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Hannah from Milwaukee asked

What are the most popular neighborhoods in Boston?

First trip to Boston and I'm unfamiliar with all the different areas and where to stay! What is each neighborhood known for? I'd like to stay in a central area that will give me a good feel for Boston. I also need a hotel if you have any favorites in each area. Thanks!

Boston (Massachusetts)

5 Answers
top answer by
Katherine from Boston

North End- Italian neighborhood, known for its pasta and seafood restaurants and pastries (i.e. Mike's Pastry and Modern Pastry). It's also a historic area and home to both the Old North Church and the Paul Revere House.

Financial District - This is what you'd expect. A lot of office buildings although it borders Faneuil Hall, a popular shopping area for visitors.

Downtown Crossing - This area also has a lot of office buildings, but it includes the Old South Meeting House and the Old State House. It's also close to the Boston Common and Public Garden

Beacon Hill - This area is very residential and historic. The neighborhood is fun to explore but all the shops and such are on one street (i.e. Charles St). 

Back Bay - Fashion district. Walk up and down Newbury St and check out all the shops. The Charles River also runs along Back Bay. There are very nice walking/running paths along the river.

South End - Trendy and more residential. This neighborhood probably has the best restaurants.

Fenway/Kenmore - Not too much here other than Fenway Park and the Berklee College of Music. It also borders the The First Church of Christ, Scientist

Charlestown (Massachusetts) - This neighborhood is somewhat separated from the rest of the city. It's also very residential, but home to the USS Constitution Museum and the Bunker Hill Monument.

Harvard Square - Home of Harvard University. It's more than just the university buildings. There are tons of restaurants and shops around.

Above are the neighborhoods that are top of mind for me. Others that you may read about are: West End, Kendall Square, Chinatown/Leather District, South Boston (Massachusetts), and East Boston.

As for hotels, it depends on your price range. My first choice would be Downtown Crossing because it's centrally located. I assume that area is pricey though. Another possibly, cheaper alternative is to stay in Kendall square. It's on the Cambridge side, but it's on the red line which can quickly take you right into the city (or out to Harvard square). 

Comments (1)

This is such a great answer! I've helped you highlight the places in your answer on a map. In the future, you can do this yourself as you answer a question by simply typing the @-symbol followed by the name of the place. Take a look at your map next to your answer :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. North End (neighborhood)
  2. Mike's Pastry (restaurant)
  3. Modern Pastry (restaurant)
  4. Old North Church (attraction)
  5. Paul Revere House (attraction)
  6. Financial District (neighborhood)
  7. Faneuil Hall (attraction)
  8. Downtown Crossing (attraction)
  9. Old South Meeting House (attraction)
  10. Old State House (attraction)
  11. Boston Common (attraction)
  12. Public Garden (attraction)
  13. Beacon Hill (attraction)
  14. Charles St (attraction)
  15. Back Bay (neighborhood)
  16. Newbury St (attraction)
  17. South End (neighborhood)
  18. Fenway/Kenmore (attraction)
  19. Fenway Park (attraction)
  20. Berklee College of Music (attraction)
  21. The First Church of Christ, Scientist (attraction)
  22. Charlestown (Massachusetts) (neighborhood)
  23. USS Constitution Museum (attraction)
  24. Bunker Hill Monument (attraction)
  25. Harvard Square (attraction)
  26. Harvard University (attraction)
  27. West End (attraction)
  28. Kendall Square (attraction)
  29. Chinatown (attraction)
  30. South Boston (Massachusetts) (neighborhood)
  31. East Boston (attraction)
comments (1)
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answered by
Gerry from Boston

The New Place is Seaport District. Over 50 new restaurants, bars, and you get to walk along the water!!! Up and Coming Neighborhood.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Seaport District (metro area)
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answered by

For something a little different, try Somerville which has the dreaded "up and coming" label.  But it's my favorite part of the greater Boston area.  It has numerous fun neighborhoods (Davis Square, Union Square, Inman Square [technically in Cambridge]) that are within walking distance to a 10-20 minute subway ride into the center of Boston and all the historic attractions.

