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Boston Local Secrets 2010

Best Free Therapy
One of the most peaceful, secluded, and historic places in the city. Walk into the library’s McKim Building and you’ll come upon a breathtaking Italianate central courtyard surrounded by an arcaded gallery. Sit on the bench with a book, or head to the adjoining restaurant for a bite. Your time will be nothing less than restorative. 700 Boylston St. 617-536-5400;

Best Nature Walk
Breathtakingly beautiful, this impeccably kept botanical garden, owned by Harvard University, is the oldest in America. The 265-acre swath (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted) is lined with rare plants, flowers, and trees that are older than anyone’s great-grandparents. 125 Arborway. 617-524-1718;

Best Steakhouse
BOKX 109, Newton
Unforgettable cuts of meat: hormone-free, corn-fed beef that nearly melts on the tongue, and lamb straight from pastures in Colorado and Montana–all coaxed into its most flavorful state by chef Evan Percoco. 399 Grove St. 617-454-3399;

Best Delivery
The brightly flavored Thai cuisine (curries are incendiary and smooth as silk) flies out the door, and gets treated with just as much care as everything served in-house. 542 Columbus Ave., 617-267-1755; 592 Tremont St., 617-267-7426

Best Science Fix
Visitors peruse specimens collected from each of Harvard’s scientists since the university’s beginning. And what plunder there is to behold: rare prehistoric creatures, a stuffed buffalo, intricate glass flowers, and entire halls filled with gems and minerals bigger than many people. 26 Oxford St. 617-495-3045;

Best Day Spa
BEAUTY & BLISS, Brookline
The best hands to relax you and the best advice on any grooming question, plus customized facials and follow-up calls. 1223 Beacon St. 617-739-8500;

Best Easy Home Makeover
D SCALE, Boston
Legendary Boston interior designer Dennis Duffy brings his work to the masses. Walk in and buy one ingenious piece–a sculptural Brasilia cocktail table–and use it to create your own contemporary aesthetic. 520 Harrison Ave. 617-426-1055;

Best Custom Clothing
Certainly you may opt to buy the designer’s well-known ready-to-wear collections for women and children, but for the same price (if not less), you can visit Argentina-born Daniela Corte’s studio (by appointment only)–then stand as she painstakingly takes your measurements by hand and suggests the best pieces to fit your figure. 211 Newbury St. 617-262-2100;

Best Argument for the Printed Page
A community nexus that reminds people why they love to read in the first place. The selections stand out, but then there are the book-club meetings and author readings. 279 Harvard St. 617-566-6660;

Best Read
Only in Cambridge: You, lounging around your country-chic room in Harvard Square with a certain hunger. Maybe it’s for Shakespeare, maybe it’s for Tom Perrotta. Within minutes, a staff member delivers a gripping read from the lobby’s collection of 500 books (many of them autographed). 1 Bennett St. 617-864-1200;

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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