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2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend


  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Though Boston's food scene used to lag behind other popular vacation locales like New York City and Charleston, the city's sizable immigrant population and influx of new chefs (including "Top Chef" alum Carl Dooley and James Beard Award finalist Cassie Piuma, among others) has helped it blossom into a respectable foodie destination. Seafood (especially oysters, clams and lobster) continues to be one of the main staples of Boston cuisine, but if you're interested in learning more about Bean Town's ethnic fare and specialty products, reserve a spot on one of the city's food tours. Available in neighborhoods such as the South End, Chinatown, Back Bay and the North End, Boston's foodie excursions offer samples of everything from homemade pasta to dim sum to plant-based ice cream. The following are some of the most popular food tours from traveler-approved tour companies:

Off The Eaten Path Tours: For foodies who want to get a tasty overview of Boston's iconic Italian district, there's Off The Eaten Path Tours' North End outing. Visitors love the company's knowledgeable, enthusiastic host, who guides participants through the North End's cobblestone streets, explaining the area's history between food tastings. The three-hour tour includes bites of Italian classics like arancini, gelato and cannoli, plus sips of Italian wines (for those 21 and older) and a pasta-making demonstration. It starts and ends in the neighborhood's North Square and costs $69 per person.

Bites of Boston Food Tours: This tour outfitter features foodie tours in three of Boston's most unique neighborhoods – the South End, Allston and Chinatown – with the South End option being the most popular. During this three-hour experience, foodies visit five or six eateries to sample items like local cheese, cupcakes and Cambodian spring rolls. Most reviewers rave about the delectable offerings, although a few caution that the tour lacks variety. Bites of Boston Food Tours' South End excursion is available Thursday through Sunday from April to mid-December; tickets cost $65 or $69 per person, depending on the day.

Boston Foodie Tours: Three tours are available from Boston Foodie Tours, but foodies interested in tasting award-winning cuisine in two of Boston's most charming neighborhoods can't miss the tour operator's Beacon Hill & Back Bay Tour. Available only on Saturdays, this outing, which lasts four-and-a-half hours, takes visitors to highly regarded eateries known for serving gourmet desserts, roasted nuts, pastas and more. Additionally, participants have the opportunity to snap pics of Acorn Street, one of Boston's most photographed streets. The experience's $95 per person fee covers all samples, but travelers must purchase their own drinks.

Boston Pizza Tours: If you're a fan of pizza, consider signing up for Boston Pizza Tours' North End Pizza Tour. As its name suggests, this foodie tour takes you to three neighborhood pizza joints, many of which have earned accolades and ample praise from tour participants for their slices. While walking to each establishment, you'll see five Freedom Trail sights, including the Paul Revere House and the Old North Church. The tour runs for two-and-a-half hours and costs $39 per person.

For more information and tour schedules, visit each company's website. Additional food tour details are available on Viator's website.

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#1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Four buildings – Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market – constitute Faneuil Hall Marketplace, with the oldest being Faneuil Hall. Built in 1742 and now located on the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall has had a long and important history in Massachusetts politics. Samuel Adams once stood here to push for resistance against the British, and abolitionists and suffragists have stood on their soapboxes here. In fact, this is where Jonathan Mayhew famously challenged the Sugar Act of 1764 by proclaiming, "no taxation without representation." Since Mayhew's declaration, the marketplace has expanded to include more than 100 shops and restaurants. 

Some former visitors caution that the items sold at Faneuil Hall Marketplace are a bit overpriced. However, if you're looking to kill some time or snap some great photos, consider strolling through the market's halls. You'll also find various cuisines served in Quincy Market if you're in need of a quick bite. Keep in mind that this market gets crowded quickly (especially on weekends and in the summer), so it's best to visit during a weekday if you don't want to encounter hordes of people. 

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