Discover North End, Home to Boston’s Oldest Sites and Eateries - Atlas Obscura Lists

Discover North End, Home to Boston’s Oldest Sites and Eateries

From the oldest restaurant in the country to the oldest Italian cafe in Boston to the largest religious festival in New England.

Set against the charming backdrop of Boston’s historic cobblestone streets, North End is full of superlative cultural sites. The Union Oyster House, known for its house clam chowder, is not only the oldest restaurant in Boston, but it’s the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country. As a restaurant, it opened in 1826, but its building has been a staple of Union Street for over 250 years. 

North End is one of the country’s most vibrant Little Italy enclaves, so you definitely won’t want to miss a visit to the site of St. Anthony’s Feast. Each August, you can follow the procession of a statue of this patron saint of fishermen and sailors through the streets, as Italian immigrants have done since 1919. Sample from over 100 food and other vendors and experience religious services, lively parades, and other related demonstrations.  

Head over to Hanover Street for a crispy cannoli or butter-cookie biscotti with a shot of espresso at Caffe Vittoria, the oldest Italian cafe in Boston. The cafe, which opened in 1929, continues to draw crowds by day for its authentic coffee and pastries, and by night, for cordials and cocktails. 

The oldest standing church in Boston, Old North Church, was constructed in 1723 is not only a historic site and place of worship, but it served as a fascinating communication hub for the colonists at the start of the Revolutionary War. Take a tour of the sanctuary, with its notable box pews, to see where famous people like Theodore Roosevelt and, ironically, General Thomas Gage, who led the British Army at the start of the Revolution, once worshiped. Be sure to check out the crypt. 

Experience some of Boston’s oldest sites in the historic North End.