Boston

The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide to Boston

October 8, 2017

Boston often gets overlooked for its bigger, more famous sister city – New York. But with bustling student towns, a thriving food scene, historical remnants, and a ridiculous amount of beautiful architecture, rest assured there is plenty to offer. Having lived here for 18 years of my life, I’ve gathered quite the collection of knowledge on the city, so here is a massive guide to Boston, broken down by neighborhood.

(Please bear in mind this is an on going list! There is a ton of information here but more will be added as I experience more!)

Back Bay

Named Back Bay because before a 19th century building project it was literally a bay, like of water, this bougie district is known for fashionable shopping and extremely high end houses. In fact, Back Bay doesn’t only have cool architecture, it is considered one of the best preserved examples of 19th-century urban design in the United States! If that isn’t reason enough to visit, I don’t know what is.

Shop:

  • Newbury Street – You’ll find all your classic stores here. There are a ton of clothing stores to suit any demographic, and loads of restaurants too. It’s basically a mall, stretched along one street.
  • Prudential Center – If you’re looking for the traditional mall shopping experience, this is where you’ll find it. Prudential has everything from big names like Under Armour to tiny trinket shops. It also houses Eataly Boston, an Italian market that also serves food, which makes eating quite the experience.
  • Copley Place –  On the off chance that you have a couple thousand dollars to spare, Copley Place is the shopping center for you! Located next to Prudential and close to Newbury Street, Copley Place is the destination for luxury shopping in Boston, housing name brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Jimmy Choo.

Charles River Esplanade

Sight-see:

  • Boston Public Library – The architecture in this Library is absolutely stunning.
  • Charles River Esplanade – A little strip of land surrounded on both sides by the water of the Charles – this is the perfect place to chill.
  • Copley Square – A bustling square in the heart of Boston
  • It’s also worth your while to just wander around looking at architecture on the streets! It’s all stunning so don’t bother with a set destination.

Max Brenner’s

Eat:

  • Dig Inn – Serves organically sourced American food, mostly plant-based
  • Eataly – Located within Prudential Center, this is an Italian marketplace/restaurant.
  • Max Brenner – While the entrees here are delicious, the most important part (to me) is the desserts. Max Brenner’s doesn’t call itself a chocolate factory for nothing. There’s S’mores pizza, chocolate fondue, chocolate nutella crepes, basically as much chocolate as you could ever want.
  • Amorino Gelato – The only thing better than gelato is rose shaped gelato, which Amorino is known for!
  • Cafeteria Boston – Cafeteria Boston has great food with an even nicer atmosphere. A lunch in the summer outside on the quaint historical streets is one you wouldn’t want to pass up.

Just want to know where to eat in Boston? Check out: 10 places you MUST eat at in Boston

South End

Olives and Grace

By far the trendiest part of Boston, South End has tons of little shops offering everything from vegan food, to succulents, to all natural beauty products, to pressed juice, and loads more. I’d recommend just window shopping and browsing the various trendy stores! I recommend just walking down Tremont Street.

niche. urban garden supply

Shop:

  • Olives and Grace – If you enjoy supporting small businesses, this is the shop for you!
  • Niche Urban Garden Supply – This is the spot for plant-lovers and tree-huggers.
  • Follain – This beauty shop is devoted to toxin-free, natural beauty products!
  • SoWa Open Market – The SoWa Open Market (SoWa stands for South of Washington) is open every weekend, April 29-October 29, from 10am-4pm. Here you will find the largest gathering of local artists, farmers, chefs, and musicians in all of Boston.

Blackbird Donuts

Eat:

Downtown

This is the main part of Boston, where skyrises mingle with old buildings as seamlessly as though they were made to be together. And in the middle, there is the lovely oasis of Boston Common, the Central Park of Boston, and Boston Public Gardens. There’s so much to do here, and there has got to be something for everyone.

Why should you visit Boston? Read this: 20 Top Reasons to Visit Boston

The Old State House

What to do:

  • Boston Common – Boston’s main park, this is a great place to relax or have a picnic!
  • Boston Public Gardens – Right next to Boston Common, this Public Garden is absolutely beautiful and great for photos!
  • AMC Loews – This movie theater is delightfully gaudy and a great place to catch a flick.
  • Dreamland Wax Museum – New England’s first wax museum!
  • Downtown Crossing – Looking for good deals? Come here to do all your shopping!
  • Faneuil Hall Marketplace – Despite being housed in an old colonial style building, you can still find modern stores such as Urban Outfitters and even Coach.
  • Old State House – The Old State House looks remarkably out of place, but still stunning!

Eat:

  • Dick’s Last Resort – What’s unique about this restaurant is that the server’s are known for being thoroughly offensive, but in a good way! It’s all fun and games at Dick’s.
  • Quincy Market – So many food stalls here that you can hardly hope to try them all!

 

Beacon Hill

The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide to Boston

Walking into Beacon Hill is like going back in time. Cobblestone streets and brick townhouses fill the neighborhood, making it easy on the eyes and hard on your feet. (Just kidding, it’s not so bad on the feet either.) Unfortunately, its picturesqueness also makes it one of the most expensive places to live in all of Boston. But luckily, that doesn’t mean a frugal traveler can’t enjoy all that Beacon Hill has to offer!

Charles Street

What to Do:

  • Charles Street – You’ll find rows of boutique shops on Charles Street which cater to the neighborhood residents. Still, there’s still plenty for an out-of-towner to find.
  • Boston Athenaeum – You must reserve a spot in advance to get in, however, the Athenaeum has a collection of notable artwork and a gorgeous interior.
  • Acorn Street – Supposedly the “most photographed street in America,” this street is quite photogenic.
  • State House – This one is easily spotted by the gold leaf covered dome at its top. You can get free guided tours to the State House.

