Boston Walk: North End Things To Do
There are many things to do in Boston’s North End. Known for its colonial era sites and Italian flavors, this vibrant neighborhood is best seen by foot.
The North End is the city’s oldest residential neighborhood. Its narrow streets date back to the 1600s when cow paths ran between pastures and Puritan homes. Boston’s Freedom Trail runs through the small, historic district.
Colorful Italian restaurants and markets give the area a distinctive personality. Between 1860 and 1930, waves of Italian immigrants settled here bringing language, food, and musical influences that remain today. Plan for a half-day visit and come on an empty stomach! Follow our self-guided walk to hit all of Boston North End best things to do.
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Walking: The North End is a short walk from Faneuil Hall. From this area, follow the Freedom Trail path past the Holocaust Memorial and Union Oyster House. You have reached the North End after you pass over the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
By Car: Private garages in the North End start around $25.00 for 2 hours. The MBTA Parcel 7 (Haymarket) Garage offers validated parking at a rate of $3.00 for 3 hours for participating businesses, churches, and attractions (not available for longer than 3 hours).
MBTA (Subway): The closest “T” stops to the North End are the blue line Aquarium T Station or the Green/Orange line Haymarket Station.
Self-Guided Walk (2 Miles)
The ‘Things To Do’ list below is organized as a walking route. However, the .36 sq. mile neighborhood is small, and part of the fun of wandering the winding streets is finding your own hidden gems. The total distance of the walk (including the return trip to Faneuil Hall is about 2 miles.
Boston North End Best Things To Do
Rose Kennedy Greenway Canal Fountains
Beginning at Faneuil Hall, follow the brick-lined Freedom Trail past the Holocaust Memorial and the Union Oyster House until you reach the Rose Kennedy Greenway. As you cross the Greenway, you will enter into the North End. The park is part of an extended green space that cuts through the city where an elevated highway used to run. The North End portion of the park features pretty open spaces and trellis-covered seating areas. Fountains that shoot gentle sprays of water are a favorite of families in the warm weather.
Restaurants, Bakeries, & Markets
Continue to follow the Freedom Trail down Hanover Street, and enter the heart of the North End. Along Hanover, you will find many well-loved restaurants, bakeries, and markets. Plan to spend some time in this area. Veer off of the main drag to explore the alleys and cobblestone streets where families have worked, played, and lived for generations. Soak in the wonderful sounds, smells, and flavors.
Bakeries in the area bake fresh breads, cannoli, pastries and sandwiches every morning.
Restaurants serving fresh pasta set up tables on the street. You can rub elbow with the neighborhood Nonna's (Grandma's) at authentic Italian markets.
St. Leonard’s Peace Garden
When you are ready, head back to Hanover Street and pick up the Freedom Trail. Walk until you reach the St. Leonard Peace Garden. St. Leonard’s was the first Roman Catholic Church established in New England. The church is run by Franciscan friars and is home to the St. Anthony’s shrine. Behind an iron fence, the Peace Garden is full of lovely statues. If you have time to view the church, admire its ornate frescos, stained glass, and stations of the cross.
Paul Revere House
Take the Freedom Trail to the Paul Revere House. The Tudor-style house, built in 1680, is the oldest residential structure in Boston. Paul Revere and his family (16 children), lived in the home between 1770 and 1800. Paul was a black- and goldsmith by trade. He was also politically involved with the Sons of Liberty and the American War for Independence. The house offers tours and education regarding the man, his famous midnight-ride, and the revolution. Click here for more information about Paul Revere House tours.
Prado and Paul Revere Statue
Continuing on the Freedom Trail, move on to the Prado and statue of Paul Revere. The Prado Mall is a tree-lined gathering space that sits between Hanover’s Bullfinch Church and the Old North Church. Stepping onto the mall’s flagstone steps, visitors will see a statue of Paul Revere on his midnight ride. There is also a fountain and a series of plaques and memorials along the brick walls of this lovely space. The Prado is a favorite spot for street musicians and hosts frequent festivals and events.
Old North Church
Follow the Trail to the end of the mall to find Boston’s oldest church building. The Episcopal Christ Church (the Old North Church) was built in 1723. On the night of Paul Revere’s famous ride, a light was placed in the church steeple to alert Revere that the British were coming. Revere then rode to spread the word, enabling residents to prepare for the initial British attack at the start of the Revolutionary War. Click here for more information about touring the Old North Church.
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
From the Old North Church, walk along the Freedom Trail to the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. Established in 1659, Copp’s Hill is the second oldest cemetery in Boston. It was the final resting place of many of the Boston’s less affluent residents including many artisans, shop keepers, and craftsmen. During the War for Independence British soldiers used the gravestones here for target practice (some of the stones still have bullet holes in them).Two Puritan ministers, Cotton and Increase Mather, tied to the Salem witch trials, are buried here.
North End Harbor Walk
Leave the Freedom Tail and walk two blocks to the waterfront (you can see it from the top of the hill). Take Commercial Street past the US Coast Guard Base to Battery Wharf. Find the Harbor Walk and follow it around the buildings and businesses on the Battery and Union Wharfs. These beautiful walkways will take you past amazing views of Boston Harbor and its marinas.
From the Harbor Walk, return to Commercial Street. Follow it to the end. You will be at another section of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Cross the park to Clinton Street and see Faneuil Hall ahead of you. Hope you had a great stroll, Laura and Randy
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