Brookline is a town in Massachusetts that is bordered on three sides by Boston. Brookline is primarily residential, and it's a suburb, but it has fairly high density considering all of that. Brookline is in fact denser than many major cities, such as Los Angeles. In terms of the number of T stops, it's probably the best-connected of any town to Boston.
Busy Washington Street in Brookline Village
Coolidge Corner: Anchored by the SS Pierce building, this shopping area is without a doubt the most busy and bustling corner of Brookline. Here you will find the highest concentration of shops, restaurants, along with the requisite traffic of course! Continue north on Harvard Street to find the densest strip of Kosher restaurants and Jewish traditions in the city. If you visit one place in Brookline it will be Coolidge Corner.
Brookline Village: A somewhat sleepier historic area lined with many shops and restaurants. The only happening part of Brookline not along Beacon Street, it succeeds mostly due to the T stop. Although its great location between Longwood Medical in the Fenway and south of Coolidge Corner along Harvard Street doesn't hurt either.
Washington Square: A few stops further outbound from Coolidge Corner, Washington Square plays host to a variety of local shops, swanky restaurants, and popular taverns. Often overshadowed by it's bigger brother up Beacon Street, don't overlook it. More and more offbeat and original businesses are choosing to call Washington Square home.
Putterham Circle: A variety of shops, including market, restaurants, bank, hair salon, gift shop, Starbucks, and others. Without train access, this location has a different feeling than the others listed here. For those without cars looking to get here, look to catch the #51 Bus from Cleveland Circle.
Grounds of Larz Anderson Park
- Larz Anderson Park & Auto Museum, 15 Newton St, +1 617 522-6547. Tu-Su 10AM-4PM. This features an outdoor skating rink, and is the #1 sledding destination in the town. The park is a great place for kids. Don't miss the Auto Museum, the oldest automobile collection in the United States. $10 students, $5 seniors, under 6 free. Free to walk the grounds.
- John F. Kennedy National Historic Site, 83 Beals St, +1 617 566-7937. W-Su 10AM-4:30PM. The 1917 birthplace and boyhood home of the 35th President of the United States. A peek into how people lived in 1917. Free.
- Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, 99 Warren St (T: Brookline Hills (D), +1 617 566-1689. W-Su 9:30AM-4PM. Free.
- Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 734-2500. A charming, old fashioned movie theatre that plays art house films, and some crowd-pleasers. From $10.
- Brookline Golf Club at Putterham, 1281 West Roxbury Parkway, +1 617 730-2078. 8AM-sunset. Public 18-hole golf course. $25-45.
- Puppet Showplace Theater, 32 Station St (T: Brookline Village, +1 617 731-6400. For both children and adults, the theater offers workshops, classes, and training opportunities. Exhibiting over 300 puppetry performances annually. $10-15.
This Studebaker really shines at the Larz Anderson auto museum
- The Shops at Chestnut Hill, 199 Boylston St, +1 617 965-3038. M-F 10AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-8PM, Su noon-6PM. Shopping mall.
- Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 566-6660. M-Th 8:30AM-10PM, F Sa 8:30AM-11PM, Su 9AM-9PM. Independent book seller.
- Kolbo Fine Judaica Gallery, 437 Harvard St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 731-8743. Su-W 10AM-6PM, Th 10AM-8PM, F 10AM-3PM. One of two Judaica stores in Brookline.
- Israel Book Shop, 410 Harvard St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 566-7113. Su-W 9AM-6PM, Th 9AM-8PM, F 9AM-2PM. The other Judaica shop in Brookline, diagonally across from Kolbo. The patrons tend to be Orthodox Jews.
- Allandale Farm, 259 Allandale Rd, +1 617 524-1531. M-F 9AM-7PM, Sa 8AM-6PM, Su 9AM-5PM. Straddling the border with Boston, Allandale Farm is the last working farm in the city. Shop here for fresh flowers, pumpkins, christmas trees; whatever's in season. The main farm house was built around 1778 and is located in Brookline, one of the town's oldest. Plenty of parking.
- Wild Goose Chase, 1355 Beacon St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 738-8020. M-Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 11AM-6PM. Local, unique, and artisanal gifts absolutely perfect for the mom in your life.
