Boston: Day Trip #2- Faneuil Hall and The Italian North End

Another day trip in downtown Boston takes us to the Government Center Station off the Blue and Green lines of Boston’s T. Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market are at the heart of Boston’s tourism; sporting excellent dining, souvenirs, historical landmarks, and street entertainment. Every time I go to Boston, I like to make a visit to The Faneuil Hall Marketplace, not so much for the same old familiar shops but the street entertainment and definitely the food. Boston has done well to “employ” very entertaining, comical, and family friendly entertainment, usually watched between Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall.

Another favorite stop of mine is a short walk from Faneuil Hall, Hanover Street, otherwise known as the Italian North End. It is a step into Little Italy in which Italian can be heard among the patrons, elderly men sit out in front of the shops talking politics, and great aromas of garlic mix with the yeasty and sweet smells of the local bakeries.


Eating At Faneuil
Other than the street entertainers, The Faneuil Hall Marketplace offers wonderful shops and treats. I particularly like to visit the Boston Chipyard for hot-out-of-the-oven home baked tasting chocolate chip cookies. If the cookies are not ready then it is worth the wait for the hot ones. I usually get a dozen at a time and they are gone in minutes! I hit the Godiva Chocolate Shop as well for my chocolate covered strawberry fix. Of course you have to get New England Clam Chowder while in the Marketplace. I have had good chowda’s in the Marketplace and have not picked a favorite yet. Maybe I will attend next year’s Chowdafest and decide then! It is a good idea to walk through each market sampling the various foods the vendors have to offer. One year, my cousins and I sampled stuffed cohogs, crab cakes, and chowda; and that was all before breakfast! After wandering through the shops we like to head past the South Market to The Black Rose, an Irish Pub, for mussels and a fish and chip lunch. Eating here has become part of our tradition and the crowds are always lively and fun.

A Memorial

After walking the market place and watching the street performers I like to visit The New England Holocaust Memorial just slightly north west of the marketplace between Union and Congress Streets. The planners did a breathtaking and humbling job on this memorial. There is so much symbolism woven between the touching and alarming quotes placed throughout the memorial.

Take a little time to read the quotes and walk through each of the six glass towers representing the six concentration camps of that era. As you enter each tower you will look down and see the “burning embers” of the ovens done with small flickering lights as the mist rises ominously through each tower. I can’t even imagine.


Once you get to the end of Union Street take a right on to Hanover Street. On the weekend you will pass through the produce market. Continue walking down Hanover and once past Cross Street you are in the North End. You will take in restaurant after restaurant, cafes, and bakeries.

Mike’s Pastry and Caffé Vittoria

My favorite all time bakery is Mike’s Pastry. Everything I have eaten there has been fresh and top notch. What we like to do is go to Caffé Vittoria for an espresso then hit Mike’s for an amazing Lobstertail Pastry. A fried dough filled with a mascarpone sweet cheese filling (I think?). I can’t put my finger on how they do it, but who cares, it’s good.

Let me tell you how serious I am about Mike’s pastry. I got to the airport 3 hours before my flight home and seized the day. I left the airport, with luggage in tow, boarded the shuttle to the T, then took the T to the Aquarium Station and walked all the way to Mike’s, huffing and puffing mind you. I made it back to the airport with my Lobstertail! Oh and on the way I spotted Lulu’s a cupcake shop and dropped in for a cupcake. Why not? I had a few seconds. I was disappointed the beautiful Red Velvet Cupcake was dry. Blech.

A Little History
If you are a history buff, it may behoove you to take a little short walk to The Old North Church. From Hanover you will take a left down N. Bennet St. and right on Salem Street for a look at this historical church. Do you think Paul Revere stopped into Mike’s for a cannoli?

On my next trip to Boston I hope to dine in the North End and find a favorite restaurant for lunch or dinner. Any suggestions?

An Aside– Another place I highly recommend for seafood is a little away from The Faneuil Hall Marketplace and you would have to walk or take the Silver Line is the Barking Crab on Sleeper Street by the Children’s Museum, which is by the way a great thing for the kids. The Barking Crab offered delicious chowder and fresh seafood that my whole family enjoyed, plus it is a very fun restaurant.

Boston: Day Trip #1- Newbury Street and Fenway Park
Next week Boston: Day Trip #3- East Boston to Revere and Then Some


  1. Rindy R
    Posted October 17, 2008 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    I think my butt got bigger just READING your blog today! What a culinary adventure you had. I want a Lobster Tail right now with my morning coffee!

  2. Shannalee
    Posted October 17, 2008 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    I love (love, love, love, love) Boston and especially the North End. When we went, people everywhere were carrying Mike’s Pastry boxes, and that’s how I knew to go there. Insane wait–wrapped around the building but good stuff.

  3. RecipeGirl
    Posted October 17, 2008 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    All great places. I’ve been to all except that Memorial. LOVE Mike’s! We never miss it. Their cannoli is the best.

  4. Robin Sue
    Posted October 17, 2008 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    Rindy- Yeah but all that wolking helps me take it off!

    Shannalee- Mike’s is always packed but the greatest!

    RecipeGirl- Mike’s is top top tops!

  5. noble pig
    Posted October 18, 2008 at 1:43 AM | Permalink

    Goodness gracious, that lobster tail pastry is food porn to the max. It’s not fair to show that without sending me some.

  6. That Girl
    Posted October 18, 2008 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    Faneuil Hall is my favorite part of Boston.

  7. Grace
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    terrific post, robin sue–it’s nice to visit boston vicariously through you. i was there for about 7 hours the other day, and all i got to see was the airport and the convention center. 🙁

  8. Rob
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    There’s one huge thing my fair city, DC, lacks– the seamingly “bakery-on-every-corner” that Boston has. I love that when we’re there in Revere (sorry, Reh-vee-ah) we’ve got at least two bakeries within walking distance where you can get a fresh loaf of the best Italian bread, and the freshest, and most delicious selection of pastries. I’ve never had a bad Canoli in Boston!

    Are you listening DC? 🙂

  9. Robin Sue
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    Rob- I agree, we need better bakeries here. The ones we do have taste so fake or just not right. Come on DC you can do it!!

  10. Robin Sue
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    noble pig- Lobstertails are as delicious as they look too!

    ThatGirl- Faneuil is really a fun place to be, the kids love it too!

    Grace- Too bad, next time leave the airport to the blue line and get yourself downtown for a few hours. Worth it!

  11. Veronica
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

    What beautiful pictures from your trip. I love Boston…I’ve never been to Mike’s Pastry I’ll have to find it next time we venture there. There are no good bakeries near me in CT…depressing.

  12. Robin Sue
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    Veronica- The only good pastry I get is at Mike’s, DC is lacking in that department. Thanks for the compliment about my pictures!

  13. timsdd
    Posted October 20, 2008 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    HOLY low fat treat that Lobstertail Pastry must be! I must have one 😀

  14. Robin Sue
    Posted October 20, 2008 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    timsdd- I blessed the calories right otta that thing. Zingo- gone!

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