The Outer Neighborhoods of Boston are four distinct neighborhoods that have been consolidated here for the visitor. These areas are a bit further from the city center and can take a little planning to investigate, but gems abound for the adventurous! Many Bostonians prize the residences in these areas for their suburban feel while remaining within city limits.
The southernmost neighborhood of Boston, Hyde Park is home to a diverse range of people, housing types and social groups. The area was established in the 1660s and grew into a hub of paper and cotton manufacturing in the eighteenth century. The extension of rail lines from Boston in the 1850s spurred the area's residential development.
Hyde Park was once home to the first all African-American army unit, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. They assembled and trained at Camp Meigs in Readville. The area would later briefly become a race track during dawn of the 20th century, before being used as an air combat testing facility during World War I. Today it is a series of light industrial buildings near the Neponset river.
Historically a section of neighboring Dorchester, Mattapan became a part of Boston when Dorchester was annexed in 1870. Predominantly residential, Mattapan is a mix of public housing, triple deckers, and single-family homes. Mattapan Square, where Blue Hill Avenue, River Street, and Cummins Highway meet, is the commercial heart of the neighborhood, home to banks, law offices, restaurants, and retail shops. Mattapan now has the largest Haitian community in Massachusetts, and is also largely made up of African Americans and immigrants from other Caribbean countries.
Roslindale is a primarily residential neighborhood six miles southwest of downtown Boston. It was part of Roxbury until it seceded in 1851. The town then voted in 1873 to be annexed to the City of Boston. Roslindale grew residentially as a classic streetcar suburb. Railways were built after the American Civil War, which spawned a new round of commercial development. In the 1920s, Roslindale Village took the shape it has today, with tree-lined Adams Park at its center.
That tree-lined park surrounded by local businesses remains attractive to Bostonians in the 21st century. This walkable area has become a haven for those priced out of JP and other areas affected by gentrification issues. Even here prices have seen dramatic rises in the early 2010s, and residents are working together to maintain the fabric of their community.
Founded in 1630, West Roxbury is nine miles from downtown Boston, and had been used as farm land by the then independent town of Roxbury. Seceding in 1851, West Roxbury was annexed by Boston in 1874. Due to this quirk of history, it's often confused with Roxbury, although the two are not connected and don't share a border.
This neighborhood's claim to fame is that it once played host to an experimental Utopian community during the mid-19th century. Called Brook Farm, members (like Nathaniel Hawthorne) were inspired by the ideals of Transcendentalism, a religious and cultural philosophy based in New England. The experiment was financially unsuccessful, although many members looked back on their experience positively. All of the buildings from this era have since been lost to fire, but the grounds are now a park and available for tours.
The car is the premiere way to get around in these neighborhoods. You will be further from the city center, so traffic and congestion will be (comparatively) less of an issue. On street parking is cheap and easy to find. Most attractions here are further apart and not well served by public transit. While not necessary, a car will make your life easier while here.
By public transit
Forest Hills station on the Orange line in Roslindale is the only option for direct rapid transit into the city. The next closest option is the Ashmont–Mattapan High Speed Line, a historic trolley and part of the Red line. The last stop on this line serves Mattapan. Used by locals daily, the current rolling stock was built at the end of World War II and is a tourist attraction for any train enthusiast.
Other than those two options, you're going to need to ride the commuter rail. For Hyde Park and Mattapan, take a train from South Station on the Fairmount, Franklin, or Providence/Stoughton lines. For Roslindale or West Roxbury get on the Needham line, also from South Station.
- 1 The Parish of Christ Church, 1220 River St (Hyde Park), ☏ .
- 2 Historic French’s Opera House (Riverside Theatre Works), 45 Fairmount Ave (Hyde Park), ☏ .
- 3 Theodore Parker Church, 1859 Centre St (West Roxbury), ☏ .
- 4 Westerly Burial Ground (Westerly Burying Ground).
- 5 Forest Hills Cemetery, 95 Forest Hills Ave (T: Forest Hills), ☏ . 7AM-dusk daily. Take in a festival, light lanterns, or visit the grave of E.E. Cummings in this 275 acre greenspace. free.
- 6 Millennium Park, 300 Gardner St (West Roxbury), ☏ .
- 7 Brook Farm Historic Site, Baker Street (West Roxbury), ☏ .
- 8 Holy Name Church, 1689 Centre St (West Roxbury), ☏ . Free.
