The Top Places People Go in Boston According to Foursquare

Museum of Fine ArtsThe Museum of Fine Arts, the most visited museum in Boston. (Photo via Museum of Fine Arts/Facebook)

We all know that moment when a friend mentions a great burger or “the most unbelievable coffee,” but when we try to remember where they got it from, the name conveniently disappears from our minds. It’s easy to look at Zagat reviews, scan the menus of nearby places on Yelp, or look up what TripAdvisor has to say about what to do on the weekend, but knowing what places people really like is a trickier task.

Foursquare does just that. A free app that allows you to “check in” to places you visit and receive updates from friends and personalized recommendations, the app keeps track of where people are actually going. From the YOLO-est venue (tattoo parlors) to the states with the most juice bar check-ins (note Massachusetts definitely was not at the top of this list, we’ll leave that to Hawaii and stick to our Dunkin), Foursquare has tracked the places with the most check-ins in 2012. Where do people go in Boston? Here:



Eastern-Standard-via-FacebookPhoto via Easter Standard/Facebook

1) Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks
Taking cocktails, American classics like macaroni and cheese, and late-night munchies to the next level, Eastern Standard also made our 50 Best Restaurants of 2012. Eastern Standard offers the best of homey and elegant combined, an atmosphere welcoming to all diners.

2) The Beehive
3) Franklin Cafe
4) Local 149
5) Silvertone
6) Post 390
7) Back Bay Social Club
8) Top of the Hub
9) Scoozi
10) Coda


Island Creek Oyster BarPhoto via Island Creek Oyster Bar

1) Island Creek Oyster Bar
At Island Creek Oyster Bar, you need to get to know your food. Spearheading the idea of sea-to-table, the menu (printed daily) gives a detailed description of each dish on the menu and where it came from. The restaurant won our Best of Boston 2012 for Best Upscale Seafood Restaurant.

2) Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar
3) Neptune Oyster
4) B & G Oyster
5) Legal Harborside
6) The Barking Crab
7) Legal Sea Foods
8) Legal Test Kitchen
9) The Daily Catch
10) Union Oyster House


Picco restaurantPhoto via Picco/Facebook

1) Picco
While most Italian lovers in Boston would jump to the North End for family favorites, this friendly South End pizzeria joint received the most check-ins on Foursquare for pizza in Boston. Our Best of Boston 2012, Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant, Picco also offers something rarely found in the North End: reasonable prices.

2) Penguin Pizza
3) Pino's Pizza
4) Ernesto's Pizza
5) Regina Pizzeria
6) Santarpio's Pizza
7) Real Deal Deli
8) Il Mondo Pizza & Subs
9) Galleria Umberto
10) Crazy Dough's Pizza


myers and chang restuarantPhoto via Yelp

1) Myers + Chang
The lovechild of Joanne Chang and Chris Myers, this Asian restaurant brings together the best both have to offer. The restaurant, inspired by Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine, brings fresh funk to the Asian dining scene in Boston. It was even ranked Best Neighborhood Restaurant, South End, in our Best of Boston 2012 issue.

2) Gourmet Dumpling House
3) Oishii Boston
4) Red Lantern
5) Dumpling Cafe
6) Basho Japanese Brasserie
7) Q Restaurant
8) Brown Sugar Cafe
9) Shabu Zen
10) Wagamama


The Thinking Cup Coffee cupsPhoto via The Thinking Cup/Facebook

1) Thinking Cup
The only shop in Boston brewing exclusively “Stumptown Coffee” directly from the roasting facility in Brooklyn, Thinking Cup’s expert baristas know how to make a great cup of coffee. The comfy, indie setting and deliciously baked pastries don’t hurt either.

2) Pavement Coffeehouse
3) Wired Puppy
4) Cafenation
5) Panera Bread
6) Render Coffee
7) Starbucks
8) Boston Common Coffee Company
9) Flat Black Coffee Company
10) Barrington Coffee Roasting Company


Photo via Sunset Cantina/Facebook

1) Sunset Cantina
You wonder why this eclectically decorated (draft handles line the walls) restaurant on Commonwealth Avenue is where people are checking in for Mexican, and then you hear about the free mimosas that come with Sunday brunch. An absurd, yet lovable setting, this restaurant continues to surprise, but never disappoints.

2) El Pelon Taqueria
3) Papagayo
4) Boloco Berklee
5) Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar
6) Angela's Cafe
7) Anna's Taqueria
8) Lone Star Taco Bar
9) La Verdad
10) The Purple Cactus



Pour House BarPhoto via Pour House Bar & Grill

1) Pour House Bar & Grill
Big screens, graffiti laced walls, and rowdy guests, Pour House is anything but pretentious. Bostonians clearly know where to go for a casual night of drunken fun.

2) Sunset Grill & Tap
3) The Lower Depths
4) Bukowski Tavern
5) Lucky's Lounge
6) White Horse Tavern
7) An Tua Nua
8) Punter's Pub
9) Anchovies
10) Common Ground


Harpoon Brewery BeerPhoto via Harpoon Brewery

1) Harpoon Brewery
It’s impossible to think Boston brew and not think Harpoon. Deep Irish roots make us beer snobs at heart, and Harpoon always stands up to the test.

