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Ultimate Guide To Seaport District Boston

The History of the Boston Seaport District & Fort Point Channel Neighborhood 

Feeding into the harbor, Fort Point Channel is a waterway separating South Boston from downtown. The channel and neighborhood of the same name are the centerpieces of Boston’s revitalized waterfront. Encompassing more than 100 acres, this historic community has scenic views, museums, shops and eateries as well as easy access to other areas of Boston. Repurposed turn-of-the-century warehouses have been transformed into one of New England’s largest artist communities featuring a variety of galleries. The Fort Point Channel neighborhood is bordered by the waterway on the west, Summer Street to the north and West 2nd Street to the south as well as Bypass Road to the east.

Seaport District’s Place in History

The Seaport District has a significant place in American history as it was the site of the Boston Tea Party. In the 1830s, the neighborhood’s wharfs and warehouses stored vast quantities of sugar and molasses as well as items used in the local shipbuilding trade. With the decline of manufacturing in the 20th century, artists took over many of the dilapidated buildings and turned the spaces into studio lofts and design spaces. The area is now a thriving commercial and residential community. This neighborhood also has a place in pop culture. Several scenes from the 2006 movie “The Departed” were filmed in the Seaport District.

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

Chronicling the Patriots’ 1773 act of defiance against British rule, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is an interactive experience that has been voted one of the best family attractions in the city. The multimedia displays, knowledgeable Historical Interpreters and hands-on exhibits that allow visitors to experience one of the most significant events in American history. See the Robinson Half Chest, one of only two tea chests known to survive that historic night. Learn the events leading up to the evening of December 16 when the Sons of Liberty, loosely disguised as Mohawk Indians, engaged in the brazen act of hurling tea overboard into Boston Harbor. Set your own course through history as you climb aboard and explore the 18th century sailing vessels. And join the Sons and Daughters of Liberty in solidarity as you destroy the tea!

4 Other Seaport District Attractions

  1. Boston Children’s Museum
    Founded in 1913, the Boston Children’s Museum is the country’s second oldest institution of its kind. Housed in a repurposed industrial building, the attraction offers a wide range of hands-on, multimedia exhibits and activities for children of all ages. Winning the 2015 Children in Museums Award for Lifetime Achievement, the facility is a haven for exploration, learning and discovery. It offers innovative and educational exhibits that make it fun to learn about art, culture and science. Exhibits include the authentic Japanese House, a three-story climbing structure and a stage where children can participate in their own production. Located outside is the iconic 40-foot tall Hood Milk Bottle that serves as a refreshment stand.
  2. Boston Fire Museum
    Housed in the historic Congress Street Fire Station, the Boston Fire Museum commemorates the men and women who have fought blazes around the city since 1678. The museum preserves and displays various memorabilia associated with one of the oldest fire departments in the country, including antique firefighting apparatus like a hand-drawn pumper and ladder truck. There are also displays of fire alarm systems and personal equipment used by firefighters, such as helmets, gloves and breathing apparatus. Built in 1891, the Romanesque-style building with its granite, brick and red tile façade was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
  3. Institute of Contemporary Art
    The Institute of Contemporary Art is noted for the architecture of its building as much as it is for its art collection. Designed by Diller, Scofidio and Renfro, the building features a cantilevered glass exterior with sharp angles that contrasts the 18th-century brick warehouses nearby. Known as ICA Boston, the museum hosts a range of events. Catch films, presentations and performances as well as exhibits by established and emerging contemporary artists from around the world. The museum has showcased works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg.
  4. Seaport District Waterfront Restaurants 
    The Seaport District has a burgeoning food and music scene with the choice of brewpubs as well as casual and fine dining restaurants serving a variety of fare. For the true Boston treatment, enjoy a bowl of New England clam chowder and live entertainment at the Barking Crab. For travelers looking to take in the views of Boston Harbor, take advantage of the outdoor seating at the Daily Catch. And for a unique experience, head to Trillium Brewing Company for a specialty beer or discover a Boston hidden gem at Lucky’s Tavern. Tucked away in the basement of a nondescript brick building, Lucky’s Tavern is a local hideaway that draws buttoned-downed bankers and cool hipsters who enjoy music, drinks and the glamour of the Rat Pack. Whether you want street food, upscale cuisine or just a quick drink in a hole-in-the-wall bar, you will find it in the Seaport District.


Seaport District Annual Events

Each June, Children’s Wharf Park and Boston HarborWalk are the setting for the annual “Taste of Fort Point” festival. Enjoy live music and entertaining street performers as you sample free delicacies from many of the community’s restaurants.

ICA Boston is the setting for “HarborWalk Sounds”, a series of outdoor summer concerts held on Thursdays in July. The concerts feature a variety of local artists and musical genres, including reggae, rock, jazz and classical.

The local arts community presents Fort Point Open Studios each October. Many of the waterfront neighborhood’s artists open their homes and studios so that visitors can view their work in a variety of media. The showcase includes paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography and performance art.

Fort Point Holiday Stroll is an annual event where shoppers have the opportunity to find one-of-a-kind items and meet the artisans who created them. The event includes many of the neighborhoods, shops, boutiques and galleries.

Annually on December 16, gather at the Old South Meeting House for a stirring re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party. Hear the rousing speeches that inspired the Sons of Liberty to take action, follow the crowd to “Griffin’s Wharf” at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Watch the intrepid colonists climb aboard the brig Beaver and toss tea overboard.

Getting to The Seaport District

Reach the Seaport District attractions by way of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s subway system, known locally as the “T.” The nearest T stop is South Station on the Red Line. There are also multiple stops along the Silver Line, including Court House and World Trade. The Seaport District is a quick walk from Boston’s Financial District, Faneuil Hall, and other downtown locations.

Those arriving by train at South Station should exit on the Summer Street side of the depot. Located approximately 75 feet to the right is a MBTA bus shelter for the Seaport District Loop. The bus route passes through Fort Point Channel and stops at various attractions within the community.

The Seaport District has several parking garages in the general vicinity. Parking fees will be in the range of $20-40 for the day. It’s suggested you leave your car at the hotel or park in one place for the day to avoid any further fees.

Or get there aboard the Old Town Trolley, recognized as Boston’s best sightseeing tour. This hop-on, hop-off tour offers a delightful combination of transportation, sightseeing and behind-the-scenes narration of little known Boston facts. You can avoid costly parking and city driving while exploring the Cradle of Liberty at your own pace.


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