2022 Best of New England | Massachusetts

With an eye on what’s new for 2022, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in top Massachusetts travel destinations, including Boston, Cape Cod, and the Berkshires. 

By Yankee Editors

May 04 2022



Photo Credit : Raymond Forbes LLC/Stocksy (Charles River, Boston and Cambridge)
With an eye on what’s new for 2022, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in top Massachusetts travel destinations, including Boston, Cape Cod, and the Berkshires.


Contessa Boston

Perched high above Boston’s Public Garden at the top of the Newbury Hotel, Contessa radiates big-city glamour, with interiors by bold-name designer Ken Fulk and a menu of Northern Italian–inspired dishes like lobster capellini and Bistecca Fiorentina for two, plus buzzy cocktails. The city sparkles beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows at night, but those views also make it the perfect spot for brunch on a sunny (or snowy) day.

Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

Cheese has always been among the top draws at this Cambridge institution. But while the Formaggio Kitchen flagship’s move down the block to a light-filled space almost twice as large last year made more room for the Instagram-worthy cheese counter—stocked with 300 glorious wheels and wedges—it also allowed owners Ihsan and Valerie Gurdal to add a butchery and a seafood department, and to bring in even more gourmet foods from around the globe.

Franklin Park Zoo Boston

There’s always something new at the zoo. This spring, the expansive outdoor habitat Gorilla Grove was unveiled, adding some 360,000 cubic feet of climbing, swinging, and exploring space for Franklin Park Zoo’s six western lowland gorillas, a critically endangered species. Enclosed walkways traverse Gorilla Grove, allowing visitors to immerse themselves without intruding on the animals’ space. Along with its sister facility, Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Franklin Park Zoo saw attendance swell past one million for the first time last year, buoyed in part by the success of Boston Lights, a recently created nighttime event featuring 60-plus large-scale displays made up of hundreds of colorful lanterns. Watch for it to return this summer.

High Street Place Food Hall Boston

Boston is now home to several great food halls (including the Time Out Market and Boston Public Market), but High Street Place stands out for its prime location close to the waterfront, the Greenway, and South Station, plus the high wattage of three separate eateries from celeb chef Tiffani Faison: the champagne bar Bubble Bath, Dive Bar (a raw bar), and Tenderoni’s, serving pizza and grinders. Other noteworthy bites include Mamaleh’s Delicatessen, Gorgeous Gelato, and Mike & Patty’s breakfast sandwiches.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Boston

If you binged the recent Netflix series This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist, or hung on every word of the Boston Globe/WBUR podcast Last Seen, this is your chance to return to the scene of the crime. Pop-culture fascination with its notorious 1990 heist aside, though, the timeless Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum continues to artfully marry the old (the original Venetian mansion with its verdant courtyard and empty frames standing in for the stolen paintings) and the new (the glass-clad Renzo Piano–designed addition, which hosts concerts and special exhibits).

LA ROYAL Cambridge

Maria Rondeau was an architect and JuanMa Calderón a filmmaker when they began hosting a series of dinners inspired by the cuisine of Calderón’s native Peru. That series became one restaurant, Celeste, in Somerville, which was joined by a summer pop-up in Vermont. Their newest venture, La Royal, dives deep into Peru’s regional specialties, such as arroz con pato (cilantro rice with duck), assorted ceviches, and chupe de langostinos (shrimp chowder). Here you find evidence of the many cultures (indigenous, Spanish, Arab, Japanese, African, and Chinese) that shaped Peruvian cooking, while soaking in a neighborly vibe. Don’t sleep on the cocktail list, which is rich in piscos, bitters, and herbal elixirs mixed with citrus and tropical fruits.

The Lexington/Gepetto/Café Beatrice Cambridge

Will Gilson was once a wunderkind teen chef cooking in Boston’s top kitchens. Now he has four restaurants of his own, including a trio of concepts under one roof in Cambridge Crossing. Cafe Beatrice is the all-day café with a killer cinnamon roll and a great roast beef sammy; Gepetto has some of the best pastas (and meatballs) in the city; and The Lexington is a rooftop aerie serving a menu of modern American classics such as steak frites and a ridiculously good onion dip paired with potato waffles.

