A lot of neighborhoods claim to be diverse, but East Boston is the real deal. East Boston has always been a neighborhood of immigrants and in recent years it has become home to people from all over South and Central America as well as South-East Asia, Haiti and Eastern Europe.
It is well known as home to Logan International Airport,, however protest T-Shirts of the 1970s worn by residents read "We are not an airport".
East Boston is most easily accessible via the Sumner Tunnel, the Ted Williams Tunnel or the Tobin Bridge (Beacon St. Exit). It's usually a safe bet to follow signs for the airport.
Blue Line: the Maverick, Airport, Wood Island, Orient Heights, and Suffolk Downs stops are all in East Boston.
Housing is a mix of historic and new, with many three deckers lining the streets. In recent years, homeowners have been restoring the historic homes of the area to their former glory. The top of Eagle Hill has many restored Victorian mansions and Sea Captain homes. Webster Street in the Jeffries Point section also has many historic homes, the same brick bow fronts one would find in Beacon Hill or Charlestown and the former home and birthplace of President John F. Kennedy's father Joseph P. Kennedy.
Over the years, Logan Airport has had to pay dearly for the taking of the famed Wood Island Park for airport expansion. The park, designed by Frederick Olmsted, was razed in the late 1960s. Since that time and through several mitigation projects, the operators of Logan have constructed two award winning parks in East Boston as a way to add more public open space to the neighborhood.
Piers Park on Marginal Street, a 7-acre waterfront park has great views of Boston, a public sailing facility, and, in the spring and summer months, concerts and public events weekly.
The other park is the newly constructed Bremen Street Park, a 18-acre park in the heart of the neighborhood on the Logan Airport MBTA train line. This sprawling park has bocce courts, Asian themed public gardens, playgrounds and walking and bike paths.
In East Boston is a public beach on the Orient Heights MBTA Train Line. The beach, known as Constitution Beach, sits directly across from Logan Airport and is a place local beach bums hang out, play tennis, basketball or handball or take a swim. The beach has newly constructed bathhouses and playground.
Suffolk Downs Racetrack on the Suffolk Downs MBTA Train Line, is a horse racing track that will take you back in time to when horse racing was at its prime. Over the years, the historic track has seen the likes of Seabiscuit and Cigar run its course. The track still holds daily races and simulcasting and its signature race, the Massachusetts Handicap or MassCap, is held in the fall.
Across Bennington Street at the Suffolk Downs MBTA Line is the Belle Isle Reservation--a protected Saltwater Marsh which is a perfect place to stroll and explore during fall, spring and summer months.
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The Art Scene in East Boston has exploded over the years with the redevelopment of the East Boston Artists Group's Atlantic Works Art Gallery at 80 Border St. Here you can drop in, view art at the dozens of studios artists keep in the historic building and, of course, purchase something for your wall.
Target--Off of McClellan Hwy heading North to Revere is a huge Target Store that is adjacent to Suffolk Downs Racetrack.
There are also a lot of small, locally owned mom and pop shops that are owned by the neighborhood's predominately Italian and Latino population.
East Boston is full of wonderful stores and restaurants representing its different ethnic groups. Long-time Italian restaurants stand next to Brazilian cafes.
- Santarpio's Pizza, 111 Chelsea St. (at Porter St.), ☎ 617-567-9871. M-F12PM-12AM. No other place says East Boston quite like Santarpio's Pizza. This local hideout is down-to-earth, relaxed, and renowned for its pizza and grilled lamb and sausage plates. Prices start at $9 for a 12-inch pie.
- Carmen's Kitchen, (in Orient Heights). High quality Italian food. Small, cozy restaurant. Pretty good espresso depending on who makes it. Kind of expensive, but worth it. They used to have a small deli, but closed it - too bad. Next to Carmen's is an old school gentleman's cigar bar that is pretty cool.
- Cafe Italia, (on Meridian St in Central Sq). is now a mexican place called "la hacienda". it still has a full liquor license, and mariachi bands on the weekends.
- Rino's Place, (on Saratoga St.). Little hole in the wall and real old school Italian where most everything is made from scratch, including the pasta. Definitely check this place out.
- Jevelli's. Standard Italian-American. Kind of cool atmosphere and lots of history. Jevelli's does serve till 10PM which is nice.
- Mario's. Standard Italian-American. Kind of cool atmosphere and lots of history.
- Dough, (near Maverick Gardens). The owners of this place are really nice guys and they make a pretty good pizza and good subs to. They pile rosciutto with capicola and genoa salami in their Italian, which makes it extra good. They also have hot pepper relish if you ask for it, which is not that common in Eastie. They have some interesting specials too (they like to play around with creations involving buffalo sauce).
- Meridian Street Market. Always a lunch line out the door of cops, firefighters, construction workers, and local office workers. The Meridian St Special sandwich (roasted red peppers, fresh mozzerella, basil, & chicken cutlet) is excellent. Their Italian sub is very good. Nice to go dinners. Catering for parties is available and they have good prices for that.
