The South Boston Waterfront gets a lot of well-deserved buzz as the city's most exciting neighborhood.
Popular museums and art galleries, entertainment venues, excellent hotels, numerous restaurants, and the lively waterfront surrounding most of the neighborhood provide visitors and locals with plenty to do.
Seaport, the area facing Boston Harbor, boasts glitzy waterfront restaurants and bars, concerts almost every summer night at the Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion, Harpoon Brewery, trend-setting Institute of Contemporary Art, and departure points for Harbor cruises.
Harborwalk, the public walkway along Boston's waterfront, gives you an easy way to walk along the Harbor, enjoy interesting views, and check out all the restaurants overlooking the water.
At the eastern tip of this area, Boston's CruisePort welcomes cruise ship passengers to Boston from April to November.
South of Atlantic Ave, the arty Fort Point is sandwiched between the channel separating the neighborhood from Boston's Downtown Financial District on the west and the Massachusetts Convention and Exposition Center on the east.
Dotted with art galleries, the fun and immersive Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, and the always-popular Boston Children's Museum, Fort Point boasts innovative chef-owned restaurants along Congress Street and adjacent streets, as well as terrific city skyline views across the channel.
And almost hidden behind the Convention Center, you'll discover Lawn on D, a fun park/entertainment space.
Top photo: Dining along the South Boston Waterfront overlooking Boston Harbor
1. Tea Party Ships & Museum
As the city's newest museum and one of the best, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum gives you an all-encompassing, totally immersive experience that brings to life the time and events leading up to the American Revolution.
The guided 1-hour tour of the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum takes you back to the momentous December night in 1773 when the Sons of Liberty touched off the American Revolution with their tea party in Boston Harbor. Costumed actors, interactive displays, and high tech add to the realism.
You'll be entertained, but you also get to participate, explore, and learn. There's nothing else quite like it in Boston! Great for adults as well as kids and teens, and definitely one of Boston's top visitor attractions.
2. Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion
Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion (formerly Bank of America Pavilion) overlooks Boston Harbor and is where you'll find Boston's hottest summer concerts. Their shows begin around Memorial Day and continue until late September/early October.
A terrific sound system, cool breezes from Boston Harbor wafting through the open-air pavilion sides, and spectacular views of city lights dancing across the water add to the magic.
Performers range from top headliners of today to popular groups from decades past, and shows almost always sell out.
Concert Schedule & Tickets:
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3. Boston's CruisePort - Flynn Cruise Terminal
Anchoring the eastern tip of the South Boston Waterfront, the Flynn Cruise Terminal - also known as CruisePort - welcomes cruise passengers to Boston.
Whether you're arriving for a 1-Day Port of Call visit to Boston or departing on a cruise, you'll appreciate the convenient location. You can explore the neighborhood on foot, hop on the Silver Line bus near the terminal for the 10-minute trip downtown, or opt for one of the shore excursion tours around Boston on hop-on hop-off trolleys or to famous Revolutionary war sites.
4. Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
Want to see the latest mind-bending contemporary trends in art, performances, and video?
ICA Boston's dramatic space (100 Northern Ave) overlooking Boston Harbor is where you'll find them.
Although admission is reasonably priced, you can visit for free on Thursday evenings (5pm-9pm) and anytime with a GoBoston discount card.
5. Seaport Waterfront Restaurants
Seaport's waterfront overlooking the Harbor is lined with wonderful restaurants and bars.
You find plenty of fresh, perfectly prepared seafood as well as Italian, Mexican, French, Asian, and American cuisine.
6. Fort Point Restaurants
In the art-filled Fort Point area south of Congress Street, a large number of chef-owned restaurants offer innovative cuisine that draws in diners from all over the city. You'll encounter fewer tourists than in the restaurants along the waterfront while experiencing some of the city's best cuisine . . . a top seafood restaurant, French, modern Asian fusion, and a lot more!
7. Boston Children's Museum
Interactive hands-on exhibits appeal to the 2-10 year old crowd at Boston Children's Museum (308 Congress Street) - a favorite of Boston kids and their parents. There's even a special area for infants.
A huge climbing maze, hands-on activities, lots of permanent and visiting exhibits, and terrific city skyline views from the plaza overlooking Fort Point Channel provide plenty of places to play, explore, and relax.
