Travel Guide: Boston vs. Salt Lake City

 

Looking to head east for the weekend? Try Boston! Boston is my personal favorite city on the East Coast because of the many things to do here. From historical sites, to trendy restaurants, there is always something new to try. Here is my guide to the best weekend visit to Boston.

Pro tip: Come in the Fall. Nothing is more beautiful than the changing leaves in the Northeast, especially Boston.

Sights:

The Freedom Trail-

One great thing to do in Boston is the freedom trail. The freedom trail is a row of red bricks that you follow throughout Boston (starting in the Boston Common) that takes you on a path showing off some of Boston’s most historical sites including Old North Church, Faneuil Hall, and Bunker Hill. While the history of the stops on the Freedom Trail is fascinating, what I find best about the freedom trail is its ability to show you lots of different parts of Boston.

Pro tip: It is 2.5 miles long, with many opportunities to stop and explore different historical sites, so I highly recommend allotting a good amount of time if you plan to do the entire thing. (It took my friends and I about 4 hours)

Red Socks Game-

For many people, when they think Boston they immediately think Red Socks. One of Boston’s best sights to see is Fenway Park - the Red Socks stadium since 1912. And what better way to see Fenway and the Green Monster other than attending an actual game? Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, these games are so much fun. The crowd gets really into it, the music is good, and if it’s good weather, it’s nice to sit outside! If you come to Boston, Fenway is a stop you can’t miss.

Pro tip: Go early and walk along Yawkey Way, which a street technically inside the stadium (you need a ticket to be here) with stores selling paraphernalia, food stands, and music. It’s a lot of fun!

Newbury Street/Back Bay Area​

Newbury Street is Boston’s central location for high end shopping. Filled with stores, restaurants, and the historic brownstones, this street is a must see. It is located in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, which is known for being a higher-end area. Shop for awhile and then grab a bite to eat - you won’t regret an afternoon spent on Newbury Street.

Pro-tip: At one end of Newbury Street is the Boston Common, so it is easy to check out both places!  

Food:

Dinner in the North End

The North End is Boston’s Italian Neighborhood and where the best food in Boston is served. In writing this article, I tried to pick a specific restaurant, but there are too many delicious places to pick just one! No matter where you end up, you will have an amazing Italian meal.

Pro tip: Most of these restaurants are very pricey - be prepared!

Mike’s Pastry

Also in the North End is Mike’s Pastry. Mike’s is famous for its cannoli. The cannoli come in many different flavors and all of them are delicious. My personal favorite is the chocolate covered cannoli.

Pro tip: Mike’s Pastry is definitely a tourist destination, and it gets very busy during peak hours, so I would recommend trying to go at an off time.

 

Harvard Square

Again, while not a specific restaurant, this area of Boston has lots of delicious dining options! There are almost 70 restaurants in Harvard Square. Located right across from Harvard University, it is a trendy area that allows you to see both the famous University, and enjoy a good meal. Some of the restaurants I would recommend in Harvard Square are Alden & Harlow and The Boathouse.

Pro tip: Again, this is a pricey area so be prepared!

West coast represent! No, I’m not talking about California. I’m talking about Salt Lake City, Utah. You need to come try it out! From city to all the snow you could imagine, here is my guide to Salt Lake City.

Pro tip: Plan to come to come to SLC in the winter! There is a reason why our state slogan was “The greatest snow on earth” and now is “Life Elevated”.

Sights:

 

Temple Square

If you have never been to Utah, you need to check out Temple Square during Christmas time. Each year the whole square is little up with thousands of strands of lights. While admiring the lights if you get too cold you can stop by the assembly hall. Usually every night there a back to back musical performances from high school groups to professionals.  Also, in the spirit of Christmas there is a little area with nativity scene with a prerecorded telling that you shouldn’t miss.

Pro tip: It gets really cold during December, remember to bundle up!

University of Utah Campus

A little farther up the valley we have the University of Utah! We are lucky to have a university that has state wide known attractions. Places you must not miss around the campus are the Natural History Museum of Utah, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and the Red Butte Gardens. The UMFA just reopened this last fall after almost a year of remodeling. It is a museum that has been here in Utah since 1914 with now more diverse original objects including a new galleries dedicated to Chinese and African works. Next, the Red Butte Gardens have over 21 acres of developed botanical beauty.  Not only is it a great place for the perfect selfie, it also has about 5 miles of hiking. My next favorite is the Natural History Museum of Utah. This museum has everything from dinosaurs, to prehistoric people, a new specific exhibit every couple of months, and a special exhibit up stairs dedicated to the Native Americans in the Utah area.

Pro tip: There are usually discounts for students at all places. Specifically, the Natural History Museum has 5 dollar Tuesdays and even some free admission Wednesdays.

The Wasatch Mountains

I could not narrow it down, because Salt Lake City is so close to our big and beautiful mountain range. Did you know, in 2002 Salt Lake City held the winter Olympics? So you need to head to the Utah Olympic Park. The Olympic Park has hands on courses, bobsledding, and all sorts of activities for summer and winter.  Also, Salt Lake City is a great place to stay to go to any of the 12+ ski resorts. The most popular are Alta, Brighton, and Snowbird.

Pro tip: The resorts again have student discounts, and if you are staying for awhile I would suggest getting a couple day pass for a better price. Additionally, if you are a beginner consider taking a ski or snowboard class so you can fully enjoy the slopes.

 

Food:

Red Iguana

I never heard of this restaurant until I went to class in Salt Lake, and now I constantly hear about it. Red Iguana became so popular with the college kids that they opened a second restaurant right in the middle of Salt Lake on State Street. They are not lying when they say it's some of the best Mexican food in Utah. It was actually featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. They start you off with great chips and have numerous choices of enchiladas, burritos, and tacos.

Pro tip: Don’t come here too hungry, because you will be waiting at least 15 minutes to 2 hours to get in.

 

The Park Cafe

If you are looking for excellent breakfast and lunch food, check out The Park Cafe. This cafe looks like it used to be a house right next to Liberty Park and Tracy Aviary. It is one of those places you would miss in a blink, other than all the cars trying to park close by. Remember to plan ahead because it is only open from 7am to 3pm and is constantly busy. The people that work there are amazing and the chai tea is to die for.

Pro tip: Parking can be tricky so I would suggest taking a trip to the park next door before a big breakfast.

 

So whether or not you want the big city culture of Boston, or the quaint feel of small Salt Lake City, you're in for the trip of a lifetime! Make sure to hit these can't-miss spots to step into the life of the locals. 

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