Having lived right outside of Boston my whole life, I’ve definitely spent my fair share of time in Beantown. With two parents also from Boston, I’ve also come to learn the secrets of the city. So as a Bostonian, here are my top hidden gems that are definitely worth checking out!
Located right behind Suffolk University and about a block east from The Commons, the Downtown Crossing neighborhood is filled with fun shops and restaurants. A walk down Washington street will open you up to many stores such as a Macy’s or Primark. Because of its central location, Faneuil Hall, Chinatown, Government Center and Boston Commons are a short walk and it's also a stop on the Orange and Red lines. A great place to stop and relax on a day of touring Boston!
Boston’s newest up and coming neighborhood is located right between Downtown and South Boston. Filled with many upscale restaurants, Seaport is one of the best hidden spots to get dinner. After dinner take a short walk inland to the Lawn on D, which is a small park with light up swings and seasonal live music. Seaport is an easy drive, but also accessible by boat or the Silver Line, and definitely worth checking out!
The first part of downtown you see off the Expressway and the last you see before entering the O’Neil Tunnel, Chinatown is right off of Exit 20 on I-93. Filled with authentic chinese food, people and culture, this neighborhood is a fun stop for eating and atmosphere. It’s easily walkable and there are many storefronts with shops and bakeries. The Chinatown Gate is about three blocks from South Station, and also easy drive to get to.
Storrow Drive is the street that stretches from the Museum of Science down Back Bay to Boston University along the Charles River. Along Storrow Drive is a walkway along the river, with playgrounds, the Hatch Memorial Shell and all the college boathouses for their rowing teams. Just a few blocks over from Boylston St, Newbury St, Commonwealth Ave, and Back Bay, this outdoor attraction is close to a lot of hotels, restaurants and shops. Great location for a morning run or an afternoon walk, and accessible by the green line!
Another one of Boston’s up and coming neighborhoods is Southie, where all the twenty-something year olds move after graduating college. An Irish-heavy neighborhood, and the location of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, this neighborhood is filled with Irish bars and nightlife. Also the home of Boston College High School and UMass Boston, this neighborhood is very safe, unlike its portrayal in movies. Accessible by Morrissey Blvd from the south or the Red and Silver lines, Southie is worth a visit.
Calling all baseball lovers! Fenway Park is the oldest baseball park in the country and totally worth seeing the giant, green stadium. Growing up, Red Sox games were a staple of every summer, and I highly recommend going to a game if possible. If you can’t get tickets, a walk down Yawkey Way just to see the park is just as fun! Next to Fenway Park is the Fens (aka the Emerald Necklace) which is another series of parks, designed as a green initiative. Located on the greenline, Fenway is one of the best spots in Boston!
The Rose Kennedy Greenway:
Boston’s newest public project is a series of parks stretching from Chinatown to the North End called the Rose Kennedy Greenway. These parks cover the route of the O’Neil Tunnel (aka “the Big Dig”) that runs underneath Downtown Boston. Aimed towards kids with play structures and fountains, this is the perfect walk for a nice day in Boston.
The North End is the Italian neighborhood in Boston, located across the Greenway from Faneuil Hall. It is home to the absolute best Italian food in Boston, I highly recommend getting dinner in the North End. Also home to the famous Mike’s Pastry where the best cannolis in Boston are made. However, if the line is too long at Mike’s, Modern Pastry is just a few blocks away and just as good! Accessible by the ferry and the green and orange lines, the North End is worth a visit!
Just across the Longfellow Bridge (or the Mass Ave Bridge) and down Broadway Street into Cambridge is Harvard Square. This is the central hangout spot for Harvard students, with restaurants, coffee shops and gift shops. Walk across the street to Harvard Yard and explore the country’s oldest university campus and library. Located on the Red Line or a quick drive from downtown, Harvard Square is great for people visiting Boston for the history.
My last hidden gem is the Harborwalk, which is a series of piers that stretch from Charlestown, to Waterfront, all the way down through Seaport to Castle Island and ending in Southie. With sponsored activities, this is one of the best places to go on a summer day. Since it stretches for so far, there are several T stops, but I recommend taking one of the ferries from either the North or South shores that go right to Rowes or Long Wharf (depending where you’re coming from). From harborwalk you can watch the planes take off at Logan Airport or watch the boats go by in Boston Harbor.