Boston Thanksgiving 2009

Aug 11th, 2009, 08:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2007
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Boston Thanksgiving 2009

I will be traveling to Boston November 20 through Nov. 27, 2009, with wife and 29 years old son. This is our first visit. Your suggestions for Thanksgiving celebration are highly appreciated. Places to visit, celebration activities and restaurants for Thanksgiving day. Besides taxis, are there other means to get from the airport to the Quincy market area, where our hotel is located?
jaboci is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 03:11 AM
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Transportation from airport: take a bus from your terminal to the subway (they are free and clearly marked) and take the Blue Line subway to Aquarium (second stop). Go out the exit in the direction the train is facing, and you are one block from Quincy Market. $2 each, or since you will be there a while, you may wish to buy a multi-day T Pass allowing unlimited travel. Boston in general, unlike NYC or London, is not a good place to take a taxi.

Places to visit: this is a good time to come to Boston since the students, who make up such a large part of the population, will be leaving. You should walk the Freedom Trail, visit the Museum of Fine Arts and (especially if the weather is bad) the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum near the MFA (it has an enclosed garden courtyard). A stroll across Boston Common and the Public Garden to Newbury Street is fun, and if you come from a small town or are not from the US, Newbury Street is lined with shopping, some of it upscale like Cartier, some of it the usual mall stores, but the farther out you go, the more individual and interesting the shops. Newbury Street is paralleled on one side by Commonwealth Avenue, a kind of catalog of 19th century architectural styles, and on the other by Boylston Street, with Copley Square and Trinity Church, a very powerful architectural statement by HH Richardson.

You could spend a morning in Harvard Square, visiting the Harvard Campus and museums, looking in windows, and eating lunch at Dolphin Seafood, just above street level at 1105 Massachusetts Avenue (Mass Ave to locals).

At Quincy Market, you will be near the North End, where there are many Italian restaurants and two stops on the T subway from Chinatown, also well-supplied with places to eat. You will definitely need a reservation for Thanksgiving dinner. I will leave it to others to suggest the right place.
Ackislander is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 04:03 AM
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Check past threads about Thanksgiving dinner - many restaurants that used to be open on Tgiving did not open 11/08 - I would blame the economy. Hotel dining rooms are usually open and often with a buffet or "special menu".

As far as what to do - 20th thru 24th you will find everything open as usual. Many places will close early on Wed prior to Tgiving Day. Like in much of US, the day after Thanksgiving is an insane shopping day - so if you plan on doing any shopping while here, pick another day.

Strolling may be fun - but the weather at the end of November can be incredibly raw, grey and rainy - or more tolerable - so be prepared for either. I would consider walking the Freedom Trail - a portion of which should be right near your hotel. Newbury Street in past year or so has become somewhat overrun with small but upscale chain stores and some increasing number of vacant store fronts. Still a nice place to window shop, though. Qincy Market area the same - but lots of food vendors where you can pick up a snack. And the North End is right there for real Italian food.

I am not sure what above poster is referring to about taxis in Boston - they seem fine to me, although you will find fewer roving cabs than in NYC, for example. Depending on what you are planning to do while here and your walking tolerance, a multi-day MBTA pass may or may not be a good deal. Your hotel will be within walking distance (a mile or less) of much of what you would be likely to want to see.
gail is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 07:07 AM
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Most Boston restaurants are closed on Thanksgiving. I had this same problem a few years ago, when I had relatives visting and wanted to take them out for a Thanksgiving meal. After a lot of searching, I finally found this restaurant, located in the Faneuil Hall area: McCormick & Schmick's. We had a great meal there, at a relatively reasonable cost (considering it was Thanksgiving).

Wherever you decide to eat, make your reservations a long time in advance. Because there are so few restaurants open for Thanksgiving, the ones that are open get booked up quickly.
JoyceL is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 07:10 AM
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it just occurred to me you may not know this: the Faneuil Hall area is the same as the Quincy Market area (same location)
JoyceL is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 07:47 AM
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jaboci, here are a few thoughts of mine:

1) 8 days is a long time to spend IN Boston. Are you visiting relatives? If not, have you thought about doing some day trips?

2) YOu can see majority of the tourist sites in 4 days, 5 days if you spread things out a bit.

3) There are many day trip options, but depend on whether you're interested in renting a car or not. Overnight parking in Boston can be expensive, BUT quite affordable if you park on weekend nights at nearby garages.