Tatte Bakery

Eat:

  • Figs – Delicious thin crust gourmet pizzas are served here on the daily.
  • Tatte Bakery – A chic new minimalistic bakery whose interior often shows up on Instagram.
  • Mooo – A sophisticated steakhouse for those with a bit more money to spare.

 Chinatown

As with all Chinatowns around the globe, when you come to Boston’s Chinatown you better be hungry. There is Asian cuisine galore, not even just Chinese but also Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai food on every corner. Nearly all of it is delicious, but here are just some of my favorites:

Rolled Ice Cream from Juicy Spot

Eat:

  • Hei La Moon – A local favorite, come here for the best Dim Sum in Boston
  • Dumpling Cafe – If you’ve never tried soup buns before then you absolutely must come here. They serve the most delicious soup buns!
  • TeaDo – One of the most popular bubble tea places in Boston
  • Kung Fu Tea – This is another popular bubble tea place, in fact, TeaDo’s rival!
  • Juicy Spot – Get your fix of Thai rolled ice cream here which is super trendy right now. However, there’s usually a line.
  • Pho Pasteur – A pho-nomenal place to get pho!
  • Crave Mad for Chicken – Come here for the best KFC! No, not kentucky fried chicken, korean fried chicken.

 North End

The North End is Boston’s unofficial Little Italy, which means, of course, it’s known for its food. It also happens to be one of the oldest parts of Boston, so its buildings are filled with history. And, you’ll find some key historical sites in this area as well, like Paul Revere’s house! So North End has a bit of something for everyone.

Sight-see:

  • Paul Revere’s House – For the uninitiated, Paul Revere was the one who rode out at midnight to warn the colonists that the British soldiers were coming on the eve of the American Revolution. His humble house is still here for tourists to visit.
  • Follow the Freedom Trail – The “freedom trail” is supposedly the trail that Paul Revere rode. It is built into the sidewalk so that anyone can easily follow, but you can also get a guided tour.
  • Hanover Street – This is North End’s main street, full of Italian restaurants, delis, coffeehouses, and pastry shops.
  • Old North Church – Lanterns hung at the top of this church were said to signal the British’s movements and started the famous ride of Paul Revere.

Eat:

  • Artu – This place is a definite local favorite, and more off the touristy path!
  • Dolce Vita – The atmosphere of this place is so homey and there’s always an 85+ year old accordion player to welcome you!
  • Galleria Umberto – For quick, cheap pizza that’s also delicious!
  • Mamma Maria – This is the place to go on special occasions, with a price that reflects it! The menu changes daily and the food delicious.
  • Mike’s Pastry – Well known as the best dessert place in Boston, Mike’s Pastry serves the best cannolis around. If you come during the weekend, there will be a line!
  • Public Feasts – If you’re in Boston during the summer time, you need to visit a feast! Feasts, aka public food festivals, are a great way to see a bunch of the cuisine that this area has to offer in a short amount of time.

Fenway-Kenmore

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

This lovely neighborhood on the outskirts of Boston is known for its renowned cultural institutions in the form of two highly popular museums, and for Fenway Park, the city’s ballpark, which draws huge crowds to Red Sox games.

Museum of Fine Arts

Sight-see:

  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – Pictured above, this museum is known for it’s lovely instagrammable courtyard.
  • Fenway Park – Catch a baseball game in the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball!
  • Museum of Fine Arts – This is the 4th largest museum in America and houses a very comprehensive art collection.
  • Northeastern University – If you are into college tours, come check this lovely research institute out.

Waterfront

One of the most scenic parts of the city, the waterfront has lots to do in terms of ocean related activities and delicious seafood! But not only that; because this was the center of transportation in the older days it also has a surprising amount of historical and educational opportunities too.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway

Sight-see:

  • Christopher Columbus Park – This is a very scenic park, great for pictures and people-watching!
  • Long Wharf – Just walking by the harbor and admiring the views is an event in itself!
  • New England Aquarium – This is a great place to take kids or to bring our your inner child! There’s even an IMAX theater inside.
  • Boston Harbor Hotel – You can stay here, or you can just walk underneath the giant archway and snap a bunch of pics.
  • Boston Tea Party Museum – Arguably the moment that started the American Revolution, the Boston Tea Party is celebrated in this museum!
  • Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway – A gorgeous strip of land to have a picnic or just relax on!

Eat:

South Boston

Lawn on D. Image Source.

Sight-see:

  • Lawn on D – A cute little park with glowing circle swings! Very instagrammable.
  • Boston Children’s Museum – If you are traveling with kids, this is a must do.
  • Fan Pier Park – A fun park with a great view.
  • The Institute of Contemporary Art – This ultra-modern looking museum is a great place to see art.
  • Castle Island – There’s an old fort on this island within the bay.
  • M Street Beach – A beach? In Boston? Yes you read that right.
  • West Broadway – This bustling street in the middle of South Boston is full of restaurants and life.

by CHLOE.

Eat:

  • by CHLOE. – A hip and trendy all vegan restaurant.
  • The Daily Catch Seaport – A great seafood restaurant with a beautiful view of the harbor.
  • The Barking Crab – This is one of the most popular seafood places in Boston, if you come on a weekend it will be crowded.

West End

This section is still under construction.

Sight-see:

  • Museum of Science – As a kid I spent days in this museum just wandering around.
  • TD Garden – Home of the Celtics and the Bruins, you can catch sports games and concerts in this hip venue.
I know that was a ton of information so here’s a map of everything for you!

 

For more travel inspiration, follow me on Instagram!

@adventureatwork

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Heading to Boston soon? Here are the best things to do and the best things to eat in Boston, organized by neighborhood in this Neighborhood Guide to Boston.

Have you ever been to Boston? What did you do? Let me know in the comments below!

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