8. Fort Point Galleries & Art Walks
Over 300 artists, photographers, digital artists, performers, jewelers, designers, and writers reside and work in studios in the former warehouses of Fort Point. One of the pleasures of being in the neighborhood is exploring the galleries, visiting studios, and perhaps even taking a class or two.
To explore galleries, start at the Society of Arts and Crafts (100 Pier 4 Blvd, just off of Seaport Boulevard). It's actually in the Seaport area, but as the oldest arts and crafts non-profit in the country and with a spectacular space in which to display works of top contemporary artisans, it provides the perfect gateway to the neighborhood's rich artistic treasures. Then, head over to the Fort Point Arts Community Gallery (FPAC) (249 A Street) where juried shows present the creations of mostly-local established and well-known painters, sculptors, printmakers, and other artists. More to visit: Midway Gallery (15 Channel Street, M-F 10am-4pm) for the art of local and global artists.
Twice each year, you can visit the studios/residences of many of the artists during Open Studios/Art Walks. Check our May and October calendars for exact dates. You can easily spend an entire day or more visiting the studios, chatting with the artist, and perhaps buying your favorite piece.
Want to take a class from talented neighborhood artists? Boston Photography Workshops (15 Channel Center Street) offers a wide range of photography classes for beginners to experts. For classes in painting and other media, check with FPAC for recommendations.
9. Harpoon Brewery & Trillium Brewing Company
Two highly-rated craft beer breweries call the South Boston Waterfront neighborhood "home."
The largest specialty brewer in New England, Harpoon Brewery and Beer Hall (306 Northern Ave) hosts tours (11am, most days), tastings, and Octoberfest, one of the most popular fall festivals in Boston. Check the Harpoon website for the tasting schedule.
Trillium Brewing Company (369 Congress Street) is a New England farmhouse style brewery specializing in wild ales fermented with local mixed microbe culture. Stop by to fill a growler or buy a 4-pack case.
You can also enjoy Trillium brew by the glass from May through October at their Trillium Beer Garden on the Greenway.
10. Lawn on D
Think of Lawn on D, located on D Street behind the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (415 Summer Street) in the South Boston Waterfront, as a playground for adults.
In addition to the circular swings and lounge chairs, you'll find lawn games to play: giant chess, lawn checkers, beanbags, and - you have to see this to believe it - an enormous version of Connect Four.
You can also enjoy free lunch-time concerts, ticketed evening concerts, a movie series, special kids events, and art installations throughout the summer, along with wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages plus food at the Pavilion.
But even when no special events are underway, the Lawn gives you a perfect place to just chill under the summer sun.
Lawn on D is occasionally closed for private or ticketed events - so before you stop by, check their Facebook page to see what's happening.
Getting there on MBTA: Silver Line/World Trade Center stop
Open: Seasonally - usually from late spring through late fall
Where to Stay: Seaport and Fort Point Hotels
Visiting Seaport or Fort Point in the South Boston Waterfront neighborhood? Stay in a nearby hotel, such as the stylish Westin Waterfront Hotel:
More top hotels near the South Boston Waterfront:
More to Do in the South Boston Waterfront Neighborhood
- Walk along Harborwalk, the public access waterway stretching along Fort Point Channel and Boston Harbor as a starting point for exploring the neighborhood
- Visit the Fallen Heroes Memorial, a soaring 50 foot high obelisk in Seaport Park (Seaport Blvd) honoring all Massachusetts service members who died while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 - More about this and other Boston war memorials
- Drool over new models at the huge New England Auto Show, held each year in mid-January (check our January Calendar for exact dates and more info) at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
- Visit the enormous and treasure-packed Boston Design Center near CruisePort (yes, you can do this even if you're not a professional designer!)
More to See & Do in Boston
More Articles Related to South Boston Waterfront
- More Boston Neighborhoods - Find more neighborhoods to explore
- Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion - Get concert schedule
- Water Taxis - The fastest way to get around Boston's waterfront
- Hop On Hop Off Trolleys - With convenient stops in Beacon Hill, these trolleys give you a great way to see Boston, including the South Boston Waterfront
- Check out other nearby neighborhoods - Back Bay and Historic Downtown