You're hungry already, aren't you? Head to Prezza in the North End. Credit: Derek Kouyoumjian
The North End and Faneuil Hall are among Boston’s most popular tourist attractions. Thousands visit these cobblestone streets annually to get a glimpse of fascinating American history – and a taste of New England’s best Italian food, of course. But we’ve come up with a guide that should be helpful for visitors and locals like. Not only will this steer you to some of the neighborhood’s best places to eat, shop, and unwind, but even true blue Bostonians will learn some interesting stats about their favorite places.
8,000: The number of wine bottles in the eager-to-pour hands of Prezza, a restaurant named for the tiny Italian village where chef Anthony Caturano’s grandmother was born. So, what to sip? If you’re table looking to splurge here’s another impressive number for you: $1400, the price of a 3-litre bottle of 1995 Mondavi/Rothschild Opus One. (24 Fleet St., 617-227-1577)
271-2773: Cher’s home phone number. Well, back in 1985, anyway. How do we know? It’s one of many hand-scrawled digits in Madonna’s personal date planner, among the dozens of artist artifacts displayed at the Hard Rock Café near Faneuil Hall. While you’re turning back time with a snoop through this music star museum, sip down some of Hard Rock’s summery new fruit-infused lemonade cocktails. (22-24 Clinton St., 617-424-7625)
1898: The year that whiskey-based Ward 8 cocktail was invented at Boston’s late fine dining destination Locke-Ober. Now it’s the signature drink at this same-named restaurant. But it’s hardly the only one you’ll want to imbibe at the 30-seat marble bar, where well-regarded beverage director Mike Wyatt mixes up creative cocktails using brandies, bourbons, and Italian aperitifs like Campari. (90 N Washington St., 617-823-4478)
900: Weight in pounds of a bronze bell in the courtyard of the Paul Revere House, where the famed American patriot, silversmith and foundry owner lived. It’s from here that he started his famous “midnight ride” to Lexington, and this oldest building in downtown Boston (built in 1680) is now a museum open daily for low-priced visits: just $3.50 per adult, $1 per child. (19 North Square, 617-523-2338)
50 and 78: The numbered pews at Old North Church once owned by Robert Newman, the former sexton who, along with Captain John Pulling, flashed lanterns from the steeple to alert colonists about British movements. Given by Paul Revere, the signal order was immortalized in a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem as “one if by land, two if by sea.” It is still carried out every Patriot’s Day eve at this historic site, which offers tours and educational programs. (193 Salem St., 617-523-6676)
1,075: The number of meatballs made at Strega each week. And believe it or not, that stalwart North End joint is only one of several owned by restaurateur Nick Varano. He also has Nico in the North End, the Seaport’s glossy Strega Waterfront, and two steakhouses: Strega Prime in Woburn and Strip by Strega, slated to open in downtown Boston later this year. (379 Hanover St., 617-523-8481)
25: Ounces of lobster meat in the USS Lobstitution at sub shop Pauli’s, where it is billed as the largest lobster roll in New England. The now infamous beast will set you back sixty bucks, but there are plenty of other more modestly priced (and modestly portioned) hot and cold sandwich, pasta, and salad options too. (65 Salem St., 857-284-7064)
60: The minutes needed to receive a session of VASER Shape at SoundShapes, where the non-invasive cellulite and fat reduction treatment is among several services offered. It uses ultrasonic waves for “body contouring” that melts away fat cells, letting you spot-target trouble areas that need a little trimming and toning. Non-surgical lipo on a lunch hour? Might as well get that side of fries. (230 Commercial St., 617-367-1900)
1,000: The number of pounds of potatoes used at Saus in a single weekend. The spot is famous for its Belgian fries, which are dipped in 18 different housemade sauces, from the garlicky “Vampire Slayer” to the spicy “Curry Ketchup.” For a real indulgence, order them poutine style, topped with thick gravy, Maine farm-made cheese curd, and bacon bits. (33 Union St., 617-248-8835)
2: The number of seats at the single table that sits on a second-floor balcony at Tresca. The private outcropping overlooks bustling Hanover Street, and is definitely one of the most romantic restaurant tables in the city. If the ambience and upscale Italian eats don’t leave Romeos and Juliets starry-eyed, maybe they’ll be dazzled by Bruins legend Ray Bourque, a part owner often sighted in the space. (233 Hanover St., 617-742-8240)
2,000: According to ancient Chinese medicine, the approximate number of acupuncture points on the human body. Now take a deep breath and sigh out your stress at Exhale, a spa where acupuncture, cupping, Reiki and several other “energetic therapies” are offered. The high-end spa also has more traditional services like facials, massages, and manicures for relaxation, plus popular “Core Fusion” classes that get tummies tight. (2 Battery Wharf, 617-603-3100)
Brave the tourists and check out what Faneuil Hall has to offer. Credit: NPS. GOV.
