Boston: a business travel guide

By Kyle Alspach for Business Life magazine

Photography by 123RF

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September 2016

With MIT and Harvard close by, the Massachusetts capital has an enduring - and still growing - reputation for innovation.

The lowdown

Anyone who's seen the film The Social Network knows the story of Facebook's origins inside the halls of Harvard University. The founders, of course, abruptly left the Boston area for Silicon Valley, but since then the city has worked hard not to lose the next big tech company that starts up in the district — a longstanding hub of innovation thanks to its cluster of top universities, including MIT. In 2014, Boston saw nearly two dozen companies in biotech and high-tech go public, including e-commerce firm Wayfair and software company HubSpot, both now valued in the billions of dollars.

Don't be surprised to see the CEO of a billion-dollar tech company wearing jeans around the office

The past few years have also seen the focal point for technology business shift from the suburbs of Route 128. Young startups now usually find their first office space in downtown Boston, and even some larger tech firms, such as business software company LogMeIn, have relocated to Boston proper from outside the city. The switch has already begun to bring cultural change to business districts long dominated by the financial services, healthcare and legal sectors.

Discover our cheapest Club fares to Boston

  • Eastern Standard © The Bearwalk

    Brasserie breakfast

    Start the day off right in the comfy red leather booths of Eastern Standard, a charming neighborhood restaurant.

    Discover Boston
  • Blue Dragon

    East meets West

    If you’re in the mood for a tapas-style feast of fresh dim sum with a side of fish and chips, visit the Blue Dragon.

    Explore Boston
  • Legal Sea Foods

    Above board

    Legal Sea Foods does exactly as you’d expect, it serves up the freshest of fish on a daily basis.

    Book a city break to Boston

Industry segments where Boston's innovation-focused economy stands out include robotics, life sciences and b-to-b software. Meanwhile, a host of new biotech companies has sprung up in Cambridge's Kendall Square, many of them spun out of research labs at Harvard or launched by local venture capital firms.

Business etiquette

The old view is that Boston's business world is highly formal and reserved, in keeping with the city's Puritanical heritage. But while formal dress and conversation might still be appreciated in older industries such as banking, the tech world in Boston is very casual — don't be surprised to see the CEO of a billion-dollar tech company wearing jeans around the office, or to have your meeting with a local entrepreneur over beers.

Food & Shopping

Local cuisine remains influenced by the region's early staples. Fish and shellfish, as well as local fruits and produce, continue to be important. But today's Boston restaurants offer all manner of globally influenced dining, from gourmet French to Asian fusion.

  • W Hotel Boston

    See the sights

    Set in fashionable Mid-town, W Hotel Boston is ideally situated for exploring the city. Book flights from London to Boston, plus 7-nights in the W Hotel from:£1370 pp

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Best Business Breakfast: Eastern Standard

An authentic neighbourhood restaurant serving up moreish eggs Benedict and tempting French toast. (528 Commonwealth Ave;

Best Power Lunch: Blue Dragon

Gastropub serving East-meets-West fare, a favourite for local tech types. (324 A Street ;

Best Slap-Up Dinner: Legal Sea Foods

Extensive menu of chowders and fresh seafood in a comfortable setting. (Multiple locations;


Newbury Street is the local hotspot for high-end fashion retailers, though niche stores abound as well. Harvard Square boasts more than 100 retailers of all varieties. The South End is home to a cluster of independent speciality shops. Mall shopping includes the high-end stores of Copley Place and the more modestly priced outlets at the Prudential Center, while the tourist-friendly Faneuil Hall Marketplace includes a number of major chains.

  • Guest room at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Boston
  • Fairmont Copley Plaza

    Old-world charm

    One of Boston’s iconic hotels, stop by the famous Oak Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.

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  • Taj Boston


Boston's business hotels are mostly located in Downtown, Back Bay, Kenmore/Fenway and the Seaport District.

Mandarin Oriental

A high-end hotel located in the heart of the Back Bay.

Book a stay at Mandarin Oriental >

W Hotel Boston

Make the most of the city and you stay at this centrally-located hotel with spa and gym.

Book a stay at W Hotel Boston >

Fairmont Copley Plaza

Opened in 1912, this iconic hotel boasts a famous bar and opulent surroundings.

Book a stay at Fairmont Copley Plaza >

Taj Boston

Unwind at this luxury hotel with views of Boston Common.

Book a stay at Taj Boston >

Did you know...?

1. Boston is the US city with the highest proportion of residents who walk to work, at 16.7 per cent.

2. The worst molasses-related disaster of all time took place in Boston in 1919, when an explosion sent a fast-moving wave of hot molasses through the North End, killing 21 and destroying several buildings.

3. Among Boston's most prized historical objects is the Sacred Cod, a 230-year-old carving that honours the region's fishing industry and hangs prominently in the Massachusetts State House.

4. A record-smashing 7½ feet of snow hit Boston during a 30-day period in January and February 2015.

Getting around

To reach Downtown Boston from the airport, a taxi ride takes 20 minutes and costs $25. A free Silver Line bus runs from the airport to the South Station transit centre, and the subway via Airport Station on the Blue Line costs $2.65.