Prudential Tower, with Skywalk Observatory on 52nd Floor
Fenway Park Tour Lets You Explore Boston's Famed Ball Park
I have a group of 100 people that I want to take to a cool venue for dinner on 7/20/10. The JFK Presidential Library is already booked that night. Where do you suggest I take them? We don't want to go to a restaurant. Thank you in advance. - Judy
Although the I.M.Pei-designed JFK Presidential Library is hard to beat, another architecturally-spectacular venue with great waterfront views is ICA Boston, the Institute of Contemporary Art in the newly-trendy South Boston Waterfront neighborhood. ICA has its own waterfront cafe, so your guests could come back on their own later to enjoy the same views.
Another cool museum venue, although with a totally different ambiance, is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Fenway (www.gardnermuseum.org). The Boston Public Library in Back Bay's Copley Square is also magnificent - great architecture, and lots of art treasures (www.bpl.org). Still another interesting museum and an important site on the Black Heritage Trail is the Museum of African-American History in Beacon Hill (www.afroammuseum.org).
Moving away from museums, the Prudential Skywalk Observatory is a popular venue for private parties (it closes to the public on those occasions). It's on the 50th floor of the Prudential Building and offers panoramic views of the city. No matter how many times one has been there, it's still thrilling - be sure your guests bring cameras!
Since your event is scheduled for July 20th, another spot that might be fun is Fenway Park. The Red Sox play out of town that night, so you could probably arrange a private tour and dining space somewhere in the stadium. Very different ambiance, of course, from the Kennedy Library, but if many of your group are Bostonians - well, Fenway Park never fails to thrill, and the tours allow you to walk on the field and see all the behind-the-scenes lore.
One final suggestion is Hampshire House (above the original Cheers on Beacon Street, across from the Public Garden). Occupying the magnificent Thayer Mansion, Hampshire House features special-occasion dinners and tours, and is available for private functions such as the occasional "Dining in the Dark" events.
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