Mida Boston

A chef can chip away at mastery for years before food writers finally come calling with their “best new chefs” lists. Such was the case with Douglass Williams, Boston’s pasta prodigy. By the time the crowds showed up, he had long mastered his signature classic carbonara, gnocchi caccio e pepe, and buccatini all amatriciana. Luckily for us, his success has spawned two new spots: a suburban outpost of Mida, in Newton; and Apizza, serving both New Haven–style and Roman-style pizzas at Hub Hall near TDGarden.

MIT Museum Cambridge

Leave it to those MIT brainiacs to blow our minds. After nearly 50 years in a cramped, aging industrial building on Mass. Ave., the college’s museum of all things tech is moving to spanking-new digs in Kendall Square with more than 58,000 square feet of space. Though you’ll have to wait for the grand reopening this fall to ogle the museum’s robots, lasers, Polaroid cameras, world’s biggest holography collection, and other gee-whiz holdings, the terrific gift shop (now triple its former size) is worth a stop this summer, especially if you’re already strolling the new Greater Boston Innovation Trail.

Old North Church Boston

On the eve of its 300th anniversary in 2023, the church famed for hanging the “one if by land, two if by sea” lanterns that sparked Paul Revere’s midnight ride is still bringing history to light. In addition to learning about the architecture and Revolutionary War history of the city’s oldest church, visitors this summer will be offered a clearer picture of those who first worshipped here, from free and enslaved Black congregants to those who benefited from cacao smuggling and the slave trade. Also new at this Freedom Trail favorite: daily tours of the church crypt, and a retail shop dedicated to New England artisans and small businesses.

The Revolution HotelBoston

Opened on Berkeley Street in 2019, the Revolution Hotel offers rooms that are comfy, convenient, connected, and patterned after the space-efficient studios and lofts to which young urbanites have become accustomed. The in-house restaurant, Cósmica, specializes in Cal-Mex fare like tequila and tacos, and the coffee shop serves up freshly ground beans from Vermont’s Abracadabra Coffee.

Seaport District Boston

For many years, the Seaport was a working waterfront, mostly industrial and dotted with parking lots. Now, it’s Boston’s most vibrant destination, packed with shops (For Now, Porter Square Books, b8ta), restaurants (Row 34, Sportello, Trillium), and hotels (Envoy, Yotel, Boston Harbor Hotel), as well as being home to the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Children’s Museum. High-rises are broken up by charming parks and the Harborwalk, while seasonal markets and pop-up shops keep things fresh.

The Whitney Hotel Boston

This 65-room hotel gives us exactly the kind of the classic, centralized Beacon Hill landing spot we’ve always wanted. Set in a brick townhouse with views of the Charles River, the Whitney blends sophisticated touches (soaking tubs, first-class linens, and a remarkably good in-room wine selection) with a make-yourself-at-home feel. The Whitney Wags program delights dogs with personalized beds and treats, while the hotel’s Italian-inspired eatery, Peregrine, a sibling of the acclaimed Somerville restaurant Juliet, will certainly please their masters.


Atria Edgartown

White-linen elegance meets pub-grub gusto at Atria, the Vineyard standby where chef-owner Christian Thornton is equally deft with refined presentations of regional seafood as with rib-sticking pizzas and award-winning burgers. His knack for comfort food fueled Atria’s recent pivot to takeaway to keep the locals well fed in the slow season and, like the rest of us, looking forward to nabbing a seat this summer at a fine-dining spot that remains, after more than two decades, warmly welcoming inside and out.

Chatham Inn Chatham

Just when you thought an overnight on the Lower Cape couldn’t get much swankier, the Chatham Inn recently earned the peninsula’s only Relais & Châteaux designation. You’d be forgiven for lingering on this pretty property, considering that the 18 renovated rooms all have spa-like bathrooms and luxe linens, and that the on-site restaurant, Cuvée, is among the most sought-after reservations on the Cape. When you’re ready to venture out, do it in style by booking the hotel’s complimentary Volvo XC90.