The stretch of Harvard Street between Comm and Beacon is a heavily Jewish neighborhood; the majority of kosher restaurants in the Greater Boston area can be found here. Remember, Kosher restaurants are closed Friday night and only open late Saturday night due to the Jewish Sabbath. Some restaurants in the area might just join the crowd and go Kosher, like the ice cream shop J.P. Licks, for example.
- Brookline Family Restaurant, 305 Washington St (in Brookline Village, +1 617 277-4466. Daily 7AM-11PM. Great Turkish food for cheap. Definitely try the donar kebab sandwich. Dinner entrees are $10-15 but can easily serve two (or provide one person two or three meals worth of leftovers) and you can really fill up on the bean salad (fasooleeye piaz) and bread that are served with all meals. Go when you're hungry!
- Michael's Deli, 256 Harvard St (in Coolidge Corner, +1 617 738-3354. Go for the corned beef sandwich or the excellent egg and cheese bagels.
- Bottega Fiorentina, 313 Harvard Street (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 232-2661. 11AM-9:30PM daily. Italian. Plates and sandwiches around $7-14.
- OTTO, 289 Harvard Street, +1 617 499-3352. OTTO is a bustling restaurant with excellent food and service.The waiters and waitresses always greet you with a warm smile. It can get busy on weekends, so going there on weekdays for lunch or dinner is best.
- Bess's Cafe, 224 Cypress St (T: Brookline Hills, +1 617 879-0993. M-Sa 11AM-8PM, Su 11AM-7PM. Authentic Chinese cuisine specializing in Jiang Nan style noodles. Tiny place, only 14 seats! Starters $4-8, mains $6-12.
- Martin's Coffee Shop, 35 Harvard St (T: Brookline Village.
- Dok Bua Thai Kitchen, 411 Harvard St (T: Coolidge Corner.
- Ganko Ittetsu Ramen, 318 Harvard St #3 (T: Coolidge Corner.
- Burro Bar, 1665 Beacon St (T: Tappan Street.
- Kupel's Bakery, 421 Harvard St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 566-9528. Su-W, F 6AM-6PM, Th 6AM-8PM. Not a full blown restaurant; but good for a bagel, sandwich, or light snack. $2-10.
- Cheryl Ann's Bakery, 1010 W Roxbury Parkway, +1 617 469-9241. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 7AM-5PM, Su 8AM-4PM. Family-owned and operated, this certified Kosher and Pareve bakery does everything well. The rugelach and challah are particularly notable. (and delicious!) $2-12.
- Vittorio's Grill, 1398 Beacon St (T: Summit Ave. Kosher.
- Rami's, 324 Harvard St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 738-3577. Su-Th 10AM-10PM, F 10AM-2PM. A falafel place run by Israelis: has some of the best falafel in the area, with a warm staff who are happy to offer samples and conversation. There are a few tables that fill up quickly at peak times. $8-16.
- Cafe Eliat, 406 Harvard St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 277-7770. Su-Th 11AM-9PM F 11AM-2PM. One of the few places to get kosher pizza. $8-12, Big kosher pizzas $25.
- Clearflour Bakery, 178 Thorndike St, +1 617 739-0060. M-F 8AM-8PM, Sa,Su 9AM-7PM. Delicious, authentic baguettes and boules, batards and loaves made fresh daily.
- Emack & Bolios, 1663 Beacon St (in Washington Square, +1 617 731-6256. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-11:30PM. Ice cream joint is a popular hang out.
- J.P. Licks, 311 Harvard St, +1 617 738-8252. Sure, there are a few JP Licks in the Boston Area, but this one is still worth visiting. Incredible ice cream, cool neon decorations, and coffee when it is warm.
- When Pigs Fly, 1378A Beacon St (Coolidge Corner, +1 617 232-1077. 10AM-7:30PM; 7 days. Old-world, artisan breads.
- Rod-Dee Thai Cuisine, 1430 Beacon St, +1 617 738-4977. Amazing Thai food. Seriously. There is a lot of Thai food in Boston but this unassuming restaurant, busy most of the day, may be the best out there. Only a couple of tables, so plan on taking out.
- Zaftigs Delicatessen, 335 Harvard St (Coolidge Corner, +1 617 975-0075. 8AM-10PM. Non-Kosher, "new Jewish"-style restaurant.
