Neighborhood Guide - East Boston: Boston, MA
Getting to know East Boston: Boston, MA
Getting to know East Boston – From talking about the different neighborhoods that make up East Boston and what they have to offer from restaurants to schools to parks.
The Story of East Boston Continued...
More and more people are being drawn to East Boston and it isn’t just because of its convenient access to downtown Boston, the highways and airport! East Boston is home to 45,000 people and has been going through a transformation as a development boom has taken hold with people discovering the exceptional value East Boston offers. Currently just over 50% of the population is of Hispanic decent with the second largest being the white population at a hair under 37%.
When I purchased my first home, I chose East Boston because of the convenience and the affordability. I felt it would be one of the next up and coming areas of Boston. What I didn’t realize when I purchased my first home was that East Boston offered so much more than just convenience and affordability.
East Boston is made up of three neighborhoods, Jeffries Point, Orient Heights and Eagle Hill. It is serviced by the Blue Line T with 4 stops as well as the Silver Line that goes into Chelsea. Now for the record, the Silver Line isn’t a train line. They call it a Rapid Bus Transit… It’s a Bus. There are also a lot of normal bus routes that run through East Boston for residents to take. A breakdown of the neighborhoods and what they have to offer is coming shortly… So hang tight.
If it is parks that you like, then East Boston has you covered. The largest park is Belle Isle Marsh which is 360 acres and is Boston’s last remaining salt marsh which offers landscaped hiking paths, benches and an observation tower. George, my Saint Bernard and I used to love walking this park! This park is in Orient Heights and is bordered by Winthrop and Revere.
Then there is Piers Park which would probably be considered East Boston’s crown jewel park. This has to be one of Boston’s best and most beautiful parks. It is a beautifully landscaped park that provides direct access to the waterfront and some of the most spectacular views of Downtown Boston and its inner harbor. Piers Park sports a promenade, two pavilions that provide a view of the city, an amphitheater, an outdoor fitness center and a large playground with a spray feature. There is even a Sailing Center at Piers Park that offers membership to a variety of sailboats.
While there are many other additional parks, I feel that honorable mentions are the East Boston Memorial Park and the Bremen Street Community Park which has the East Boston Greenway passing through it. The East Boston Greenway spans 2.8 miles from Piers Park to Constitution Beach.
Oh yes, Constitution Beach… Neighborhoods and Restaurants are next… But I can’t forget to mention Constitution Beach or as the locals call it “Shays Beach”. Constitution Beach is located in Orient Heights. The beach is staffed with lifeguards in the Summer and has a bathhouse with concessions, a large playground and even Tennis Courts. Personally, I have never been there. The beaches at Revere and Winthrop tend to overshadow Constitution Beach… I personally found myself in Winthrop if I was headed to the beach.
Restaurants… Locals would be remised if you mentioned Restaurants in East Boston and didn’t say anything about Santarpios. But I won’t lie… I always felt it was over rated. Restaurants that are in East Boston and that have been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives are: Rino’s Place and Angela’s Café. For the Santarpios faithful… I will point out how they haven’t been on the show. Just saying! And there are many other awesome local restaurant spots throughout the neighborhood that are work taking a look at.
As I mentioned there are three neighborhoods in East Boston. We have Jeffries Point, Orient Heights, Eagle Hill and Central Square. Few things are more important in a neighborhood then schools which I will talk about shortly, so hang with me. Housing types consist of Single-Family homes, Multi-Family properties as well as Condos. Most condos are from 2 or 3 family properties being condo converted over the years, however we have started to see quite a few large condo developments as East Boston has become more and more of an investor’s paradise.
Sorry, but two second sidetrack on the neighborhoods as the history of East Boston makes a difference. East Boston used to be 5 individual islands that were filled in over the years. Eagle Hill was the largest Island with Jeffries Point as the second largest. These hills in the neighborhoods used to be a lot more prominent, but they were used to fill in part of what is now the rest of the neighborhood. The US Army built what is today Logan Airport in 1923 and the first commercial plane touched down in 1927 from New York.
