South End, Chinatown, Leather District & Theater District
Chinatown, the Theater District and the Leather District are overlapping areas, filled with glitzy theaters, Chinese restaurants and the remnants of Boston’s shoe and leather industry (now converted lofts and clubs). Nearby, the Victorian manses in the South End have been reclaimed by artists and gays, who have created a vibrant restaurant and gallery scene.
Stretched out along the north shore of the Charles River, Cambridge is a separate city that boasts two distinguished universities, a host of historic sites, and artistic and cultural attractions galore. The streets around Harvard Sq and Central Sq are home to restaurants, bars and clubs that rival their counterparts across the river.
West End & North End
Although the West End and North End are physically adjacent, they are atmospherically worlds apart. The West End is an institutional area without much zest. By contrast, the North End is delightfully spicy, thanks to the many Italian ristoranti and salumeria that line the streets.
Downtown & Waterfront
Much of Boston’s business and tourist activity takes place in this central neighborhood. Downtown is a bustling district crammed with modern complexes and colonial buildings, including Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. The Waterfront is home to the HarborWalk, the Harbor Island ferries and the New England Aquarium.
Seaport District & South Boston
The Seaport District is a section of South Boston that is fast developing as an attractive waterside destination, thanks to the dynamic contemporary art museum and the explosion of new dining options. Travel deeper into Southie for seaside breezes, a little history and a lot of beer.
A chain of parks known as the Emerald Necklace leads south to the Streetcar Suburbs. With deeply rooted Jewish and Russian populations, Brookline was the birthplace of John F Kennedy, while Jamaica Plain is a progressive residential community with gracious Victorian architecture and a cutting-edge music scene.
Beacon Hill & Boston Common
Abutted by the Boston Common – the nation’s original public park and the centerpiece of the city – and topped with the gold-domed Massachusetts State House, Beacon Hill is the neighborhood most often featured on Boston postcards. The retail and residential streets on Beacon Hill are delightfully, quintessentially Boston.
The site of the original settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Charlestown is the terminus for the Freedom Trail. Many tourists tromp across these historic cobblestone sidewalks to admire the USS Constitution and climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument, which towers above the neighborhood.