The Most Interesting Neighborhoods in Boston
Boston's neighborhoods are as diverse as they are numerous. The North End, Charlestown, Jamaica Plain, Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill, and Cambridge's Allston and Kendall Square all offer something to discover. With museums, history, nightlife, architecture, and more to discover, check out all of these amazing neighborhoods in Boston on your next trip.
The historic neighborhood of Beacon Hill is famous for its Federal-style brick rowhouses and narrow gaslit streets. The brick sidewalks and historical character give the area a lot of charm and the residents maintain beautiful gardens and beautiful home fronts. There are often seasonal holiday decorations throughout, so it's worth wandering through during the holiday season. This one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and it has a number of historic landmarks including the Massachusetts State House and the Boston African American National Historic Site.
Boston, Massachusetts, 02114-3203
Dating back to the 1700s, Boston's historic Downtown is where you'll find City Hall, the Freedom Trail, and Faneuil Hall. There are also a number of corporate headquarters based here as well as condos and apartments. The area is full of energy and activity with several high class bars where you can enjoy a drink. Closer to Faneuil Hall is where you'll find the younger, slightly more rowdy crowd. Head to the pedestrian mall at the intersection of Summer and Washington Streets to browse high end fashion or pick up a classic Boston souvenir. This area is also where you'll find the Old South Meeting House, which was the starting point for the infamous Boston Tea Party of 1773.
This diverse neighborhood is small but bustling. It's where you'll find Massachusetts General Hospital and TD Garden, which is home to the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics. The neighborhood is also a transportation hub, with Amtrak, Commuter Rail, and several subway lines connecting here.
South Boston was traditionally a working class neighborhood, but it has also become a trendy area for dining and nightlife. Head to the "Seaport District" for some of the most lively activities. This area also has some of the city's most famous seafood restaurants. The neighborhood also has a beautiful waterfront with views of Boston's skyline. Along the waterfront there are a number of beaches and parks. Also in the area is Dorchester Heights, which is where George Washington's army forced the British out of Boston in 1776.
The North End neighborhood is a popular destination for tourists. The neighborhood's Italian-American population are at the heart of the culture and restaurant scene in the area. There are narrow streets, a lively atmosphere, and many of the city's best restaurants and cafes, offering classic Italian fare. Make sure you grab a meal and follow it up with a pastry from one of the local pastry shops. The neighborhood also has a few chill bars that are great for grabbing a beer and hanging out with friends at night. This neighborhood also has a number of historical sites including Paul Revere's house.
Technically, its own city, Cambridge is an iconic area near Boston that is home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The town has a number of museums, mostly affiliated with either of the universities, as well as a lively music scene, an impressive art culture, and excellent restaurants. The Charles River is a defining feature of Cambridge. There are also a number of notable city squares as well as several distinct neighborhoods within Cambridge. While nightlife might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Cambridge, there are actually some great clubs and bars where you can grab a drink and party with the Ivy Leaguers.
Roxbury was once a large farming community. Today it is at the heart of Black culture in Boston. The neighborhood has a number of great restaurants along Dudley Street that serve Caribbean, regional African and soul food. This neighborhood is also where you'll find the only remaining country house built by a British Royal Colonial Governor.
Boston's Waterfront neighborhood is a lively area with a significant history and a unique culture. The Boston HarborWalk is a public walkway that follows the edge of the water, linking a number of sites in the neighborhood. It's the perfect place to take a walk and enjoy public art, parks, gardens, and impressive views. This is also where you'll catch a harbor cruise or a whale watching tour. Also in the neighborhood is the New England Aquarium.
Located on the southern end of Boston, Hyde Park has a suburban atmosphere and a number of local shops and restaurants along the main streets. The Neponset River runs through the center of the neighborhood.
Fenway-Kenmore is most famous as the location of Fenway Park, home to the Red Sox. Also in the neighborhood is the Museum of Fine Arts and Symphony Hall. Head to Landsowne Street for the best nightlife. This is where you'll find the most clubs and bars. Right around the ballpark is a beautiful green space, Back Bay Fens. The area also has a number of bars and restaurants that cater mostly to baseball fans. This is a lively neighborhood and there always seems to be something going on.
Named for the Mattahunt Native American Tribe that lived here during the 1600s, today this neighborhood is home to a mixing bowl of African American, Caribbean, Irish, Jewish, and Haitian residents. There are a number of great ethnic restaurants in the neighborhood.
