Years ago, I visited Boston under the best circumstances: My book had just been released, and I was invited to do a reading at a local university. With 35 colleges and a robust literary scene, Boston is an author’s dream. There are bookstores galore, artists and engineers on every sidewalk, and some of the greatest minds in the world living in a 10-mile radius.
The city is also a playful labyrinth of sights and historic landmarks, best explored on foot. I stayed in a hotel downtown, and within an hour I had walked through the Chinatown gate, past the historic Orpheum Theatre, across Boston Common, beneath the 200-year-old State House dome, and strolled across the magnificent stone arches of the Longfellow Bridge. The Charles River glistened beneath a late-afternoon sun. Joggers and cyclists flew down the asphalt. On either shore, Boston and Cambridge throbbed with activity.
Boston is a whip-smart and funky town, a rich chowder of Ivy League intellect and blue-collar roots. In Boston, I’ve seen some of my favorite theater productions, attended the most memorable readings, and enjoyed some of the most rambunctious nightlife in my many years of culture-seeking.
This offbeat personality is visible in the trendiest Boston hotels, which can be nearly as engaging as the city itself. Spend one good night among its frenetic, fast-talking natives, and you’ll see why Boston is known as “the Athens of America.”