The TD Garden, where all the senior events of the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships will be held, is adjacent to Boston’s oldest and liveliest neighborhood, the North End. A very short walk from the Garden puts you in the midst of winding streets, Italian bakeries and restaurants and famous historical sites. Stick to exploring on foot; parking in the area is extremely limited.
The North End has been a residential community since the mid-17th century. Famous inhabitants over the years have included Paul Revere, whose house at 19 North Square is now a museum. At 193 Salem Street you will find The Old North Church, which was home of the “One if by land, two if by sea” beacon on the night of April 18, 1775.
The Freedom Trail, a red brick path connecting many of Boston’s historic sites, winds its way through the North End on its way to Charlestown, where it terminates at the U.S.S. Constitution, “Old Ironsides.” This three-masted frigate, the pride of the young U.S. Navy in the War of 1812, is the world’s oldest commissioned vessel still afloat. The ship is open for free tours in the winter, Thursday through Sunday from 10 AM– 4 PM.
For the past hundred years, the North End has been Boston’s Italian district. The Prince Macaroni Company, makers of Prince Pasta, was founded here in 1912, at 92 Prince Street. Today, the neighborhood is stuffed with Italian restaurants, bakeries, delis, and night spots. The following are recommended by aficionados:
Bricco – 241 Hanover Street. Contemporary Italian, lunch and dinner
Limoncello – 190 North Street.
Il Panino – 11 Parmenter Street – lunch and dinner, beer and wine
Rosticcera Umberto – 289 Hanover Street – Inexpensive pizza. Lunch only, 10:45 – 2:30
Panino Express – 264 Hanover Street. Lunch or dinner. Pasta, pizza, salads. Quick, inexpensive, no alcohol served.
Waterfront Café – 450 Commercial Street. $7 submarine sandwiches.
Ernesto’s – 69 Salem Street. You can get a huge slice of good pizza for $4.
Neptune Oyster House – limited seating and expensive, excellent seafood.
Be warned that you’ll find long lines at breakfast places in the North End. A couple of good breakfast places, if you have time, are:
American Joe’s on Commercial Street on the waterfront. Good breakfasts, and good Bloody Marys.
North Street Grill – 229 North Street. Usually very busy.
Caffe dello Sport – 308 Hanover Street
Caffe Paradiso – 255 Hanover Street. Sandwiches, pastries, cannoli
Bricco Panettiera – 241 Hanover Street. Very good bread
Parziale – 80 Prince Street, near the Old North Church – a local landmark, it has been there for 100 years.
A local tells us: “You can buy pastries anywhere in the North End, and you can’t go wrong.”
Salumeria Italiana – 151 Richmond Street. Cheese, olive oil, vinegar, pasta imported from Italy
The Golden Goose – 179 Commercial Street.
There are several good sports bars near the Garden, including the Harp on Causeway Street, the Greatest Bar on Friend Street, and Grand Canal on Canal Street. The Harp and the Greatest Bar have live music on Saturday nights.
The North Star – 222 Friend Street across from the Garden. Also serves lunch.
Bricco, mentioned above, has a nice back bar, and expensive, top-notch food. It’s good for early drinks and great appetizers. The back bar is a good place for late-night drinks.
For very late-night food, try Café Pompei on Hanover Street. That’s where Boston goes on Saturday nights for pizza, etc., until 4 AM. No alcohol is served after 2 AM; last call in Boston is 1:45 AM.