The author, Claudicet Pena smiling for a photo at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Charlestown one of the best Boston neighborhoods

13 Best Neighborhoods in Boston for 2023 (By a Local)

Boston neighborhoods are vibrant—each with its own sense of community, distinct vibe, and local attractions. But these neighborhoods are often overlooked in favor of Boston’s historical and cultural attractions. 

As a Boston, Massachusetts local, I can tell you that you won’t want to miss out on all that these neighborhoods in Boston have to offer.

I created this handy guide to the best Boston neighborhoods so you can learn more about the best places to stay, play, and explore during your visit.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

13 Best Neighborhoods in Boston

Back Bay

One of Boston’s most popular neighborhoods known for its shops, restaurants, and bars. 

View of buildings at the Newbury Street in the Back Bay neighborhood
Newbury Street at sunset in the Back Bay neighborhood (photo: maytikka / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: The Newbury Boston

Back Bay is home to the famous Newbury Street, a shopping district that offers a mix of residential townhomes, high-end shopping, and dining. 

This area is home to some of Boston’s most important architectural and historic sites. You can see a few of Boston’s most famous buildings at Copley Square. Admire Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library. 

Not far from Copley Square are Boston’s most beloved parks: Boston Common and Public Garden. These green spaces offer so much for outdoor enthusiasts. These parks have paved paths for a leisurely walk, biking, and even swan boat rides on the lagoon in Public Garden.

Pros of Back Bay

  • Centrally located
  • Orange line on the MBTA and bus routes
  • Historic and cultural attractions
  • Best shopping and dining scene
  • Walkable

Cons of Back Bay

  • Crowded
  • Difficult street parking

Beacon Hill

A vibrant and picturesque historic area with brick row houses and gas-lit street lamps. 

View of the famous Acorn Street in Beacon Hill
Picturesque Acorn Street in Beacon Hill

📍 Google Maps | Beacon Hill Website | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: The Liberty, A Luxury Collection Hotel

Beacon Hill is Boston’s oldest neighborhood. It’s located in Boston proper and offers views of the Massachusetts State House, Boston skyline, and the Charles River. Beacon Hill residents are burrowed in rich history and character. 

Locals and visitors alike swarm through the famous Charles Street. It is an excellent location for those who appreciate good food and a vibrant social atmosphere. The street is brimming with cozy cafes, exquisite dining, and chic boutiques. 

Beacon Hill is located within walking distance to the Boston Common and the Charles River Esplanade. Residents and visitors have access to its outdoor recreational activities, historic monuments, and other cultural experiences, such as music and theater. 

Lastly, Beacon Hill is known for its unbeatable location with close proximity to Massachusetts General Hospital. It’s a convenient area for healthcare professionals to live. 

Pros of Beacon Hill

  • Green, Red, and Blue Subway Lines
  • Relatively safe
  • Shopping and dining
  • Historic and cultural attractions

Cons of Beacon Hill

  • Crowded on the weekends
  • Narrow streets
  • Difficult street parking
  • Lots of hills


The downtown area offers vibrant, big city fun on a smaller scale. 

View of people at Downtown Boston during morning
View of Downtown Crossing (photo: Albert Pego / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Downtown Boston Website | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: InterContinental Boston, an IHG Hotel

Downtown Boston is a vibrant neighborhood at the heart of the city. The Boston neighborhoods of Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, and South End surround it.  

There is so much to do in the Theater District and Downtown Crossing. There’s access to shopping, restaurants, bars, theater, and art galleries. Downtown Crossing especially comes to life around noon. Young professionals walk down Washington Street from the Financial District for lunch and shopping.

The Boston City Hall, Government Center, and other historic sites are not far from Downtown Crossing. Take a guided tour of the Freedom Trail. Visit the Paul Revere House as well as other important landmarks to the American Revolution.

Lastly, Mariel is a perfect destination for Boston nightlife inspired by Havana. This chic Cuban restaurant and lounge is located in the Post Office Square. 

Pros of Downtown Boston

  • Lively nightlife in Boston
  • Plenty of shopping
  • Lots of restaurants and bars
  • Walkable
  • Orange and Red Subway Lines

Cons of Downtown Boston

  • Traffic during rush hour
  • Difficult street parking
  • Parking garages are expensive
  • Can be noisy

Seaport District

An up-and-coming neighborhood on the Boston harbor with plenty to see, do, eat, and drink. 

