Boston’s Chinatown: Everything You Need to Know!
The paifang is a traditional Chinese architectural form at the Beach Street entrance of Boston’s Chinatown.
Boston’s Chinatown only comes in behind York and San Francisco for its size. Because it is a gathering place and home to many immigrants, Chinatown has a diverse culture and population. It has many things you would expect from a Chinatown (and a few surprises) such as:
- History and culture
- Great restaurants
- Souvenir shops and boutiques
- Chinese architecture
- Chinatown park, which opened in the 1970’s, incorporates Chinese culture in its design.
This famous Boston district is located conveniently at the edge of Boston’s downtown shopping and financial districts allowing you to walk right into the town. You will pass through the traditional Boston Chinatown’s opening gate which was designed to ward off evil with two foo lions on either side of the entrance gate.
The MBTA Orange Line stops at the Chinatown station and the Tufts Medical Center station at the southern edge of the district.
Eating in Chinatown
Boston’s Chinatown features an array of Asian cuisine, from Chinese to Vietnamese to Japanese. There is no shortage of tea houses dim sum restaurants, and bakeries. A quick stroll through town will captivate your senses and start your stomach growling.
There are also many affordable options for grabbing a quick lunch or a nice dinner.
Interesting Fact: The corner of Oxford and Beach Streets marks the place where a community bulletin board once stood. This bulletin board notified the Chinatown community of jobs, events, and other announcements until 1991. Today, it is the location of the Vinh Sun BBQ and Restaurant.
Chung Wah Hong Market
If you are feeling like doing some grocery shopping head on over to 55 Beach St. where you will find the Chung Wah Hong Market. This bustling store is usually busy from early morning until late in the day. You can find a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables such as oranges, watercress, and baby bok choi in a stand on the sidewalk. Inside you will find traditional meats and a selection of more “exotic” cuts of meat and seafood including razor clams, large snails and whole fish. They also sell rooted bamboo by the stalk!
Events in Boston’s Chinatown
There are many community programs and events held in Chinatown annually, but the most noted are:
The Lion Dance Festival and Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year Parade marks the biggest annual celebration in Boston’s Chinatown and each year a new animal of the Chinese zodiac is celebrated.
Lion dancers perform and the name “Lion Dance” comes from the costumes worn by those in the parade who often wear lions or dragon costumes. The dance is part of the parade each year. In China, this celebration begins on the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar traditionally used in much of Asia. It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year, but it is different in Boston’s Chinatown based on when spring begins
The August Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most celebrated Chinese holidays. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Chinese families celebrate the end of the harvest season with a big feast.
Some of the activities include:
- Chinese dough art is taught to any visitors who are interested
- Children’s Chinese folk dancing
- Martial arts performances
- Lion dancers from around Chinatown and throughout the world who visit just for this festival.
- Vendor booths for handmade and traditional Chinese items and food for sale
- An evening performance by the Chinese Opera
Additionally, there is the annual Lantern Festival which is one of the largest tourist attractions and includes Lion Dances, Asian folk dances, martial arts performances, and traditional Chinese singing.
If you are planning a trip to enjoy Boston’s Chinatown and other attractions consider staying in a short-term apartment rental rather than a hotel. You can experience one of Boston’s most culturally diverse historical neighborhoods like a local and have all the conveniences of home in one of our gorgeous apartments. We have several locations spread out throughout the city to choose from. Give us a call today and start planning your next trip to historic Boston. (877) 795-4387