A Beginner’s Guide to the Districts of Boston

Boston is one of America’s oldest cities, with a rich and fascinating history dating back to the early 1600s. The site of the Boston Tea Party, you’ll find all sorts of historical gems amongst the brownstone buildings and cobbled streets. You’ll also find an extremely diverse population made up of immigrants from all over the world, adding to the lively spirit of this thriving city. Here I’ve assembled a list of the most popular districts in the city to help you choose where you’ll be staying and exploring during your stay.

Back Bay


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The Back Bay district of Boston is one of the few areas laid out on a grid, which makes for easy navigating. It’s home to some of the most classic townhouses in the city, as well as Newbury Street, which features high-end shopping and dining. Boston Public Garden and Prudential Center are also notable attractions in the area. For more bohemian shops and eateries, check out Boylston Street. Those looking for a luxury hotel in Boston should choose Back Bay district for their stay.



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The downtown section of Boston often overlaps with Back Bay and Beacon Hill and makes up the bulk of historical tourist sites in the city. Here, you’ll find Boston Common, one of the oldest public parks in the US, and Massachusetts State House. You can pop into the Park Street Church which was the scene of various historic moments, like the first singing of “America” (“My Country ‘Tis of Thee“). The bulk of the Freedom Trail also passes through the downtown district and continues to the North End. If you’re interested in shopping, you’ll find Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Many mid-range and budget Boston hotels are in the downtown area.

North End


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Known locally as Little Italy, the North End of Boston is the oldest part of the city and features many historic landmarks such as Paul Revere’s house. This neighborhood makes up a large part of the famous Freedom Trail, an exciting 2.5-mile trek through historic sites from the time of the American Revolution. For lunch, you can stop at any of café or restaurant for some of the best (and most authentic) Italian food in the city.

South End


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This area near downtown Boston fuses chic and trendy shops, Victorian brownstones, and bohemian cafés. Once a thriving area for alternative lifestyles, South End is on the rise as one of the most popular places to live in Boston. Catch a show at one of the local theaters or visit the art galleries scattered throughout this intriguing district.



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Located near wowntown, Chinatown is home to dozens of fantastic Asian eateries. The most notable landmarks here are the Chinatown Gate and Edward Wong Square. Take the Chinatown Walking Tour to support the local youth program and learn about one of the oldest residential Chinatowns in the country. If you find yourself in town during the 15 days of Chinese New Year, make your way to the area for fireworks, food vendors, and cultural performances.


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