A guide to spending the day in Chelsea
👋 Deehan here.
Chelsea, Boston's often-overlooked neighbor to the north, has just as much going on as some of the communities further down the Mystic River.
- After all, the city’s main drag along Broadway is just over two miles from downtown Boston, less than a 10-minute drive in light traffic over the Tobin Bridge or a 30 minute ride on the Silver Line.
- Chelsea is the geographically smallest city in the state, but with a 40,000-person population, it's the second densest next to Somerville.
Chelsea's been an immigrant community for generations and has a host of options for anyone looking for authentic Central and South American cuisine.
- The city's population is over two-thirds Hispanic or Latino, with many newcomers and first-generation Americans.
For my morning coffee, I wanted something different from the typical Dunkin's and found Café El Dorado on Broadway.
- Their Colombian-style coffee with milk and sugar had me wired for the rest of the morning.
- The cafe gets bonus points for playing Adam Sandler's “Grown Ups 2” in Spanish.
I usually have breakfast at the most classic diner I can find, and Victoria's Diner on Washington Street fits the bill.
- It looked from the menu like pancakes are a specialty, but I went with the diner's respectable Denver omelet with chorizo.
- Fast service, decent prices ($16,) great home fries and a no-frills dinning room gets Victoria's a B-.
- Since that Colombian coffee had me a little jittery, I got decaf here. Bad move: I think it was instant.
Lunchtime brought me to Catrachos Restaurant, a small Honduran spot on Broadway by the courthouse.
- Try the El Jornalero plato: the hungry laborer's meal with two roasted beef ribs, chorizo sausage, fried pork belly, a fried egg, rice and beans, all topped with fried bananas.
Where to work
Chelsea Public Library has a great setup to post up with your laptop.
- The tables in the reading room come equipped with ample and accessible power strips.
- The wi-fi was more than fast enough to work or have video meetings on.
- Bonus points for the delightfully creaky stairway to the basement in this 113-year-old building.
What to do
There's nothing quite like a good shvitz and Dillons Russian Baths is as authentic as it gets in Massachusetts.
- The 138-year-old bath business is the oldest in the country, according to Dillions' management.
What to see
Mary O'Malley State Park has sweeping views of the Mystic, Charlestown and downtown Boston across the water.
- The riverside park was perfect for a stroll that did nothing to work off that Honduran food.
But beware: I found out that Chelsea takes parking enforcement very seriously.
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