Back to neighborhoods. Jeffries Point is the most expensive neighborhood of East Boston. Jeffries Point looks over the harbor and has some of the most stunning views you will ever see of the Boston Skyline. Over the last couple years, we have seen a lot of young professionals be lured to this neighborhood because of the quick commute to downtown Boston and its relative affordability when compared to other parts of Boston.
The Eagle Hill neighborhood is bound roughly by Princeton Street and Chelsea Street and then on two sides by the Harbor. Most of its housing stock dates back to the 1800s Being one of the oldest neighborhoods in East Boston. Heck, my house is considered nearly New Construction as it was built in 1902! The majority of the housing in Eagle Hill is Single, two and three family homes. The neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The negative about Eagle Hill is that the Blue Line T is a little bit of a hike and there are no buses that run through the interior of the neighborhood.
The Orient Heights Neighborhood is the most northern neighborhood that borders Revere and Winthrop. Most of Orient Heights sits on top of a hill which you can’t miss as you are driving on Route 1. Like the other neighborhoods, you will find mostly single family and 2 to 3 family properties that have been condo converted. This neighborhood has seen a lot of development as of late and it will be home to much more in the future. It also borders the Suffok Downs site which hang around as I am going to talk more about that HUGE development momentarily. I mentioned Constitution Beach earlier, but Orient Heights is also home to Noyes Playground which is 8.31 acres of playing fields and walking paths.
There are 8 public schools in East Boston. 1 High School, 2 Middle Schools and 5 Elementary Schools. One of the great things about the East Boston School Neighborhood is that every child in the neighborhood is guaranteed a seat at an East Boston school due to its geography. This is not the case for other towns around Boston! Excel Academy Charter School is a Middle School that is also in East Boston. This school is currently ranked #688 in the country for best schools, 134th best Charter School in the Country and the 25th in the state by USNews.
With a Walkscore of 84, East Boston isn’t considered the most walkable neighborhood in Boston. Don’t let that full you in regards to its convenience though. A person living in East Boston is in the Financial District within 20 minutes from the furthest stop on the Blue Line. If you are jumping on the Blue Line from the Maverick stop then it would take you a mere 5 minutes. The Blue Line takes residents to four stops in Boston Center at Aquarium, State Street, Government Center and Bowdoin. You can transfer to the Orange Line at State Street and to the Green Line at Government Center.
Other commuting options is the MBTA ferry which would be a pretty awesome way to get to work everyday… And residents can also get to downtown Boston by the Sumner tunnel or on Mass Pike through the Ted Williams Tunnel.
One thing I wanted to mention is a common misconception that airline noise is bad in East Boston. HUGE myth. The flow of airplane traffic is dependent upon weather, but I would say the majority of traffic comes over South Boston, Winthrop and Revere. The only runway that aligns with East Boston is runway 33L and 15R which I found was rarely used and aligns to a very small outer section of Eagle Hill.
East Boston has been home to a lot of development as of late and I am confident this development binge will continue. But its hard to talk about East Boston and not discuss Suffolk Downs and this development. I was against the casino when it was proposed for East Boston… So frankly anything but a casino there makes me happy. The development is planned for 10.5 million square feet that will be on approximately 109 acres. The multi-phased proposal includes a new mixed-use neighborhood, a 40 acre publicly accessible open space system which is awesome and two retail squares at Suffolk Downs and Beachmont stations. In the end, I personally think this will be a big plus for the area as it will better link East Boston and Revere.
There are many 20 to 100 unit plus developments in the planning, approved and construction phases. I figure it best to just put a link below of all new construction in East Boston that will stay up to date in the description as information will quickly become out of date otherwise!
East Boston is a great neighborhood of Boston. Many have started comparing East Boston to Boston as the equivalent of Brooklyn to Manhattan. There are definitely some similarities. If you are looking to learn more about Boston and the other neighborhoods that Boston has to offer then be sure to check out our other neighborhood profiles.
- Boston Neighborhoods: The Differences and What they offer
- Getting to know South Boston: Discovering the neighborhoods within Southie
If you are thinking about buying or selling an East Boston home and looking for an East Boston Realtor then we would love the opportunity to chat.