There is no better way to enjoy Boston in the summer than with a tour of South Boston’s seaport. As the hub of Colonial Boston’s shipbuilding industry, the seaport has enjoyed a place of prominence up through a modernization in the mid’90s that led to an influx of commercial and cultural enterprises. Lucky locals and visitors can now enjoy the fruits of this recent revamp, making South Boston an excellent destination for a summer afternoon in the city. (Note, you might also want to check out our Boston walking tours.)
One of our favorite ways to explore the Seaport and South Boston neighborhoods is by strolling the Boston Harbor Walk, which covers over 39 miles of the city's waterfront. Although there are many ways to cross the Four Points Channel from Boston's downtown into the former industrial waterfront, the Old Northern Bridge remains the most historic and atmospheric.
Covering several miles on the Harbor Walk is the perfect way to work up an appetite, and there are a few great places to indulge in local seafood along the way. James Hook & Company, located on the north side of Old Northern Bridge, offer fresh, substantial lobster rolls and briny, glossy oysters for lunch.
One spot that still offers a lens through which to view the industrial workings of the waterfront is the Fish Pier. If you arrive early enough, you can still see fish being delivered and sent in for processing. If you arrive around lunch time, stop into No Name Restaurant, nestled upstairs in the Pier, for a bowl of fish chowder and to rub elbows with locals. No tourists here!
One of the major efforts to revive the industrial Seaport District has been the opening of the Institute of Contemporary Art. Although the ICA has existed since 1936, its new home along the water is an exceptional space for the permanent collection, special exhibitions and a robust programming schedule.
The old warehouse district of South Boston is now home not only to slick loft apartments, but also local businesses such as furniture design studios and first class cocktail lounges. If you need to quench your thirst after your stroll along the waterfront, we recommend stopping at Lucky's Lounge in the basement of this warehouse for a classic martini... and maybe one more round of oysters.