Want to wander old-world streets while you search for Boston’s top sites? Step into the North End, Boston. Boston’s “Little Italy” is brimming with Freedom Trail sights, cozy coffeehouses, and some of the city’s oldest buildings. Stroll down narrow lanes dripping with history and eat at some of the tastiest Italian restaurants in the US.
Pretty parks are strewn in & around Boston’s North End, including the charming Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park. Follow in the footsteps of the great leaders of the American Revolution at historic sites like Old North Church and Paul Revere House. Explore the graves of Copp’s Hill Burying Ground and unpack the North End’s artisanal history. Or grab a cappuccino and embrace the neighborhood’s charming Italian ambiance.
Ready for an adventure back in time? Design a beautiful city break with this complete guide to the North End, Boston, and discover great things to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay!
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What to see & do in Boston’s North End
Trace the same streets as some of the USA’s greatest figures. The Freedom Trail starts in Boston Common in Downtown Boston and stretches 2.6 miles to the Bunker Monument. Pretend you’re Dorothy and follow the red brick road to some of Boston’s top tourist attractions!
Follow the Freedom Trail to tick off 16 iconic sights in Boston in one day. Start by grabbing a coffee and strolling the peaceful Boston Common. Then, marvel at the architecture of the Massachusetts State House and Park Street Church. Visit the grave sites of significant Boston citizens before feasting on street food at Faneuil Hall.
If you made it this far, your brain might be hitting saturation point. But don’t give up! Still to explore are the Paul Revere House and the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest floating ship.
Along your journey, you’ll unpack over 250 years of history. By the end of the day, you’ll have submerged yourself in the American Revolution and the fight for freedom.
Old North Church
Take a trip to Boston’s oldest church. Old North Church is a popular site on the Freedom Trail. Built in 1723, the towering white steeple is an infamous part of Boston’s skyline. During Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride, he used lanterns on the steeple to signal when the British were approaching.
Step into a flawless white room adorned with gold. On either side of the aisle are unusual white box pews large enough to fit a family during service.
Old North Church is no ordinary religious site. It’s packed with quirky activities. Take part in a scavenger hunt hosted by Prince, the North End cat. Or, discover the art of bell ringing with a tour of the bell-ringing chamber.
The crypt underneath the church is the resting place of over 1,100 bodies. Squeeze through the tiny corridors of the eerie basement and learn about the souls that have rested here for hundreds of years.
Paul Revere House
Pay a visit to the home of one of the Founding Fathers at the Paul Revere House. Essential to the success of the Revolution, the house has been restored into an excellent museum. The Paul Revere House is small; make sure you book your slot in advance so you don’t miss out one one of Boston’s most interesting museums for history buffs.
Paul Revere was a renowned silversmith, entrepreneur, and patriot. See where he spent the night of April 18, 1775, before stepping outside his door and becoming a legend.
Thick wooden beams and brick fireplaces transport you back to a time of political unrest and a fierce fight for independence. Learn about the life of an 18th-century family and explore artifacts from Paul Revere’s many entrepreneurial projects.
There are often events happening in the courtyard and gardens. Attend lectures describing fascinating historical events, watch live examples of colonial crafts, and listen to live classical music.
Escape the buzz of the city to the peace of Langone Park. This freshly renovated North End park runs along the waterfront of Boston Harbor. It was named after the state senator Joseph A. Langone, Jr and his wife, Clementina Langone. The park features innovative designs to protect the site from storms and rising sea levels.
Langone Park is a lovely scenic space for the community to spend time outside. Sit back and enjoy watching the world go by. It’s a short walk from Old North Church, so it’s the perfect spot to rest between sightseeing. Catch a game on the soccer field, gaze at sunset views of the waterfront, or take a dip in the public pool.
Langone Park was also the site of the 1919 Great Molasses Flood. You can find a plaque commemorating the event. Urban legend says that in the summer, you can still smell the molasses in the air.
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
Stroll the graves of the people who shaped Boston’s artisanal history. Aptly named after shoemaker William Copp, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground was once the largest colonial burial ground in the city. It’s been here since 1659 and is the resting place of many of the merchants, craftsmen, and freed African-Americans that lived in Boston’s North End.
The weathered and crooked tombstones surrounded by red brick architecture give Copp’s Hill’s Burying Ground an old-world feel. Browse the grave sites of ministers from the Puritan witch trials, the lantern hanger from Paul Revere’s midnight ride, and Edmund Hartt, who built the USS Consitution. Imagine the life of famous smuggler Daniel Malcolm, who managed to import a huge 60 casks of wine into the city!
The height of Copp’s Hill was a strategic advantage during the war. Soak up the cultural significance or just enjoy the panoramic views of Boston.
For a lighter activity, catch a show at the Improv Asylum. The improvisational comedy theatre has been thriving for over 20 years. Their shows use a blend of improv, sketch, and musical comedy.