Scenic view at the Seaport District
Seaport District views

📍 Google Maps | Boston Seaport Website | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: The Envoy Hotel, Autograph Collection

The Seaport District is one of Boston’s newest residential neighborhoods. It’s located at the end of Boston Harbor. This includes the local historic district of Fort Point. This area in South Boston was once known for industrial buildings. Today, it has transformed into luxury apartments and upscale restaurants. 

The Seaport District is an area where young professionals live and play. Yet there are plenty of things to do for families with young kids. Check out interactive activities at the Boston Children’s Museum. There are also interesting exhibits at the family-friendly Institute of Contemporary Art. 

You can easily explore the Seaport District on foot. However, there are plenty of street parking and parking garages should you have a car. You can also access “the Seaport” (as locals call it) by using the MBTA Silver Line Waterfront. 

Pros of the Seaport District

  • Newly developed area
  • Waterfront views
  • Lots of green areas
  • Shops, restaurants, and bars
  • Home to great museums

Cons of the Seaport District

  • Cost of living is high
  • No schools in the area

North End

A neighborhood famous for its Italian community, located on the Boston Harbor.  

A coffee shop at the North End neighborhood
Italian businesses like this historic coffee shop fill the North End neighborhood (photo: Heidi Besen / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: Boston Yacht Haven Inn & Marina

The North End is a Boston proper neighborhood full of Italian charm. It is an area where pizza and pastries spill out from every corner. Head to Bova’s Bakery. It is open 24 hours for whenever you are in the mood for their famous ricotta cannolis.  

Walking around the North End you will find plenty of Italian restaurants. Outside of the countless Italian markets, the North End is filled with historic buildings. You can take in the Old North Church, famous for Paul Revere’s midnight ride in 1775.

North End also has the ocean and sea life at its fingertips. The New England Aquarium is within walking distance right on the Boston Harbor. 

Pros of the North End

  • Plenty of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and markets
  • Green, orange, and blue MBTA lines
  • Historic landmarks and attractions

Cons of the North End

  • Touristy
  • Street parking is difficult

South End

An eclectic neighborhood that blends historic influences with modern charm.  

A bicycle parked on a street in the South End neighborhood
A charming city bike in South End
View of houses at the South End neighborhood
Historic homes in South End (photo: littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: Staypineapple, South End

The South End is a popular neighborhood in Boston. It is an extension of the Back Bay and Bay Village area. The Victorian-style neighborhood is brimming with some of the best historic buildings and restaurants in Boston.

The South End offers an extensive variety of international cuisine. Family and friends gather to socialize in restaurants and coffee shops. 

There’s a lively arts and performing arts scene in South End. It is home to the Boston Ballet and plenty of theaters. Check out the SOWA Art + Design district. Here, you can explore a vibrant community of artists and their work.

The South End is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. It is home to young professionals, families, and an LGBTQ community. The neighborhood is sprinkled with pocket residential parks and community gardens. 

Pros of South End

  • Walkable
  • Great restaurants
  • Family-friendly
  • Lots of small gardens to enjoy

Cons of South End

  • There isn’t an MBTA subway line close by
  • Street parking can be difficult

Fenway/Kenmore Square

A lively neighborhood full of culture and entertainment, and home to the iconic Fenway Park. 

View of vehicles and buildings at the Fenway/Kenmore Square
View of the Fenway/Kenmore Square area

📍 Google Maps | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: The Verb Hotel

Fenway/Kenmore Square is home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team and the famous Citgo sign. The historic Fenway Park Stadium is located on Lansdowne Street. The street is flooded with restaurants and bars. 

There’s plenty to do and see in this active neighborhood. This area is a hub for cultural landmarks. Catch a show at the famous Symphony Hall, home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Appreciate the fine arts? You have access to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. 

The Fenway/Kenmore area is also popular with college students. The neighborhood is home to Boston University, Northeastern University, and Berklee College of Music.

There are plenty of medical workers who reside in the Fenway/Kenmore area as well. It is a convenient neighborhood to call home as it gives direct access to the Longwood Medical Area. 

