The Boston South End trek, a 3 miles self-guided tour to discover the South End, its Victorian-style houses, its art galleries and its countless public parks and communal gardens, will take you about 2 hours to complete.

You’ll walk through historic streets, discover an European style cathedral, visit artists’ studios and get an idea of what the locals are growing in their small gardens (photos and details under the map)

Highlights: the New England Conservatory, rows of historic 5-storey red brick buildings, sidewalks with uneven surfaces, St Croix Cathedral,  the Cyclorama, parks and gardens, contemporary art galleries

A & B: Like for the Longwood/Fenway trek, you start at the Symphony T.stop; this time, however, take Huntington Ave to reach Gainsborough St on your left.  You’ll find there Jordan Hall, your first stop; it’s a perfect acoustic concert hall, listed as a historic monument.

It’s also the main concert hall of the New England Conservatory. Ask the guards at the entrance if you can go and visit it, they ‘ll probably let you enter; you may even hear students rehearsing  on stage.

Next, continue on Gainsborough St; take a pedestrian bridge over the railroad to enter the South End. You’ll soon see a communal garden;  it’s going to be the first of a long list; the South End is known, among other things, for its gardens and its parks

Turn left into this park and once on Northampton St, turn right to get to Columbus Ave. You’ll be in front of Darryl’s Corner, a restaurant and jazz place. A little further, at the corner of Columbus and Mass Ave, you ‘ll find Wally’s Cafe at # 427, another jazz club; it is a tiny one but always crowded,  welcoming students and locals for intimate concerts during the evenings.

C: Continue on Columbus Ave to East Springfield St.; take it on your right. You are now in the historical part of the South End: rows of Victorian houses and brick pavements raised by roots of trees.

Take the first alley on your left, Alley 516, to reach Worcester St. It’s a similar street where you’ll turn right to see other gardens.

D: From there, several choices to reach the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, your next stop: the route indicated on the map is one possibility among many others; all the small streets of the district have their own charm.

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the largest catholic cathedral in New England, could be coming directly from Europe. Its imposing interior gives way to more intimate chapels at its far end, including the one on the left with its warm and attractive light.

After exploring the place, take Union Park St on your right to go to Harrison Ave. You’ll be in the SOWA, for “South Of Washington Ave” district, a set of old pianos, shoes and canning factories transformed into residential buildings in the 2000s. It’s known for its restaurants and galleries.

E: At Thayer St, on your right, you will find a way to thgese galleries and many artists’ studios. Every Sunday in season, there ‘s a fruits and vegetables market and another one dedicated to arts and crafts.

F: When Harrison St joins East Berkeley St, turn left to Shawmut Ave. Once there, you’ll see another garden facing you. Turn right in front of it to find Milford St on your left; then reach Tremont St.

G: In front of you, the Cyclorama, a building now run by the Boston Art Center. Originally, it was a place where you could admire a cyclorama from the Battle of Gettysburg; it was later converted into a carousel; a cycling track; a boxing room; then an industrial area. Go and see its dome, one of the biggest in the country; imagine what it has seen over the years.

H: Get out on Tremont; depending on your preferences, stay on this avenue or take a series of small streets as indicated on the map to go to Warren Ave. From there, find Rutlang Sq, a street cut in the middle by a minuscule park. It is carefully maintained and decorated by a local association, and lined with rows of red brick houses (the driveway you see on your left in Pembroke St actually joined Rutlang Sq directly,  but it’s not indicated as such on the map)

 I: Stay on Rutlang Sq, direction Symphony, until you get to a the pathway interspersed with flower beds. Take it on your left to reach Mass Ave and the T.stop of the same name. Push a little further and you’ll come back to your starting point. It will also be the start of the Longwood & Fenway trek.

Good to know: you’ll find toilets in the New England Conservatory, the Holy Cross Cathedral, the art galleries and the Cyclorama; places to sit in the parks. For dining, Harrison St and Tremont St are renowned for their restaurants, but you will find cheaper options near your starting point.

T.stops: Symphony (start) and Mass Ave or Symphony (end)

Tips for the scout: they are welcome, see suggestions at the bottom of the page. Thanks in advance for your contribution!

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