- M&M Variety. Has a decent Italian sub for around $4. It also was the convenience store owned by Sean Penn in the movie "Mystic River."
- Spinelli's, (in Day Sq). They have good Sicilian style pizza and lots of fresh meals to bring home for dinner (the Eastie version of the TV dinner). They make fresh raviollis and fusilli that you can purchase. Also have good desserts and Italian pastries.
- Angela's Lexington St. (Mexican) -Best Mexican Food in Boston.
- Mi Pueblito on Border St.(Salvadoran/Mexican) - large portions, good prices, cool atmosphere, cheap beer
- Montecristo in Central Sq (Salvadoran/Mexican) - very good pupusas, open till 1AM!
- Pollo Doreno in Day Sq (Salvadoran, rotisserie chicken) - good chicken, easy take out
- Taqueria Cancun in Maverick Sq (Salvadoran/Mexican) - Quality food, frequently receives good reviews, serves beer & wine
- El Jardin in Central Sq (Colombian) - Good food, bright, engaging atmosphere
- Topasio on Bennington (Colombian) - My favorite for Colombian food. Good steaks, a little more upscale than other Colombian places
- El Buen Gusto in Day Sq (Salvadoran) - Nice take on upscale Salvadoran food. Interior is nicely designed. Good meat platters.
- El Limeno off Day Sq on the way to Orient Heights (Peruvian) - usually cited as the best Peruvian in Eastie
- Colombian Tamale "hole in the wall" on Chelsea off Maverick Sq - Just found this place the other day. They make huge Colombian Tamales with 4 kinds of meat for $6. They look like something you would get on the streets of Bogota...pretty cool. Also have a guava flan type dessert thing that was awesome.
- There is a Brazilian churascaria place on Chelsea between Maverick and Day Squares called Olievera's that is very good.
- Rosticeria Cancun in Maverick Sq (Salvadoran/Mexican) - The enjoyably chaotic atmosphere is the closest I have come to a classic Mexican taqueria - loud music, cramped environment, high energy and quick, decent food.
- Taqueria Jalisco in Day Sq (Mexican) - One of the only Mexican owned and operated taquerias in Eastie. Their adobada and lengua tacos are superb.
- There is a Vietnamese place on Meridian Street (corner with Lexington or Trenton) called Siagon Hut that makes excellent Pho and other typical dishes. I hear that it is well known among the Vietnamese community as being on par with the better known Pho places around town. Actually, Eastie used to be a large Vietnamese neighborhood and we still have the remnants of that through this restaurant and a Buddhist temple around the corner.
- Donnas in Orient Heights, Dozzi's in Jeffries Point. Both neighborhood institutions. Now we have Cafe 303 at 303 Sumner St. for an upscale breakfast and brunch.
- Right off Central Sq before you enter the tolls for the Sumner Tunnel, there is Off The Boat Seafood.
- Kelly's Sq Pub, Bennington St - This place may not look inviting from the outside (small windows), but inside it is a bright family restaurant. It is mostly locals, but very clean and the waitstaff is very friendly. The food is standard bar fare with very large portions. Wednesday is half price pizza day (pretty good pizza, especially the garlic pizza). We always take home half our meal and it is good for lunch the next day. It is probably the best, non-dive bar to watch the Sox game.
- Cafe 303, Sumner St (in Jeffries Point) - The first yuppie cafe/restaurant in Eastie and they are doing cool things with their international menu. Just hang out and people watch or join in at one of their weekly Poetry Slams.
- There are also a few old school bakeries that make fresh bread daily. The one locals go to is on Sumner St. called AJ's Everything in that place seems to cost just $0.25 cents or on the corner of Bennington and Moore is Betty Anne's a place that still makes homemade donuts from scratch every moring called Sinkers (jelly filled and covered in sugar).
- Kelly's Pub, 84 Bennington St. Good place to watch a sports game, eat good bar food or hang out with friends.
- 303 Cafe, 303 Sumner St. Beer and Wine and good food. Great selection of hard to find beer.
- Hyatt Hotel Lounge, Harborside Drive. Sweeping views of the Boston Skyline and good selection of beer, wine and cocktails.
- Cafe Italia, Meridian Street near Central Square. Best martinis in Eastie.
- Little Asia Bennington St. near Orient Heights Sq. Drink a Mi Thai, watch some sports and play some Keno.
- Victory Pub in Orient Heights Sq. Old school dive filled with locals and old timers.
There are also a host of Latin American watering holes.
- Holiday Inn, 225 William F McClellan Hwy, (617) 569-5250, .
- Hilton Boston Logan Airport, One Hotel Drive +1 800-HILTON, . Has a direct connection via an enclosed sky bridge to Boston Logan Airport and round-the-clock, complimentary shuttle service to all airline terminals.
- Hyatt Harborside at Boston's Logan International Airport, 101 Harborside Drive, (617) 568-1234, .
- Embassy Suites Boston at Logan Airport, 207 Porter Street, (617) 606-4315, .
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