spend a weekend in europe without leaving boston

Boston has always reminded me of Europe, likely because of its pedestrian-friendly streets and beautiful modern/historic architecture. Its resemblance is the reason I fell in love with this city to begin with. I always dream about being back in Europe. But let’s be realistic for a sec, I can’t just hop on a flight after work one day just to get my favorite dessert from Tonolo Pastry. Or can I?


(Yummy desserts from Tonolo in Venice, Italy)

I did some research, which involved a lot of eating (yay!) and found the best way to pretend you’re in Europe while never leaving the city. See my three-day itinerary below!

friday – day 1 

dinner at la voile: Start your vacation off with an adorable dinner after work. La Voile has two locations (one on Newbury and one on Beacon/Washington St.); but don’t worry, they will both make you feel like you’re in the South of France. If you really want to feel French, opt for the escargot as an appetizer and a crème brûlée for dessert – I’ll leave the entree up to you.



saturday – day 2 

breakfast at the patisserie on newbury: Your morning should start with something sweet. You’re on vacation, after all. Choose one of their yummy croissants or a few macarons to really feel like you’re in the heart of Paris. Avoid anything that’s typical or can be easily purchased in Boston or the United States (like red velvet cupcakes!)

early lunch & tea at the boston public library: Walk along Newbury street and enjoy the scenery before heading to the Boston Public Library. You’ll want to head to the historic McKim building right in front of Copley Square. (Avoid the Johnson building this time around as it’s too new and modern for your European trip.) As you walk through the Gallery Lobbies, make sure to note the Venetian elements – the carving of the traditional Lion of St. Mark, names of famous Venetian doges and painters, decorative domes suggesting Venice’s glory, and much more. Then head to the Puvis de Chavannes Gallery to view the famous murals from the French artist, Chavaness. End the indoor tour with a visit to the majestic Bates Hall before heading to the stunning courtyard for lunch and tea. While enjoying your meal and chatting with your travel buddy, view the courtyard in detail – it’s an almost exact replica of the Cancelleria Palace in Rome, Italy. [P.S. more info on each of the galleries and its European elements can be found here.]


walk along the public garden & boston common: Next, you’ll want to head east to enjoy a nice stroll along the stunning Boston Public Garden. The garden is small compared to London’s Hyde park – but trust me, there’s quite a lot to do here. You can take a ride on a swan boat, chase little ducks down the path, take pictures on the bridge, relax on a hill, play at Frog Pond’s spray pool, or act like a kid at the Tadpole Playground.

finish with dinner in the north end: When your stomach starts to growl a little, continue walking east until you reach the north end. You’ll be walking straight into Italy for dinner. Giacomo’s or Panza or Ill Panino are all great options – but honestly, anything here will make you feel like you’re in Rome, Milan, or Florence (depending on the type of restaurant you choose). Don’t forget to end your yummy meal with something even yummier from Bova’s Bakery.

sunday – day 3 

get a crepe at the delicious neighborhoods cafe: You’ve gone to France, Italy, England, and now you’re back in France for your last day in Europe. Look at that, three countries in three days. Neighborhoods Cafe has savory and sweet crepes, so do as you wish. They also serve espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos – it really doesn’t get more European than that.


finish your vacation with a foreign movie at the coolidge corner theater: Once you’ve digested your breakfast and coffee, walk next door to the movie theater to purchase your ticket. (Choose a foreign movie so you don’t ruin the mood!) If you have time before the movie, walk around Harvard St. and stop along some of my favorite Jewish/Eastern European shops like Kupel’s Bakery, the Butcherie, the Israel Book Shop or head to Brookline Booksmith where you can get lost in books from all over the world.


what other European things have you found in Boston? share below!


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