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South Boston area

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Saint Paul...
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South Boston area

I had a friend recently tell me that South Boston is a rough area. Then someone else said that it had been fixed up and is really nice area to stay in. Could someone let me know what to expect when I am staying there in late July.

Cambridge, MA
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1. Re: South Boston area

That there's even so much as a B & B in South Boston is news to me. Are you sure you don't mean the South End? Everybody confuses the two.

South Boston has some famous Revolutionary War sites like Dorchester Heights and Castle Island, but is most notorious for the anti-busing riots of the '70s. It's still an ethnic stronghold, though not only Irish-American as many believe, but has gone through considerable gentrification in the past ten years. A lot of the old warehouses in the Lower End are now condos and loft apartments, and many of the rowhouses and apartment houses farther out Broadway are also being upgraded. Lately the biggest skirmish is over all the old-time neighborhood taverns that are installing big windows which stay open during business hours in place of what were once blank walls. The "roughness" of the neighborhood is relative to what you look like and how far east you go. The Lower End's public-housing developments now have an extremely diverse mix of residents and in recent times there've been relatively few problems. But the more towards City Point you go, the reception is best if you're Caucasian and make clear that you're not looking to buy somebody out of their home.

The South End had a 25-year head start on South Boston as far as redevelopment goes. Many of its longtime citizens - and a considerable percentage of its nonwhite population - have been pushed to fringe areas or out of that section of town entirely. Its main arteries - Columbus, Tremont, and Washington - are flanked by of-the-moment shops and restaurants to be seen in. The side streets are lined with mature trees and well-renovated brick rowhouses. At night there's a small degree of riskiness that's in effect everywhere you have wealth being flaunted in close proximity to have-nots. But it's fine during the daytime and evening; at later hours a little bit of street sense is all you need to stay secure.

A handful of B & B/inn-type places are in the South End, so my hunch is that you'll be staying in one of them or perhaps the Chandler Inn hotel. The closest lodging establishments to South Boston that I'm aware of are a couple of chain motels which are on the far side of I-93 and more towards Dorchester.

Boston
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2. Re: South Boston area

Where in S.Boston are you staying? I visit S.Boston rather frequantly and can add some insight but location makes all the difference....

I'm going to assume that you're staying at a hotel on the waterfront? If so, it's a nice area that's still in the process of redevelopemnt with new buildings still going up (convention center just opened there and office buildings & high-end condos are still going up). This is not the residential area of S.Boston & pedistrians are typically tourest & business workers going to/from work. The down side to this area is that it's away from downtown & many of the attractions you may want to visit. If you're not renting a car there is public transportation....

Cambridge, MA
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3. Re: South Boston area

Glad you said that, Yoda; I totally disassociate the waterfront area from "Southie" but in many minds (and on many maps) it's seen as part of that neighborhood. Our thread originator could well be staying at the Seaport Hotel, which is great for access to the World Trade Center and the gigantic new expo hall but not so close to anything else - even in South Boston. At least now the Silver Line bus is operaating all the way to the airport so that it's not a "bus to nowhere" with next to no passengers any more. Seaport guests can take advantage of having one of its stations practically at the front door for a quick ride to South Station and the Red Line and commuter rail there. The big concert pavilion is also a quick and easy walk away, and the Fort Point Channel area is getting more life at night all the time.

Saint Paul...
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4. Re: South Boston area

Thanks all who are helping me out here. I am staying at the New Courtyard by Marriott that is off of Dorchester Ave and South Boston Bypass RD. It looks like it is on the Red Line of the T, 2 stops south of the Common. Broadway Stop I beleive is to the north of where we are staying. Does that help out at all? Thanks all for your time.

Cambridge, MA
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5. Re: South Boston area

Wow, that must be a brand-new hotel, never heard of it! And I'm hard-pressed to think of where there might've been space found to put one :D

The intersection of Broadway and Dorchester Ave ("Dot Ave") is one of the main gateways to South Boston. Broadway Station is at that corner, one stop away from South Station and two from Downtown Crossing. There are also buses westbound on Broadway that can whisk you to Park Plaza, the South End, and Copley Square in a heartbeat.

Amrhein's is a neighborhood restaurant which has been around for almost (maybe more than) a hundred years. It's beloved by Southie residents past and present and many more people too. I can't offer a personal rating on it, but it's a "casual upscale" sort of steak and lobster place a block east of Dot Ave along Broadway. After a long day of shopping or sightseeing or whatever, having a decent and filling supper that close to where you're staying could be just the ticket.

Boston
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6. Re: South Boston area

I think this is where the old HoJo's was. Next to the Fortress building, by South Bay shopping plaza.

Littleton, Colorado
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7. Re: South Boston area

I have to throw my two cents in here because this is my old 'hood and I'm always curious what's going on there...

According to the driving directions on Marriott Courtyard website, it appears that this new hotel is where the old HoJo's (and more recently, Holiday Inn Express) was next to South Bay, although the map on their website is completely wrong (TAKE NOTE!) The hotel is right on I-93, better known locally as the Southeast Expressway - not a choice location, so I hope the rate is right! But it is within short walking distance of the Red Line T stop, Andrew Square (I hope it's not as dank and smelly as it was when I used it daily going to school!) There is also a GREAT restaurant close by called 224 Boston (at 224 Boston Street, doh!) If you're up for an interesting experience, it would only be about a 15-minute walk to Carson Beach, one of the great urban beaches in the world (hey, I learned how to swim in Boston Harbor and I survived!)

The hotel is not the heart of good ol' Irish Southie, but it's close enough. I'm sure you're not travelling to this part of the world just for the Southie experience, but if the price is right, you'll do all right!

Boston
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8. Re: South Boston area

The Courtyard is actually a brand new building directly behind the old HoJo's which is now a Holiday Inn Express - it's a commercial/industrial area. It's next to a new shopping center with a Target, Home Depot, Old Navy, Supermarket and some other stores. It's very close to the highway and about 1/2 mile from the Andrew Square T station. Good Luck

Cambridge, MA
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9. Re: South Boston area

Yow, the reference to Dot Ave threw me off completely - thanks, everybody, for chiming in on this one! Am also glad to see "224 Boston St" mentioned; that's a great place to eat if a long wait for a table isn't an issue.

Andrew and Broadway Stations aren't pits any more; they were completely overhauled in recent years and the T keeps them "spanking clean." The bus station at Andrew has had a makeover too.

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10. Re: South Boston area

I'm a Southie girl myself, and wanted to give my two cents. Southie is NOTHING like it used to be -- it's now filled with yuppie types and luxury condos, especially on the west side where the government housing is. I think a lot of the old time natives were refusing to sell their homes to non-Irish folks, so it was less bombarded by the redevelopment. However, where you're staying, you're kind of on the Southie/Dorchester line. It's more likely you'll encounter bus fulls of black folk around there than the Irish types you would expect from southie -- there is also a polish organization around there, so you'll see a bunch of them too.

Broadway and Andrew have definitely cleaned up, though you will still likely see the occasional vagrant lying passed out the benches. They're harmless though, and generally just want to be left alone.

224 Boston is indeed a good restaurant, if a little cramped and slightly overpriced. I enjoy the atmosphere though, and would recommend it if you're staying in the old HoJos. It's either that or the Bickfords in the South Bay Mall!