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SECOND TIME AROUND | BOSTON

You've Done This: Now Try This

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

They call it America's Walking City. And indeed, it's easy to pass your days in Boston meandering from one famous site (the Paul Revere House) to another (the Union Oyster House). But follow the locals and you'll discover what makes Bostonians so loyal to their home town: a mix of green parks, elegant shopping, undersung museums and cozy pubs (and we don't mean Cheers). Here are a dozen tourist traps paired with their lesser-known equivalents that locals treasure. -- Jane Black

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Pubs

TOURIST: Cheers

Once known as the Bull & Finch Pub, this Beacon Hill bar changed its name to Cheers after the TV show made it the most famous bar in America. The catch: No one will know your name here; the only regulars are tourists.

INSIDER: Matt Murphy's Pub

Irish pub Matt Murphy's, in contrast, has built a real community in Brookline Village, the first town outside the city limits. The draw: a proper pint of Guinness, greaseless fish and chips and, most important, no cheesy leprechaun paraphernalia. For music lovers, there's a nightly lineup of local and up-and-coming national bands. The bar even has its own record label, Pub Records, so you can take a piece of your trip home with you.

· 14 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-232-0188, http://www.mattmurphyspub.com.

Museums

TOURIST: Museum of Fine Arts

The MFA has long been considered one of the country's top art destinations, with a notable collection of Monets. But in recent years, curators have staged more populist exhibits. (Ralph Lauren's designer cars, anyone?) They've also upped prices. It's $17 for general admission and $23 for special exhibitions.

INSIDER: Fogg Museum

Brainy Bostonians head to the Fogg, Harvard University's oldest art museum. Opened in 1895, it's about to be renovated, so visit by June 30. The Italian Renaissance courtyard, based on a 16th-century Tuscan facade, is surrounded by galleries that trace the arc of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present, including its own terrific collection of impressionist paintings, plus a mighty number of Picassos. Special exhibitions are thoughtful, not crowd-pleasers, and often highlight contemporary art that far outshines that at the newer, buzzier Institute of Contemporary Art downtown. Note: If you can't visit before the gallery closes, a selection of works from the Fogg and its sister museums, the Busch-Reisinger and the Arthur M. Sackler, will be on view across the street at the Sackler during the closing.

· 32 Quincy St., Cambridge, 617-495-9400 , http://www.artmuseums.harvard.edu. Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Admission: $9.

Nature

TOURIST: Swan Boats in the Public Garden


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