48 HOURS IN BOSTON
The best brunch spot along the marathon course, a secret club, and more insider tips
For runners, Boston has always been on the map. Every April, the marathon draws world-class athletes, fans, and tourists from all corners of the globe to the 26.2 miles that make up the historic route.
But, home to a flourishing culinary scene and an active population, Massachusetts’ capital caters to adventurous athletes year-round. Here, how to spend a healthy weekend in the hub.
WHERE TO STAY
Flanked with two oversized flags, the luxe Mandarin Oriental blends well into its prime location on buzzy Boylston Street. You’ll recognize the street: It serves as the finishing stretch of the Boston Marathon. Sleep here, and you’ll have easy access to the Back Bay neighborhood’s best (including the historic Boston Common and Public Garden). Plus, you’re steps from the Mandarin’s spa, the only Forbes Five-star spa in the state.
History buffs will appreciate the stately Fairmont Copley Plaza that sits in the former spot of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. It’s just across the street from the Public Library. The property hosts private dinners at a secret club, runs art and architecture tours on the weekends, and is home to OAK Long Bar + Kitchen (locals know it as ‘The Oak Room’), a mahogany-soaked eatery worth lounging in.
Enjoy coffee and an avocado tartine at Bar Boulud in the Mandarin’s lobby, then head across the street to Boston Runbase—a running-store-meets-athlete-hangout—for a 45- to 60-minute jogging tour of the city (Runbase hosts the meet-ups on Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m.). Take a rain-style shower back at the Mandarin (go to their spa for a real treat: ‘experience’ showers that shift in temperature, lighting, and sound).
Your afternoon’s best spent strolling Arnold Arboretum, one of the most comprehensive collections of greenery and trees on the globe.
End the day with some Italian fare at the brand new Eataly in the Prudential Center.
Just outside of Kenmore Square (and along the route of the Boston Marathon) is Audubon for brunch. If you’re in town for the race, it’s a prime place to position yourself. On weekends, there’s live music. The menu changes regularly, but always has health-focused fare including a section dedicated to ‘post-yoga salads.’
Then, your workout. The best way to sweat is to meander along the Charles River and across the nine bridges that connect Cambridge to Boston, via foot or bike (the city’s bike-sharing program, Hubway, has stations all over). The BU Bridge (aptly named for its proximity to Boston University) has arguably some of the best views of the city.
If you're a yogi, take your practice to Harvard Square’s O2 Yoga. The studio features a platform at the back where you can place your mat for an unobstructed view of the instructor; and a vegan café makes for a nutritious midday meal.
Starting in May, you can partake in a quintessential Bostonian fitness experience: kayaking along the Charles River. Go in the late afternoon, when you can catch the sunset.
Tonight, dinner’s in Cambridge, too. The area is brimming with must-try restaurants. From the small plates at Little Donkey (where you can reward yourself with cookie dough for dessert) to the thoughtfully-sourced, trendy Alden and Harlow, there’s something for everyone.