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Great burgers and sides on the cheap -- it's a Pittsburgh staple!
If you are there over a weekend, definitely hit up the Strip District, which is basically a few square blocks near the heart of downtown Pittsburgh that offer open-air markets with produce, fresh seafood, delicious breads/pastries and souvenirs (and all the Steelers merchandise you could ever want). It's not as hopping during the weekdays, and it can get a bit sketchy after dark; Saturday and Sunday mornings/afternoons are your best bet.
Really fun restaurant and atmosphere; the beer cheese and pretzels appetizer is my personal favorite. If you don't like this place, it is in the heart of the South Side, so there are plenty of other bars/restaurants nearby. Great place for young people (20s-30s) especially.
Oktoberfest in Munich has always been on my bucket list, and I am glad to say I finally checked it off this year! Each tent has a different "personality" and decor inside, but they are all super crowded so you have to stake out a spot early. I personally visited both the Hippodrom (known for being a yuppie tent) and the Augustiner beer garden. Outside the tents, there is basically a giant carnival with rides (including full-sized rollercoasters), games and lots of food. If you go, you should definitely rent a dirnl/lederhosen outfit -- you'll have great photos and lots of fun memories that way! (Not to mention the locals also wear those outfits, so you won't look out of place at all).
Walking into the lobby of this hotel is like walking onto the set of the Phantom of the Opera – which is totally fitting given its location in the heart of the theater district. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chain hotel with so much character and unique décor. The ceilings are simply a work of art, and the light fixtures have a gorgeous, almost gothic feel to them. I was blown away by both of the ballrooms that I saw as well. The one on the main floor has five enormous crystal chandeliers that are absolutely stunning, and the ballroom on the fifth floor has been recently remodeled with a whimsical purple and silver color palette. Chandeliers abound on that floor as well – so unexpectedly cool! The only unfortunate thing is that the mystical character doesn’t really carry through to the guest rooms. They are pretty standard with all the basic amenities you could want; however, I guess I expected a little something extra based on the show-stopping quality of the rest of the hotel.
The first thing you'll notice about this hotel is its awesome location right next to Fenway Park and Boston University. There are so many great restaurants and shops within walking distance that you probably won't even want to spend much time in the hotel anyway. But this hotel has a lot of character, from its unique, rounded exterior to its non-cookie cutter variety of room types. There are quite a few suite rooms that have more than one bedroom, which is ideal for families or larger groups of friends that want to split one room cost instead of getting two separate guest rooms. The entire second floor of the hotel has been newly renovated to include only superior king and queen rooms, which have full kitchens and nicer upgrades like hardwood floors. They don't offer room service, but they will bring deliveries from third parties to your door, which I thought was nice. However, they also offer complimentary breakfast and there's an Uno restaurant attached to the hotel if you still get hungry!
I should give this place an extra star just because of the staff. It's run by two guys named Jose and Dominic, who live on the first floor and go out of their way to help you. Though this place isn't necessarily fancy or even updated, it feels like a comfortable, charming old house on a quiet, tree-lined street. There are only five guest rooms, so you definitely get a more personalized experience here than you would even at other "guest house" hotels in Boston. If you want the full B&B experience, you have to request one of the guest rooms on the third floor, because the second floor rooms do not include breakfast. The rooms on the third floor are also slightly more charming, with exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. Overall, it's a very cute place to spend a few nights.
This hotel is a little underwhelming and outdated, and its staff members are a little gritty and rough around the edges. It's in an odd location that feels like a seedy alleyway, but yet you're only a block or two from the waterfront and the U.S.S. Constitution. The rooms are a decent size and come equipped with a kitchenette area, which is nice. The furniture and décor, however, have definitely seen better days. One nice feature about this hotel is that it is connected to the YMCA, so guests have free access to the lap pool, large fitness center, and aerobic studio. However, keep looking if you are hoping to stay somewhere charming or modern.
This Best Western used to be called the Terrace Inn, but now it's called the University Hotel. That name change makes sense, given its relative proximity to both Boston University and Boston College. The hotel (as well as both universities) is right off the green line, but it's a bit far from the city center. It has a bit of a smoky smell when you walk into the lobby, but the guest rooms feel very clean and comfortably sized. There are lots of "freebies" here too: free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and free parking on site. My only complaint was that all the rooms were only accessible from the outside, which definitely gives it more of a motel lodge feel -- not to mention the fact that there wouldn't be any warm hallways to walk through in the winter.
Of all the "Guest House" style hotels I've seen in Boston, this one oozes the most charm. Something about the old-fashioned staircase and the cozy fireplace in the lobby reminds me of colonial Boston and old-world elegance. Even the ceilings in the guest rooms are ornately decorated! The rooms also come with a huge, cherry wood armoire to store your clothes. Don't get me wrong, this hotel isn't for everyone. I think older couples or families looking for a taste of history would enjoy this place the most; however, it's the kind of place where you should probably be quiet after about 9 pm since there are only 20 guest rooms and the walls are fairly thin. There aren't really any amenities, either, except free Wi-Fi. But its location on a beautiful tree-lined street is so quintessential Boston that you forget to care about much else.