More importantly, it has a multitude of fun restaurants, bars and cafes.  Many restaurants are better and less stuffy than those found downtown as they have been opened by young chefs moving out of downtown in search of cheaper rent.  Some examples include Redbones Barbecue in Davis for good beer and BBQ, Inman Square has an interesting mix of urban hipsters and old-time Portuguese and Brazilian immigrants with some good non-fussy Portuguese and Brazilian restaurants (Restaurant Casa Portugal, Muqueca Restaurant) as well as a great little music pub called Atwood's Tavern (with outdoor seating, a rarity in Boston), Union Sq has a little of everything (great hipsterish Irish pub called the The Independent, Bloc 11 Cafe for good coffee, and my favorite restaurant in the Boston area, Journeyman, if you are up for a splurge).  Hotels are scarce in the region but there are a multitude of AirBnB options which are probably better value anyway.  

Comments (1)

Great answer Justin! I feel like we have similar taste for sure...I wanted to let you know that I've helped you geo-tag the places that you mentioned in your answer so that they appear on a map next to it. You can also do this yourself in future answers by simply typing the @-symbol and then the name of the place as you're typing your answer. Check it out!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Somerville (city)
  2. Davis Square (attraction)
  3. Union Square (attraction)
  4. Inman Square (attraction)
  5. Redbones Barbecue (restaurant)
  6. Inman Square (attraction)
  7. Restaurant Casa Portugal (restaurant)
  8. Muqueca Restaurant (restaurant)
  9. Atwood's Tavern (restaurant)
  10. The Independent (restaurant)
  11. Bloc 11 Cafe (restaurant)
  12. Journeyman (restaurant)
comments (1)
likes (3) thanks
answered by
Paul from Boston

First off, I won't be able to help you out with hotels since I never actually have to stay in one!

What is nice about Boston though is that it is a tiny city!  You could easily stay somewhere nice not in the "main" part of the city but still be a 30 minute walk from the downtown area.

I personally think that the best areas to stay would be on the other side of the river either in Cambridge (Massachusetts) or Charlestown (Massachusetts).  The neighborhoods of Kendall Square, Central Square and Harvard Square in Cambridge offer a large variety of restaurants, bars and shops.  There is also a very community starting to move back to these neighborhoods so there is always a lot of energy there.  Charlestown (Massachusetts) is a bridge walk away from the famous North End of Boston.  Charlestown also houses the old Charlestown Navy Yard which is a beautiful area to walk around on a warm afternoon or night.

You wouldn't be wrong going out to Brookline or its surrounding areas.  You are still a close walk to the city or you could use the public transportation to get downtown.  This area is also very close to Fenway Park and the Kenmore Square area of Boston.

If you truly want to stay in the central part of Boston, you should look at the Back Bay or South End neighborhoods.  These are pricier, but you will be very close to a lot of good restaurants and nightlife.  

Hope that helps answer some of your questions!

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cambridge (Massachusetts) (city)
  2. Charlestown (Massachusetts) (neighborhood)
  3. Kendall Square (attraction)
  4. Central Square (attraction)
  5. Harvard Square (attraction)
  6. Charlestown (Massachusetts) (neighborhood)
  7. Charlestown Navy Yard (attraction)
  8. Brookline (city)
  9. Fenway Park (attraction)
  10. Kenmore Square (attraction)
  11. Back Bay (neighborhood)
  12. South End (neighborhood)
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answered first by
Nars from Boston

Here are my favorite Boston neighborhoods, centrally located:

Back BayBeacon HillSouth End

Cambridge (Massachusetts) and Brookline, both about 2 miles from Boston, are good alternatives. Boston public transportation will awesome.

There are a lot of good hotel options in all these areas. 


Eliot HotelRenaissance Boston Waterfront HotelThe Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel, BostonHotel Commonwealth or The Lenox Hotel


The Charles Hotel


Courtyard Boston Brookline

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