Monica Ponce de Leon has two favorite restaurants. Depending on whether she's in the mood for meat or seafood, she chooses Butcher Shop or B&G Oysters, two more Barbara Lynch restaurants. Butcher Shop, 552 Tremont St., 617.423.4800B&G Oysters, 550 Tremont St., 617.423.0550

Preston Scott Cohen, who teaches at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, recommends Hamersley's Bistro, also in the South End. The American cuisine may make it exotic to foreigners. “I'm told it's a favorite of Moneo's and Herzog's,” Cohen says. 553 Tremont St., 617.423.2700

Just about every architect on the list mentioned Rocca, a South End restaurant with a menu inspired by the cooking of Liguria, on the Italian Riviera, and a contemporary interior by Boston designer Dennis Duffy. 500 Harrison Ave., 617.451.5151,


For cocktails, the architects Eric Höweler and Meijin Yoon (who teaches at MIT) recommend a pair of spots around Central Square in Cambridge: Middlesex, which has a different DJ every night, and Miracle of Science, a bar with a laboratory theme (the menu resembles the periodic table). Middlesex, 315 Massachusetts Ave., 617-868-6739, Miracle of Science, 321 Massachusetts Ave., 617-868-2866

In Boston proper, the lounge at the Liberty Hotel is worth a detour. The building used to be a prison and the bar, Alibi, is set—no kidding—in the former drunk tank. 215 Charles St., 617-224-4000,

Whitlock recommends King's, a Back Bay bowling alley (with a complete food and drink menu) for its retro vibe. He helped design The Beehive Jazz Lounge, in the old boiler room of the 19th century Cyclorama Building in the South End, which he describes as “one of the hippest new places to go.” King's, 50 Dalton St., 617.266.2695, Beehive, 541 Tremont St., 617.423.0069,


Pasnik loves the look of Diva Lounge, a Somerville bar designed by Studio Luz. “It's like being in a cloud,” he says. 248 Elm St., Somerville, 617.629.4963


The South End is also home to some of the city's most interesting design stores. Lekker is filled with modern European furniture and accessories not seen anywhere else in the U.S. 1317 Washington St., 617.542.6464,

In a converted South End mill, Simplemente Blanco is devoted to textiles, lamps, china, gardening products, and even soaps by designer Fernanda Bourlot; nearly everything in stock is blanco (white). In the same building, Boxx Furniture offers artful steel and glass furniture. The two have jointly created On the Side, a street-level shop. 46 Waltham St., 617.734.3669, simplementeblanco.com46 Waltham St., 617.556.2699, On the Side, 40 Waltham St.

For bits of the old Boston, Restoration Resources sells salvaged architectural elements. Who wouldn't make room in the suitcase to bring home a Frank Furness– style fireplace surround? 31 Thayer St., 617.542.3033,

Cambridge Architectural Books sadly closed in 2004, but generalist Harvard Book Store, on Harvard Square, remains one of the city's best independent sources for art and design titles. 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617.661.1515,


Want to see where all these destinations are in relation to your hotel or the Boston convention center? Check out ARCHITECT's annotated Google map here.