Monday, April 14, 2014

Boston Neighborhoods: Beacon Hill

Today, Emily Mahlman is here to tell us a little about Beacon Hill, the most charming of all Boston neighborhoods! No matter which season of the year, Beacon Hill is always beautiful and has so many adorable little corners to be explored.

Greetings from Beacon Hill! I am the gal behind The Great Wide Open blog. Each week I try a new job or activity on the search for my next passion in life, and then I share the experience with you! Some of my adventures take place right in my neighborhood.

I moved to Beacon Hill just over year ago, and have loved every minute of it. While you have likely passed through the hood, you may now know its rich history. Beacon Hill, only one square mile big, is one of Boston’s oldest communities, and many noteworthy writers, in addition to me (just kidding), have called The Hill home, including Robert Frost and Sylvia Plath.

what to see
Spring is right around the corner (we hope), but winter, and all the snow it brought us, turns Beacon Hill into a photographer’s wonderland. Take a stroll up any street from Charles and enjoy the quaint, narrow blocks and alleyways made more picturesque by a light coating of snow. My favorite is Acorn Street.

Acorn Street in the winter

In the winter Boston Common is a great sledding spot, and in the summer Shakespeare takes center stage, along with a poignant celebration of Memorial Day. One of our nation's great urban parks, in my opinion, the Common also turns into an informal gathering place for area dog owners around 5:30 each day.

Boston Common

I’m a runner, and THE place to run in Boston is steps from Beacon Hill. While Storrow Drive is the formal border of Beacon Hill, residents claim the Charles River as our own. The Esplanade is great for walking, running, playground outings with the kiddos, plus rowing and sailing.

Charles River

where to eat
Both Charles and Cambridge Streets are lined with spots—small, large, elegant and holes in the wall—for you to eat and drink. Here are just a few of my favorites: The Paramount is easily identifiable by the line stretching down Charles Street made up of people waiting to get a table for brunch (if you don’t have time to wait, call in a take-out order and find a comfy bench in the Public Garden). One of the last Upper Crust is still open at just down Charles between Mt. Vernon and Chestnut. If you round Charles Street and head up Cambridge Street you pass Fin’s, which is solid sushi, but almost more importantly, it has the most genuinely nice staffs I have ever encountered. For all the carnivores out there, The Tip Tap Room, the brainchild of chef Brian Poe, opened at Cambridge and Temple Streets in 2012.  It has an extensive menu of exotic meats, and in warmer months, the garage door-style windows open for one of the only (nearly) alfresco dining experiences in Beacon Hill.

where to shop
Charles Street does not lack for antique shops, so if you are looking for a vintage treasure, you will be in heaven. Flat of the Hill has an extensive selection of home décor, accessories and jewelry. If you dashing to a friend’s house for cocktails, it’s the place to find that perfect hostess: gift, candles, cocktail napkins, cookbooks and more. If a bottle of wine is more to your taste, then head into Beacon Hill Wine and Spirits on the corner of Charles and Mt. Vernon streets. I’m a regular (don’t judge, their friendly and knowledgeable staff doesn’t) of this tiny gem. But don’t let the size fool you; they have an amazing selection of wine, liquor and bubbly, and experts to help you choose the perfect bottle.

NRO, North River Outfitters, has a adult, children and "sport" locations nestled on the corners of Charles and Revere Streets. I love basically everything they sell: Barbour, Lilly, Tory, just to name a few. Plus, the staff is super nice. They even let me work with them for a day to see what retail is like. Wish and Moxie have the brands of women’s clothes, shoes and accessories that you would expect to see in Beacon Hill, and they are great, but Holiday is my favorite boutique on the street. It features a more curated collection of eclectic designers (Lauren Moffatt, Bell) along with vintage pieces, and their own vintage-inspired line. If you go, ask for Damon, he is amazing!


I hope you check out some of my favorite spots the next time you are in my neighborhood, and let me know if you find your own hidden gems!

Thank you so much, Emily! I am definitely trying a few of these eating spots soon, can't wait for my first alfresco dinner of the year! ;)

For addresses and working hours, click on the names of restaurants and shops and check back soon for more insider's tips of Boston neighborhoods!

all images by Emily Mahlman


  1. Great shot of Acorn Street, I've been wondering about Fins for a while, now its on my list. Thanks!

  2. Emily always has the best Instagram photos of the city!! Great round up; Upper Crust is a great pizza place and I am a fan of Paramount, too.

  3. Your post was very nicely written. I’ll be back in the future for sure!

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