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Boston/North End

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Greater Boston : Boston : North End
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The North End is the oldest neighborhood in Boston. It is a delightful labyrinth of narrow streets and exotic marketplaces. Known for its 87 Italian restaurants and bakeries, the North End is also the home to the Old North Church and the Paul Revere House. It is considered one of the best Italian neighborhoods in the country. New York's Little Italy hardly compares to this close-knit community that feels a lot like an authentic old world neighborhood. You will find winding cobblestone streets that lead to secret parks, and small squares with statues that make the North End seem miles away from Boston proper.

Get in

By subway

The Haymarket stop on the Orange and Green lines is closest to the tourist attractions and restaurants located here. Other nearby stops include North Station (Orange and Green lines), Government Center (Green and Blue lines), and Aquarium (Blue line).

By train

North Station is served by commuter trains from north of the city, and the Downeaster Amtrak service running between Boston and Portland, ME.

By car

On-street parking is nearly all permit-only, and extremely limited even for permit holders: people have been known to resort to counterfeit parking stickers to park here. While there are some parking garages near Government Center a short walk away, driving in this area is not recommended.

By foot

The best way to get to the North End is to follow the Freedom Trail from downtown Boston.

See

  • The Old North Church, 193 Salem Street, +1 617 523-6676, [1]. This is the church where Paul Revere had convinced congregant Robert Newman to alert the American milita in Concord, Massachusetts to British troop movements. Newman placed two lanterns in the church steeple and alerted the militia to the approaching British army as Paul Revere began his ride to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams. The church has docents on hands to answer questions about the church and its role in the American Revolution. The docents are excellent and will not bore the average visitor as with many other historic tours.
  • Paul Revere House, 19 North Square, +1 617 523-2338 [2]. This is the house which Paul Revere had owned for over three decades and began his midnight ride. The docents on hand are excellent sources of information about Revere and his family. Adults: $3.50.

Do

There rarely is a dull moment with a different Italian Festival every weekend throughout the summer. In August, there is a festival every weekend. The themes of many festivals are based on Catholic saints.

Walk down Hanover Street - Hanover Street, the main street of the North End, is great for a summer evening stroll. Check out many of the best local restaurants and stop to eat when the line is short outside of any establishment. Most North End restaurants don't do reservations.

Boston By Foot, [3] - Guided walking tours highlighting the architecture and history of the North End.

The Harborwalk, [4] - A trail that winds along parts of Boston Harbor and connects the historic wharves of the Boston waterfront.

The Improv Asylum, 216 Hanover St. Famous dinner and comedy club.

Festivals

Annual Saint Anthony’s Feast and the Festival of Santa Lucia, 617-723-8669, [5]. Held the weekend of the last Sunday of August since 1919 on Endicott, Thacher, and North Margin Streets. Features traditional Italian-American entertainment, authentic Italian festival food and time-honored processions and customs.

One of Boston’s largest events of the summer, Saint Anthony’s Feast offers colorful parades, strolling singers, the Filippo Berio Culinary Pavilion, Italian folk dancing, the Pizzeria Regina Open Air Piazza, continuous live entertainment and religious and cultural services throughout the weekend.

Nearly one hundred pushcarts line the decorated streets, awaiting visitors to sample an array of traditional Italian foods including sausage with peppers & onions, calamari, quahogs, pasta, cannoli, zeppole, handmade torrone and gelato. Visitors can also browse the selection of Italian gifts and novelties and pick up a souvenir. Children of all ages can try their luck at games of skill, or enjoy pony rides and small amusements.

The highlight of the weekend is the 10 hour Grand Procession of Saint Anthony beginning at Noon on Sunday. The statue of Saint Anthony is borne on the shoulders of the members and devotees through the winding streets of the North End along with marching bands, drum & bugle corps, color guards, floats and hundreds of followers. The procession culminates with the return of the Statue of Saint Anthony to Endicott Street as confetti, streamers and balloons cascade from the rooftops.

All entertainment is free and open to the public. Visitors will have to pay at vendor stands and piazza.

Buy

This is a neighborhood where residents walk to local fruit stores, butcher shops and corner markets for their groceries.

Eat

There is a plethora of Italian restaurants in the North End: the following is only a partial list. If you don't know exactly where to eat but know you want good Italian food, all you need to do is walk down either Hanover or Salem Streets, and you'll have no shortage of choices.

