The West End of Boston does not get as much notoriety as some of the other popular districts, but there is many wonderful things to see and do. The community lies along the bank of the Charles River, tucked behind Beacon Hill and has evolved over the decades to accommodate a growing population. Most locals who live in the area stick to the high rises created in the 1950s and 60s to accommodate for booming populations and re-configuration of Boston proper. Alongside the residencies, people can enjoy some fun places to dine, drink and even sightsee along the river.
West End History
When residential construction was booming in the early 1800s, the West End was often overlooked for more affluent areas, such as the waterfront and the North. But builders began to see its potential soon after when other trendy areas were overcrowded. Some wealthy residents, including lawyer Harrison Gray Otis, put down roots during this time. Many mansion were built by famous architect Charles Bullfinch. However, locals did move into Beacon Hill and the West End was then mostly Irish immigrants and the African American community.
During an urban renewal project in the 1950s, much of the land was cleared to make way for residential high rises. Today there is a good mix of commercial and residential enterprises, including the Massachusetts General Hospital.
West End Highlights
Sports fans often flock to the West End to catch exciting games at TD Garden. Formally known as the Fleet Center and the Boston Garden, this massive venue is home to the Boston Bruins hockey team and the Boston Celtic basketball team. By the Garden are a few iconic sports bars as well, including The Four’s and Sullivan’s.
To learn more about the development of this neighborhood over the years, there is an informative attraction called the West End Museum, full of artifacts and photos through history. For more educational fun, the Science Museum is a family favorite and a Boston classic attraction. Everyone can have a blast at the exhibits about lightning, dinosaurs, engineering and more.
For both evening cocktails and an unusual option for accommodation, many people enjoy frequenting the stylish Liberty Hotel. What was once known as the Charles Street Jail, it was converted into chic hotel rooms and several cocktail lounges/restaurant, leaving elements like cellblock bars on the windows.
West End Annual Events
Many of the local businesses and attractions will host annual events in the neighborhood for residents and visitors. The Liberty Hotel hosts various parties and gatherings for holidays, including a popular Halloween event every year in October. TD Garden holds the Beanpot tournament in February that has Boston schools battle it out on the hockey rink, including Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University and Northeastern University.
The West End Museum also hosts the annual West End Children’s Festival. It is one of the city’s only completely free event, full of games, activities, food and workshops to help fundraise with donation to the local community center.