Lemon Press Nantucket

Downtown Nantucket has long been light on breakfast places, especially after Fog Island Café headed inland in 2019. Thankfully, Lemon Press is now answering the call of the island’s early risers—and injecting a little bit of California cool into cobblestoned Main Street—with avocado toast, breakfast salads, and rosewater waffles, and drinks like the Grey Lady, crafted with lavender-infused espresso.

Liz’s Cafe, Anybody’s Bar Provincetown

This West End haunt has the all-day-café thing down. By day, proprietor Liz Lovati—of the beloved Provincetown market Angel Foods—and her crew dish up Benedicts and turkey clubs, plus breakfast combos that hearken back to the location’s previous tenant, the Tip for Tops’n diner. By night, dinner is served, and drinks like the Very Sexy Martini and the Spicy Sailor start flowing at the sleek bar, constructed from an actual dory. (About that chic interior? It comes courtesy of P-town resident and designer-to-the-stars Ken Fulk.)

Outermost Inn Aquinnah

Hugh Taylor (of the Vineyard’s famous Taylor clan) and his wife, Jeanne, have known each other since their island childhoods, and together they have run this idyllic spot that looks out to countryside and ocean for nearly 30 years. It’s one of those dining destinations where people come back year after year—for the beautiful setting, the soothing intimacy, and of course the menu, which showcases impeccably prepared local produce and seafood. The prix fixe dinners are worth every penny.

Sea Street Inn Hyannis

Somehow “bed-and-breakfast” doesn’t seem to do justice to the guest experience at this grown-up Cape Cod boutique inn. Minutes from Keyes Memorial Beach and a stone’s throw from the Kennedy Compound, the 19th-century sea captain’s house has been fully renovated, with the wow factor kicking in as soon as you enter its curated gallery space. And your innkeepers, chef Adrian D’Ambrosi and his wife, Xenia, get every day off to a gourmet start with a multicourse breakfast that’ll have you pulling your camera out before taking a bite.

Shark Center Provincetown

Set aside more time than you think you’ll need to explore the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s new museum, its second on Cape Cod—there’s a lot to take in here. Wade into the deep with detailed interactive exhibits and videos on these mysterious fish, then bone up on the nonprofit’s pioneering satellite-tagging work and other groundbreaking research. Want to make your own in-person observations? Book one of the center’s private shark-spotting cruises.

Truro Vineyards Truro

Need a beach break? Dig your toes out of the sand and get your nose into a glass of this chill winery’s rosé—or a five-year Otis Rye Whiskey, the first in a new line of whiskeys from Truro Vineyards’ distillery, South Hollow Spirits. Indeed, with its lobster roll–slinging Crush Pad food truck (run by nearby Blackfish restaurant), live music, and festive alfresco bar scene, this is the place to be on summer afternoons.


The Break Room North Adams

Tucked into a recently converted former cotton mill, this restaurant and bakery serves as North Adams’s community living room, with morning pastries, Bennies, and breakfast bowls; lunchtime sandwiches and salads; and weekend dinners with an emphasis on global flavors and local produce. There’s lots of patio space, and the neighboring Berkshire Cider Project supplies plenty of bubbly wonders.

Crust Pizza Pittsfield

Pittsfield’s food scene is on the rise, as typified at this Neapolitan-style pizza shop, where the dough is cold-fermented for four days, and toppings range from classic mozz to gorgonzola, and from pepperoni to locally made chili crisp. The long fermentation produces a gently tangy, beautifully puffed crust, and extra cooking time means that it’s never soggy in the middle. Bonus: This crew is serious about their gluten-free and vegan options.

