Panoramic views of Boston’s skyline can be enjoyed on HarborWalk, a public walkway that will be 75-kilometers-long when completed. Fan Pier, the city’s largest “green” waterfront development, offers one of the best vantage points.
Boston – Been There

Boston's waterfront is hip and happening

Photo by Sean Pavone / Alamy

Boston – Been There Boston's waterfront is hip and happening

It’s December in Boston, but the whole world is outside. My friend Octave has taken me to an exhibition at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA).

Tara Isabella Burton
Tara Isabella Burton Travel Writer

It’s the first Thursday of the month, and so the museum – a gleaming building along the city’s revitalized waterfront – is free. Just another example, Octave says, of the creative energy that makes him love this place.

“The intellectual culture in this city is amazing,” Octave says “Everyone is on it.” He stops to ask directions from one of the young museum attendants; they end up having a ten-minute-long conversation about the history of jazz and its relationship to the music of his native Brazil. “In New York, people are too busy to talk,” he says. “Not here.” That's why he loves this place. Strangers on the street will engage in conversations about music, literature, art. “This isn’t Red Sox Boston,” he explains, as we wander through an installation made of patchwork knitting.

We head next to a nearby Seaport bar: Row 34, one of several new venues to have cropped up in the wake of waterfront regeneration. Billing itself as a “workingman's oyster bar”, Row 34 offers craft beers and broccoli rabe appetizers in a minimalist setting: all exposed brick and metal beams. As we put our names down on the “waiting list” for bar stools, we look at the whiteboard in the dining room, which lists the names of all the waiters, along with tallies of “hugs” – whether given or received is not clear.

“The quality of life is good here,” Octave tells me over locally-grown apple cider. Sometimes, says Octave, it seems like everyone here is a doctor, a lawyer, an academic: contributing to a bourgeois Bostonian culture that sometimes borders on the staid. “Sometimes it feels like the whole city is middle-class,” he says.

In Boston’s Seaport, at least, it feels true.

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