Boston is an amazing place to go to college. Thousands of students from every corner of the world come here to experience all the city has to offer every year. BU students especially love to frequent Boston’s famous North End, Newbury Street and Boston Common, but there are many parts of the city that go unseen by the vast majority of students and visitors. In this series, we’re writing about the Boston neighborhoods outside of the BU bubble that are just as worthy of exploration as downtown and the Back Bay.
Beacon Hill is a Boston neighborhood often talked about, but seldom visited for more than a short period of time. Sure, Boston University students will head to Beacon Hill on occasion to walk along Acorn Street and snap a photo of one of the historic colonial-era brick rowhouses. But there is a lot more packed into Beacon Hill than most people assume. Charles Street is home to some great local stores and restaurants that are often overlooked. There are some great attractions tucked away on unsuspecting streets throughout the neighborhood. The best thing to do would be to simply get out and explore the area, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
To start, a visit to each of the three Harrison Gray Otis Houses will give you an overview of the area. The three houses were built for the famous Massachusetts senator and mayor of Boston, Harrison Gray Otis. They were built by one of the earliest well-known American architects, Charles Bulfinch. A walk between these three homes, which serve as a great example of federal architecture, will give you a feel for what the area has to offer. The first of the three homes is open for tours, although it is technically located in the West End, not Beacon Hill.
The Black Heritage Trail winds through Beacon Hill with stops at places important in black American history. The African Meeting House and the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial, dedicated to the first black regiment in the Union Army, are both important sites along the trail, which will also help you explore the area.
If you’re hungry, stop by The Paramount. Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, and serving everything from pancakes and eggs at breakfast to pasta and tacos for dinner, the Paramount has been feeding hungry folks in Beacon Hill since 1937.
When you’re done grabbing a bite to eat, a walk down Charles Street will offer you a great opportunity to get some shopping in. North River Outfitter has two locations on Charles Street, with one location focussed on classic, preppy men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, while the other (NRO Sport) will outfit you for any athletic activity from running to skiing. Both shops offer excellent customer service and a unique offering of goods.
Charles Street and the streets stemming from it are home to many shops and restaurants.
This is a great place to start your venture around Beacon Hill — and the neighborhood surely won’t disappoint.