Boston, from above — Photo courtesy of Jessica Polizzotti
Boston and Cambridge are best known for their rich history, seaside location and funky layout. But it's what is lesser known about Boston and Cambridge that will really impress you. Seek out Boston area secret attractions, and you'll look "wicked smart" the next time you're talking with friends about Boston and Cambridge, because most locals don't even know about these special places hidden in plain sight!
Tour Boston's Little Lanes, enjoy tea in an unexpected courtyard, visit a hidden garden or even stargaze after hours at a popular museum, all while staying in the big city setting of Boston and Cambridge.
Take a tour with WalkBoston. Explore the often overlooked passageways that are a part of Boston's past and typically ignored in its present. Making useful shortcuts through the city, these "Little Lanes," which the tour is named for, have lots to teach aside from how to get someplace a little more quickly.
You'll learn the origin of interesting street names, like Arch Street and Pi Alley, as well as other trivia that will make you an expert on Boston's history. Guided tours are given, or you can download a tour to follow on your own.
Tea at the Courtyard Cafe — Photo courtesy of Jessica Polizzotti
If you're admiring the artwork in the Copley branch of the Boston Public Library, then request directions to the Courtyard Cafe, where you can attend one of the loveliest tea parties in the city each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon.
The setting is delightfully elegant yet welcoming, so even children can attend. An impressive selection of tea sandwiches, scones and sweets arrive on a tiered platter, alongside your pot of tea. (Kids can request hot cocoa, if desired.)
The floor-to-ceiling windows of the Courtyard Restaurant look over the exterior courtyard on cool days, and they're open to the elements when weather permits, providing the ultimate setting for an afternoon of opulence.
Garden flowers — Photo courtesy of Jessica Polizzotti
Wander into a secret garden in Kendall Square, where up on the rooftop of 4 Cambridge Center parking garage, six stories up, you'll find a well-manicured garden that's yours to wander around, if you can find the entrance. On Broadway, labeled Roof Garden, an elevator takes you right there.
Make your way through the sidewalks while taking in the view of the shrubbery, flowers and trees. Pack a lunch, and picnic at one of the tables set out to encourage lingering enjoyment of this hidden gem.
Astronomy After Hours — Photo courtesy of Boston Museum of Science
When Boston's Museum of Science closes on Friday nights, you can sneak atop the observatory rooftop, located on top of the parking garage, and gaze at the stars.
Their free Astronomy After Hours program offers participants, ages pre-K to adults, the chance to check out the stars from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. atop the observatory on clear nights. Or, the observatory's open for a tour indoors when cloud cover prevents clear viewing. Astronomy After Hours runs from March through November.
You can explore these hidden attractions in the neighboring cities of Boston and Cambridge. Then you can decide if you want to share your hidden hot spots with others, or keep the secret to yourself!