Making headlines since the Boston Tea Party, this New England city never seems to go out of style.
Boston has been a prominent destination since long before the birth of the U.S.A. and is fiercely passionate about its historical roots. The city maintains an abundance of museums, galleries and other sites of importance where visitors can relive the days of the American Revolution.
Food and drink are a favorite pastime for Bostonians, and international culture has found a welcome home in districts such as Chinatown and Little Italy. There are some truly mouth-watering delicacies to explore throughout the city’s many restaurants, bars and old-world pubs. While the Boston Baked Beans that give Boston its nickname “Beantown” aren’t anything to write home about, don’t leave the city without a lobster dinner and a steaming cup of clam chowder.
With so much to do in Boston, the 24 official neighborhoods may seem overwhelming to those unfamiliar with the city. To help you choose, here are our 10 favorite neighborhoods in Boston.
The dazzling shops along Newbury Street lead to the many well-preserved treasures of the Back Bay neighborhood. Don’t miss a visit to the glorious Boston Public Library to check out a book and enjoy the stunning architecture. Trinity Church is also worth a stop, and refreshments can often be found in the pop-up market between the library and the church.
The heart of this neighborhood is Back Bay Station, a lifeline for commuters coming from the suburbs. You can take the regional line of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) — called the “T” by locals — for a train ride to distant cities such as Worcester or Providence. It’s also one of the more popular (and crowded) stations on the T’s orange line.
Picture traditional interlocked townhouses winding through the streets and looking out over the city. This old and charming part of town has a unique architectural style and vast green space.
Beacon Hill puts you right on the corner of the State House and Boston Common, which has captured many artists’ hearts and is home to numerous gatherings, festivals and year-round activities. The Public Garden is just a few more steps away, where you can catch a ride on the famous Swan Boats.
Perhaps the largest neighborhood in Boston, this district has the most going on and is the hardest to define. Most locals will refer to Downtown as the area around Congress Street, reaching from South Station to North Station. It also encompasses the exciting few blocks of Chinatown and the Leather District. This area is the heart of Boston and it never sleeps.
Head to the shops around Downtown Crossing and marvel at all the things to do and see. The boutiques, department stores, restaurants and a movie theater can quickly fill up an afternoon with adventures. Parking here is a challenge (and pricey), so consider taking the orange or red subway lines or plan to discover the many charms of this area on foot.
With fewer tourists and a breathtaking view of the city center across the harbor, East Boston is a residential district near the airport. Views of the ocean abound, and the numerous parks along the shore are a favorite for families. The traditional and charming townhouses here tend to have a lower rent than homes across the harbor.
This neighborhood is the proud location of Fenway Park and home to the world-famous Boston Red Sox. You can enjoy the games in the stadium or at nearby lively sports bars and old school pubs.
For those not as enthusiastic about baseball, Fenway is also the location of the much-beloved Museum of Fine Arts.
Sometimes referred to as the “Wharf District,” the Financial District is a paradox of sky-high buildings and preserved historical sites.
Weaving in between the hurried businessmen are the many tourists visiting famous sights like the iconic Faneuil Hall. Just a few steps away is the breath-taking Quincy Market where you can challenge your taste buds with delicacies from around the world.
Called “J.P.” by the locals, this neighborhood is a breath of fresh air within the city borders. Here, visitors can explore parks, ponds and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, which balances the greenery with charming residential areas and apartment complexes.
Jamaica Plain is known for being an area that attracts locals and ex-pats for an exciting blend of dining opportunities. This neighborhood is also an excellent location for commuters, as there are numerous options to get downtown.
Also called “Little Italy” by the locals, the North End is home to a thriving Italian community whose family restaurants attract hungry visitors from around New England. Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine and walk it off with a stroll through some of the oldest buildings in all of Boston.
The Freedom Trail may begin in Boston Common, but most of the landmarks are located in the North End. The trail’s signature red-brick line weaves through important historic landmarks that make this neighborhood a delight to explore, such as Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church.
Not to be confused with South Boston, the South End has the benefits of an urban neighborhood while cutting back on some of the noise and bustle. It’s also home to the massive SoWa Market, a vast collection of art galleries and shops, a farmers market and year-round activities. The market calls itself a district of its own and is a must-visit spot for anyone new to Boston.
The buildings along the Waterfront neighborhood offer an unparalleled view of the Boston harbor. One of the city’s favorite charms, this district offers a stunning morning view of the sun rising over the ocean each day. It’s no wonder that the Waterfront is one of the best neighborhoods in Boston to relax and unwind.
Spend a day exploring the wonders of the New England Aquarium and stop at one of the waterfront restaurants for a bite to eat.
Find the best Boston neighborhood for you
Boasting a gorgeous waterfront, high-end shopping and an abundance of rich historical sites, Boston truly has something for everyone. With each of the intriguing districts competing for your attention, the hardest part of your time in Beantown will be choosing where to live. Learn how to think like a Bostonian and hop on the “T” to explore the many areas and find the best neighborhood for you.