History and cutting-edge culture live side by side in Boston, where neighborhoods go from historic Beacon Hill’s cobblestone lanes to downtown skyscrapers. Sample a little of each area to experience the city’s many facets. These are the key Boston neighborhoods for planning your trip.
For maximum contrast between old and new Boston, head to busy downtown, where glass towers surround Revolutionary sites and the Freedom Trail starts at Boston Common. Along with theaters and endless restaurants, this neighborhood includes some of the city’s top historic attractions: the Old State House, the Old South Meeting House, the Granary Burying Ground, and more.
The longtime home of Boston’s Italian-American community, the North End keeps that culture alive with neighborhood festivals and the city’s best Italian fare. Sites such as the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, and the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground are a must, but linger to enjoy the best of North End flavors. Favorite North End snacks include Italian sandwiches, thin-crust pizza, and slushy cups of Italian ice.
Beacon Hill’s brick row houses and cobbled lanes are straight from a postcard, and the best way to enjoy the historic atmosphere is on foot, whether you’re exploring on your own or joining a walking tour. The Black Heritage Trail leads from Boston Common through Beacon Hill, highlighting a series of fascinating places on its way to the African Meeting House, the oldest Black church in the United States.
Stretching along Boston Harbor from Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, the Waterfront neighborhood bristles with energy. The Boston HarborWalk follows the water’s edge past attractions including the New England Aquarium, one of the city’s best family-friendly sites. This is also the starting point for many Boston Harbor cruises.
Victorian brownstone houses lend an elegant feel to one of Boston’s most coveted neighborhoods. There’s plenty of sightseeing here, too. Check out the gorgeous interior of the Boston Public Library; stroll across Copley Square; then head to Newbury Street to visit boutiques, cafés, and stylish bars.
Catching a Red Sox game at Fenway Park is an unforgettable Boston experience, but there’s plenty more to see in this bustling neighborhood. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed a string of parks called the Back Bay Fens that are a welcome slice of green in the heart of the city, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is among Boston’s most beloved art galleries.