Date published: April 5, 2010

A Fun Day in the Fenway A Fun Day in the Fenway
by Josh B. Wardrop

Visitors to Boston may hear the word “Fenway” and think only of the Boston Red Sox and their rabid fanbase. However, the Fenway neighborhood is home to much more than the Hub’s best peanuts and Cracker Jack—such as top universities, state-of-the-art hospitals and some of the city’s finest cultural attractions. In fact, you could spend a whole day in the Fenway and still not experience it all—unless, of course, you follow Panorama’s handy, jam-packed Fenway itinerary.

8–9:15 a.m.: Start the day off right with a brisk, bracing walk through one of Boston’s loveliest spots, the Back Bay Fens. This green and verdant open space (one of six interconnected spots that make up the Emerald Necklace park system) is what gave the Fenway its name, and today features walking/jogging trails along the Muddy River, lush rose and Victory gardens, playgrounds, war memorials and a 325-year-old Japanese bell found by U.S. sailors on a scrap heap in Yokosuka after World War II. It’s the perfect place to breathe in the fresh air, get some exercise and clear your head for your busy day to come.

A Fun Day in the Fenway

10 a.m.–noon: Devote your late morning to an activity that’s fun for the whole family. If the sun is shining, there’s no better place to be than at the ballpark, so make your way over to the home of the Sox and get a chance to sit in the dugout and see the Green Monster up close during a Fenway Park Tour. Or, if springtime showers are in the forecast, head down Brookline Avenue to 5W!ts, the indoor, interactive amusement park where you can solve puzzles as you explore a buried pharaoh’s eternal resting place in the adventure game Tomb.

Noon–1 p.m.: Lunchtime! Brew enthusiasts will be in hop heaven sampling the homemade offerings at the popular Boston Beer Works (61 Brookline Ave., 617-536-2337) and munching on delicious pub food. For a more upscale experience, stroll to nearby Kenmore Square and enjoy classy brasserie fare in the shadow of Kenmore’s legendary Citgo sign while dining on the patio at Eastern Standard. Or slip into Petit Robert Bistro (468 Commonwealth Ave., 617-375-0699), where French fare such as croque monsieur and Nicoise salad is so authentic, you’ll think you’re on the Left Bank.

A Fun Day in the Fenway

1–5 p.m.: Nothing helps a tasty lunch settle better than a dose of culture, and the Fenway neighborhood offers a double dose of outstanding, world-class venues in which to find it. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a beautiful estate completed in 1903 that houses three levels of paintings, sculpture and tapestries from renowned masters like Michelangelo, Titian and Rembrandt around a central, indoor flowering courtyard. Mere blocks away, the Museum of Fine Arts is one of the world’s most comprehensive art museums, encompassing more than 450,000 pieces of art representing every era, from ancient Egyptian sarcophagi to oil paintings by European and American masters. An afternoon spent wandering the halls admiring the masterpieces at either of these amazing institutions is an experience that stays with you long after your visit to the Fenway ends.

A Fun Day in the Fenway

5:45 p.m.–?: A good deal of the Fenway’s nightlife scene revolves around the Red Sox, who pack the streets around Fenway Park with diehard baseball fans on a near-nightly basis during the season. If you can’t get tickets for a game, though, you aren’t shut out of an exciting night soaking in the sights and sounds of Red Sox Nation. Head to one of the neighborhood’s numerous sports bars for delicious food, cold beers and unabashed revelry—popular hotspots include Game On! (82 Lansdowne St., 617-351-7001) and the Bleacher Bar (82 Lansdowne St., 617-262-2424), both of which are located inside Fenway Park itself; the Cask N’ Flagon (62 Brookline Ave., 617-536-4840), a venerable area hangout for almost 40 years; and the newest name on the block, Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill (1265 Boylston St., 617-236-7369), a new restaurant owned by the beloved Sox broadcaster/ex-second baseman that boasts prime views of Fenway and the biggest HD television screens in the city. Not a baseball fan? The Fenway still offers plenty of late-night fun, including live music at popular clubs like House of Blues, The Lansdowne Pub and Church (69 Kilmarnock St., 617-236-7600); three levels of billiards, bowling and dancing at the Jillian’s/Lucky Strike/Tequila Rain complex (145 Ipswich St., 617-437-0300); and frequent concerts from one of the world’s most acclaimed classical ensembles, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, at Symphony Hall.