Largely considered a commercial and residential neighborhood, much of West End in Boston
was rebuilt in the 1950s as part of a condemnation effort aimed at urban revitalization, changing the culturally diverse vibe of the area in the process. The neighborhood now incorporates a large number of residential towers among commercial high-rises, and a few buildings left over from before the 1950s revamp.
The boundaries of West End, about a mile form downtown Boston,
stretch from Cambridge Street in the south to Charles River at the West and Northwest, North Washington Street on the north and northeast and New Sudbury Street to the east, while Beacon Hill
borders the neighborhood on the south, and the North End of Boston lies to the east.
Schools in West End Boston
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Between Causeway Street, Haverhill Street, New Chardon Street and Merrimac Street lie several eateries, bars and coffee shops, all nestled together in the commercial part of the neighborhood — and largely reflecting the Irish roots of the city.
McGann’s Irish Pub, located on Portland Street, proudly displays its Irish heritage and touts itself as the place to be if you’re interested in following international sports or just want to relax with some flavorful comfort food. On chilly days, settle in for the Irish beef stew, in which tender strips of beef jostle for space with vegetables, baby potatoes and savory gravy, all served piping hot in a bread bowl. If you’re looking for some nibbles while you enjoy a game, try a plate of nachos.
Named after the famed laborers who operated in the area, locals head to Porters Bar and Grill for standard pub fare. Try a Porters barbecue burger, a half-pound beef patty cooked to order and smothered in BBQ sauce, then topped with cheddar cheese, artisanal bacon and onion rings.
While in the neighborhood, visit some of the local nightlife spots. The Greatest Bar is spread out over four floors, all of them dedicated to the history, politics and spectacle that make up the city of Boston. Located nearby, visit the TD Garden to enjoy a large sports arena for basketball and hockey, as well as musical acts.
Locals tout Hurricane O’Reillys as almost as good as being at and actual sporting event. Games play on massive television screens, and the location also sports a Cajun-inspired menu and Bourbon-Street flair.
History & Culture
The West End has seen a dramatic shift over the years. Not often looked upon favorably, its renovation in the 1950s displaced a significant percentage of the population, forcing them into other parts of the city. The West End Museum preserves this cultural shift, as well as the history of the neighborhood and its people.
Several other museums can be found surrounding the West End, such as the Paul Revere House. Visit the Otis House Museum to view some classic art. One of the only notable annual events in the neighborhood, the West End Children’s Festival, held every August, features activities for the entire family, including crafts, performances and food. The event was originally conceived and executed by a group of children as a block party, but quickly saw far more visitors than were expected — and became a tradition enjoyed by all of Boston.
Many of the subway and bus lines throughout Boston tend to meet in the downtown area, in close proximity to the West End. Taxi services are available, including Uber, making commuting or traveling to other parts of the city a breeze. Limited private parking space can be found in the neighborhood — and can be fairly expensive — but your options will be limited by the almost non-existent parking on the street.
The West End and downtown Boston are considered to be somewhat European in terms of how narrow many of the streets are, leaving bike and foot traffic as your primary means of getting around. Find ample access to highways and bridges if you need to get to the rest of Boston or when heading out of town, but many residents stick to biking within the neighborhood itself. A city-wide initiative to encourage greater use of and reliance on bikes as a means to get around means that you will find plenty of well-maintained bike routes, and even an organization dedicated to this plan, with a membership system allowing for the rental or sharing of bikes to get around.
Ranked third in all of Boston and seventh in all of Massachusetts, the West End is considered to be exceptionally liveable. The cost of living may be high when compared to areas further out of Boston proper, but, with an above-average household income, plenty of employment and a low crime rate, it’s a steal for city dwellers.
The average rental cost for a one-bedroom
apartment sits at $1,476, which is 16 percent higher than the average for Boston, while real estate values average 63 percent higher than Boston, at a median of $633,500.
A glass of beer in the West End will set you back about $9. Gas prices average around 5 percent above the national average.
Other than a grouping of bars and nightlife spots, most of the amenities in West End are a bit spread out. Most shopping malls and markets sit downtown, and the shopping in the West End remains limited to specialty stores mixed in with typical chain stores.
Visit Hilton's Tent City to find a four-floor specialty store dedicated to outdoor lifestyle gear, including camping kits and backpacks. Don't forget to hit up the Wine Cave, a specialty wine and liquor store right in the heart of the West End.
Find a nice selection of grocery stores within the neighborhood's confines such as Whole Foods Market and chains like Tedeschi Food Shops, or check out Salumeria Italiana, a small Italian market that sells meats and cheeses, on Richmond Street. While there no active farmers markets set up in the immediate area, a short hop to the rest of Boston provides access to a few located within city limits. Be sure to visit the Boston Public Market for fresh fruits and veggies.
Visit one of several major parks in the West End area: Thoreau Path, Nashua Street Park, Lederman Park and Red Sox Field, together covering more than 2,000 acres of city land. Head to Thoreau Path to make use of its extended walking path, with greenery surrounding it on all sides as it winds through the West End. For larger spaces offering scenic views of the Charles River, visit the Nashua Street and Lederman Parks.
Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Field attaches to Lederman Field. Built on land that was originally unused due to frequent flooding, it underwent renovation and now features multiple baseball diamonds and soccer fields for youth and public activities. The park was named for Teddy Ebersol, a Red Sox fan who died in a plane crash.
All West End parks are public, with no fee, and offer only the basic amenities, such as walking paths and dog runs. Red Sox Field hosts youth sport activities, while all of the parks can be used for public events, such as family reunions. The Boston Common Spray Pool invites families to cool off and have fun in the summer, with puppet shows, yoga and movie nights, weather permitting.