Pros of Back Fenway/Kenmore Square

  • Home to Fenway Park
  • Cultural attractions close by
  • Lively nightlife with restaurants and bars
  • Walkable
  • MBTA Green Line

Cons of Fenway/Kenmore Square

  • Traffic during rush hour, sporting, and musical events
  • Parking garages can be expensive
  • Touristy


A Boston neighborhood that takes pride in preserving its history, with significant landmarks worth visiting.  

The author, Claudicet Pena smiling for a photo at the Charlestown Navy Yard
Me at the Charlestown Navy Yard
Blue sky over the Bunker Hill Monument
Bunker Hill Monument

📍 Google Maps | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf

Charlestown is another neighborhood that is intact with historic landmarks. It is located north of downtown and a great area to explore for history buffs and families.

Charlestown is most famous for its significant historical sites. It is home to the Freedom Trail site of the Bunker Hill Monument. This monument commemorates the first major battle in the American Revolutionary War.

Be sure to pay a visit to the Charlestown Navy Yard. It is the first shipyard in the country. My daughter and I were able to board the USS Constitution when we visited. It is the oldest commissioned warship in the world. Fun fact–it’s still active! 

Many young professionals live in Charlestown. It’s home to Massachusetts General Hospital offices and research labs. Locals have access to public transportation using the Orange Line and several bus lines. 

Pros of Charlestown

  • Strong sense of community
  • Historical attractions
  • Walkable
  • Waterfront views
  • Lots of green space

Cons of Charlestown

  • Parking is difficult

Jamaica Plain

One of Boston’s greenest neighborhoods with parks, trails, and a rich sense of community. 

Overlooking view of Boston during sunset from the Peter’s Hill
View of the Boston skyline at the top of Peter’s Hill

📍 Google Maps | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: The Inn at Longwood Medical

Jamaica Plain is the place for nature lovers to explore. Jamaica Pond is home to Boston’s largest body of freshwater. This park offers paved paths for running and biking with a stellar view. You can also enjoy rowing, sailing, and fishing on the water.

The Arnold Arboretum is a gem and perfect escape from the city. This plant museum offers more than 16,000 trees, plants, and flowers on view. I love to go for a walk up to Peter’s Hill and see the gorgeous Boston city skyline.

Families with young children spend their time at Franklin Park and Franklin Park Zoo. Kids have the opportunity to meet different animals and learn about their environments. 

Jamaica Plain offers an easy commute into downtown Boston. There are plenty of buses that connect Jamaica Plain to other parts of the city as well, such as West Roxbury and Mission Hill. 

Pros of Jamaica Plain

  • Diverse community
  • Plenty of green space
  • Variety of international cuisine
  • Orange and Green Subway Line

Cons of Jamaica Plain

  • Traffic during rush hour
  • No major grocery store, outside of a Whole Foods


A neighborhood that offers international cuisine and convenience to Downtown Boston.

Aerial view of the Boston College in Massachusetts
Boston College in Newton

📍 Google Maps | Newton Website | School Districts: Newton Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: Boston Marriott Newton

Newton is an affluent neighborhood that’s close to Downtown Boston. It is home to college students who attend the private institution of Boston College. 

Newton offers locals and visitors convenience and culture in the downtown Newton Centre. With different international cuisines, you’re guaranteed to find a meal that’s right for you. 

Give Little Big Diner a try for the best ramen around. This restaurant offers a variety of street foods with a Japanese twist. From homemade ramen to rice bowls to burgers. You’re in for a treat!

Explore the outdoors at the Charles River Reservation. Take in the sights and sounds of nature that surround you here on their walking and biking trails. 

Pros of Newton

  • Close to Downtown Boston
  • Lots of options for dining out
  • Lots of green spaces
  • MBTA and Subway Green Line

Cons of Newton

  • High cost of living


A diverse neighborhood with a strong sense of community that caters to different lifestyles.

Houses at the Brookline neighborhood
Residential homes in the Brookline neighborhood
A Green Line going to Brookline
The Green Line headed into Brookline (photo: Yingna Cai / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Brookline Website | School Districts: The Public Schools of Brookline | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: Arcadian Hotel Brookline

Brookline is a wonderful neighborhood for those with an active lifestyle or raising families. The tree-lined streets are filled with historic homes and modern developments.