4) For day trip ideas WITHOUT a car:
Adams National Park in Quincy & JFK Library/Museum
Rockport/Gloucester (though can be miserable in late Nov)
MinuteMan National Historic Park in Concord/Lexington

5) I can't think of any specific Thanksgiving celebration/activites IN Boston. Of course, there will be celebrations at places like Plimoth Plantation, which is only reachable by private car; or commuter rail PLUS taxi. The following is offered at Plimoth Plantation:

Thanksgiving Week at Plimoth Plantation

Celebrate the quintessential Thanksgiving experience at Plimoth Plantation. Be among the thousands who make the annual pilgrimage to the museum to share in the holiday spirit. Visitors will explore the museum's multiple sites, including the Wampanoag Homesite, the English Village, the Crafts Center and Mayflower II. In addition, a variety of Thanksgiving Dinners are offered to suit your budget and individual holiday needs, but keep in mind, dining reservations fill up quickly! Dining tickets include museum admission and go on sale to Members on May 1, and to the general public June 1. For more information call 508-746-1622, ext. 8366.
yk is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 08:05 AM
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For Thanksgiving dining, you can check Open Table for Boston. I plugged in the date for Thanksgiving and some hotel dining rooms came up along with McCormick and Schmick's and Sel de la Terre ( There is one located near the Aquarium not that far from you.
cw is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 06:04 PM
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We appreciate you sharing all these very usefull information with us. My son is an architect, I'm an engineer and wife's a professional manager, visiting on our own. No relatives in the area. Some emblematic buildings are on our agenda. Suggestions to that matter are appreciated. We will follow your advice and reserved well in advance for Tgiving dinner.
jaboci is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 06:29 PM
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Hi jaboci,

I hope your son is planning on visiting Gropius House in Lincoln. It is open for tours Sat & Sundays during winter.

Harvard Univ Campus has a student center (Harkness Center in law school campus) by Gropius as well, and of course, the main campus has the only Le Corbusier building in US. The science center is also interesting. For older architecture, Memorial Hall is by Ware. Austin Hall is by HH Richardson.

Also in the Harvard/Cambridge neighborhood, is the iconic HQ of Design Research on Brattle Street. It is now standing empty... was designed by Benjamin Thompson.

Further down on Brattle Street is known as Tory Row. It has the highest concentration of Georgian-era mansions in the US.

Over in Waltham, Stonehurst (aka, Robert Treat Paine Estate)was designed by HH Richardson; and Olmstead was the landscape architect. It is open for tours Tues & Thursdays. I've toured it twice and wow'ed by it both times.

Trinity Church in Boston is by HH Richardson, so is the Quincy Library. Tours are available at Trinity Church:

Across from Trinity Church in Boston, is the Boston Public Library. The BPL offers an excellent Art & Architecture tour almost daily. Do not miss it.

Back in downtown area, Beacon Hill has excellent Federal-era houses. Paul Revere House in North End is one of the oldest houses still standing in Boston, dating back to the 17th-c, though heavily restored.

For contemporary architecture, I can't think of a better example than the Institute of Contemporary Art. The John Moakley Courthouse nearby should be interesting too - I haven't gotten around to visit it. Inside are panels done by Ellsworth Kelly.

Lastly, MIT has quite a few modern/contemporary buildings: by Aalvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen, and of course, Frank Gehry.

I'm sure your son probably knows most of these places. Let me know if you have other Qs.
yk is offline  
Aug 13th, 2009, 05:09 AM
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Great list of buildings. In addition, don't miss the love it/hate it Boston City Hall and the Massachusetts State House, which has free and self-guided tours. (

The Christian Science Center includes a museum, the Mapparium, and some I.M. Pei buildings. Right across the street from there is Symphony Hall, built by McKim, Mead, and White. They offer tours during the year as well (

You can tour an intact Victorian townhouse at the Gibson House Museum (

Google "architecture Boston" and you'll come up with lots of other options.
cw is offline  
Aug 13th, 2009, 08:10 AM
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I have taken tours of the Mass State House (a Bulfinch building), the Symphony Hall (as noted, by McKim Mead & White, who also designed the Boston Public Library), and the Gibson House Museum.

I can heartily recommend the State House tour and the Gibson House. The Symphony Hall tour is a bit dull, IMO, even though I love classical music. But then, I've attended concerts at the Hall many times, but if you haven't, the tour is worth considering cuz you'll get to see the beautiful auditorium.
yk is offline  
Aug 13th, 2009, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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For Thanksgiving Day make a reservation for the wonderful buffet at Henrietta's Table at the Charles Hotel. I went there for 3 of the 4 years I lived on Boston (just a few years ago). It's wonderful. I have very picky family who all loved it too and each year begged me to make reservations. They do book up quickly - make a reservation in September if possible.
hlsam is offline  
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