Introducing South End, Chinatown, Leather District & Theater District
Four side-by-side neighborhoods are home to Boston's lively theater scene, its most hip-hop-happening nightclubs and its best international and contemporary dining. Ethnically and economically diverse, these districts border Downtown and Back Bay, but they are edgier and artier.
The edgiest (and artiest) is the South End. Once downtrodden, it was claimed and cleaned up by the gay community, and now everyone wants to live there. And why not? The South End boasts the country's largest concentration of Victorian row houses; it offers Boston's most innovative and exciting options for dining out; and the artistic community has moved into the area south of Washington St (now known as SoWa), converting old warehouses into studio and gallery space.
Although tiny by New York standards, Boston's Theater District has long served as a pre-Broadway staging area. Many landmark theaters have received facelifts in recent years, and their colorful marquees and posh patrons make for a festive night out on the town. The Theater District is also Boston's club hub, with many late-night hotspots clustered along Boylston St and surrounding streets.
Nearby, Chinatown is overflowing with ethnic restaurants, live-poultry and fresh-produce markets, teahouses and textile shops. As well as the Chinese, this tight-knit community also includes Cambodians, Vietnamese and Laotians. Chinatown is a popular stop for lunch, for a pre-theater dinner or for a post-clubbing munch.
East of Chinatown, the Leather District is a pocket of uniform brick buildings that shelter some fine restaurants and a few funky clubs. The Leather District is just outside the doors of South Station, but otherwise out of the way.
The South End, Chinatown, Theater District and Leather District are similar, in that there is a dearth of traditional 'sights' to see; but there is a superabundance of eating and entertainment options. You could go out every night for months on end, and never run out of trendy restaurants, innovative theater and electrifying nightlife.