Lifestyle

11 Boston secrets you didn't know existed

You probably thought you had seen (and done) everything there is to see (and do) in the Hub. You thought WRONG, because these are 11 secret and hidden things in Boston you probably never even knew about:

Erik Christensen

1. There's a huge stone from... well, no one's quite sure

Faneuil Hall
Hiding in plain sight along Marshall St (near The Green Dragon) is the Boston Stone, an object of disputed origin and significance. It’s 2ft in diameter and hollow, and was most likely used as a small millstone circa 1700. Local lore suggests that surveyors used it as the epicenter of Boston, but math and history nerds think otherwise. Spoiler alert for National Treasure Part 8: the inscribed date (1737) is also a mystery!!!

2. You can walk around inside a giant stained glass globe

Symphony/South End
Travel back in time to 1935 inside this giant stained glass globe at the Mary Baker Eddy Library. Funny thing... one minute you’re just walking around, and then suddenly you’re inside the Christian Science Mapparium -- a 30ft diameter sphere painted with a world map from pre-WWII. So long, Belgian Congo, we hardly knew ye. Bonus: there’s a light show.

3. This museum is full of dead bodies

Longwood
Chubby Vern said it best: "You guys wanna go see a dead body?" If you do (sicko), The Warren Anatomical Museum has plenty, but they’re all in really... umm... unconventional shapes. For the squeamish, this collection of bizarre bodily oddities is probably not your preferred museum experience. Check out the preserved skull of Phineas Gage, that 1800s railroad worker who lost his left lobe (when a tamping iron shot through his skull) AND LIVED. They also have the tamping iron.

4. You can raise your hands to the heavens and thank... cod

Beacon Hill
A lonely 5ft painted, sacred wooden fish swims in the air above the House Chamber, reminding us in perpetuity that we should thank cod. They kept the Puritans alive, and then fueled our early fishing industry. Plus you can’t have fish 'n chips without them. Just sayin'.

5. You can spy on all the saints in a secret alleyway

The North End
There’s a patron saint for just about everything (even hardware stores), and they’re all represented here in All Saints Way, a private North End alley (all except the The Boondock Saints, that is). Peter Baldassari lovingly curates his shrine to the divine, a collection of the canonized that began in his youth. The gate is usually locked, but you can still get a good look at the rotating gallery.

6. You can hang out at the birthplace of anesthesia

Beacon Hill
Two men enter, one man leaves! Just kidding, Master Blaster. In 1846, William T.G. Morton knocked out Edward Abbott with ether (in front of a LIVE studio audience) at Mass General’s premier surgical amphitheater. Then the docs removed Abbot’s neck tumor while he slept. Dude didn’t even flinch. And that’s how anesthesia (and the name "The Ether Dome") was born. 

7. Your next pair of shoes is behind a Snapple machine

Back Bay 
Go through a non-descript convenience store at 6 Clearway St, open the Snapple vending machine, and enter Bodega: Boston's footwear/apparel mecca for cool kidz. It’s like Narnia AND Wonderland, filled with shoes and sweet gear (but no pesky talking animals.)

8. This "Skinny House" was built out of spite

North End 
This is your typical Hatfield-McCoy scenario, but with only two brothers squabbling over some co-inherited land in the North End (and no hillbillies or guns). While one brother fought in the Civil War, the other jerk put a huge house there. The soldier returned and built this 10ft wide "spite house"... thus setting the trend for geometrically awkward North End apartments.

Erik Christensen

9. You can visit the tree where George Washington started America (basically)

Harvard Square/Cambridge Common 
It seems that George Washington slept pretty much everywhere, but he only took command of the Continental Army in one spot: under a stately elm tree in Cambridge Common. This is one of those "probably-not-true" historical myths, but nobody seems to mind. George and the boys camped here, so there IS a good chance he gave an inspirational speech about how one day there will be freedom and NASCAR.

Erik Christensen

10. There's a sculpture devoted to a puppet

Harvard Square
You've walked past it a bazillion times in Harvard Square (near the EMS), and you’ve probably never even noticed it. But you should, because it’s sorta famous. Noted Russian artist Konstantin Simun sculpted this memorial to fellow countryman and local street puppeteer, Igor Fokin. It’s a bronze statue of a Fokin puppet named DooDoo. True story.

Erik Christensen

11. There's a secret garden on top of a parking garage

Kendall Square 
C’mon, you know you loved The Secret Garden. There’s another one waiting for you at the 4 Cambridge Center parking garage. Find the entrance on Broadway that says "Roof Garden" (duh) and head for the top to find a well-manicured urban oasis. If you work anywhere nearby, ditch your cube at lunch for fresh air and sunshine. Trust us, they’re good for you.

Sign up here for our daily Boston email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the Hub has to offer.