How to do summer in Boston like a local

Jamaica Plain, MA., 09/16/11, The fish and chip dish at Doyle's Cafe. For story on labeling of fresh fish. Section; Health and Science, Reporter: jenn Abelson. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staffJamaica Plain, MA., 09/16/11, The fish and chip dish at Doyle's Cafe. For story on labeling of fresh fish. Man eating the fish is Jim Akiba, cq. Section; Health and Science, Reporter: jenn Abelson. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff/file
Fish and chips at Doyle's Cafe.

So cousin Kyle flew in from Kansas, and you want to show him an authentic Boston time, filled with all the things that real Bostonians do. You know, like eat Boston cream pie on a swan boat, yell “Nooorm!” at Cheers, or shout “How do you like them apples?” near Hahvahd Yahd.

Just kidding.

Whether you’re hosting your friends, family, or just exploring on your own now that the weather’s warm, here’s how to summer in Boston like a local.



Cousin Kyle wants to visit Cheers. That’s cool. Grab a beer, snap a selfie, have fun. Then find time to take him to an out-of-the-way Boston institution: Doyle’s Cafe. Established in 1882, the Irish pub, famed first home of Samuel Adams beer, serves classic pub grub — fish and chips, steak tips, surprisingly good pizza — and yup, plenty of beer. 3484 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-2345.


Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Your friends Tayla and Chloe are driving up from Philly for a weekend of cocktails and brews. Well, you’ve got options, many of them hip local favorites. The Automatic in Kendall Square boasts creative cocktails, a rotating summer wine list, and beers of the moment. Nosh on grilled street corn with chipotle aioli and cotija cheese; share the buffalo-fried sweet plantains, dig into Sweet Potato Falafel Burger. Fries come in three flavors: “Standard,” “Funky,” or “Freaky” — and all pair amazingly with a Mudslide. 50 Hampshire St., Cambridge. 617-714-5226.

Brick & Mortar will give visitors a taste of hip bar culture. (Insert fire emojis here.) Par for the course: duck fries with melted gruyere, steak tartare with quail egg, chargrilled lamb burger with sheep’s milk feta. Creative shots include “The Border Trilogy” — and yes, that’s a Cormac McCarthy reference. 567 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge. 617-491-5599.

Bring your wine-loving pals to the tiny haley.henry, where the wines are all from small-production vineyards, and each has a backstory. There are daily crudo selections and paninis, but their specialty is tinned fish. Offerings include simple fare: olives, bread and butter, anchovies, cheeses, tins of smoked trout. The menu reads like a Hemingway novel. 45 Province St. 617-208-6000.


If your old college crew ate at the Barking Crab on their last visit — and it’s likely they did — bring them to B&G Oysters, which offers a dozen types of fresh bivalves daily, plus a curated wine list. Share a plate of charred Spanish octopus and other goodies on the patio. 550 Tremont St., 617-423-0550.


Obviously, your brother wants to go to a Sox game when he visits this summer, but he doesn’t want to grab dinner at a sports bar that every out-of-towner frequents. So, pre- or post-game, nosh outdoors at Audubon Boston near Fenway. Share dirty potatoes, potstickers, or salt and pepper shrimp, then dig into mahi-mahi with pineapple risotto, steak tips, or fish tacos. 838 Beacon St. 617-421-1910.

For outdoor firepit ambience, craft beer, and modern gastropub fare, try City Tap House. Think Korean short rib tacos, bacon and avocado cheeseburgers, plus a gluten-free menu for your sorority sister, Amara. 10 Boston Wharf Road, 617-904-2748.


Bring your squad to A4cade to spend a summer night like you did back in middle school: eating burgers and grilled cheese while you play MarioKart, DonkeyKong, and NBA Jam. Just add beer. 292 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-714-3960.


Your mom wants to ride the Swan Boats and see the “Make Way for Ducklings” statues in the Public Garden. And by all means, do that. Then drive to Jamaica Plain and explore Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. The 281-acre expanse boasts some 15,700 trees, shrubs, and vines, many exploding with summer flowers. 125 Arborway.


Aunt Dot might think she needs to go all the way to the Cape to wiggle her toes in the sand. Please. Ohhhhh, Dot. Sweet, naive Dot. . . . We locals know better than to fight that traffic on a summer weekend. Bring your boogie boards and thick towels to Nantasket Beach in Hull (212 Nantasket Ave.). For something a little different, bring binoculars to picturesque Plum Island Beach in Newburyport — it’s near a bird-filled wildlife refuge. For directions to parking:



Guests with (or without) kids will love our old staples like the Museum of Science (1 Science Park, 617-723-2500., the New England Aquarium (1 Central Wharf, 617-973-5200., or LEGOLand Discovery Center (598 Assembly Row, Somerville. 617- 702-5593. And no matter how many times you’ve been before, you could spend an entire day exploring the ever-changing exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Ave., 617-267-9300. But for something a little different, check out the Institute of Contemporary Art Watershed, a brand new 15,000-square-foot seasonal gallery, slated to open this summer, with transportation available by ferry. (Ferry! Check another summer-to-do item off your list.) Parking: 100 Northern Ave. 617-478-3100.


Boston boasts plenty of shiny cineplexes showing the latest summer blockbuster. But for local film lovers, there are far more interesting options. Make a visit to the Brattle Theatre, a hub of film culture since 1953, which shows classic, cutting-edge, foreign, and arthouse films. Grab a table at Alden & Harlow before or after a flick and really live like a local. 40 Brattle St., Cambridge. 617-876-6837.


If they went to JP Licks last time — and it’s likely they did — try Tipping Cow in Somerville, known for its ultra-dense homemade ice cream (it’s whipped with less air) in an array of decadent flavors, many jam-packed with real baked goods. Birthday cake, for example, is made with real birthday cake batter. Cannoli is a cream cheese-based ice cream with chocolate chips and crumbled cannoli shells. 415 Medford St., Somerville. 617-718-0558.

As for baked goods with your ice cream, try Frozen Hoagies. Again, flavors change daily, but you might make an ice cream sandwich (a.k.a. “frozen hoagie”) out of any two cookies — Snickerdoodle, Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip, Nutella, Vanilla Bean, Heath Bar, M&M, Candy Shop, among dozens — and two scoops of ice cream — Mexican Chocolate Chip, Cow Tracks, Vegan Strawberry, Salted Caramel, Chai, Pebbles and Cream. Nom nom nom. 864 Broadway, Somerville. 617-620-6810.

Looking to indulge in some pizza with your ice cream? Picco in the South End specializes in four of life’s greatest gifts — pizza, ice cream, beer, and wine. Summer in a nutshell. 513 Tremont St. 617-927-0066.


Boston loves the Lawn on D and so will out-of-towners. Try the light-up swings, take in some live music or a movie, or just play lawn games. #BecauseSummer. 420 D St. 877-393-3393.

Lauren Daley is a freelance writer. Contact her at She tweets @laurendaley1.