The adjacent neighborhoods of Park Square and Bay Village in central Boston tend to get overlooked by visitors in favor of glamorous nearby Back Bay, but offer countless rewards for the curious urban explorer. Diminutive in size, they’re both jam-packed with history, culture, fine food and the cachet of lying a block or two off the beaten path. Writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was born on the fringe of Bay Village, and since 2014 has been immortalized in bronze on the north-east corner where Park Square meets the Common. His parents used to work in the Theater District just around the corner. Today, two grand and swanky hotels—the Four Seasons and the Park Plaza—dominate the neighborhood but look a little deeper, and you’ll discover a couple of Boston’s best fish restaurants, a photographer’s gallery, a supercool skate shop and much more.
Fans of seafood should make a beeline for Mooncusser, where the menu is loaded up with superfresh Atlantic classics and local game-changers (like the bluefish terrine). Upstairs is posh, while downstairs the Moon Bar more casual. Another dependable ocean fare winner, Legal Sea Foods, has one of its excellent branches here, at Park Plaza. Rebel’s Guild is the historically themed eatery at the Revere Hotel—the Hamilton menu features a Revolutionary Boston Bolognese.
If the sidewalk is your catwalk and you’re in the mood to splash big-time on jet-set clothes, accessories and gifts, Bottega Veneta at the corner of Arlington and Boylston is the perfect option. Every imaginable type of a skate equipment—ice for winter, board and inline for summer—can be found at Beacon Hill Skate Shop. Pick up some blades and head to the Frog Pond on the Common.
Winter in Boston would not be the same without quality time spent in an Irish bar and MJ O’Connor’s at the Park Plaza Hotel offers all the expected wood-paneled coziness with a touch of gastropub flair. The Bristol at the Four Seasons is suitably upscale, with table views of the Public Garden, an asset shared by the Bistro du Midi, where an expansive wine list offers the perfect antidote to seasonal inclemency.
When the blizzards strike head indoors to zen-infused fitness chill-out retreat Exhale spa, where you can find barre, yoga, manicures and more. City Brew Tours offers a superior, insider’s look at Boston’s world-beating craft beer scene (a driver will pick you up near the Edgar Allan Poe statue) while the Leica Store at Park Plaza has an excellent gallery where exhibitions by world famous photographers rotate on a regular basis.