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Preplanned City Guides and Travel Itineraries

North End Neighborhood

On this page you find practical information, photos and videos about North End Neighborhood.

North End Neighborhood features in these preplanned City Guides:

1-day Boston City Guide3-day Boston City Guide5-day Boston City Guide

Why visit / Interesting facts:

  • Boston's Little Italy
  • The oldest residential community of the city
  • Great spot to stop for delicious Italian food

Time required: 45 minutes

Web site:

Public transport:

  • Subway Orange Line: Haymarket
  • Subway Green Line: Haymarket

Address: North End, Boston, MA (centered on Hanover Street)

Things you need to know:

  • The North End is a neighborhood in Boston, and is the city's oldest residential community, lived in continuously since it was settled in the 1630s
  • The North End is commonly known as the city's Little Italy for its Italian-American population. Before it earned this reputation, though, the neighborhood also historically housed many Irish-Americans in the early 1800s, and then Jewish Bostonians, before many Italian-Americans moved in during the early 20th century
  • Though the neighborhood is small (1/3 square miles), it has approximately 100 eating establishments (particularly Italian restaurants), and a number of tourist attractions, including three along the Freedom Trail
  • The construction of the elevated Central Artery (Interstate 93) in the 1950s divided the North End from the rest of Boston. Now that the famous Big Dig is finished, the old highway is underground, and a park stands in its place, connecting the North End to the city once again. This change coincided with a process of gentrification of the district
  • Was the site of the Boston Molasses Disaster on January 15, 1919, when a large molasses storage tank in the area burst, letting out a flood of molasses that traveled up to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h), killing 21 people and injuring 150
  • Even though the North End is the city's oldest residential neighborhood, the buildings that still stand are mostly from the late 19th and early 20th centuries
  • The Freedom Trail passes through the North End, stopping at three sites here

What to do there:

  • Fill up on cannoli at Mike's Pastry or Modern Pastry on Hanover Street
  • Make sure your stomach's empty for a big lunch or dinner at one of the many Italian eateries on Hanover Street and Salem Street, and in many spots in between. Start your meal with some fresh calamari. Try to find a place with outdoor seating in the summer
  • Check out the three sites on the Freedom Trail - Paul Revere House, Old North Church, and Copp's Hill Burying Ground
  • Get lost in the neighborhood's narrow alleys, well beyond the main drag of Hanover Street

Tips & Insights:

  • The North End, and Hanover Street in particular, can get very crowded on the weekends, especially during the warm months. Try visiting the area early in the day, and don't even think of trying to have dinner there on a Saturday night (very few restaurants take reservations, though it's worth asking). Try lunch instead, or grab a mid-afternoon cannoli (or three)
  • Take a break in Caffe Vittoria (290-296 Hanover Street), Boston's first Italian cafĂ©. People-watching and espresso are top-notch
  • This is a great spot to stop for food and/or rest along the Freedom Trail. Just plan for it

North End Neighborhood features in these preplanned City Guides: