Green residential parks, beautiful brick row houses and the feel of life slowing down in the center of the city makes the South End a beautiful oasis for Bostonians. It has quickly become one of the most prestigious places to live after a seesaw history. The resurgence of artistic endeavors, boutique vending and fine dining has locals and visitors alike flocking to the district for work and play. Its ideal location between downtown, the Back Bay and other major Boston neighborhoods works well for commuters and those curious travelers looking to explore more settled neighborhoods. The successful beautification of the South End in recent years is reason for it being a top contender for some of the most beautiful greenery and outdoor space around.
The original South End neighborhood did not exist prior to the 1800s, as the land was man-made and filled in over the years. After a few parks were planned, the iconic rowhouses were built in the last quarter of the 19th century, sporting Victorian design elements and charm. An influx of electric resident groups began to frequent the neighborhood, including single gay men in the 1940s, middle-class African Americans and Pullman Porters.
Fast forward to the 1980s.This area was not the hub of activity it is today, but rather a place to avoid due to crime. However, now the neighborhood has been embraced by young families, artists and young professionals with the influx of trendy restaurants, beautification of the streets and boutique stores.
Staying in the South End can be a unique way to embrace Boston’s distinct culture while visiting. Most of the accommodations are small, cozy boutiques, such as The Gilded Lily and the Chandler Inn Hotel. Some of the B&Bs and homestays are inside the famous row houses for a truly authentic experience.
As a tip of the hat to the South End’s past as a vibrant artist community, many galleries still keep their doors open today. There’s nearly a dozen that feature beautiful local and international works of sculpture, photography, oil painting and more. There are also two theater venues in the district that out on regular performance in intimate settings.
This neighborhood is full of wonderful places to eat, but a few stand tall among the rest. For artisan sandwiches and freshly made baked goods, tourists can grab a seat at Flour Bakery. It’s often revered as one of the best in the city, specializing in sticky buns, chocolate macarons and homemade oreos. Seafood is found at B&G Oysters, caught fresh from the local ocean water around Boston. There are also tons of places for cocktails after dinner, including classics like The Bee Hive and new trendy spots like Wink and Nod.
Every spring, the area South of Washington Street, or SoWa, welcomes the general public to the SoWa Art Walk. Dozens of private and public galleries show off their masterpieces and also allow people to take a peek at workshops first hand. One night only in March, restaurants throughout the South End take part in a special benefit to fundraise for the AIDS Action Committee. The Gay Pride Parade also begins on Tremont Street in the South End and takes place every June.