Introduction to Boston's Downtown
Once dominated by a working-class neighborhood of Irish Catholic immigrants, South Boston (Southie) is no longer the rough-and-tumble area that The Departed would have you believe. Historically, the residents worked on the South Boston Waterfront or the local Gillette factory, which continues to employ residents. Large sections of the area were industrial with businesses such as glass and ironworks. Most recently, this neighborhood has seen a massive influx of families and young professionals, due to its short distance from the Boston Financial District and Downtown Boston. Along with this influx of population has come new and high-priced housing. Many of the neighborhood's classic 1900s Victorian homes have been converted into multi-family condos, some of which are boast asking prices in the millions of dollars.
Despite this flipping of the neighborhood, Southie continues to retain its character. Quaint rowhouses continue to line the streets, many of which are located close to the beautiful waterfront area. Although gourmet markets and new cafés have squeeze in, there are still a variety of time-honor local jaunts scattered throughout the neighborhood. Additionally, South Boston hosts one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the U.S. and has been since 1901. Also located in South Boston is the Fort Point Channel Historic District, which is a hub for the local arts community, thus boasting numerous working artists.
As a year-round wonder, Southie’s Castle Island is a waterfront park for nature lovers, dog walkers, joggers, and looky-loos alike. Featuring many paved paths that loop to the water for running, biking, blading, or strolling, Castle Island allows you to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. To beam you back to reality, watch the planes land and depart from Logan International Airport. There is plenty of parking, and you can even enjoy the view from the comfort of your vehicle. Summers at this park invite swimmers to take a dip in the water at one of the several beaches lining South Boston. After taking a half-day to explore the park, plop down at Sullivan’s for a snack.
To enjoy the classic Southie experience as an adult, head over to the Quencher Tavern on I Street. The Quencher is the classic Southie pub and everything that is great about the neighborhood. Filled with locals, this is as Southie as it gets. Complete with keno, shots galore, a jukebox, and perfectly poured pints, this is one dive bar worth the trip. After having a pint or two, head to Mul’s for a big plate of diner classic. Located on West Broadway, Mul’s serves exceptional yet simple dishes. The clientele comprises locals including police and firefighters, families, and twenty-somethings.
When you want to explore Boston, venture outside the normal tourist attractions to see how the locals live and get a taste of the true Boston experience. Southie is a great destination for a day or night to get the real feel of the city. Its diversity in attractions, the waterfront, and history make Southie a popular destination for all ages.