I know I live here, but what should we do this week in Boston?
August 19, 2013 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Suggestions on activities in and around Boston for my brother and I this wk? We are up for comedy shows, arts, music, boating, etc.

I live in Reading, MA right next to the commuter rail (and have access to a car) and my brother is coming to visit for the rest of this week. He went to Mass Maritime for college so he is familiar with the Boston area, but we are both transplants from NY. We're looking for some activities, day trips I suppose around the area (we could do an overnight if it was worth it).

He and I are not necessarily history buffs but enjoy a good educational event. We are relatively active but I could be in better shape (Mt. Monadnock was a tough one for me) and would be interested in some kind of water related activity. I am a foodie, but we need to more than eat :-), he's into beer so maybe the Sam Adam's brewery? Thoughts on a Gloucester hike or Newburyport, I've not really visited either.

Thanks in advance for your help, hope its a great week!
posted by Carialle to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Improv Asylum on Hanover Street. One of my favorite things to do with out-of-town guests.
posted by ewiar at 9:02 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you ever done the Freedom Trail? It is still one of the best Boston activities. You can also goof off along the way and hang out in the North End exploring which bakery does the best expresso and pastry.
posted by bearwife at 9:02 AM on August 19, 2013

I actually took my visiting parents to Hammond Castle in Gloucester just yesterday, and it was fantastic. The curation is as interesting as the building and contents, in my opinion, and there's gorgeous views of the water. I'm really looking forward to checking out Dogtown and the Babson Boulders, also in Gloucester, sometime soon.

Newburyport is lovely, if you want to while away a day by wandering around a quaint seaside town and eating delicious things. The rail station is within walking distance (maybe a bit over a mile) from downtown. There is a whale watch that leaves from the boardwalk downtown, but I've also heard great things about the one that leaves from Gloucester (I think they may go to the same place, but I'm not sure). There are at least a couple of small breweries in town (NBPT and Riverwalk) - not sure if either is open to the public for tours, but you can find them in the pubs downtown.
posted by amelioration at 9:07 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Since you are from NY, this may seem like blasphemy, but if you want to scout out enemy territory, a Fenway Park tour is really fun for any baseball fan. Combine it with other Kenmore/Back Bay stuff for a full day.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:09 AM on August 19, 2013

Best answer: Go out to the Boston Harbor Islands National Park! Georges Island has good history at the fort, and inter-island stuff is pretty fun, too, with swimming and lunch on Spectacle. Or if you have the time and money, the trip out to Boston Light (oldest Light Station in America, about a 45 minute boat ride) is an awesome trip, too. (Full disclosure, I volunteer out there - but I do so because it's awesome).
posted by ldthomps at 9:54 AM on August 19, 2013

Response by poster: My husband is a die-hard Red Sox fan RockSteady so no hard feelings here. Thanks for the suggestion, looks like I could even get tixs to tomorrows game (although he is a Mets fan).
posted by Carialle at 10:23 AM on August 19, 2013

looks like I could even get tixs to tomorrows game

Fenway tour + late lunch/early dinner in Kenmore Square area + Sawks game makes for a great day, I'm just saying.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:26 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go see the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester!!! They are closing it at the end of this year, but it's still a freakin' cultural treasure.

There's good restaurants in Worcester, then you could drive home, dump the car, and get a few good beers at somewhere in Boston itself.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you do the Hammond Castle and also want a moderate hike ending in a quiet and beautiful seascape that's perfect for picnicking, search out Ocean Lawn. The only difficulty is that parking is limited.

The Harbor Islands are worth a day or more.

You could also take a Boston Harbor dinner cruise, but unless you're a major party animal, you might get bored, like I did. Some good photo ops. The food was just OK.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:24 AM on August 19, 2013

The beaches on the North Shore are AWESOME!

I adore Good Harbor in Gloucester. And you can ride around Cape Ann on bikes.

There are a ton of history tours in Salem --- not just witch related ones. The Peabody-Essex Museum is the oldest Museum in the US and is pretty damn awesome.

Rather than the Sam Adams brewery, I'd check out Cambridge Brewing or Boston Beer Works (or Salem Beer Works, which is it sister).

There is more, but I think it's worth spending some time on the North Shore and in Boston, given you're close to both.
posted by zizzle at 12:21 PM on August 19, 2013

Here to second Improv Asylum -- it's a cool, subterranean space right by all those great Hanover street restaurants. They put on a great show, definitely the best improv troupe in town.

Also, the Museum of Fine Arts might be a nice way to spend an August day; mentally stimulating but also several consecutive hours of AC.
posted by charlemangy at 7:08 PM on August 19, 2013

Best answer: Museum? Since you're already on the North Shore, Go see the Peabody Essex Museum. I promise you won't be disappointed. They've got more kinds of things than I can list, including a Qing dynasty house moved in pieces from China and reassembled by Chinese craftsmen.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:41 AM on August 20, 2013

If you're into the Sam Adams Brewery, you can definitely make a day out of it. Take the Orange Line to Stony Brook and walk the three blocks to the brewery. After the tour (n.b. the brewing facilities are being renovated, so the tour is actually 45 minutes in the tasting room tasting the lager, the seasonal, and whatever wacky beer is in semi-public beta, with some talk about how they brew and what cool things they are doing as side projects), you can hop the Party Trolley (it has a disco ball and a bubble machine) to Doyle's for some lunch and a couple of pints. You then walk a few blocks down to Forest Hills, pick up the 39 bus, and take it to the MFA for the afternoon.

IAA JP native, but IANY JP resident. I have done this with guests many times, and slightly-buzzed trips to the MFA are great. Also you should get the lobster roll and the Sam Adams Brick Red at Doyle's. I live two blocks from the brewery; wave on your way by!
posted by Mayor West at 8:18 AM on August 20, 2013

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