From where and when to eat to where to party
Every year during NECANN, we find ourselves outside the entrance on Boylston Street answering questions for people who came into town for the festivities. We are happy to do it, but figured it might also help to run a cheat sheet for anybody who is unfamiliar with the area.
1 – Don’t bother looking for weed in the building
While there have been sneaky vendors in the past who have actual products to sling under the table, in 2023 you’re just wasting time searching for cannabis on the NECANN trade show floor. From Ayr Back Bay and Rooted In around the corner, to spots like Apex Noire not too far away near Faneuil Hall which are worth a visit, there are plenty of legal ways to cop.
2 – You may not be able to get delivery though
Unfortunately, due to absurd Massachusetts regulations, you’re not allowed to have cannabis delivered to a hotel or commercial building. So no, you can’t have a package dropped off while you’re on a smoke break outside of a bar. Hopefully you’re staying with a friend or in an AirBnB.
3 – Yes, you can pretty much smoke out on the street
At this point, we feel comfortable telling you that it’s OK to burn right outside of the venue on Boylston Street. You will probably realize this when you see packs of people puffing mushroom clouds from Eataly to the Capital Grille, but we figured we would just come out and say it in case any first-timers have an anxiety about the situation.
4 – Check for mobile fun parked all around the building
If it’s some privacy you want while getting stoned outside of the convention hall, or if you’re looking for a place to fire up your dab rig, then keep an eye out for one of the many vans and buses that are equipped for that purpose. If they’re not directly on Boylston Street, then we recommend peeking around the corner, possibly around the side of the building off Dalton Street.
5 – Visit Bukowski Tavern (aka Bukowski’s)
While you’re over in the Dalton area, this one is a must. As much as it pains us to lower our chance of finding an available stool at this iconic Hub craft beer hole, it would be a shame if you spent three days right across the street without pulling up to the best bar in America.
6 – That’s also the direction where you’ll find affordable food
If you’re looking for some affordable grub for yourself or to feed your whole team, you’re not going to find it inside of the Prudential Center (though if you’re looking for something quick and pricey, go for the Eataly sandwich counter). Nor will you catch a deal if you turn right outside the entrance. Instead, you should head left on Boylston Street (against the traffic) and go one block. Once you’re on the corner of Mass Ave and Boylston, look across the street and to your left for options ranging from pizza to Starbucks and Chinese food.
7 – Just don’t wait until it’s late to eat
Listen, we could sit here and cherry pick the few pizza and dumpling spots that might be open after 10pm in Boston, but post-pandemic there are no real guarantees. Your best bet is to eat early on, and if you will definitely have significant munchies after midnight, you should plan ahead.
8 – Oh, that’s right, the parties
We considered making a list of our own of the many incredible after and even midday parties popping off during NECANN, but frankly, Jason and Karen Reposa already did a bangup job in Jason’s High Lights newsletter that you can find here. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe.
9 – Cambridge is closer than you may realize
Some of those events and afterparies are in Cambridge. Don’t be scared off—it’s just a quick bus or cab ride over the Mass Ave Bridge, or even a beautiful short walk perfect for selfies and a smoke if you are up for it and weather permits. You may want to stay there too if you’re looking to keep the flame burning all night; from the Middle East, to the Cantab, to the Sinclair in Harvard Square, this is where you’ll find some a lot of awesome music venues.
10 – Use Sunday to your advantage if possible
We have been a part of every NECANN since the beginning, and one thing that never changes is the tone on the final day. By that time, most of the partying is over, but business continues. Sunday is a great time to catch up on the sober side, take in some panels, and maybe even meet your future employer or funder.