A 2 miles trek, mainly outdoor except if you go shopping, 2 to many more hours if you visit the stores, to explore three different parts of Boston and have a chance to find clothes and accessories if you did not buy what Urban Trekking recommended!

There will be authentic Asian restaurants in Chinatown, deals to get on busy Washington Street, and skyscraper to admire in the Financial District (details and photos under the map)

Highlights: Leather district, Chinatown, Downtown Crossing, the Old City Hall, the Old South Meeting House, the Post Office square, the Irish Famine Memorial, the China Trade Center.

A: Your trek starts at South Station, described in details in the Fortpoint/Seaport trek if you want to expore it now.

From there, turn left on Atlantic Ave to enter the Leather District with its 19th century brick warehouses. They housed the leather industry in previous time, hence the name of the area. You’ll now find there various shops, and you’ll see that you’re not far from Chinatown once you’re on Beach St.

B: Chinatown is over Albany St. On the left of its entrance gate, you’ll see a small park with bamboos and fountains. On the left this and a bit further, on Hudson St, retired men often play cards  in a public square with tables and benches, and it’s like you were suddenly in Asia.

To pursue your exploration, you have the choice to stay on Beach St. or to take the adjacent streets until you reach Washington St. In any case, you’ll see many restaurants, bakeries, jewelers, gift shops and at least on Knapp St., a supermarket where you’ll find Asian products you cannot easily find anywhere else. Make the best of them.

C: Once on Washington St., the China Trade Center will be on your left, at 2 Boylston St. You’ll be able to read, once in the basement and in front of the Chinese Historical Society of New England, everything you want to know about the different waves of Chinese immigration.

D: Next, keep going toward Bosworth St, a small alley ending with a staircase that will perhaps remind you of Europe. You’ll see many interesting façades on your way, most of them renovated a few years ago when Downtown Crossing experienced a much needed uplifting. In order of apparition, the art deco Paramount Theater, and next to it, the historical Boston Opera House. Further north, just after Macy’s,  the façade and clock of Filene’s, a now defunct department store. Macy’s and Filene’s were for years the competitors and anchors of the area, where everyone was going and look for the latest fashion. Where Filene’s was now stands the Millenium tower with luxury apartments and on its first floors, a new fast fashion department store. Not far, two other department stores await your patronage, as well as  smaller clothes and shoes stores. That makes Washington St a shopping magnet for brand names clothes and accessories, at often reduced prices.

E: After all this shops, Bromfield St then Province St will offer you a respite: there are only small shops there, dealing with antiques coins or shoe repairs, like nothing had changed since they opened.

When you reach School St, you’ll nearly be in front of the Old City Hall, an historical building now hosting an upmarket steakhouse with a donkey sculpture on one side and an old cemetery on the other.

F: Next, take School St on your right to reach a small plaza with the Irish Famine Memorial at its center and in front of it, the Old South Meeting House, the original site of the Boston Tea Party. There are often a fruit and vegetable stand next to it, as well as an used books stand. These stands are both on Milk St., and you’ll have to stay on this street until Devonshire St. where you will turn right.

G: You are now in the Financial District and it’s time to admire skyscrapers from the pavement. At the Post Office square that you’ll reach by turning left on Franklin St., you’ll be able to see them from a distance, sat on benches amid trees or at a small café outdoor terrace.

H: After this detour, retrace your steps on Franklin St. and take Federal St. on your left. If you go straight on, you’ll reach South Station, but you can also veer right then left then right then left again and finally reach Essex St from where you’ll be able to see South Station. It’s a detour to explore the area more in depth.

If you want to do keep going once you are at South Station, you can take the Fortpoint Seaport trek to cross the Fort point channel, see the skyscrapers from a distance, and discover more secret and not so secret places in the city.

Good to know: There are restrooms in South Station, in the department stores, and at the entrance of the parking under the Post Office Plaza (take the escalator that goes down). Food options are plentiful along your way, and you’ll find benches in the different parks of this trek

T-stop: South Station (start and end)

 

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