When you live in a big city, it’s easy to visit the main tourist attractions. They are a great example of the city’s history and growth, such as the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia (PA) or the Statue to Liberty in New York City, but they don’t give a complete representation of the city. You want to really know the city you live in, not just by reading about it, but experiencing it. That’s why it’s important to discover the hidden gems of the city to see what makes it tick. For Boston, it has many historic landmarks and touristy places, such a Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Freedom Trail. But what about the other places that add to Boston’s rich character?


  1. Monica’s Mercato & Salumeria & Cafe Vittoria — If you love Italian food, here’s two spots for you. Cafe Vittoria serves authentic Italian cuisine, including Italian coffee and pastries (i.e. cannolis). It’s the first Italian cafe in Boston and has three bars! Monica’s Mercato & Salumeria has a great Italian sub and offers imported meats, olive oils and cheeses. Both are located near each other in the North End.
  2. Brattle Book Shop — If you want to find another form of history, check out this book store. The Brattle Book Shop has been in existence since 1825, and is one of the oldest and largest antiquarian book shops in the country. You’ll find three floors filled with books, maps, postcards and prints and more. The owner, Ken Gloss, lectures on antiquarian books and appraises books and libraries for Harvard, Northeastern, the FBI and others.
  3. Mapparium — This is not your typical tourist attraction. It is a three-dimensional exhibit on the world of 1935 – A World of Ideas. This stained-glass globe immerses you in music, words and LED lights. It’s an attraction in the Mary Baker Eddy Library.
  4. Bodega — Why would I put a convenience store on this list? Because it’s really a shoe store. Behind the groceries is a secret door (a Snapple vending machine) that opens up to an amazing shoe store. You’ll find the latest in sneakers along with urban apparel and art books. It’s located near the Mary Baker Eddy library.
  5. Boston’s Old Burying Grounds — Founded by Puritans, Boston’s cemeteries are worth a stroll. The Puritans believed in piety, hard work and education. Their strict moral beliefs banned anything that was extravagant. To scare visitors into piety, the gravestones had varied carvings, such as skulls, Father Time and winged death-heads with a simple inscription or rhyme. There are five burial grounds, with the King’s Chapel Burying Grounds being the oldest (1630).