Backyard Tourist: Exploring Boston’s North End

my touring companions

my touring companions

As an adult, I’ve lived in some pretty cool cities – Boulder, DC and now, Boston – vacation destinations for many. As such, my friends and family have always assumed that I’ve spent all of my free time skiing in Colorado, exploring museums in DC and wandering the Freedom Trail here in Boston. Not quite. I like to say that no matter where you live, you still need to do your laundry and get your oil changed.

That’s why it’s so refreshing when you have an excuse to explore your hometown like a tourist. It shakes up your regular routine and makes you remember why you call a place “home.” It can even stave off wanderlust until you are able to take a “real” trip. Having spent most of the fall and winter overseas, I jumped at the opportunity to lead a local tour for the Women in Travel Summit, which kicks off tomorrow at the Revere Hotel. Yesterday morning, I got to accompany three lovely traveling/writing/blogging ladies on a little stroll around the historically Italian neighborhood, the North End, one of my favorites in Boston. And, of course, we did some eating too! Here are the stops we made…

Stop 1: Cafe Paradisio – I love this little gem of a neighborhood cafe, which instantly transports me to Europe when I walk through the door, with dozens of football scarves hanging from the ceilings and old Italian men huddled over their espressos. (I had the chai latte.)


Stop 2: Paul Revere House – Built in 1680, this is the oldest house in downtown Boston.

Paul Revere House

Stop 3: Paul Revere Mall – A brick courtyard spanning between the chaotic Hanover St. and the rear of Old North Church, the Mall’s focal point is the Paul Revere Monument, by sculptor Cyrus Dallin. (Photo by Lollie Davis Weeks)

Paul Revere Monument

Stop 4: Old North Church – An operational Episcopal church today, Old North Church was built in 1723, making it Boston’s oldest church building. The “one if by land, two if by sea” signal is thought to have been made from its steeple the night of Paul Revere’s midnight ride in 1775.

Old North Church

Stop 5: Copp’s Hill Burying Ground – This is the second oldest cemetery in Boston, containing thousands of graves and 272 tombs.


Stop 6: Cantina Italiana – We had a delightful lunch at one of my favorite North End restaurants, Cantina Italiana, which has been in business since 1931. (Cheers to #WITS15!)

wine glass

Stop 7: Mike’s Pastry – Some Bostonians would say Mike’s Pastry has the best cannoli in Boston. Others would say it’s its rival across the street, Modern Pastry. Our group was pro-Mike’s. (Photo by Kyle Slattery)

Mike's Pastry

Categories: Boston, food, history, local, New England, North End | Tags: | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Backyard Tourist: Exploring Boston’s North End

  1. Copp’s Hill looks interesting – not everyday you would go to a cemetery.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann McCann

    The best kept secret of amazing destinations in Boston is the ‘Maparium”. Check it out.


  3. Looks like you ladies had a blast even before the Summit. I agree, touring your own hometown like a tourist is a fantastic way to enjoy your town again. I do that everyday in my hometown, NYC

    Liked by 1 person

  4. those are some great recommendations my hotel was by the cemetery but didn’t go in it and i found a few good coffee shops, Nero and Thinking Cup .went to the mikes pastry and had a brownie.


  5. I love the idea of “exploring your hometown like a tourist.” I’m sure we all have amazing places to visit in our own backyards. Excellent reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

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