- 1 George Wright Golf Course, 420 West Street (Hyde Park), ☏ . Named for baseball Hall of Famer and Cincinnati Reds shortstop George Wright. The golf course is a Donald Ross-designed course and is considered one of his finest designs.
- 2 Chez Vous, 11 Rhoades St (Mattapan, T: Morton Street), ☏ . M Tu 6PM-9PM, W 7PM-10PM, F 8PM-midnight, Sa noon–midnight, Su noon–6:30PM. Roller rink, also billiard and arcade. $5–10.
- 3 Laser Quest, 1580 VFW Pkwy (West Roxbury), ☏ . M-Th noon-9PM, F Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-8PM.
- 4 Ron's Gourmet Ice Cream and Twentieth Century Bowling Alley, 1231 Hyde Park Ave (Hyde Park, T: Fairmount), ☏ . M-Th 7:30AM-10PM, F 7:30AM-11PM, Sa 8AM-11PM, Su 9AM-10PM. Grab a cone, a rickey, and get in some candlepin bowling at this stalwart bastion of New England traditions. Ice cream is made with high quality ingredients and can be enjoyed by connoisseurs. Tons of kids in here all the time, so the staff knows how to handle them. Bowling $4 per person per game, shoe rental $2.50. Ice cream $3-6.
- 5 Sky Zone, 91-B Sprague St (Hyde Park, T: Readville), ☏ . Su M 10AM-8PM, Tu-Th 3PM-8PM, F 2PM-11PM, Sa 10AM-midnight. Boston's first (and only) trampoline park.
- 1 Boston Cheese Cellar, 18 Birch St (Roslindale, T: Roslindale Village), ☏ . Tu-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-7PM, Su noon-5PM.
- 2 Boomerangs, 1870 Centre St (West Roxbury, T: Highland). M-Sa 10AM-7PM. Thrift store.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Mid-range||$15 - $30|
- 1 Le Foyer Bakery, 132 Babson St (Mattapan, T: Mattapan), ☏ . M-Th 7AM-6PM, F Sa 7AM-7PM, Su 7AM-3PM. Very good Haitian bakery.
- 2 Simco's, 1509 Blue Hill Ave (Mattapan, T: Mattapan), ☏ . 10AM-1AM daily. The exterior has seen better days, but people love the footlong hotdogs on a top split style bun. They also sell fried clams and raspberry lime rickeys to complete the New England hat trick. Don't expect much in the way of ambiance, or tables for that matter.
- 3 P & R Ice Cream, 1284 Blue Hill Ave (Mattapan, T: Morton Street), ☏ . M-Sa 7AM-1:30AM, Su 8AM-1:30AM. Check out this hole in the wall for Jamaican take out and ice cream, together at last!
- 4 Al's Roti, 1188 Blue Hill Ave (Mattapan, T: Morton Street), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM.
- 5 Los Antojitos, 5272 Washington St (West Roxbury), ☏ . M Tu Th 10AM-8PM, F Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Highly regarded Salvadoran food.
- 6 [formerly dead link] Nu Flav, 1100 Blue Hill Ave (Mattapan, T: Morton Street), ☏ . 9AM-midnight daily. Haitian dishes with plantains, rice, beans, and pineapple; served alongside comfort food like mac and cheese.
- 7 Safari African, 1336 Blue Hill Ave (Mattapan, T: Morton Street), ☏ . Tu-Sa noon-10PM, Su 1-8PM.
- 8 Pit Stop Barbecue, 888 Morton St (Mattapan, T: Morton Street), ☏ . Th-Sa 11AM-midnight. One of Boston's best BBQ joints, figure out when it's open and get here. Featured by Phantom Gourmet among other local accolades.
- 9 La Lechonera, 342 Cummins Hwy (Roslindale), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 10AM-6PM.
- 10 Sophia’s Grotto, 22 Birch St (Roslindale, T: Roslindale Village), ☏ . M-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F 5-10:30PM, Sa noon-10:30PM, Su noon-9PM.
- 11 Dogwood Cafe, 3712 Washington St (Roslindale, T: Forest Hills), ☏ . M 5PM-1AM, Tu-Th 11:30AM-1AM, Sa Su 10AM-1PM. Great bar and restaurant, wood-grilled pizzas. Right across the street from the Forest Hills Orange Line station
- 12 Rox Diner, 1881 Centre St (West Roxbury, T: Highland), ☏ . M-F 6AM-2:30PM, Sa Su 7AM-3PM. Most everything is local, organic, and from scratch.
