted to share the best of Boston on the cheap so you (and your wallet) can benefit the next time you head to Beantown.
Fave Food Spots
Mike’s Pastry: $3-5/pastry
You can’t go to Boston without hitting up Mike’s Pastry. There’s always a line out the door. Johnny and I lived just a few blocks away, and we’d laugh every time we passed Mike’s because there was always a line. But it moves quickly, and it’s well worth the incredible pastries. My personal favorite? The lobster tail, which is basically one ginormous cream puff of heaven. Johnny and I would split it and still not be able to finish it in one sitting.
Galleria Umberto: $1.55/slice
Like Mike’s Pastry, Umberto’s is another place located in the North End (basically Boston’s authentic Little Italy). Galleria Umberto is only open for lunch, and you can’t arrive much later than 1:00, or everything will be gone. It’s cash only, and everyone who works nearby flocks there. Why? Because it’s the best tasting pizza you ever did eat. And the panzerotti (deep fried potato croquette)? A must!! Mmm. I miss that place big time.
Boston Hay Market
Open rain or shine every Friday and Saturday, Boston’s Hay Market is a one-of-a-kind open air market that sells fresh produce and fish. The prices are unbelievable. The best part? You can barter with the sellers. One rainy Saturday, Johnny and I were able to score 8 packages of strawberries for $2.00!
Public Garden: $0
Located right next to Boston Common (Boston’s largest park), the Public Garden is downright gorgeous. The landscaping is impeccably maintained, and you stumble upon one picturesque backdrop after the next. And if you’re feeling the swan boat ride around the lagoon, it’s only $3 a pop.
Freedom Trail: $0
The Freedom Trail not only covers almost all of Boston’s best destinations, but it also covers almost all of Boston, so it’s an absolute must. From Bunker Hill, to the site of the Boston Massacre, to Paul Revere’s House, to Boston Common, the Freedom Trail has it all.
Beacon Hill: $0
If you love historic neighborhoods that are drool-worthy in their beauty, take a stroll through Beacon Hill. The cobblestone streets are so quiet, and every home has its own history and character. If you can’t tell, Beacon Hill and I are in love.
If you’re in Boston, you have to see Harvard University, just a 20-minute subway stop away. It’s old, beautiful, and swarming with some of the best and brightest kids in our country. I loved strolling the campus and just soaking it all in.
Fenway Park Baseball Game
If you visit during baseball season, a game at Fenway Park is a no brainer. They just don’t make baseball stadiums like Fenway anymore. And I’m not even a big baseball fan. I mean, it’s over 100 years old — the oldest stadium in the country! And the atmosphere is electric, no matter where you sit!
Now I’ve gone and made myself nostalgic for Boston. If you’ve been eyeing a trip to Boston, it’s time to make it happen. And maybe this list will help keep your budget happy while you’re there!
Have you ever traveled to or lived in Boston? We’d love to hear what you’d add to this list!