What makes Boston such a nice place to visit? For many people, it's the diverse and always interesting neighborhoods. Boston is made up of dozens of neighborhoods, each one with their own character.
So what are the absolute must-visit neighborhoods of Boston? Here are some of my favorites.
The North End is one of Boston's oldest neighborhoods and has been home to many different ethnic cultures -- most recently, people of Italian descent. Today, although only one in three residents claims Italian heritage, the neighborhood is still chock full of Italian restaurants, cafes, and specialty food shops.
You'll also get a dose of history in the neighborhood: Paul Revere once lived here, and you can visit both his house and the Old North Church, in which two lanterns were hung to signal that the British were coming by sea.
Top Experience: No part of town celebrates summer better than the North End, with dozens of feasts and festivals. The best one of all is St. Anthony's Feast in August,when the streets erupt in music, dancing, and even a saint covered in dollar bills.
Looking for the old Boston of centuries past? Beacon Hill is where to go. Anchored by the State House and its golden dome, Beacon Hill has long been home to Massachusetts' top politicians,not to mention some of its wealthiest residents.
Charles Street, leading straight to Boston Common, is where you will find tiny, postcard-perfect stores, as well as a plethora of bakeries and vintage shops. Squint a bit and you would swear it was the Boston of 50 years ago -- or even 100 years ago!
Top Experience: Visit the Bull & Finch, the bar that inspired Cheers. It may not look anything like the bar on TV, but the sentiment is the same -- everyone there will know your name by the end of the night!
Cross the river to Cambridge for a whole new set of neighborhoods. Cambridge is most famous for being Boston's intellectual epicenter -- so get to the heart of it in Harvard Square.
Be sure to check out the Harvard Coop, the Boston area's best bookstore. There is always something interesting going on in Harvard Square, whether it's a student-led protest or a band playing a style of music you've never heard before.
Top Experience: After exploring Harvard Yard,stop at Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage for a burger named after a politician or celebrity. Their sweet potato fries are great,too.
The true center of Boston, the Back Bay is home to such iconic sights such as Copley Square and the John Hancock Tower. The Back Bay is also home to more shops than you can count. On one end, you'll find the Public Garden; on the other, Massachusetts Avenue and a slew of ethnic eateries.
Newbury Street is the most charming place you'll find in the Back Bay, filled with cute cafes and boutiques on the Mass Ave end and designer stores on the Public Garden end. The people-watching possibilities here are endless.
Top Experience: Take a long walk down Marlborough Street. While it's overlooked in favor of busier Newbury and Boylston Streets, this street has nothing but gorgeous brownstones and the occasional church.
The South End doesn't get as many visitors as nearby Back Bay,and that's a great thing -- here you'll get to enjoy life as Bostonians do. You'll also find quirky boutiques and lush parks set against some of the most beautiful brownstone homes in the city.
The South End also features the city's best haute dining experiences in town, along with lots of delicious food shops. From homemade Oreos at Flour Bakery and Cafe to delicious tapas at Toro and Guinness milkshakes at Picco, this is one neighborhood where you'll never go hungry.
Top Experience: Stop by the South End for brunch on a Sunday and then visit the SOWA Open Market to sample the best works of Boston's creative entrepreneurs.
Where is your favorite neighborhood in Boston?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Kate McCulley, better known as Adventurous Kate, has been a full-time travel blogger for more than 2.5 years. She specializes in independent and solo travel for women, and is particularly interested in budget adventure travel. Kate is originally from the Boston area and has most recently lived in London. She has been to more than 30 countries on 5 continents. Kate is currently traveling with her partner Mario and taking photos for SomeoneOnceToldMe.com. Their goal is to get 1000 photos and stories from people around the world. Visit Kate's site at AdventurousKate.com and follow her on Twitter at @adventurouskate. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google Plus.
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