- 13 ZAZ, 1238 River St (Hyde Park, T: Fairmount), ☏ . Tu-F 11AM-2PM, 4-10PM, Sa 8AM-10PM.
- 14 Antonio's Bacaro, 5 Fairmont Ave (Hyde Park, T: Fairmount), ☏ . Tu-Th 5-9:30PM, F Sa 5-10:30PM. Italian.
- 15 [dead link] Fairmount Grille, 81 Fairmount Ave (Hyde Park, T: Fairmount), ☏ . M-Sa 11:30AM-1AM, Su 10AM-midnight.
- 16 Delfino, 754 South St (Roslindale, T: Roslindale Village), ☏ . Tu-Sa 5-10PM, Su 4-9PM.
- 17 Redd's In Rozzie, 4257 Washington St (Roslindale, T: Roslindale Village), ☏ . Tu-Th 5-10PM, F 5PM-1AM, Sa 5PM-midnight, Su noon-3PM.
- 1 Porter Cafe, 1723 Centre St (West Roxbury, T: Bellevue), ☏ . M-F 4PM-1AM, Sa Su 11AM-1AM.
- 2 Cappy's Tavern, 11 Wolcott Ct (Hyde Park, T: Readville), ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-1PM, Su 9AM-midnight. Kind of a "locals only" spot far off the beaten path. Serves decent pub food, cash only.
- 3 Recreo Coffee & Roasterie, 1876 Centre St (West Roxbury, T: Highland), ☏ . M-F 7AM-5PM, Sa 8AM-4PM, Su 8AM-2PM.
- 4 Simpli Bar & Bites, 3840 Washington St (Roslindale, T: Forest Hills), ☏ . Tu-Sa 7AM-11PM, Su M 7AM-3PM. Continuously changing throughout the day. Offers coffee in the morning, and something stronger in the evenings. Small bites served all day, and brunch on the weekends.
- 5 Brassica Kitchen + Cafe, 3710 Washington St (Roslindale, T: Forest Hills), ☏ . M 6AM-4PM, Tu-F 6AM-4PM, 5:30PM-midnight, Sa 8AM-4PM, 5:30PM-midnight, Su 8AM-4PM.
- 6 Fornax, 27 Corinth St (Roslindale, T: Roslindale Village), ☏ . M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa Su 8AM-6PM. Stop in to this funky, eclectic space for some of the best freshly baked bread in the city. Plenty of other sweet and savory baked goods to wash down with your hot cup of coffee. Eat in or take away.
- 7 Bean & Cream, 680 Truman Pkwy (Hyde Park, T: Fairmount), ☏ .
This is one of the least densely populated areas of Boston, and unfortunately for the visitor there are no accommodations to be found here. Check out nearby Brookline or the Back Bay neighborhood for a few alternatives. If you're determined to stay in the area, look into your favorite room sharing website to see what's available.
- 1 Roslindale Branch (Boston Public Library), 4246 Washington St (T: Roslindale Village), ☏ . M-W 10AM-6PM, Th noon-8PM, F 9AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-2PM.
- 2 Mattapan Branch (Boston Public Library), 1350 Blue Hill Ave (T: Morton Street), ☏ . M W 10AM-6PM, Tu Th noon-8PM, F Sa 9AM-5PM.
- 3 West Roxbury Branch (Boston Public Library), 1961 Centre St (T: Highland), ☏ . M Th noon-8PM, Tu W 10AM-6PM, F Sa 9AM-5PM.
- 4 Hyde Park Branch (Boston Public Library), 35 Harvard Ave (T: Fairmount), ☏ . M Th noon-8PM, Tu W 10AM-6PM, F Sa 9AM-5PM.
- The next neighborhood to the east is Dorchester, where you can pay a visit to the JFK Presidential Library.
- Interested in a slightly older president perhaps? Don't miss Adams National Historical Park in nearby Quincy
- If you have a car, drive it to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, and see some of the first cars ever made.
- Keep heading out of the city and drive to the Blue Hills Reservation. Over 100 miles of trails are waiting in nearby Milton.
- Alternatively, take one of the Commuter Rail trains back into downtown Boston, and be in the heart of it all.
|Routes through Outer Neighborhoods|
|END ←||SW NE||→ Milton → Dorchester|
|END ←||SW NE||→ Dorchester → Downtown|