Solo Travel: Mindful Day in Boston
May 16, 2019
by Lucia Deyi
Got a day in Boston, Massachusetts, USA? If you don’t like to play the hectic tourist and are looking for a mindful stay with a student-feel on your solo travel, here’s a quick guide for you. Even if you just have half a day or a couple of hours – if you like immersive travel and a taste of everyday life with little highlights of food, arts & culture, I’ve got a list for you.
Where to stay
Famous for housing the most prestigious educational institutions in the world, Cambridge doesn’t just convince because you’ll be close to roaming the beautiful campuses of Harvard and MIT. If you’re looking to stay in a nice neighborhood that is alive enough to meet spontaneous desires like a beer at night but not noisy and distracting, Cambridge is the place to stay. With a ton of students always around, you’re sure to be kept in the loop. If you need a café to work in during the day or even the night – there’s plenty of choices around. A great place to return to as well after a day in Boston.
Start the day with a local class
This might not be for everyone, but my way to settle into the day in a new place is to take a class. One of the downsides of travel for me is that it gets me out of practice – returning home can be dreadful because there are so many parts to catch up on, exercise being one. If you like dancing, I really recommend starting the day with an open ballet class at José Mateo’s Ballet Theater in Cambridge. These are so much better than the overpriced and oversupplied low-quality yoga classes nowadays. The school is located in an old church with stained glass windows, making it an epic way to start the day. Not only do you get a nice stretch and a good core workout, but there’s also an actual live pianist (I know) accompanying the session. The drop-in rate is really fair – I don’t think your morning can get any better. Well, actually, if you get the granola at Tatté Café around the corner afterward it can.
If ballet is not your thing, check Groupon for deals in local classes.
What to eat
Best Ramen Ever
The trick with food is to go for specific. Santouka specializes in Ramen and O My God. Whether for lunch or dinner, they offer amazing Ramen for good deals. The place is normally packed which speaks for itself. Whether traditional Miso or other soup bases, all of their broths are true to Japanese tradition, with the pork slow-cooked for eight hours.
If you like to try local specialties, go for the oysters at The Red House. It’s a cute place with a really authentic American small-town feel, and the prices for their oysters are unbeatable.
All-day breakfast for cool kids
If you’re a breakfast-all-day-person, try Tatté Bakery & Café. They offer a selection of traditional and more experimental Shakshouka in addition to buns and your classic avocado and poached egg on sourdough. My personal recommendation is their Matcha Latté – it’s unsweetened and strong, a solid coffee alternative.
Kaju Korean Cuisine in Allston is the place to go for good Korean food in Cambridge. This is not a place with fancy interior design, this is where you come to pay for the food. Their meats are delicious.
Next to Haymarket MBTA station is Boston Public Market, mouthwatering and high-quality in every way. If you’re up for a special treat, this is the place to go for your organic specialties, either ready-to-eat from cuisines around the world or to take home and prepare yourself. Cheese, fruit, granola, honey, fish & meats… you name it – but special, organic, and pricey. A good place to get original and tasteful gifts for your foodie friends.
Books & Art
Harvard Bookstore & Harvard Coop
Both bookstores are in close distance from each other and open until 10 pm (sometimes even later)- including the café at Harvard Coop. If you like to roam books, work among books, smell them, explore a crazy amount of specific aisles while keeping the next coffee option close- perfect. I personally recommend the Harvard Bookstore (on Massachusetts Ave) because they have a used and bargain section in the basement. If you’re a genre girl like me prepare to spend some time here – there’s a good amount of vintage and new graphic novels, as well as comics, are featured down there.
Harvard Art Gallery
Only a couple of minutes walk away across the campus is Harvard’s Art Gallery. With more than four floors of exhibition space, you will be set for another couple of hours. Students – from anywhere – are admitted for free with a valid ID. From East Asian sculptures to a temporary Bauhaus exhibition, every taste is being catered towards here. If you have a special interest in Buddhism, archeology, ancient Egypt, and Islam, you don’t want to miss this place.
Where to work & where to relax
MIT Barker Library
Situated beneath a dome on the 7th floor, this is a special place to work in because it is, unlike most Cafés, quiet and focused! Be discreet – MIT prides itself in being inclusive, but you don’t want to stand out too much. As long as you’re respectful of the space and come to work, you’re welcome to share the collective spirit of productivity in this library. Another bonus is the absolute beautiful walk around here. On a sunny day, make sure to walk across the grass along the river and wind down.
PhoRaya Thai Spa
You deserve it. This is a small, private therapy-style spa with small treating rooms that runs on a professional basis with knowledgable and lovely staff. Make sure to check their special offers for a good Thai massage!