2) Doyle's Cafe
3) Samuel Adams Brewery
4) BU Pub
5) J.J. Foley's Cafe
6) James's Gate
7) Boston Beer Works
8) Cornwall's
9) J.J. Foley's Bar & Grille
10) Brendan Behan Pub

Sports Bars

Tavern in the Square sports fanA sports fan poses at the bar during a Patriot’s play-off game. (Photo via Tavern in the Square/Facebook)

1) Tavern in the Square
Your typical college bar, Tavern in the Square is a great place to grab a booth, some drinks, and a big plate of nachos to enjoy any game.

2) Jerry Remy's Sports Bar & Grill
3) Bleacher Bar
4) The Baseball Tavern
5) The Four's
6) Game On!
7) McGreevy's
8) Conor Larkin's
9) The North Star
10) Cask 'n Flagon

Music Venues

House of Blues Photo via House of Blues Boston/Facebook

1) House of Blues Boston
Across the street from Fenway Park, this venue is settled in the heart of Boston. Part of the national chain, the House of Blues attracts big-name performers throughout the year.

2) Paradise Rock Club
3) Great Scott
4) Church
5) Brighton Music Hall
6) Howl at the Moon
7) The Red Room @ Cafe 939
8) Bank of America Pavilion
9) O'Brien's Pub
10) Wally's Cafe


Good Life night clubPhoto via Good Life

1) Good Life
A perfect stop for an after-work unwind, this venue turns into a nightclub with a DJ and plenty of dancing. You can even break out your pre-teen favorites, as Good Life's Middle School Dance Night won “Best Excuse to do the Worm” in our Best of Boston 2012.

2) Royale Nightclub
3) The Estate
4) Splash Ultra Lounge
5) Rumor
6) Underbar
7) Prime
8) Jillian's Boston

Dive Bars

Silhouette Lounge Dive BarPhoto via Yelp

1) Silhouette Lounge
If you expect elegance and class, don’t go here. If you want free, salty popcorn and cheap pitchers of PBR, Silhouette’s just the spot. Everything a great dive bar should be.

2) The Tam
3) The Model Cafe
4) The Crossing
5) Beacon Hill Pub
6) Murphy's Law
7) Biddy Early's
8) The Drinking Fountain

Best of Things to Do

Great Outdoors

Boston Common frog pondPhoto via Boston Common Frog Pond/Facebook

1) Boston Common
The start of the Freedom Trail, Boston Common is Boston. Great for a picnic in spring, a splash in summer, and a bundled-up spin on Frog Pond in winter, the park is the perfect outing all year long.

2) Castle Island
3) The Rose Kennedy Greenway
4) Post Office Square
5) Chinatown Gate
6) Milk Bottle
7) Commonwealth Avenue Mall
8) Gas Tank
9) Constitution Beach
10) North End Park


oldstatehouseOld State House photo via Yelp

1) Boston Common
Perfect for an afternoon stroll or a relaxing place to read a good book. In the winter, Frog Pond turns into a magical wonderland with its ice-skating rink. While it's still cold enough, make sure to head to the Common for a beautiful night out in the city.

2) Old State House
3) Quincy Market
4) New England Aquarium
5) Paul Revere House
6) Kings
7) Castle Island
8) The Rose Kennedy Greenway
9) Post Office Square
10) Improv Asylum Theatre


Museum of Fine Art BostonPhoto via Museum of Fine Arts/Facebook

1) Museum of Fine Arts
After repurposing the Linde Family Wing, the MFA has taken steps to update their newer pieces as well as their traditional offerings. Their most recent exhibit, “Mario Testino: In Your Face,” took a look at the famed fashion photographer’s marriage of fine art and commercial photography.

2) Institute of Contemporary Art
3) Boston Children's Museum
4) Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
5) Museum of African American History
6) USS Constitution Museum
7) Boston Fire Museum
8) Old Corner Bookstore
9) Mapparium
10) Musical Stairs

Performing Arts

Boston Opera HousePhoto via Yelp

1) Boston Opera House
With our fast-paced, busy lives, it’s easy to forget about the finer things, but Boston Opera House reminds us of the epitome of class. From a fireplace in the men’s restroom to the regal auditorium, the space begs you to put down the remote and put on your Sunday best.

2) Boston University Theatre (Huntington Theatre Company In Residence)
3) Calderwood Pavilion at Boston Center for the Arts
4) Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre
5) Cutler Majestic Theatre
6) The Colonial Theater
7) Emerson College – Semel Theatre
8) Footlight Club
9) Boston Ballet School
10) Emerson College – Bill Bordy Theater


Doyle's Cafe on St. Patrick's DayPhoto via Doyle's Cafe

1) Doyle's Cafe
In Boston, we know how to pub, and the pub that Bostonians check in to most is Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain. With character and beer (we don’t even need to mention the food), Doyle’s is, simply put, a classic pub.

2) BU Pub
3) J.J. Foley's Cafe
4) James's Gate
5) Cornwall's
6) J.J. Foley's Bar & Grille
7) Brendan Behan Pub
8) Black Rose
9) Harvard Gardens
10) The Banshee Bar