The British are coming! Iconic words in Massachusetts, but in this case, the royal announcement that Prince William and Kate Middleton would host their second annual Earthshot prize ceremony in Boston was met with fanfare and delight. As co-hosts of the Royally Obsessed podcast, we made the trip up to Boston timed with the arrival of the prince and princess and invited our listeners to a festive gathering at the Rothy’s boutique on Newbury Street. Bonus: It also meant we had 72 hours to explore Boston. Here, our picks for how to spend a long weekend like royalty in the Hub.
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Where to Stay
For Earthshot, the Hotel Commonwealth was perfectly situated—it’s located in the heart of Kenmore Square and a stone’s throw from Boston’s brand-new MGM Music Hall, which played host to the Waleses’ star-studded ceremony this year. But this property is actually convenient to all things Boston, year-round. Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, is right out the door, of course (you can actually get a view of it out your hotel room window if you ask), but restaurants, shopping and culture are also walkable for the most part and, at worst, never more than a 5- to 10-minute Uber ride away.
At this hotel, the details also count for a lot: There’s the subtle baseball-inspired motif on the curtains (a nod to the location), the high-quality in-room amenities (a Drybar-branded hairdryer and Malin + Goetz toiletries, for example) and the top-notch service (restaurant recommendations, a late night toothbrush delivery—ask and ye shall receive). On top of all that, the hotel still manages a boutique-y feeling—trendy, but like you’ve personally discovered a hidden gem.
Where to Eat
We were in search of something royal during our trip and scored a hard-to-get reservation at the much-buzzed-about rooftop eatery, Contessa, located on the edge of Boston’s Public Garden atop the Newbury Hotel. At 9 p.m. on a Thursday, it was bumping and our table came complete with glittering views of the city below. Our advice: Trust your server (the squash carpaccio and pizzas were recommended and can’t be beat) and keep your eyes peeled for Boston-based celebs (like we said, it was a scene).
Other restaurants worth experiencing: The Paramount on Charles Street in Beacon Hill is a staple for breakfast (it’s easiest to score a seat on a weekday); Café Sauvage on Massachusetts Avenue is French-inspired and feels like you’ve been whisked away to Paris (you can’t go wrong with the truffle fries and French Onion soup); finally, Blue Ribbon Sushi, which is connected to Hotel Commonwealth, is cozy, chic and delicious (don’t leave without ordering the Crispy Rice—in fact, you should order two, regardless of the size of your party).
What To Do
If you want to make like the royals, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum is a great place to start. During Will & Kate’s Earthshot visit, this center—which beautifully curates the history of JFK’s presidency, including his Moonshot, which helped inspire William’s Earthshot prize—welcomed William (and President Biden, too). But beyond following in the royals’ footsteps, a stay in Boston for a long weekend will leave you with plenty to do.
Our advice: Spend some time wandering around Charles Street in Beacon Hill, which gives off serious European vibes. New arrival Beacon Hill Books & Café feels like it fell out of a rom com and has an abundance of Instagram-worthy nooks to tuck yourself into with the latest must-read. Gus & Ruby is also a delight, full of collectibles, gifts and paper products, while Whitney & Winston is filled to the brim with a well-edited selection of children’s toys. From there, pick a direction: Head one way toward Boston Common, where you’ll find the Frog Pond, open for ice skating or splashing (depending on the season); head the other way and you’ll find a direct path to the Esplanade, the walkway along the Charles River that features picturesque skyline views and people-watching (it’s paradise for runners, bikers, rollerbladers, you name it—this time of year, just be sure to bundle up).
If you have time, there are more museums (the Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are all worth it—with each choice, you could spend a whole day combing through).
Last but not least, you could always make like William & Kate and catch a sporting event—Boston is known for its eco innovations (the royals’ can attest to that), but it’s a sports town, too. Go Celtics!