76: The approximate percentage of clam chowder orders at Ned Devine’s that are for bowls, rather than cups. Apparently guests can’t get enough of the stuff, which has scored top honors at the city’s annual Chowderfest competition three separate years. Stick around after dinner; as the hours roll on the restaurant transition into nightspot form with DJs, live bands, and lots of beer tipping. (1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, 617-248-8800)
1925: The publication year of author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s gilded age classic “The Great Gatsby,” the inspiration for brunch at Parla. The menu is divided into “East Egg” and “West Egg” selections. The former, named for the fictitious town where old money dwells, boasts “timeless” favorites like steak and eggs. The latter, named for new money’s stomping grounds, includes “ostentatious” offerings like blueberry-filled donuts with mascarpone. (230 Hanover St., 617-367-2824)
0: In dollars, the price to hit the ice at Steriti Memorial Rink, an indoor skating rink that, when the weather cools down, is the perfect place for beginners to practice and for expert blade runners to strut their stuff. Entrance is free, and the only modest cost is for skate rentals ($5) if you don’t have your own. (561 Commercial St., 617-523-9327)
183: Orders of pappardelle Bolognese served at Gennaro’s 5 North Square on an average summer weekend. The restaurant bills toque Marisa Iocco as Boston’s only Italian-born female chef, which seems like a lofty claim. But there’s no doubt she puts out some of the best neighborhood’s best pasta, seafood, chicken and veal plates. The numbers prove it. (5 North Square, 617-720-1050)
642: The approximate number of skeletal muscles in the human body. Care to count them all? They’re all on display at Body Worlds Boston, an exhibition of innovatively preserved real human bodies that allows visitors to see below the surface of the skin and at the muscle, bone, and cartilage that compose our anatomy. Freaky? A little. Fascinating? Absolutely. (200 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, 866-276-9458)
270: Number of episodes aired of the sitcom classic “Cheers,” famously based on Boston’s Bull & Finch Pub – which was officially renamed Cheers Beacon Hill in 2002. It’s Cheers at Faneuil Hall, though, that was built as an actual replica of the show set. Here fans have a chance to toss back brews where Cliff sat, or take on the “Norm Burger Challenge,” gobbling down a loaded two-patty to get listed in a Hall of Fame. (Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Quincy Market South, 617-227-0150)
30: About how many jean brands you’ll find at In-jean-ius, a women’s boutique stocked to the hilt with designer denim. More importantly, the place has a staff of experts who understand fit and fashion, and can help you find something stylish and sexy. Need a second (or eighth) opinion? Book a “Girls Night Out,” a private group shopping experience with wine, cheese and desserts. (441 Hanover St., 617-523-5326)
346: The average number of students seen weekly by the North End Music & Performing Arts Center, a nonprofit organization that offers group and private instruction in theater, music, dance and more to children and adults. The Center also hosts public performances by its talents, which this summer has included everything from a Shakespeare celebration to Italian opera in Christopher Columbus Park. (16 Charter St., 617-227-2270)
6: The number of wines you’ll sample during a two-hour outing with City Wine Tours, which takes small groups on a crawl through restaurants and boutique wine shops throughout the North End. Each spot offers education on wine varieties and food pairings, so you’ll leave with a buzz – and a better understanding. Harvard Square, South End, and Back Bay tours are available too. (citywinetours.com, 844-879-8799).