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South End

Introduction to Boston's Downtown

South End

Known for having a vibrant arts and music scene, Boston’s South End is known for Tremont and Washington Streets that offer some of the city’s best food and drink. One of the nine historic districts in Boston, the South End is a landmark district that was designated in 1983. Long known for having a rich culture and a vibrant gay and lesbian community, being the home of the Boston Center for the Arts and formally the headquarters of the Boston Ballet. More recently, the South End has gone through a reclamation project - specifically in the area south of Washington Street which is known as SoWa to locals - and has seen a rapid increase in the number of art showrooms and studios that are popping up on every street corner. A shopper’s paradise, the South End offers small local shops selling everything from handmade jewelry to spectacular artwork to kids’ clothing.

Although there are no MBTA stops in the South End, access is easy via public transportation by taking the Orange Line to the Ruggles, Tufts Medical Center, Back Bay, and Massachusetts Ave stops. Known for being a hub of diversity, including many people who identify as LGBT, the South End neighborhood has maintained much of its historic charm with beautifully restored cast iron railings railings dotting many of the restored brownstones’ front steps and green ivy climbing in a haphazard manner up the walls of many of the buildings. With more than 30 parks throughout the neighborhood, green space is a priority with many of the parks offering spectacular scenery and quiet places to relax away from the noise and bustle of downtown Boston. Connoisseurs of history will enjoy exploring the South End with Dorchester Heights being a popular spot to visit as it is where George Washington’s army established cannons to force the British Army to retreat from Boston in 1776.

When it comes time to explore the food scene in the South End, there is no shortage of options. Start the morning off on the right foot with a visit to Blackbird Doughnuts conveniently located at 492 Tremont Street. Offering two styles of doughnuts - one with brioche dough and another with buttermilk and sour cream - you’ll find a myriad of off the beaten path flavors like blackberry lavender, everything bagel, sesame sriracha and more traditional flavors that all ages will enjoy. For later in the day, head to the iconic Wally’s Cafe. Open since 1947, this nondescript cafe has become the centerpiece for performances by Boston’s talented jazz scene. Expect a crowd spanning generations and be sure to enjoy one of the many house-made cocktails while listening to wonderful music. No matter what month you explore Boston, be sure to add the South End to your list of places to see.

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