The Best Hidden Destinations in Boston

Saints Way
Saints Way | © Mie Mie/Flickr
Dave Afshar

While staples such as Quincy Market, the Freedom Trail, and Fenway Park are certainly worth the visit, Boston has its fair share of hidden gems for those looking to get off the beaten path. From shady bars to a bodega that sells designer sneakers, here are some of the city’s best-kept secrets.

1. Backbar

Restaurant, Bar, American

Considering the entrance is an unmarked red door beside a dumpster in a dirty alleyway, Backbar serves up surprisingly high-end cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. To find it, head to Journeyman restaurant in Somerville’s Union Square—the entrance is just to the right of the restaurant.

2. Secret roof garden in Cambridge

Park

From the ground, the Cambridge City Parking garage in Kendall Square just looks like any other overpriced garage in the city. However, go inside through the Broadway entrance all the way to the top floor and you will be treated to a secret rooftop garden with a gorgeous view overlooking the city.

3. Bodega for sneakerheads

Store

This one is for the sneakerheads in your group. To find it, you have to enter a rundown bodega filled with dusty, outdated merchandise. The Snapple vending machine in the back is actually a door that leads into a designer sneaker shop.

4. The hidden Saloon

Bar, Restaurant, American

Though fairly well-known among local residents, this speakeasy-style bar in Davis Square, Somerville, has no sign and is located underground, keeping it out of the eye of tourists and college students. True to the bar’s prohibition-era vibe, the drinks at Saloon are strong and the meals are heavy.

5. All Saints Way

Shrine

All Saints Way is a labor of love for its creator
© Elijah Lovkoff / Alamy Stock Photo
This private alleyway in Boston’s North End neighborhood has been turned into a shrine to the Patron Saints of… pretty much everything you can think of. Even when the gate is locked, you can still get a decent look from the street.

6. Secret steakhouse

Restaurant, American

Hidden by a curtain behind the famous American restaurant JM Curley, is a high-end steakhouse called Bogie’s Place. The restaurant seats 20 people and its entrance is marked by a sign simply reading ‘Adults Only’. Cameras and phones aren’t allowed here, so you’ll have to see it for yourself.

7. The giant light-up globe you can explore from the inside

Library

Inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library is the Mapparium, a three-story, pre-WWII, stained glass globe that guests can enter from the outside. Once you’re in, there is music and a light show.

8. Miniature village in the cemetery

Cemetery, Forest

Deep inside the Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain sits a miniature village that eerily resembles a dollhouse town square made of stone. Apparently it was added as an art exhibit over a decade ago, though now it mostly serves to creep out visitors.

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