The hysterical comedians at the Improve Asylum will have you in stitches. As the audience, you have an essential role in the performances, meaning that you get a different show with every visit.
The fast-paced shows barely give you enough time to catch your breath, leading to complete laughter overload. Make sure to book in advance because these shows regularly sell out.
The theatre is intimate, with an in-the-round style stage. This creates a fantastic relationship with the performers and other audience members. You may even finish the show with some new friends!
Improv Asylum is a short distance from Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. Grab a bite from one of the street food vendors to attend your show with a happy stomach.
Rose Kennedy Greenway
A natural oasis in the heart of the Boston, Rose Kennedy Greenway is a lovely place to escape from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Boston. The park was built to commemorate Rose Kennedy, who was a popular figure in the higher classes of the Boston Irish-American community. The long 17-acre park snakes all the way down to the Chinatown Gate.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway is bursting with color. There are a variety of different gardens and a vibrant carousel. Make sure to keep an eye out for some curious artwork. Sculptures, colorful lanterns, and digital installations can be found throughout the park.
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The park is a great place to cool off in the summer, with an al fresco beer garden and 7 different artistic fountains. Why not walk the twisted path of The Labyrinth? The circular path with a small fountain at its center is a representation of the immigrant experience.
Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
Wander along the waterfront from North End to the Long Wharf, and you’ll arrive at the Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park. The area was once full of industrial activity for the shipping industry. Elements of this still shine through in the cobbled paths and thick chain decorations.
Feel the buzz of the city melt away. Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park offers charming coastal views. It’s a pretty spot for an afternoon picnic or for taking a leisurely stroll home after a day of sightseeing. A lot of dog walkers come here, so take a seat and look out for some adorable pooches.
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Inhale the aromas from the rose garden, gaze out at the water, or walk under an archway dripping with vines. In the evening, the great trellis is illuminated with colorful lights, creating a magical end to your day.
Where to eat & drink
If you have a sweet tooth, you’re never going to forget Mike’s Pastry. The authentic Italian bakery opened in 1946 and is known all over town for its incredible cannoli.
Take your taste buds on a journey to Sicily at The Daily Catch North End. Their seafood comes straight from the Boston Fish Pier and onto your plate. The Sicilian pasta dishes are exquisite and are served to you in the pan it was cooked in.
The stylish Bricco markets itself as ‘boutique’ Italian dining. Savor intelligent, well-crafted dishes and cocktails, as well as a fabulous selection of Italian wines.
The family-owned Giacomo’s Boston North End is a cozy restaurant serving mouth-watering Italian dishes. The queue is often bursting out of the door, but the food is worth the wait.
Mare Oyster Bar is a modern restaurant that serves up seafood with an Italian twist and an interesting choice of organic wines. Order oysters from the raw bar and graze them on the sleek patio with your own fire pit.
The funky Parla oozes speakeasy glamour. The chef takes traditional Italian dishes and elevates them with unique ingredients. The build-your-own cocktail menu lets you customize your drink with your favorite flavors.
The Stanza Dei Sigari was once an underground speakeasy. It’s now a buzzing cigar parlor that mixes premium spirits and cocktails. They even have their own brand of cigar!
The lively Ward 8 is a casual dining spot with rustic décor. Enjoy a varied American menu, craft cocktails, and local beers in a relaxed, pub-style setting.
Where to stay
As it’s close to the center of town, the North End is one of the best places to stay in Boston, with everything from vacation rentals to luxury hotels on the harbor. Here are a few of the neighborhood’s top accommodation choices for travelers…
A relaxing hotel in the center of the action, Courtyard Boston Downtown/North Station has 14 stories of bedrooms, meeting areas, and social spaces. Wake up to stunning views of Boston and a Scandi-style bedroom. It’s close to major transport links, making your journey in and out of the city a seamless experience.
Stay above one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Boston. At Bricco Suites, you get the convenience and privacy of your own apartment with the amenities of a 5-star hotel. The concierge service offers dinner reservations, guided tours, and beauty services. The modern luxury suites are complete with a flat-screen TV and your very own fireplace.
Stay at Canopy By Hilton Boston Downtown to have the sights of Downtown and the North End on your doorstep. Free bikes make this hotel a great option for exploring the city. Large rooms with an Art Deco twist provide excellent views of the surrounding architecture. Enjoy classic dishes and signature cocktails from their stylish on-site brasserie.
For a luxurious experience, stay at the Boston Yacht Haven. Step onto your private balcony and watch the yachts come and go from the marina. Elegant nautical decor and spacious rooms make this boutique inn a fabulous way to spend your time in North End Boston.
Battery Wharf Hotel, Boston Waterfront, is a modern hotel right on the Boston Harbor. Enjoy picturesque views while you feast on seafood from the friendly restaurant. Feeling stiff after all that exploring? Indulge in an afternoon at the spa. Treatments include facials, massages, and acu-healing.