The Best Boston Neighborhoods for History

Historic Neighborhoods in Boston

While Boston is full of history as well as plenty of other activities, if you're a history lover, you should probably focus your attention into just a few areas. While many people travel to Boston for a variety of reasons, history lovers will crave all of the amazing sights and attractions in a few of Boston's central areas that are overflowing with museums, monuments, and historically significant buildings. If you're looking to explore Boston's history, check out these historic neighborhoods on your next trip.
West End
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.
Boston, MA
Waterfront
Waterfront
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.
Boston, MA
If you're looking for more information about Boston, read The Best Things to do in Boston's Waterfront Neighborhood and Best Things to do in South Boston and the Seaport District.
South End
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.
Boston, MA
North End
North End
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.
Boston, MA
Fenway-Kenmore
Fenway-Kenmore
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.
Boston, MA
Downtown
Downtown
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.
Boston, MA
Chinatown - Leather District
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.
Boston, MA
Charlestown
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.
Boston, MA
If you're looking for more information about Boston, read Planetariums Near Boston and The Best Places to Take a Walk in Boston.
Cambridge
Cambridge
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.
Boston, MA
Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill
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
Bay Village
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.
Boston, MA
Back Bay
Back Bay
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.
Boston, MA
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Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $4 to $498. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $142. A few of the best options are below.

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