The home of the Bruins and the Celtics is about to be filled by a completely different kind of fan for the League of Legends NA LCS Summer Playoffs. Beginning this weekend at TD Garden, the tournament is sure to be the main attraction for fans. But here’s a list of 5 other things that might be worth doing during your time in the Olde Towne, from somebody who lived there longer than they probably should have.
Union Oyster House
Just a half mile from TD Garden sits Boston’s oldest restaurant and a beacon of old school New England fare, the Union Oyster House. Established in 1826, this eatery has actually been designated a national historic landmark by the United States Department of the Interior. Part tourist trap and part legitimate venue for authentic takes on classic New England dishes, it’s a great stop for some raw oysters and a bowl of clam chowder, or just to marvel over how tight the booths are. Were people really that much smaller in the 19th century?
The North End
Adjacent to TD Garden and all the action of the NA LCS Playoffs is Boston’s highly commercial Italian-American neighborhood. With plenty of Olde Towne charm, The North End is a great place to go for dinner, so long as you anticipate Italian-American classics over an authentic taste of a foreign country. Hanover Street is the main drag, but venturing off the beaten path can yield some unexpected gems. Go wherever has a table open, because for the most part, everything here tastes the same. If you don’t have time for dinner, stop into one of the tiled cafes for espresso drinks void of hipster pretension (with boozy options), or surprisingly good desserts. But save some room for what’s next.
Mike’s Pastry/Modern Pastry
You could say there are two kinds of people – those who like cannoli, and those who don’t. But in Boston, your only choices are Mike’s or Modern. Don’t expect anything “little” about tubular pastry shells stuffed with sweetened ricotta. Since it’s impossible to say which is better without drawing ire from half of the city, the only option is to try both. Of course, it’s not even just about the food. Heading to the North End and wading through the hordes of people with a $20 bill in the air to secure filling confections dusted with powdered sugar, placed gently in a box, and tied with string that seems to descend from on high is a right of passage in Boston, at either venue.
Stroll down Staniford Street to Beacon Hill, one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods, for a glimpse into the past. Take a few selfies in front of Acorn Street, one of the last cobblestone streets in the city. The steep, uneven streets of Beacon Hill are lit by gas lamps, and the Federal style houses have hitching posts at their stoops, so you can tie up your horse. Boston is known for being an old and historic city, and Beacon Hill is a unique preservation of that reputation. Peruse the antique stores along Charles Street, or drop by The Paramount for a pre-NA LCS breakfast. It might only good by Boston standards, but it’s a hell of a lot better than Dunkin’ Donuts.
Boston Common/Boston Public Garden
The Boston Common is less than a mile from TD Garden and marks the northern end of Boston’s Emerald Necklace, a park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (Central Park in New York, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco) that was intended to hang around the neck of the Boston peninsula. But the Common (note: not “Commons”) itself has been around for several hundred years, serving as grazing pastures for the cattle of Boston’s early socialites. The park features several memorials and monuments, and leads south to the Public Garden. Complete with a pond, bridge, and several formal plantings, the Boston Public Garden is modeled after classic English gardens. Established in the early 19th century, it’s a sight to see in its own right. As an added bonus (and if you’re into venturing farther away from the epicenter of all things NA LCS), it serves as a gateway to Newbury Street, the Back Bay, Copley Plaza, the South End, the Fens, and just about everything else.