This cosmopolitan neighborhood is close to both Downtown and the Back Bay neighborhood. South End has grown in popularity in recent years and the neighborhood has a mix of young professionals, families, and a large LGBTQ community. The streets are lined with brownstones, giving it a similar feel to nearby Back Bay. This is a vibrant neighborhood with a number of great restaurants, bars and clubs, ranging from high end to casual. There's also a very active arts scene.
Jamaica Plain, often called "JP", is a diverse neighborhood with a number of local businesses and a large amount of green space. Head to Jamaica Pond to take a relaxing walk. This is also a very active neighborhood with a number of great festivals and outdoor concerts. This neighborhood really comes to life during the warmer seasons when the festivals and street fairs are common.
Located on the north side of Boston by the the Boston Harbor and the Mystic River, this neighborhood once had a large Irish population. It's a historic neighborhood with a number of monuments in the area including the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution.
West Roxbury is a hub for civic engagement and youth programs in Boston. This is a suburban neighborhood with tree-lined streets and residential areas filled with single family homes.
Dorchester is a large and diverse neighborhood with more than 500 acres of green space as well as a zoo. The neighborhood is where you'll find Franklin Park and a large portion of Boston's Emerald Necklace. The population is a diverse mix of long time residents and newer immigrants from countries such as Vietnam, Cape Verde, and Ireland. For the best Vietnamese food, head to Dorchester Avenue between Charles and Victoria streets.
Back Bay is a scenic neighborhood in Boston that is famous for its charming apartments and classic Boston style. Wander down Commonwealth Avenue to take in these picturesque scenes, or you can enjoy high end shopping along Newbury Street. The area is popular with the wealthy, who live in Victorian style homes in this quintessential Boston setting.
This neighborhood is part of the larger Dorchester neighborhood. It includes the four sections of Uphams Corner, Bowdoin/Geneva, Four Corners, and Codman Square. This area continues to see new development and growth.
Located right by the Allston neighborhood, Brighton sits along the Charles River and has a number of shops along Washington Street. It's a quieter neighborhood that has a mix of young professionals, young families, and students. Boston College is in the neighborhood at the end of the Green B line along the subway.
Roslindale has a lot of natural beauty, colonial homes, and a charming Main Street. This neighborhood is where you'll find the Arnold Arboretum, which is a 265 acre park, and along the Main Street there are many great shops, restaurants, cafes, and bistros, making this a charming place to spend some time.
East Boston has long been a neighborhood of immigrants, and the area's ethnic restaurants reflect its diverse roots. Sitting on the waterfront, it was once the center for shipbuilding in the city but today it is where you'll find Logan International Airport. It's location on the waterfront means it offers impressive views of the city's skyline. You can reach East Boston on the subway's Blue Line or by ferry boat.
Allston is a popular hangout spot for students in Boston. Many students live in the area, but even those that don't often head here to party with friends. The area is close to a number of Boston colleges and universities so the student population is strong, but in recent years it's also started to attract more young professionals and immigrants. Head to Harvard Avenue between Gardner Street and Commonwealth Avenue to explore the city's unofficial Koreatown. The area has a number of great Korean barbeque restaurants as well as bubble tea shops.
Chinatown - Leather District
Boston's Chinatown, the 3rd largest Chinatown in the country, is at the heart of Chinese culture in the city. It's located to the south of the Downtown area and it's the place to go to celebrate Lunar New Year. There are a number of great Chinese restaurants and shops in the area. Head a few blocks to the east and you'll stumble into the small Leather District. This industrial warehouse area gets its name from its roots in leather manufacturing. Today it is home to a number of trendy restaurants.
Tucked in between South End, Back Bay, the theater district, and Chinatown, this small neighborhood is a bit of a hidden gem. It's centrally located so it makes a nice base for exploring the city. It was built by the same group that built Beacon Hill, so the look is similar. There are tree-lined streets as well as many quaint shops and restaurants. The atmosphere is friendly and the neighborhood feels welcoming.
Mission Hill is one of the more diverse areas in Boston. It houses a mix of students and young families, many employed at the nearby Longwood Medical Area. The Mission Church is a notable architectural landmark in the neighborhood, as are the brick row houses and triple-decker homes.
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $4 to $498. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $117. A few of the best options are below.
Where to Stay in Boston