IHG Travel Blog

Boston: Exploring the South End

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Tree-lined streets and clones of brick and brownstone townhouses make Boston’s South End a picturesque and almost stereotypical idea of what a Boston neighborhood should be. Throughout its rich history of ups and downs, the South End neighborhood has endured, and has become the premier place in Boston for the latest fashion trends, artistic endeavors, and dog walking along the brick sidewalks.

Taking in the beauty of the tiny gardens along the townhouses, the playgrounds, or even the community gardens are just a taste of what the South End has to offer by way of social and cultural experiences.

With activities for families, friends, and individuals, your experience on the South End will leave you hastily making plans to return before you’ve even left. The perfect evening of dining, shopping, and art in the South End is sure to enhance your Boston experience greatly.

Dining in the South End

Rich in diversity, the South End will make your taste buds perk up at the thought of enjoying the many dining establishments, bars, and cafes — featuring Indian, Ethiopian, French, Italian, Venezuelan, and Thai food, for starters.

When looking to start your dining experience on the South End, look no further than Orinoco: A Latin Kitchen. Specializing in Spanish food, Orinoco seeks to bring honor for the past, present, and future of the Latin America culture and move the Boston area to the forefront through its food.

With three locations around Massachusetts, the South End location is the original and has fulfilled founder Andres Branger’s aspirations for bringing a cozy, casual, affordable place that everyone could call home. Try the arepas with avocado sauce, the pulled beef or chicken, and the shrimp ceviche for a real glimpse into what Orinoco has to offer.

A popular spot on the South End, Orinoco is masterful at moving people through the restaurant so you don’t have to wait long, if you wait at all, for a table at this hip, trendy dining establishment. Right in the heart of the South End, the outdoor seating gives you the feel of the Boston neighborhood, while the interior ambiance comforts you in Andres Branger’s goals and aspirations.

There is no lack of excellent Spanish food in the South End, and right at the top of the list is Toro.

Image Source: Toro Facebook

Serving lunch and dinner, Toro brings a combination of starters and entrees through its Barcelona-style tapas that will leave you full and satisfied. The brainchild of two of Boston’s most notable and brilliant chefs, Toro was born after both had cooked their way around the world.

Enjoy a nice bottle of Spanish wine, nibble on some tapas, and embark on a journey through one of the many beautifully presented and inventive entrees in this Spanish restaurant with a modern spin.

Giacomo’s is the perfect spot for Italian food on the South End. With a Boston twist on Italian food, this restaurant provides a charming atmosphere that embraces its Boston home while maintaining its approach and dedication to fine Italian food.

Be sure to try the pumpkin tortellini or the blue crab ravioli for a divine and delicious experience that is going to put Giacomo’s on your list of places to return to.

For fans of Japanese food, be sure to check out Douzo — a quaint sushi house located just a stone’s throw away from the water. And for good old-fashioned American food, don’t miss Franklin Café, a hearty restaurant rich in comfort food presented in colorful and unique ways. Open until 2:00 a.m., Franklin Café is the perfect spot for the late-night diner.

Shopping in the South End

What night of dining would be complete without a visit down beautiful Tremont Street and its surrounding areas for some fantastic shopping? Located in the heart of an underrated trend-setting neighborhood, these boutiques and portals to fashion for men, women, and children will leave you wondering how the time has seemed to pass so quickly. Along with fashion, be sure to check out the vast variety of specialty shops that call the South End home.

Image Source: SoWa Sundays

For Sunday visitors to Boston’s South End between May and October, follow up or preempt your fine dining experience with a visit to the famous SoWa Open Market located on Harrison Avenue. Pick up a treat at one of the food vendors’ stands or browse many of the art, clothing, jewelry, housewares, ceramics, produce, or keepsakes booths — all featuring handmade goods from local business owners.

Image Source: Chase Elliott Clark

Only the best of the best from the region’s makers and designers are accepted into this world-class open market and with that it brings well-crafted and innovative arts, crafts, and goods. So, make sure you book a hotel room in Boston that’s big enough to store your shopping haul.

Enjoying Art in the South End

Cap off your dining and shopping experience in the South End with something that brings certain uniqueness and reverent nature to this neighborhood: a visit to one of the many astonishing art galleries.

Located in one of the famous brick buildings, the MPG Contemporary art gallery is a must for any fan of artistic expression. Opened in 1998, this gallery’s sleek interior highlights and features the art on display in the perfect manner. Having been hailed with favorable reviews from ART News, The Boston Globe, and The Boston Herald, your art experience in the South End must include MPG and its dedication to emerging artists.

Image Source: Sarah Nichols

Whether it’s the Boston Sculptors Gallery, a free gallery that features different exhibits from artists around the world and boasts the 1995 “Best Boston Gallery” award, or a walk through the SoWa Artists Guild in the famous South End art district, you’ll enjoy every expression and take on art in the South End.

Sure Boston has the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Celtics, and a vast array of concerts, art exhibits, and history, but if you’re looking for a quaint, friendly, and memorable experience, spend a few days embracing all the South End neighborhood has to offer to get what you’re looking for.

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