Boston’s Little Italy neighborhood is famous for its delicious food as well as its colorful history.
And we have put together a quick, self-guided walking tour of Little Italy and the North End and some of its most interesting sites and bites.
Click the map to enlarge or to download to a smartphone.
Entering the Northend/Little Italy Neighborhood from Salem St. the first site you will see near the corner of Salem St. and Cross St at 65 Salem Street is a restaurant called Paulie's.
Paulie's is a sandwich shop that offers Italian dishes like ravioli and tortellini meals at about $14. Most of their sandwiches are under $10 (wraps and grinders).
But they have one of the best lobster rolls in Boston! You have to order the large on this one which makes it so good.
The market price for this sandwich is normally around $40, but it is so large you can split it. We have them featured in our Who has the Best Lobster Roll Blog.
2. Ernesto's Pizza
As you travel down Salem St., stop in at Ernesto’s Pizza at 69 Salem St.
Opened in 1984, they make huge slices with homemade dough and sauce made on-site.
To save both money and space in your belly, you can ask them to cut the slice in two.
3. Polcaris Coffee
Traveling down Salem St. you will come to the corner of Parmenter St. and Salem St.
At 105 Salem St. is Polcaris Coffee, an old-school Italian Market that has been in business since 1932 offering dozens of varieties of coffee beans as well as spices, Italian Ice, and other treats.
Walking into this market is like stepping out of a time machine to the 1930s. Not much has changed here. Worth popping in and the staff there are the best.
4. New Spin Laundry
Across the street from Polcari’s at 100 Salem St. you will see the New Spin Laundry.
The New Spin Laundry was used as the bank that was robbed by Ben Affleck's character Doug MacRay in the Movie “The Town" (video).
It never was a bank but looks like it could have been at one time.
5. Galleria Umberto's
Follow Parmenter St to the other main street of Little Italy, Hanover Street.
There is where you will find Galleria Umberto’s, 289 Hanover St. This is a little hole-in-the-wall place that you could easily walk past and not notice.
If you like pizza (and who doesn’t), you must go inside. The thick slice Sicilian pizza at Umberto’s is what this place is known for.
Also, they only make a certain amount of pizzas every day and once they sell out they close their doors for the day.
They are usually closed by 2:30 pm. Definitely one of Boston’s best pizza places.
Try and get there before lunchtime as the line can be quite long at 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm and the service is a little slow.
Note: They are closed for the entire month of July.
6. Mike's Pastry
After leaving Umberto, look across Hanover St. and you will see the famous Mike’s Pastry at 300 Hanover.
Known for their multi-flavors of cannoli, they are a good stop for dessert. The Boston Cream Pie (the official dessert of Massachusetts) is wicked good.
Take your baked goods to go and walk down Hanover St. (about a block) to ...
7. Paul Revere Statue/Paul Revere Mall (The Prado)
There you will see the famous Paul Revere Statue and you can sit in the Prado and enjoy your baked goods in the shadow of your next stop the Old North Church.
On the way to the Prado, you will walk by the First Roman Catholic Church in Boston, which was built by Italian immigrants (1873).
8. The Old North Church
The Old North Church, the oldest Church building in Boston (1723) is officially known as Christ Church.
Made famous for Paul Revere’s “Midnight Ride’, where on April 18, 1775, 23 yr.-old, Robert Newell hang two lanterns from the steeple of the Old North Church as a warning that British Soldiers were heading by sea (the Charles River) to Lexington and Concord to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams who were hiding in Lexington, and to confiscate a store of arms in Concord.
The lantern warning and Paul Revere’s famous ride set the stage for the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 “the shot heard round the world.”
There is an admission charge to enter ($8 adults, $4 children under 12) and they have a great staff that will explain the events of that night of April 18th, 1775.
9. The Skinny House
After you exit the Old North Church, walk up Hull St. to one of our favorite sites in Boston, the Skinny House.
At 44 Hull St., this is Boston’s skinniest house. Built shortly after the Civil War it was built as a spite house.
It was built by Joseph Eustis, a boat builder on land left to the family by their dad.
While one Joe was away, the other family members built a few large houses on the inherited property leaving the returning brother Joe only a sliver of land where he built the skinny house.
The house was built to not only block sunlight but ruin the other family member’s view of the Boston Harbor (spite!). It is available today for vacation rentals.
10. Copp's Hill Burial Ground
The best way to view the Skinny House is from the stairs of Copps’ Hill Burial Ground (1632) Boston’s second-oldest burial ground.
There you can visit the graves of the famous puritan ministers Cotton and Increase Mather, Shem Drowne (who made the grasshopper weather-vain on top of Faneuil Hall and the Old North Church), Robert Newman, Prince Hall to name just a few.