- Stoked Wood Fired Pizza, 1632 Beacon St (T: Washington Square, +1 617 879-0707. M-W 11AM-9PM, Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-9PM. Starters $8-10, mains $12-16. Boozy milkshakes & frappes $12.
- Yokohama Japanese Restaurant, 238 Washington St (T: Brookline Village.
- Barcelona Wine Bar, 1700 Beacon St (T: Tappan Street.
- Jerusalem Pita, 10 Pleasant St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 739-2400. Su-Th 10AM-10PM, F 10AM-3PM. Kosher. Sandwiches $8-14, dinner $15-25.
- Taam China, 423 Harvard St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 264-7274. Su noon-10PM, M-Th 11AM-9:45PM, F 11AM-5PM. Glatt kosher Chinese food: don't expect to see any pork-fried rice on the menu here. $10-18.
- Fugakyu, 1280 Beacon Street (Coolidge Corner, +1 617 734-1268. Some of the best sushi in town. It truly lives up to the meaning of its name, "house of exquisite excellence." Don't worry about bringing people who don't like sushi, as they have an extensive menu (many pages) of cooked food and appetizers including shabu-shabu, tempura, katsu, sukiyaki, teriyaki, along with plenty of vegetarian options. There are many private dining rooms for 4 to 20 people that can be requested at the door for smaller parties - reservations are only made for larger groups, along with a large number of open-floor tables.
- The Fireplace, 1634 Beacon Street (Washington Square, +1 617 975-1900. Creative, modern American cuisine, with excellent, often locally-sourced ingredients. Live music on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Good, all-American wine list in keeping with the menu. Outdoor seating is available during the warmer months, great for people-watching.
- La Morra, 48 Boylston St (in Brookline Village, +1 617 739-0007. Northern Italian food.
- Taberna de Haro, 999 Beacon Street, +1 617 277-8272. Spanish Tapas at St. Mary's.
- Rani Indian Bistro, 1353 Beacon St, +1 617 734-0400. A distinct step above the usual Indian restaurant. Delicious.
- Matt Murphy's Pub, 14 Harvard St, +1 617 232-0188. Consistently rated as "Best Irish Pub" by several local publications, this Brookline spot boasts fantastic Irish food miles removed from standard pub fare and bartenders and waitstaff with genuine brogues, as well as live music.
- The Publick House, 1648 Beacon St (in Washington Square, +1 617 277-2880. Has great food and a huge selection of artisanal beers on tap and in bottles. Get your hard to find European beers and domestic micro-brews here. Come for the beer, stay for the mac and cheese and the Belgian-style frites.
- Washington Square Tavern, 714 Washington St, +1 617 232-8989.
- Hops 'n Scotch, 1306 Beacon St.
- O'Leary's, 1010 Beacon St.
- Grainne O'Malley's, 201 Harvard St.
- Tatte, 1003 Beacon St (T: St Marys Street, +1 617 232-2200. M-F 7AM-8PM, Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 8AM-7PM.
- 4A Coffee, 419 Harvard St (T: Coolidge Corner, +1 617 738-4444. Tu-Sa 7AM-3PM, Su 7am-noon.
- Cafe Fixe, 1642 Beacon St (T: Washington Square, +1 617 879-2500. M-F 6:30AM-6PM, Sa Su 7:30AM-6PM.
- Koo Koo, 7 Station St (T: Brookline Village.
- Brookline Village Branch, 361 Washington St (T: Brookline Village, +1 617 730-2370. M-Th 10AM-9PM, F Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Free.
- Coolidge Corner Branch, 31 Pleasant St (T: Saint Paul Street, +1 617 730-2380. M W 10AM-6PM, Tu Th 10AM-9PM, F Sa 9:30AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Free.
- Putterham Branch, 959 West Roxbury Parkway, +1 617 730-2385. M W 1PM-9PM, Tu Th 10AM-6PM, F Sa 10AM-5PM. Free.
- You almost can't help but cross the border into Allston and all the great bars and restaurants therein.
- Ride the C line downtown and tour some of Boston's famous colonial architecture on the Freedom Trail.
- There's not much in the way of museums here, head to Fenway and visit The Museum of Fine Arts on Huntington Ave.
- Want to keep it green? Don't miss the Arnold Arboretum in adjacent Jamaica Plain.
- Head across the river and spend some time in Harvard Square. Located within another of Boston's great neighbors, Cambridge.