Boston North End, Old North Church and Italian Community, Boston

North End

Located on the northeastern corner of the city, and surrounded on two sides by the Boston Harbor, the North End offers the charm and quaintness of yesteryear. This historic neighborhood was first settled in the 1630s and served as the “first stop” for many immigrants making their way to America. Italians, in particular, clustered in the North End, earning the neighborhood Boston’s “Little Italy” designation.

For many years, the North End felt isolated from other neighborhoods, as a giant overpass separated it from downtown Boston. As the rest of the city developed, the North End preserved its narrow cobblestone streets and historic brick row apartments. But when the infamous “Big Dig” moved the elevated overpass underground, this created a new opportunity to reconnect the North End to the Financial District. In no time, the North End became one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods. Today, the North End remains densely populated by Italian Americans and their descendants, though young professionals are increasingly lured by the family-run eateries, bakeries and boutique shops along Hanover and Salem Streets. Nearby, hotels, restaurants and bars have opened along the newly-accessible waterfront, taking advantage of the views across the harbor.

Tourists, too, flock to the North End—in part for homemade meatballs and freshly-filled cannolis, but also to explore the neighborhood’s many historical assets. Paul Revere’s house, the Old North Church and Copp’s Burying Ground are just a few of the Revolutionary War-era sites worth exploring. Green spaces and recreational facilities have been strategically woven through the neighborhood, including Steriti Ice Rink, Mirabella Pool and a number of bocce ball courts. On any given day, the North End finds itself home to a celebration or festival, with the Italian neighborhood hosting the Madonna Della Cava Feast, St. Anthony’s Feast and the Fisherman’s Feast, among others.

The North End today is highly representative of the Italian culture that’s rooted here, which above all else values food, family and having fun. The North End is a fantastic location for anyone who shares those values, or for those who would enjoy lounging in cafes, people watching and soaking in some culture.