North End picture
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Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.3

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 5.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Chances are you’ll end up in the North End at least once during your visit to Boston. It's steeped in the city's rich history as it holds the title of Boston's oldest neighborhood and houses three attractions on the Freedom Trail. What makes this neighborhood a top point of interest, however, is its Italian culture: The North End is considered Boston’s Little Italy. 

While Italians weren’t the first to settle in this area (English settlers arrived first then Jewish Germans and Irish), their cultural influence on the North End withstood the test of time. Today, you’ll find all kinds of Italian food from classic pizza pies served at the popular Regina Pizzeria to Sicilian-style seafood, such as black linguine (made with squid ink) and calamari meatballs at The Daily Catch. For dinner, try Mamma Maria for fine dining, Giacomo's for its affordable, made-in-house pasta or Bricco, which sources its meats and bread from its own meat and bread shop, located right next door. If you’re only interested in pizza, hit up Galleria Umberto for delectable solo slices or Antico Forno for its full-size, wood-fired pies. Prezza is known for its extensive wine list, boasting more than 600 wine labels to choose from. If you’re looking to veer away from traditional Italian fare, venture to Taranta, which plates up Peruvian-Italian fusion dishes. For dessert, make sure to pick up a cannoli at Mike’s Pastry or Modern Pastry, or tiramisu at the 24-hour Bova’s Bakery.

The neighborhood is also known for throwing a pretty memorable party. Every summer, the North End hosts Italian feasts and traditional processions to honor a handful of saints. The biggest feast and most popular summertime event is Saint Anthony’s Feast, which is held in late August. Dubbed the largest Italian Religious Festival in New England, the event features live entertainment, parades and more than 100 pushcarts full of delicious Italian food.

Recent travelers highly recommend not only eating in the North End (multiple times) but also taking the time to wander around the beautiful neighborhood. Narrow, compact streets, centuries-old architecture and cobblestone-lined squares comprise the North End, making it a lovely place to get lost in. If you plan to dine here, travelers recommend both arriving early for dinner (places are known to garner lines, including Giacomo's) and bringing cash, as some places don’t take cards, including Galleria Umberto and Mike’s Pastry. For more information, visit the North End's website.

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Faneuil Hall Marketplace1 of 26
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#1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Four buildings – Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market – constitute Faneuil Hall Marketplace, with the oldest being Faneuil Hall. Built in 1742 and now located on the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall has had a long and important history in Massachusetts politics. Samuel Adams once stood here to push for resistance against the British, and abolitionists and suffragists have stood on their soapboxes here. In fact, this is where Jonathan Mayhew famously challenged the Sugar Act of 1764 by proclaiming, "no taxation without representation." Since Mayhew's declaration, the marketplace has expanded to include more than 100 shops and restaurants. 

Some former visitors caution that the items sold at Faneuil Hall Marketplace are a bit overpriced. However, if you're looking to kill some time or snap some great photos, consider strolling through the market's halls. You'll also find various cuisines served in Quincy Market if you're in need of a quick bite. Keep in mind that this market gets crowded quickly (especially on weekends and in the summer), so it's best to visit during a weekday if you don't want to encounter hordes of people. 

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