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art North Adams

Nearly a quarter century since opening its doors, one of the country’s finest museums continues to up its game, with cutting-edge but accessible art showcased across its 250,000 square feet of gallery and exhibition areas. Three ambitious shows launch at Mass MoCA this year, including Amy Hauft’s space-bending exhibition that places viewers somewhere between Earth and the moon. Luckily, you can ground yourself with tasty grub at craft brewery Bright Ideas and barbecue joint A-OK before closing out your visit and making plans for a return trip.

Norman Rockwell Museum Stockbridge

In addition to displaying the cherished artwork that evinces Norman Rockwell’s deep appreciation for and ability to portray our shared humanity, this Berkshires must-visit also continually mounts fresh exhibitions that analyze and celebrate the art of illustration. This year’s highlight: “Imprinted: Illustrating Race,” on view from June 11 through October 30, which offers a look at more than 100 perception-shaping artworks and artifacts from the 18th century to today.

Tourists North Adams

The line between indoors and outdoors is blurred at this 48-room eco-escape, built on the foundation of a midcentury motel. Woodland views and outdoor showers come standard. Fresh Berkshires air is circulated into every room hourly. And you’ll spend most of your summertime stay floating in the heated saltwater pool or acquainting yourself with 30 acres of trails and recreational features. Don’t wrack your brain for ways to make your vacation out of the ordinary—that’s a job for Tourists’s “art and adventure manager.”

The Williams Inn Williamstown

It’s not what or where it used to be: Williams College built a modern replacement for its on-campus hotel in 2019 in a central location that’s ideal for visiting parents and museum- and theater-bound tourists, too. Cool, calm hues and energy-saving green features characterize all 64 thoughtfully designed rooms and suites. Common areas and the Barn Kitchen & Bar have more rustic warmth, but on balmy nights, the ahi tuna nachos and local craft beers taste best outdoors, fireside.


B.T.’s Fried Chicken & BBQ Worcester

Among the bright lights of Worcester’s dining scene is this down-home joint from Brian Treitman, who worked under Ming Tsai and Ken Oringer in Boston before opening his namesake B.T.’s Smokehouse in Sturbridge. Here, he’s doing the classic meat-and-sides that first earned raves (don’t miss the pulled pork and brisket) along with fried chicken served regular-style and Nashville-hot. Round it out with coleslaw, “sexy” grits, and buttermilk pie.

Daily Operation Easthampton

When cravings strike, you’ll dream of these cheeseburgers. Of buttery, griddled buns topped with pickles and hoisin-glazed meatloaf. Of paper trays piled with saucy Sichuan cabbage salad. Of fried broccoli and cheesy potatoes. Even with an ever-evolving menu, this James Beard–nominated restaurant manages to stay dependably delicious and always affordable, thanks to owners David Schrier, Jessica Pollard, and David Clegg’s commitment to accessibility.

Montague Bookmill Montague

If sinking into a worn leather chair with a 20-year-old book and losing all sense of time sounds appealing, you’ll crush hard on this creaky-floored bookstore (motto: “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find”). Not a bibliophile? Be lured by the artists’ co-op or record store. There’s bliss at this 1842 gristmill complex, too, for anyone who eats or drinks: teas, coffees, wine, beer, and local-focused fare in the Lady Killigrew or an all-new culinary experience at Watershed overlooking the Sawmill River’s froth.

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Springfield

A top-to-bottom $25 million renovation that finished up last year made this 40,000-square-foot hoops museum even more fan-friendly. Tour the tributes to the more than 400 Hall of Fame inductees, get an up-close look at an original pair of Air Jordans, and fix your eyes on a genuine Dennis Rodman boa (!). Even better: Take your own game to the next level by studying the basics of the perfect crossover or the ultimate Kareem skyhook.

