AMY TRAVERSO, FOOD EDITOR
Perhaps the best neighborhood restaurant in the Hub, this Kendall Square gem (pictured) is famous for its French-southern fare. Don’t miss the catfish, or the cornbread, or the…well, just make the reservation already.
233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave., Cambridge, 617-499-0090, hungrymothercambridge.com.
It’s a hot spot for tapas and a favorite of the South End’s in-crowd. But Toro’s best-kept secret is its phenomenal lunch (we’re mad for the chicken, beet, and almond salad). 1704 Washington St., Boston, 617-536-4300, toro-restaurant.com.
SASCHA DE GERSDORFF, TRAVEL EDITOR
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental
Fortunate couples park themselves in the exclusive Mandarin Suite’s soaking tub (pictured). Everyone else makes do with the hydrotherapy enclaves, vitality pools, and insanely good spa treatments. 776 Boylston St., Boston, 617-535-8888, mandarinoriental.com/boston/spa.
$35 buys a day at the city’s biggest gym. Though "gym" is an understatement: The fitness mecca has a pool, basketball court, yoga and boxing studios, and plenty of visiting celebrities. 4 Avery St., Boston, 617-375-8200, thesportsclubla.com.
RACHEL LEVITT, SENIOR EDITOR (AND DOTING MOM)
Boston Duck Tours
Climbing aboard an amphibious ride and quacking through the streets of Boston becomes an action-packed history lesson, thanks to the city’s wildly popular Duck Tours. Lucky tykes get a chance to steer the rig on the Charles River. 617-267-3825, bostonducktours.com.
New England Aquarium
Nothing beats watching your youngsters watch penguins romp for hours. The mammoth tank, with sharks, rays, and Myrtle, the resident 70-year-old sea turtle (pictured), is equally mesmerizing. One Central Wharf, Boston, 617-973-5200, neaq.org.
MATTHEW REED BAKER, ARTS AND CULTURE EDITOR
The atmospheric old theater (pictured) in Harvard Square has long been Greater Boston’s most precious movie-house, showing classics, art-house features, and films from all over the world. 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-876-6838, brattlefilm.org.
Museum of Fine Arts
By the time you’ve spent hours getting lost in the MFA, the $17 admission you paid seems negligible. And with the opening of the museum’s $500 million American wing next year, those hours may well turn into days. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300, mfa.org.
RACHEL BAKER, ASSOCIATE EDITOR (AND DIE-HARD SHOPPER)
Hard-to-find European labels and stateside favorites vie for the spotlight in this
fashionista’s paradise (pictured). But local wunderkind Sam Mendoza steals the show with his in-store boutique of funked-up eveningwear. Prudential Center, Boston, 617-859-7845, stilinc.com.
Set up like an art gallery, with glass cases hanging from the ceiling, this boutique in the Achilles Project complex serves up men’s and women’s separates and accessories by hip designers like Opening Ceremony and Rag & Bone. 283 Summer St., Boston, 617-423-2257, achilles-project.com.
JOLYON HELTERMAN, FEATURES EDITOR (AND FREQUENT TIPPLER)
Clink, Liberty Hotel
For packed-to-the-gills revelry, visit the Liberty’s lobby bar (pictured). On weekends, the former jailhouse becomes a standing-room-only study in urban-cruising anthropology. 215 Charles St., Boston, 617-224-4000, libertyhotel.com.
For years, cocktail aficionados hit the tiny bar at Barbara Lynch’s No. 9 Park, where the city’s best mixologist, John Gertsen, held court. Thankfully, Lynch finally opened Drink, a bar devoted solely to Gertsen’s cocktail geekery. 348 Congress St., Boston, 617-695-1806, drinkfortpoint.com.