  • Al Dente Ristorante, 109 Salem St., Phone: +1 617-523-0990, [6]. OpM-Th 11:30AM-10PM, (F,Sa until 11PM) Su Noon-10PM. This Italian gem has an amazing selection. Choose from about a dozen pasta types and sauce types. For a truly excellent combo, try one of their homemade pastas with a the tangy vodka sauce. Lap the extra sauce down with the fresh bread and clear your pallet with some nice cold Peroni beer.
  • Florentine Cafe, 333 Hanover Street, +1 617-227-1777 (www.florentinecafeboston.com). Nice ambience, looks European. Windows open wide to the street in warm weather, just as cafes do in London. Big, friendly after work crowd at the ample bar. Excellent food at a reasonable price. Try the seafood salad. The seafood is grilled and still warm when it is tossed with the crispy arugula in a lemony Vinaigrette dressing. Nice bread, served with olive oil. Efficient waitstaff.
  • Galleria Umberto, 289 Hanover St. Phone: +1 617-227-5709, Open only for lunch (Mon-Sat 11AM-2PM, or whenever the food runs out), this often-overlooked North End spot not only serves up fantastic Sicilian specialties, it's one of the CHEAPEST places to eat lunch in the whole city, with (for example) calzones from $2-3 and square Sicilian pizza slices under a dollar. Locals in the know form a queue in front of the counter that can spill out the front door. Be warned though: this place is strictly counter service, and the focus is completely on the food. You'll have to eat on your feet, or (here's a tip) walk north down Hanover and sit on a stump overlooking the harbor and the Coast Guard station.
  • Marliave, 10 Bosworth St., Phone: +1 617-423-6340, A 124 year old restaurant in the heart of historic Boston. Excellent food. Has a roof garden area overlooking the streets of Boston. Very friendly management and excellent service and food. A hidden gem that hasn't changed the decor in at least 100 years. Just the way Bostonians like it.
  • Maurizio's, 364 Hanover St., Phone: +1 617-367-1123, [7]. Maurizio's, top rated in the Zagat Guide and three time winner of Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Award, has been part of the North End dining experience for over twelve years. Chef Maurizio Loddo hails from the Italian Island of Sardinia and brings a wealth of additional cooking experience from France, Germany and Spain. Wines from Maurizio's exciting list are selected to complement the food. You will find exceptional and affordable picks from all over the globe.
  • Mike's Pastry, 300 Hanover St, Phone: +1 617-742-3050, [8]. Wherever you eat in the North End, do not order dessert. Instead, hop on down to Mike's for the Western Hemisphere's best cannoli. (Cannoli are an Italian pastry dessert filled with a wonderful sweet cheese.) There's also a rich selection of other deserts available, and a small number of tables for sit-down service. Mike's can get quite busy, especially at night on the weekends.
  • Modern Pastry, 257 Hanover St., Phone: +1 617-523-3783, [9]. Best known for their cannoli and cheesecake, both made on site for 70 years. Open late Friday and Saturday.
  • Osteria Rustico, 85 Canal St, Phone: +1 617-742-8770. Lunch M-F 11AM-5PM, Dinner Th-Sa 5PM-10PM. There are only 6 tables and the menu is not very extensive, however the exceptional food makes up for this. For lunch, be sure to try the Casalinga with grilled chicken and for dinner, the seafood pasta is out of this world.
  • Pizzeria Regina, 11 1/2 Thatcher St., Phone: +1 617-227-0765. Where the locals go to get their pizza. Expect to wait outside in line during peak hours. Cash only. There are also fast-food style locations around town, though it's not quite the same quality as the main location.
  • Woody's Grill and Tap, 58 Hemenway St., Phone: +1 617-375-9663. For a great pizza experience, staff, and food quality, try Woody's.

Drink

Sleep

  • Onyx Hotel, 155 Portland Street (Located between the districts of West End and North End), Phone: +1 617 557 9955. [10]
  • Boston Furnished Apartments, 617-357-6900, Boston Furnished Apartments is a furnished apartment rental agency, offering an alternative to a hotel room. These rentals are private homes, condos or apartments located in residential buildings within the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, South End, and Financial District neighborhoods. There are monthly, weekly and nightly rentals available. The homes range in size from smaller studios to one or two bedroom apartments, and all have fully equipped kitchens and private bathrooms. This is a unique way to experience the city like a Bostonian, in a brownstone home. Rental paperwork is required and most credit cards are accepted.

Stay safe

The North End is considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Boston.

Contact

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