The central location of the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston will be a little unusual for this sport of frozen water: the waterfront. Rarely have the championships taken place by the sea.
The official hotels of the championship, all in the Seaport District, look out over the Boston Harbor and city skyline, within walking distance of a large number of excellent restaurants. The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center will host the juvenile, intermediate, novice and junior events. Nearby, Fanfest will feature an outdoor rink for recreational skating, clinics, special demonstrations, and meet-and-greets with star skaters of the past and present.
Fans won’t even need to leave the Seaport for a little local sightseeing during breaks in the skating action. Boston Harbor cruises leave from the World Trade Center. A 40-foot tall milk bottle, a Boston landmark since 1977, stands in front of the Boston Children’s Museum on Congress Street. The floating Tea Party Museum offers a tour of replicas of the actual ships involved in the original Boston Tea Party.
Several nearby restaurants can accommodate large parties, including the famous Legal Sea Foods, Morton’s Steakhouse and Boston landmark Anthony’s Pier 4. Famed restaurateur Barbara Lynch’s Menton, Sportello and Drink are a short walk from the Convention Center, and other fun restaurants and hangouts like The Whiskey Priest (Irish pub), The Barking Crab (seafood), Temazcal (Mexican), Strega (Italian), LTK (Legal Sea Foods’ innovative test kitchen) and Smith & Wollensky (steakhouse) join a plethora of other restaurants lining the piers.
Until recently, Boston would have offered surprisingly little real estate by its own waterfront for an event the scale of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The city, founded as a port in 1630 by Puritan pilgrims, has had a working relationship with its beautiful harbor for most of its history. Boston Harbor played a major role in the Revolutionary War, and became a center of shipbuilding and trade during the Age of Sail. The harbor was crowded with tall ships throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. In the past couple of decades, a lovely park, the Harborwalk, has gradually taken shape along some of the wharves between the Aquarium and the North End, Boston’s famed and historic Italian neighborhood. The Harborwalk extends all the way to the Bank of America Pavilion, an outdoor theater and concert venue.
The Seaport District’s development in the past few years has seen an explosion of trendy boutiques and restaurants, hot on the heels of the Institute of Contemporary Art. The Fort Point edge of the Seaport District hosts a vibrant arts community and welcomes visitors into its open studios and exhibitions. Both during the day and after business hours, the area is alive with locals and tourists alike. During the U.S. championships, local and out-of-town skating fans will find everything right on their doorstep in the Seaport District.