Top 10 Things To Do And See In South End, Boston

Photo of Benjamin M. Smith
9 February 2017

The South End has long been one of Boston’s less-traveled districts, but in recent times has garnered a lot of tourism due to economic revitalization of the area. With its beautiful row houses, boutique shops and great restaurants and bars, the neighborhood should be the discerning traveler’s first stop when visiting the city.

South End, Boston | © Ted Eytan/Flickr

Attend an event at the Cyclorama

Inside the Boston Center for the Arts rests the historic Cyclorama, a breath taking space perfect for a theater performance, speaking event or trade show. The building dates all the way back to 1884, and its copper skylight dome represents a triumph of the industrial style of the time. Come here to start an excursion into the South End and get a taste for its history.

Cyclorama, 539 Tremont St, Boston MA, USA, +1 617-426-5000

Go to the South End Open Market @ SoWa

Farmers' Market, Market, Farm Shop, Street Food
Map View
The SoWa Open Market takes place on Sundays between May and October
The SoWa Open Market takes place on Sundays between May and October | © Chris Anderson CDA Media
Running every May through October, the South End Open Market @ SoWa is also a great place to check out for food trucks and hand-made goods straight from local sellers. With about 20 different food trucks, a farmer’s market and an arts market in the same vicinity, this market offers the best products in the city, and is quite popular and lively on Saturday mornings.

Buy something from The Butcher Shop

Come to The Butcher Shop to satisfy your meat cravings. This shop is exceptional in the fact that it is a full-service wine bar, as well as a meat clearing house for the discerning carnivore. Their in-house sausage, hot dogs, foie gras and marbled cuts of local beef are enough to tantalize the taste buds of any meat eater. Stop by for a butchery lesson on a variety of topics; to learn the ancient art of cutting meat.

The Butcher Shop, 552 Tremont St, Boston MA, USA, +1 617-423-4800

Take a stroll around the neighborhood

After first arriving at the South End, it should become apparent that the neighborhood is one of the most beautiful in the city. With its characteristic connected brick row town houses and tree-lined brick sidewalks, this neighborhood is one of the most pedestrian-friendly areas in Boston. Tremont Street and Washington Street are great places to begin a journey around the neighborhood on food, although its side streets and alleyways could be just as intriguing.

Check out the specialty shops

The South End is a great place to find boutique shops. The district is home to some of the most eclectic shopping options in the city, like Diseño, a shop specializing in South American furniture. With the neighborhood’s easily accessible layout, all the South End’s shopping is within reach for the walker too.

Diseño Boston, 460B Harrison Ave, Boston MA, USA, +1 617-423-2008

Visit the Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts

The Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts presents contemporary art and media by both up-and-coming and established artists and curators. With six exhibitions per season, it is a great place to see and reflect on painting, sculpture, mixed media and performance art in the South End, and a neighbor to all the other fun activities found inside the Boston Center for the Arts.

Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St, Boston MA, USA, +1 617-426-5000

Eat brunch at The Beehive

Restaurant, Bar, American, Moroccan, $$$
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Eggs shakshuka
Eggs shakshuka | © Anokarina / Flickr

Located inside the Boston Center for the Arts, The Beehive is the must visit eatery and music venue on the South End. The brunch at this place is often overlooked, due to its hopping scene at night. Specializing in regional comfort food, and with its bohemian cabaret seating, The Beehive offers the most optimal brunch in town. With its steady flow of live jazz, Bloody Marys and maple syrup, few restaurants in the South End can compare.

Visit the Griffin Museum

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J.J. Foley’s
J.J. Foley’s | © Erin Stevenson O’Connor/Flickr
For an intimate museum experience with no lines, few tourists and above all else, no stress, visit the Griffin Museum on Clarendon Street. This gallery has only one exhibition at a time, so don’t plan on dragging any heels here. And with a very reasonable admission fee, entrance is about as casual as picking up a coffee down the block.

Order a pint at J.J. Foley’s Cafe

J.J. Foley’s is a place you want to drink! This family owned bar has been operating since 1909 at its Berkeley Street location, a commendable feat for any service establishment. Offering classic Irish-American fare, and with a full service bar until 2am daily, this bar is a living and breathing piece of Boston history, and a fun one at that. The authenticity here is hard to find elsewhere, so be sure to stop in for a pint before leaving the neighborhood.

J.J. Foley’s, 117 E Berkeley St, Boston MA, USA, +1 617-728-9101

Stay at The Inn at St. Botolph

The Inn at St. Botolph makes its home amidst the South End’s characteristic brick row house district. Inside, luxury and comfort are immediate upon entering, while the peace and quiet are indeniable. This hotel has garnered quite a following with corporate travelers and couples on weekend getaways, being loaded with the finest of 21st century amenities.

The Inn at St Botolph, 99 St. Botolph St, Boston MA, USA, +1 617-236-8099

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