Boston/North End

This section of Boston is rich with Italian culture, that's why the North End is known as “Little Italy.” While walking around this neighborhood, you can hear people talking in Italian. The scents of garlic, fresh basil, and sweet smells of bakery pastries permeate the air. You can almost taste it. This small five block area just so happens to be the oldest in the city of Boston and home to 87 Italian restaurants and bakeries. It has winding narrow streets and towering brick buildings. The two key streets in this historic neighborhood are Hanover and Salem, which are parallel to each other. The roads are lined with countless Italian restaurants, and cafés, pastry, and imported goods shops. Italians have dominated this area for many years, but it hasn’t always been this way. The first group to reside in the North End were English Puritans in the 1600s. Over time, Irish, Russian, and Polish came to the Boston area until the 1800s when a new massive wave of immigrants arrived, the Italians. Many immigrants living in the North End did not want the peddler and dockyard jobs that were available. This forced them to move elsewhere, but the North End remained dominated by Italians, and still is today. Part of the reason why “Little Italy” remains so rich in culture is because the customs and cultures of Italian-Americans have changed very little. The neighborhood has an inviting feel, welcoming all people to visit.

Get in

By subway

The subway is a great way to get in and out of Boston if you do not want to bring your car. Boston’s subway has different colored lines that make many stops in and outside the city. Tickets can be purchased at a kiosk from all of the subway stations. If you choose to take the subway to Boston, get off at the Haymarket Square Station stop on the Orange and Green lines. Other nearby stops include North Station (Orange and Green lines), Government Center (Green and Blue lines), and Aquarium (Blue line). One fare costs under $2. For more MBTA information see their Web site

By train

North Station is served by commuter trains from north of the city, and the Downeaster Amtrak service running between Boston and Portland, ME.

By car

Finding parking on the street can be a hassle because spots are limited. Luckily, there are several parking garages available near the North End. Many restaurants in this area also provide valet parking for customers. Taking a cab is a great way to get around Boston. Taxi cabs are everywhere. If you need a cab, here are a few you can call: Chill Out First Class Cab: (617) 212-3763. Planet Tran: (888) 756-8876. Top Cab: (781) 286-5490. North End Taxi Cab: (617) 720-1111.

By foot

The best way to get to the North End is to follow the Freedom Trail from downtown Boston.



There rarely is a dull moment with a different Italian Festival every weekend throughout the summer. In August, there is a festival every weekend. The themes of many festivals are based on Catholic saints.


One of Boston’s largest events of the summer, Saint Anthony’s Feast offers colorful parades, strolling singers, the Filippo Berio Culinary Pavilion, Italian folk dancing, the Pizzeria Regina Open Air Piazza, continuous live entertainment and religious and cultural services throughout the weekend.

Nearly one hundred pushcarts line the decorated streets, awaiting visitors to sample an array of traditional Italian foods including sausage with peppers & onions, calamari, quahogs, pasta, cannoli, zeppole, handmade torrone and gelato. Visitors can also browse the selection of Italian gifts and novelties and pick up a souvenir. Children of all ages can try their luck at games of skill, or enjoy pony rides and small amusements.

The highlight of the weekend is the 10 hour Grand Procession of Saint Anthony beginning at Noon on Sunday. The statue of Saint Anthony is borne on the shoulders of the members and devotees through the winding streets of the North End along with marching bands, drum & bugle corps, color guards, floats and hundreds of followers. The procession culminates with the return of the Statue of Saint Anthony to Endicott Street as confetti, streamers and balloons cascade from the rooftops.

All entertainment is free and open to the public. Visitors will have to pay at vendor stands and piazza.


This is a neighborhood where residents walk to local fruit stores, butcher shops and corner markets for their groceries.


There is a plethora of Italian restaurants in the North End: the following is only a partial list. If you don't know exactly where to eat but know you want good Italian food, all you need to do is walk down either Hanover or Salem Streets, and you'll have no shortage of choices.

Cannolis are an essential North End experience. There are two schools of thought when it comes to Cannoli in Boston. There are people who swear by Mike's Pastry and people who prefer Modern Pastry. These are both fine options and you can really just go to whichever has the shorter line (usually Modern since its less famous). Realistically, places with bad cannoli don't last long in the North End so you can get a good one pretty much anywhere.



Stay safe

The North End is considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Boston.

Go next

Routes through North End

END Cambridge  N  S  Downtown Fenway-Kenmore
Malden Charlestown  N  S  Downtown Jamaica Plain

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, January 18, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.