9 Of The Best Neighborhoods In Boston

Your guide to all the wicked cool things to do in New England’s famous city.

Boston is Massachusetts’ famous capital city and the most populated area. Settled in 1630, the city is rich in history, having played a major role in both the founding of the United States and its political development. Today, Boston is known as a higher-educational cultural hub, with 35 colleges and universities in the greater metropolitan area including some of the countries most prestigious schools: Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts, Boston College…and many more. Even if you aren’t planning on attending school or learning about American history, Boston is still a great destination to visit. The following is a breakdown of the best neighborhoods for travelers to checkout in the seacoast city.

Back Bay

back bay, boston
Bird’s eye view of Newbury Street in Back Bay. Photo by Tyson Moultrie on Unsplash

One of the most famous areas in Boston, Back Bay is packed with some of the best places to eat, drink, and stay in Boston. Visit the Prudential Center and have an authentic Italian meal at Eataly, a legendary steak dinner at Del Frisco’s, or fresh seafood at Eddie V’s. Make a day of the best shopping in New England on Newbury Street and at the Copley Place Mall. Looking to stay overnight? Check out some of the top-rated hotels in the area, including The Lenox, The Liberty, and The Revolution Hotel. Overrun with college kids, Back Bay also has a great bar/club/nightlife scene.

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill Boston neighborhoods
The famously photogenic Acorn Street. Photo by Nana Nakazwe on Unsplash

Fully encapsulating the charm (and wealth) of “old Boston,” Beacon Hill is perhaps the last remaining relic of the colonial era in Boston. Charming cobblestone streets, regal brick buildings, and old-timey trolley tours; Beacon Hill has a lot to offer a traveler who is most interested in history. As far as activities go, Beacon Hill is best visited in good weather since the best attractions are outdoors. When in season, peruse some beautiful flowers in the Boston Public Garden. Walk the Freedom Trail to physically learn about Boston’s role in the shaping of the United States and stop by photo famous Acorn Street to snap an aesthetic pic for the gram.

Chinatown-Leather District

chinatown boston neighborhood
The iconic entrance to Boston’s Chinatown. Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

According to National Park Service, Chinese immigrants first came to Boston in the mid-1800s in search of improving their economic situations back home. In 1882, The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, making it illegal for Chinese laborers to be admitted into the country. This act lasted for over 60 years, however, those who were able to evade it began to form a community in Boston to emulate the comfort of their lives back home while living in a racist country. This community grew to eventually become what we now know as Chinatown. In current days, the best activity in Chinatown is devouring delicious and authentic Asian cuisine. Check out my other article, 4 of the Best Places to Eat and Drink in Boston’s Chinatown for my personal favorite spots.

Downtown

downtown boston
Downtown Boston’s Theatre District. Photo by Lindsay Doyle on Unsplash

Home to the majority of Boston’s skyscrapers – including the famous Millennium Tower – Downtown encompasses the vibrant city life of Bostonians. Get some good shopping in at Downtown Crossing and afterwards, take a walk through America’s oldest public park: Boston Common. There is also a bustling theatre scene in the area, try to catch a show while in town.

Fenway

Fenway boston
Bird’s eye view of Fenway. Photo by todd kent on Unsplash

The most obvious attraction in Fenway is, of course, Fenway Park. Catch a Red Sox home game while you snack on a famous Fenway frank. Sports are not your jam? How about sports and alcohol. There are many classic Boston sports bars in Fenway, try Bleacher Bar, Bullpen Kitchen and Tap, or Cask n’ Flagon. More into some games you can play rather than watch? Lucky Strike Fenway is a great place to play a round of bowling with friends or head to Game On! for drinks and arcade games.

North End

North End Boston neighborhood
A photo accurately portrays the tight-knit layout of Boston’s North End. Photo by Mark Boss on Unsplash

The North End is known for its primarily Italian population. According to the Paul Revere House, in the late 1800s Italian immigrants began settling in Boston in search of better economic prosperity. The North End served as an ideal location for illiterate and unskilled immigrants as it provided access to work on the waterfront. While Italian men sent money back home, the area was often used for other relatives to immigrate to America. Eventually, the North End became an emulation of Italian culture, its inhabitants resistant to assimilation or becoming “Americaned.” Today’s North End, also known locally as “Little Italy,” much like Chinatown, is known for food. Authentic Italian cuisine is abundant, whether in the traditional form such as a restaurant (try Giacomo’s Boston North End, L’Osteria, or Limoncello), una pasticceria (try Mike’s Pastry, Bova’s Bakery, or Modern Pastry,) or a well-reviewed food tour such as the North End Boston Food Tour or Boston’s “Politically Incorrect” North End Food Tour.

‘Southie’

southie boston
Southie is known for Irish taverns. Photo by Dovi on Unsplash

Not to be confused with the South End, “Southie” is a local phrase in reference to a neighborhood southeast of Downtown. Predominantly an Irish Catholic population, which according to History.com was formed after mass amounts of Irish Immigrants came to America to escape the potato famine of the 1840s. Southie is filled with friendly people, fun pubs, and an overall good vibe. Some authentic bars in the area include Croke Park AKA Whitey’s, L Street Tavern, and Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant.

The Seaport

seaport boston
View of the Seaport. Photo by Jimmy Woo on Unsplash

Come to Seaport to witness beautiful new industrial towers and infrastructure and take in breathtaking views of the water. Looking for some delicious seafood to accompany your ocean scenery? Try Ocean Prime, Nautilus Pier 4, or Luke’s Lobster Seaport. Seaport is also an incredibly family-friendly area in Boston to visit, being the home of the Boston Children’s Museum and only a five-minute drive away from the Waterfront will bring you to the New England Aquarium.

Honorable Mention: Cambridge

Cambridge Harvard bookstore Boston neighborhoods
Photo by Aubrey Odom-Mabey on Unsplash

Although technically apart from the metropolitan area of Boston, Cambridge is not classified as a neighborhood, but rather, it’s a city. Located just across the Charles River, it’s a major destination for travelers as it is the hometown of the famous Ivy League: Harvard University. In addition to Harvard, Cambridge is also the location of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While touring these prestigious schools, visitors can also stop by various museums in the area such as, Harvard Museum of Natural History or The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. One can also heck out the downtown area, known locally as Harvard Square.

Delaney Beaudoin

Content Creator & FB Manager

Having grown up in a non-traditional family of intersecting identities, Delaney takes pride in her blank-slate, open-minded perception of the world. Her interests in writing, politics, and travel converge perfectly to fuel her intense passion for journalism and the pursuit of truth in modern media. Delaney values her tendency towards impulsivity and loves the unprecedented circumstances that come with traveling.

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