There is a bustling art scene in this Boston neighborhood. The popular Coolidge Corner Theater is a nonprofit independent cinema. Visitors can enjoy showings from art-house classics to new releases. 

There are stunning parks to explore in the Brookline area. The Emerald Pearl Necklace is a series of interconnected parks that run from Brookline into Boston. This little retreat from the city offers amazing scenic bike rides. 

Pros of Brookline

  • Diverse community
  • Rich in art and culture
  • MBTA and Orange Subway Line
  • Easy access to Downtown Boston

Cons of Brookline

  • Cost of living is high
  • Not a vibrant nightlife

East Boston

A vibrant neighborhood with access to Downtown and stunning Boston Harbor views. 

View from the Ship Yard in East Boston
Waterfront views of Boston from Ship Yard in East Boston
View of buildings from Piers Park in East Boston
Piers Park in East Boston

📍 Google Maps | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: Hilton Garden Inn Boston Logan Airport

East Boston is a healthy mix of closely built homes, both historic and new. Nicknamed “Eastie,” this Boston neighborhood offers convenience to all of its residents. It provides easy access to Downtown Boston and Logan International Airport. 

Residents can connect to the city via the Subway Blue Line and buses. Want to know another cool way to get into downtown? The MBTA has a ferry departing from Long Wharf (North). It will get you into downtown Boston in the most fun way.

Eastie is also home to the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation. This is Boston’s last remaining salt marsh. It offers 360 acres with paved hiking paths and an observation tower. 

Piers Park is another beautiful park in the neighborhood. It gives visitors access to the waterfront and incredible views of Boston. 

Pros of East Boston

  • Waterfront views
  • Close to Downtown Boston
  • Close to Boston Logan International Airport
  • Vibrant international cuisine

Cons of East Boston

  • Some airplane noise
  • Traffic during rush hour

West End

This up-and-coming neighborhood is home to the Boston Celtics and a hub for food, drinks, and local culture.  

Claudicet Peña posing for a photo at TD Garden- Boston, MA
Me attending a concert at the TD Garden in West End
View from the entrance of TD Garden
Entrance to TD Garden (photo: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | School Districts: Boston Public Schools | 👉 Best Hotel for Your Scouting Trip: The Boxer

West End was once the most densely populated area in all of Boston. This neighborhood is becoming popular once again. Young professionals make up the majority of its business community. 

Vibrant West End is close to Downtown, Beacon Hill, and North End. West End is a hub to a lively social scene with bars, restaurants, and coffee shops.

Some popular landmarks in the West End neighborhood include North Station and the TD Garden. The Garden is New England’s largest sports arena. It’s home to the Boston Celtics and host to famed music concerts. 

Pros of West Boston

  • Close to cultural attractions
  • Home to the Boston Celtics
  • Lively social scene and nightlife
  • Access to North Station

Cons of West Boston

  • Street parking is difficult
  • Touristy
  • Lots of traffic during rush hour

FAQs About Boston Neighborhoods

What are some affordable neighborhoods to live in Boston?

East Boston is an affordable neighborhood to live in Boston. It provides many housing options and direct access to Downtown Boston

What are family-friendly neighborhoods in Boston?

Charlestown is a family-friendly neighborhood in Boston. There are a wide range of housing opportunities for families. It is a desirable area for its walkability, access to museums, and kid-friendly parks. 

What are the best neighborhoods in Boston?

Beacon Hill is one of the best neighborhoods in Boston. It is the oldest neighborhood in the city and rich in history and culture. Beacon Hill is in a central location and has easy connections to other parts of the city via public transit. 

What neighborhoods should you avoid in Boston?

All Boston neighborhoods are relatively safe. Although recently, communities such as South End, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill have experienced some car break-ins. Residents are advised not to leave personal belongings in their vehicles. For more, see my complete guide to safety in Boston.


Thanks for exploring the best Boston neighborhoods with me in this guide! I hope you have a better appreciation for each district and what it offers. Check out our guide to the best day trips from Boston to discover more cool areas in Massachusetts.

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