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Breaking the BC Bubble: Discovering the North End

The North End is one of Boston’s most famous neighborhoods, and a must-see for any BC Collegiette™.  Over the years, I’ve frequented the North End for its amazing food, colorful history, and great shops.  With warm weather right around the corner, now is a great time to plan your next Boston adventure.  Whether you’re looking to explore the neighborhood for the first time, or visiting for the last time before graduation, be sure to check out some of my favorite North End spots!

To get the most out of your trip into the city, I’d recommend leaving BC early and grabbing breakfast once you escape the T at Government Center.
 


Breakfast

Theo’s Cozy Corner

Eat with the locals at Theo’s, located right across from the Old North Church.  This little breakfast place serves great food at reasonable prices and has a cult-like following.  Once you’ve finished breakfast, start exploring the North End’s historic sights!
 


Explore

The Old North Church


The Old North Church is most famous for its pivotal role in the American Revolution.  In April of 1775, the church sexton hung two lanterns in the steeple to warn Paul Revere that the British were approaching Lexington and Concord by sea.  Revere then set off on his “Midnight Ride” to warn militia men of the impending attack.

You can visit the church and roam its aisles for free.  But for a more in-depth look at the building and an inside scoop on its history and ties to the Revolution, you can pay for a guided tour.  Last summer, I took a tour and climbed the stairs up to the bell tower (the same ones used by the sexton) and descended into the church crypt.  For history buffs, I highly recommend this adventure.
 
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground

A short walk from the Old North Church is Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, the second oldest cemetery in Boston.  Wander through the winding rows of thin tombstones and enjoy great views of Boston landmarks, including the Zakim Bridge.
 
Skinny House

Directly across from Copp’s Hill sits a peculiar house.  Dubbed the “Skinny House,” this strange home was built as revenge during a land and inheritance dispute just after the Civil War.  This spite house is the narrowest in Boston.
 
The Paul Revere House

Last but not least, be sure to stop by Paul Revere’s home in North Square.  This national historic landmark is downtown Boston’s oldest building and features original furnishings belonging to the Revere family.  For a $3 entrance fee, you can walk in the steps of an American patriot.

After your walking tour, sit down to a quick and delicious meal for lunch!
 


Lunch

Dino’s Cafe
                 
Dino’s subs are legendary.  Though they can be a bit pricey, they are packed with toppings and large enough to share.
 
Regina  Pizzeria

Regina’s is an old-school pizza shop with a long-standing reputation for delicious pies with fresh, authentic ingredients.  The original location on Thacher Street attracts crowds for dinner, so head over during lunch time to beat the rush.
 
Did someone say shopping?  The North End has many boutiques and specialty stores to peruse while you work off your food coma.
 


Shopping

Bobbles and Lace

Your next party dress may be waiting for you at Bobbles and Lace.  This store has a great selection of cocktail dresses and cool shoes and accessories to finish your look.
 
LIT Boutique
                 
LIT has trendy and unique pieces for special occasions and evenings on the town.  They sell tops, skirts, dresses, and shoes at affordable prices.  Their customer service is awesome, with really helpful staff.
 
No day in the North End would be complete without a hearty Italian dinner.
 


Dinner

La Famiglia Giorgio’s
                 
La Famiglia offers homestyle Italian food with generous portions.  And for collegiettes™ on a budget, their 20% student discount can’t be beat!
 
Giacomo’s Ristorante

                 

Don’t be intimidated by the line outside – this Hanover Street hotspot is worth the wait.  The tiny yet cozy restaurant serves a wide variety of tasty entrees and pasta dishes at low prices.
 
Lucca
                 
For an equally delicious but slightly pricier meal, try Lucca.  This venue has a great spot on Hanover Street that is perfect for people-watching and soaking up the neighborhood’s ambiance.  In addition to great food, Lucca serves well-prepared and fancy cocktails.
 
And even if you’re absolutely stuffed, be sure to pick up pastries to bring home.  You’ll be happy you did.
 


Dessert

Mike’s Pastry… or Modern Pastry

For me, no trip to the North End is complete without grabbing a box of cannolis, lobstertails, half moons, and éclairs at Mike’s Pastry.  Don’t worry, I usually don’t eat them all in one sitting.  Usually.

And though I am particular to Mike’s, some people favor Modern Pastry.  Both shops are located on Hanover Street, so I suggest giving each a try!
 
Happy exploring!

Photo Sources:
http://www.reginapizzeria.com/location_detail.php?location_id=38&Brick%2…
http://www.north-end-boston.com/images/exterior_pics/3646.jpg
http://askmissa.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Bobbles-and-Lace-300×225.jpg
http://www.paulreverehouse.org/

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