Strolling through parts of the South End can feel like taking a step back in time. After all, it has one of the largest urban Victorian neighborhoods in the country. Here, brick townhouses surround charming English-style squares—just as envisioned in the mid 1800s by its original architect Charles Bulfinch. But the mood is anything but stodgy. With young families, trendy eateries, new glass towers and lots of green space, the South End offers the best of 21st century Boston.
The South End Real Estate Market
The South End was originally built as a locale for wealthy Victorians—a beautiful neighborhood of connected brick rowhouses set around elegant little iron-fenced parks. A success at the time, it boasted “good bones” and great craftsmanship.
But over 150 years, economic ups and downs affected the South End. Its quality became hidden beneath lowered ceilings, divided rooms and genteel neglect. It was ready for the serious restoration which began in the late 1970s. Led by visionary residents, the South End shook off its shabbiness and came back to vivid life.
Now, high-end condos have long since replaced rooming houses. “Gut rehabs” have restored lofty ceilings and striking bow windows. But there’s more to discover here than brownstones, including newly-developed luxury towers by Harrison and Washington. If any neighborhood in Boston can claim to have something for everyone, it’s certainly the South End.
Bordered by the Back Bay, Chinatown and Roxbury, the South End offers all the variety and fascination of any lively urban center. The first thing to know: This is a real, human-scale neighborhood—less commercial than Back Bay and much leafier, with nearly 30 parks and great outdoor spaces, public and private. It’s diverse and welcoming, from its sizable gay community to its Hispanic and immigrant populations. Young professionals starting out, families with kids, dogwalkers, old timers and newbies, all feel at home here.
Of course, woven into that livability is some of the best entertainment and shopping in Boston. There’s no growing bored in this cultural hub. The Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) supports four resident arts organizations and theater companies here, while its massive brick Cyclorama (on the National Register of Historic Places) is a venue for art shows, public events and private functions. There are plenty of smaller galleries to discover too, close to trendy boutiques of all kinds. And there’s the food. In the South End, nationally-famous restaurants, casual outdoor patios and local food trucks are all there for the tasting. Just throw on some comfortable shoes and start walking. You never know what you’ll find tucked in among the stunning brownstones and tracery fencing.
Is Now A Good Time To Buy In The South End?
The storied South End has been rising in value for over 30 years, and that story is far from finished. With all it has to offer, prices today in the South End are catching up to those in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill, historically the more valuable neighborhoods.