Top Spots Just Beyond Boston

I moved to Boston almost 8 years ago and while it seems like I have lived here for a lifetime, I can happily say that I continue to discover new places to eat, drink and browse. That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes feel like I have “been there, done that,” but I have learned that looking slightly beyond Boston’s city limits can be all it takes to gain a fresh perspective.

Many of us are creatures of habit, and while there is comfort in frequenting the same places repeatedly, there is something to be said for exploring new corners of your own city. Sometimes, whether it be because of inconvenience or perceived cost, heading outside of Boston’s city limits for a night out or an afternoon activity isn’t something that comes top of mind. On those days or nights when heading outside of Boston to Cambridge or Somerville does come to mind, I am often dissuaded due to lack of easy access via public transit or by surging rideshare rates. By the time I have compared rideshare rates across apps like Uber and Lyft my friends and I have already decided that it would be easiest to just stay local and hang around the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Recently, I was introduced to and started using a mobile app called urbanhail (now available in the App Store for iOS, Android coming soon). Urbanhail is homegrown by a team of Harvard Business School students and is designed to give people like you and I transparency into rideshare and taxi rates along with ETA information for a growing list of services that currently includes Uber and Lyft and will expand to include Fasten in the near future. By eliminating the frustration associated with toggling between apps, users can easily select the best rideshare option for them, request a ride, and quickly get on their way to their destination. How awesome is that? It’s pretty awesome in my book, especially since it is free! Click here to visit the App Store and download urbanhail and try it out for yourself!

My experience in using urbanhail is that the added convenience and cost-savings associated with getting real-time rate information (including surge rates) helps me snag the lowest cost option available and stops my tendency to reconsider exploring areas outside of Boston. Now that Spring is here and Summer is within reach, we have arrived at that time when we (at least I am!) are conditioned to explore. So why not get out there, starting with some great spots that are close to home and are convenient to get to when you use urbanhail!

If you are like me and are always seeking new spots to explore around Boston, join me as I break down the top spots just beyond Boston.

Union Square, Somerville: Casa B Restaurant


A quaint and wonderfully decorated restaurant that boasts the most delicious menu of Spanish and Caribbean style tapas and pinchos. While you are in the neighborhood, be sure to check out Back Bar for post-dinner drinks. Back Bar is  a somewhat hidden bar that is accessible through the side door of the building where Casa B is located. It is marked only by a red door and small sign. Enjoy and good luck! 😉

East Cambridge: Oleana


Oleana is a Mediterranean restaurant with some of the most flavorful food I have ever tasted. It is totally worth it to venture outside the city to check this place out. Depending on the type of meal you are looking for you can select sharable plates or go the entrée route. Whichever you choose, I highly recommended you get the baked alaska (shown above) for dessert! As an added bonus, this spot is a great option for vegetarians!

Dorchester: Boston Winery

Boston Winery

The Boston Winery had gone under the radar for way too long. For just $10 you can experience a tour and a tasting. It is a great alternative to driving out to Nashoba Valley or the Newport Vineyards and a fun way to spend an afternoon with your friends, family or significant other.

Somerville: Slumbrew Taproom & Brewery

Slumbrew Brewery

This is one of the coolest breweries I have ever visited. It has the casual look and feel of West Coast brewery or wine tasting room and plenty of different style beers to taste. The Happy Sol is my favorite. Oh, and if you are wondering – yes, they serve food!

Jamaica Plain: Egleston Farmers Market
(re-opens this Saturday, May 7th!)

JP Farmers Market

I am not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but many of the farmer’s markets in the Boston-area are either opened mid-week or are overly crowded on the weekends (i.e. the SOWA Market). The Egleston Farmer’s Market is conveniently open on Saturdays and is sizeable so that you aren’t totally cramped. While you could drive to Jamaica Plain, why not save yourself the parking hassle and leverage urbanhail to get you there!

What are your favorite spots just outside Boston? Please share in the comments below!


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