Polar Park Worcester

While the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park hold the hearts of New England baseball fans, the new home of the Worcester Red Sox (WooSox) is the newest and shiniest minor league ballpark in the country. Here you will see future major leaguers on the cusp of making it to Boston, while joining up to 9,500 other fans in a park built in the heart of the city’s Canal District, where freight trains rumble by just beyond the outfield walls. The ballpark’s design, with its blue motif and view of the city, was overseen by the same team that refurbished Fenway Park.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden Boylston

A green thumb’s dream come true, this horticultural gem has grown by leaps and bounds with the recent addition of 26 acres and 40,000 new plants, plus more room for parking and improved accessibility. But the crown jewel of its $15 million construction project is a children’s garden dubbed the Ramble, a 1.5-acre woodland Eden featuring a waterfall and an amphitheater. Seasonal sandwiches and grain bowls from Farmer and the Fork Café are a great excuse to take in all the scenery while sitting on the patio overlooking the Wachusett Reservoir.

Yankee Candle Village SouthDeerfield

Stop and smell, taste, and create at the flagship home of the world’s largest candlemaker, now the lone “Scenter of the Universe” following 2021’s closure of Yankee Candle Village in Williamsburg. Kids love pouring colorful wax beads into jars at this sprawling home fragrance, decor, and gift store, but the newest lures are for grownups. Design a signature scent at the candle bar, then sample the fresh flavors at Powder Hollow Brewery.


The Hotel Salem Salem

After a day spent exploring the North Shore, you’ll need a sophisticated spot to lay your head. Enter the Hotel Salem, which offers 44 midcentury-modern rooms and the Witch City’s only rooftop bar and lounge. And do come hungry: The seasonal lobby restaurant, Counter, is a comfort-food destination and often hosts pop-up events with buzzy local purveyors (think Wild Fox Pierogis, Speakeasy Donuts, and Flip the Bird chicken sandwiches).

Peabody Essex Museum Salem

A few years back, PEM vaulted into the top 10 largest art museums in North America with a dazzling 40,000-square-foot expansion, whose highlights included an exquisite garden and 13 additional galleries. In its newest gallery, the long-term installation On This Ground: Being and Belonging in America combines PEM’s Native American and American collections for the first time ever, merging more than 250 historical and contemporary works in a way that encourages visitors to consider what it means to be part of a family, place, community, and nation.

Plimoth Patuxet Museums Plymouth

Marking its 75th anniversary this year, Plimoth Patuxet Museums transports visitors back to the 1600s, when the Pilgrims established Plymouth Colony on lands that the Pokanoket Wampanoag and other indigenous peoples had called home for more than 12,000 years. Among the fascinating features to explore are the Patuxet Homesite, the 17th-Century English Village, and, most famously, Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the original. A bonus for the 2022 season is the special exhibit “We Gather Together: Thanksgiving, Gratitude, and the Making of an American Holiday,” focused on the truths and myths surrounding Plymouth’s 1621 harvest feast.

Sunset Club Newbury

In transforming an old auto body shop into this laid-back, family-friendly spot, the team behind Somerville’s Trina’s Starlite Lounge and Newburyport’s Paddle Inn has fully embraced the surf-y energy of Plum Island. There are tacos and empanadas on the menu, buzzy-again espresso martinis in the cocktail shakers, and showstopping sunsets over the expansive salt marsh—best viewed from an outdoor table, preferably after a day at the beach.

Talise Gloucester

Perched above Lobster Cove in Gloucester’s Annisquam neighborhood, Talise is a seasonal seafood–driven gem. With views this good, lesser chefs would simply coast, but Joshua Smith maintains a devotion to handcrafting everything on the menu. Lobster tacos are made with artisan masa flour; sourdough is freshly baked. Smith works particular wonders with local striped bass and bigeye tuna, but there’s also a phenomenal burger for landlubbers. Seating is limited, so book early.

The Winsor House Duxbury

From the team behind Island Creek Oysters, the Winsor House is a reimagining of a beloved town tavern, where hamachi crudo and piri piri monkfish share the stage with fried clams and a great burger. When it comes to sourcing, this crew knows how to spot a great catch, so don’t miss the raw bar delicacies, including Island Creek’s own buttery, gently minerally oysters with a signature sweet finish.

See More: Best of New England 2022