Devoid of skyscrapers and the Freedom Trail, many travelers will overlook the scenic and thriving neighborhood of South Boston, or “Southie”. But they would be missing a eclectic collection of dive bars, trendy restaurants, historic landmarks and pretty beaches, perfect for any time of year.
Commonly known as a traditionally Irish working class section of the city, South Boston has undergone major transformation in recent decades. While still occupied by many generation of immigrants that claim Irish decent, there is also Polish and Lithuanian communities are thriving in this neighborhood, while the area surrounding L Street up to East Broadway have recently been filled with young professionals. Southie is home to some of the oldest subsidized housing in the United States on the west side and the east side has some of the highest property values in Boston.
In regards to Boston being a historic city, several noted events occurred on South Boston soil during battles. For instance, during the American Revolutionary Way, George Washington evacuated British troops from Dorchester Heights which surrounds present day Telegraph Hill.
South Boston is welcoming modern and innovative places to dine on the regular. Many Bostonians are trickling into this now posh neighborhood, upping the demand for fun places to go out and eat. Along East Broadway, several bars such as the Lincoln, Beer Garden and Playwright are geared toward a twentysomething crowd in the evenings. During the day, these spots offer relaxing brunches and open air seating areas when the weather is pleasurable.
Like in the rest of the city, there are plenty of sports fans in Southie too. The bar scene for watching Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins games is lively. Popular choices include Stadium and Stats. Some of the pro players will even be spotted at some of these establishments in their off seasons.
Contenders for the spotlight moving into residential Southie lately have been the super trendy Local 149 for cocktails or brunch, as well as the Loco Taqueria and Oyster Bar.
Boasting true fans and a lively spirit, the dive bars of Southie are a hidden gem in the nightlife scene of the city as well. Many flock to the famous L Street as well for games, which is where famous scenes from Good Will Hunting were filmed.
Continue along the William J Day Boulevard to reach the ‘end’ of Southie and Castle Island. It is a looped walk through the bay that ends at a park, restaurant and a fortification built in the mid-1600s that is now empty.
Castle Island is not the only spot to enjoy the water. Much of the west side of Southie is scenic harbor front beaches along Dorchester Bay. Most locals hang out to bike or run at Carson Beach, while M Beach is for catching a few rays and pulling up a beach chair.
The busiest time to visit Southie is around St. Patrick’s Day. The annual parade and weekend-long celebrations are known across Boston to be the biggest and most colorful, traditionally celebrating the neighborhood’s rich Irish heritage. The party has been happening since 1901 when Boston first declared Evacuation Day and St. Patrick’s Day a holiday throughout the city.