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Jimmy Vazzana / Gavel Media

5-Hour Itinerary: A Traditional North End Outing

5-Hour Itinerary is a series—based on the New York Times’ “36 Hours”—in which we serve as your guide to the ultimate Boston day-trip, stringing together thoughtfully chosen locations and activities into a one-of-a-kind itinerary.

As students at Boston College, we are lucky enough to be situated near a city full of adventure. The BC Bubble is very real, and as students we often have a tendency to stick to a routine on or around campus rather than journey into Boston on a random Friday afternoon. So, to save you some trouble the next time you find yourself wandering through the North End cluelessly, I went ahead and did it for you.

When I came to Boston College, I set a goal for myself to go into the city at least once a week. I came here all the way from Kansas, where there is no city that even comes close to being Boston. The idea of a pedestrian city filled with culture and history was what initially excited me, and my desire to spontaneously explore has indeed led to many random trips.

Last Friday, I took a trip to the North End. Well-known as Boston’s Italian district, the streets are packed with bustling restaurants where both locals and tourists are in search of the best pasta.

1:00 p.m. – After finishing class, my friends and I walked to the Chestnut Hill T stop (located only a few minutes away from Upper and CoRo). Calling an Uber could have been much easier, but without my final destination picked out, we decided that the T was a better option. Plus, rides on the T always provide a chance to save some money and people-watch along the way.

2:20 p.m. – We finally reached the North Station T stop. Upon stepping out of the station, I immediately became part of the hustle and bustle of the city. While we were on the T, we decided our first stop was going to be the Harborwalk just across the bridge.

2:40 p.m. – People talk about the Harborwalk pretty frequently, so I thought I would finally go check it out myself. On Friday, the weather was absolutely beautiful for a February day, making my trip even more enjoyable. We spent about an hour walking around. There were people walking down the brick pathway bordering the water as well as laying on blankets and soaking up the warm weather. It offered me a glimpse into the daily lives of my fellow Bostonians—and also a stunning view of a part of the city I had never seen.

3:30 p.m. – On my walk back to the North End, one of my friends pointed out another park that we hadn’t planned on seeing. The Paul Revere Park, like the Harborwalk, was packed full of people. Before my venture, I had never realized that Boston has so many parks to enjoy on warm weather days. I found it comforting to know that there are places to go in a big city to relax.

4:00 p.m. – We did a lot of walking on the trip—we had to burn off the calories we were about to consume in the North End, of course. The friends that I brought along were excited to finally be at the point in our day where we could eat some Italian food. We decided that the Dolce Vita restaurant was going to be our choice, casting thoughts of our spring break bodies aside. After snagging a table near the open windows, we began ordering: first the bread basket, then the bruschetta, followed by Vittello Alla Picatta, Penne Con Salsicce, and Ravioli. Coming from an area where Olive Garden is considered to be authentic Italian food, my taste buds were blown away by the food we inhaled.

5:15 p.m. – By this time, we were finally finished eating and decided to make our way to the famed Mike’s Pastries. Even though we were all stuffed full, my friends and I figured our trip to the North End would not be complete without waiting 40 minutes in a line for a cannoli—or a whole box of them.

Especially in the heart of midterm season, it can be nice to get out of the BC Bubble every once in awhile. The proximity of Boston College to the city itself is something I like to take advantage of since there are always new things to do in Boston—even if it's just walking around a park or strolling through the North End on a glorious February afternoon.