The financial districts of most cities shutter at the end of the workday — not so of late, Boston's Downtown area. Thanks to enterprising nightclubs, lounges and a burgeoning restaurant scene, it manages to see plenty of action after nightfall. It’s also a hub of the city’s historical sights — from the Freedom Trail to the Custom House and Faneuil Hall Marketplace — as well as home to kid magnets like The New England Aquarium and Children’s Museum, not to mention a mecca for bargain hunting, courtesy of the cluster of discount outlets around Downtown Crossing's famed (and original location of) Filene’s Basement.
But whatever draws the crowds to Downtown's forest of skyscrapers by day, the attractions that keep them here by night are unquestionably
myriad: athletic events and big music acts at TD Banknorth Garden; authentic fare in Chinatown; the restaurants of The Ladder District (hide away at the likes of Ivy and Silvertone) and restaurant-cum-lounges such as tony Jer-ne Bar at the new Ritz and swanky newcomer District.
As much a shopping destination as tourist draw, Faneuil Hall's
cobblestoned buildings are a mishmash of retail, from national chains like Coach and Banana Republic to local artisans selling hand-woven scarves and colorful candles in the carts of the marketplace. And past the fast food stalls selling cheap ethnic foods and sandwiches are sit-down venues like Plaza III, Houston's and Kingfish Hall, a colorful and modern bastion of newfangled seafood dishes.
The rapidly evolving Boston Waterfront is all but becoming a city-within-a-city, as the Fort Point Channel area continues to open up new artists' cafes, tapas bars and seafood restaurants. Speaking of fish, the blocks around the Aquarium always teem with activity, from trolley tours and chartered boat rides to the Provence-inspired dinners and stellar pastries from Sel de La Terre. After dinner, save time for a walk along the docks, followed by a drink in the Boston Harbor Hotel lounge. Sitting on the dividing line between the city and sea, it's tables looks out past Rowes Wharf to Boston Harbor — a perfect collision of man and nature.