July 28, 2021

What to Do In The North End Before a Show

Improv Asylum’s Seven Ways To Pass An Afternoon In The North End

We know that nothing in the world is as exciting as coming to see a show at our theater, but believe it or not, there are actually a lot of cool things to do in the North End! It’s almost like it’s one of Boston’s most historic districts or something. 

If you find yourself in the city hours early and are wondering what to do with your time— we got you covered! 

Here is a list of Improv Asylum’s favorite things to do in the North End:

#1 Get Some Pastries

Mike's Pastry Shop Boston

Photo Credit: Mr.TinDC/Flickr

This is a must if you are planning to spend any time in Boston. The North End boasts some of the best cafes and pastry shops on the east coast. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but of course, there are some that we recommend above others. 

Here are three that stand above the rest which you simply must try:

Modern Pastry: just a short walk from Improv Asylum’s beautiful front porch, you will find this hot spot bustling with tourists trying to get their hands on some sweets. We can’t count the times we have seen patrons walk through our front doors with a box of scrumptious cannoli they want to keep in our fridge (and yes, they always get them back— though sometimes we have to fend off the hungry cast members).

Mike’s Pastry: you will find this famous shop right across from Modern Pastry. Probably one of the busiest spots in the North End, you can find a wide assortment of sweets to munch on throughout the afternoon. We don’t know if there is a rivalry between these two shops, or which one is better, so why not try them both and let us know!

Bova’s: this little shop is certainly something special, just ask any drunk college student out and about past 3 am. Bova’s boasts of exceptional service, great pastries, and deli selections, and is open 24/7. On many occasions, there have been quick runs to Bova’s before our midnight shows by many a cast and crew member! 


#2 Visit The House Of Paul Revere

Paul Revere's House

Photo Credit: Miguel Hermoso Cuesta

Just down the road from Improv Asylum is the house of the man who started it all: Paul Revere (unfortunately he no longer lives there, of course). 

Offering tours and admission into the house itself, this is a great way to spend the afternoon for any history buff! Cost is only six dollars for adults, and only a dollar for children under eighteen years of age (apparently kids need education more than adults, either that or adults have more money). 

Located at 19 North Square, the spot is literally a quick stroll away from Improv Asylum’s doorstep. Why not brush up on your history and then come to the show brimming with new facts and historic suggestions to yell out to the cast (when asked to, of course)!


#3 Faneuil Hall

Picture of Faneuil Hall

Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Looking for some great shops, good food, and an array of live entertainment? Spend a couple of hours wandering through Faneuil Hall, located only a short walk from the North End. 

Featuring restaurants such as Dicks Last Resort; shops such as Newbury Comics; and a wide array of small food stands inside the market itself — you really can’t go wrong spending your day here. 

And if you wish, you can grab your food to sit outside and watch one of the many street performers working on their acts. From daredevils to dance groups, acrobats to drummers, or even comedians and singers, you can see it all in this beautiful location!


#4 Hang Out On The Greenway 

Picture of the North End Rose Kennedy Greenway

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism/Flickr

If you are only a bit early and aren’t interested in spending the time doing anything in particular, then the Greenway is the place for you! 

The North End Parks make up the northernmost part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway— and are right across from Hanover Street where our theater is located! 

The beautiful spot is the perfect way to lounge away the afternoon. Also, who knows who you may meet out there, perhaps one of our mainstage actors practicing yoga or thai chi before the show!


#5 Visit The Aquarium

Stingray at New England Aquarium

Photo Credit: Steven G. Johnson

Okay, so this isn’t technically in the North End, but it is one of our favorite pastimes for anyone looking for a family friendly adventure. Only a short walk from Faneuil Hall you will find the New England Aquarium

With a wide assortment of aquatic life to visit, you can’t go wrong! Say hello to the penguins; pet a stingray; watch the sharks swim free in the central tank; or enjoy watching the seals play ball— there is plenty to see!

If we are being honest with you, the aquarium is almost as entertaining as Improv Asylum. Our actors have even been known to steal tricks from the seals to use in our shows! 

Enjoy the day in the Aquarium and then come and see a show, prepped with all kinds of fun suggestions about sea creatures to give the actors upon request!


#6 Hang out at our Front Porch

Front Porch of Improv Asylum

Sure, you can’t go into our lobby to get drinks just yet, but depending on when you arrive you may be in time to chill on our Front Porch. 

Open Tuesday through Sunday from 1-6, you can watch the scene of Hanover street while drinking a nice cold Asylum. 

Here you can spend the afternoon people watching, listening to some of Boston’s best street performers, or perhaps engaging in an epic game of Connect Four with our own El Jefe— an extremely difficult opponent, whom if you vanquish will provide you with a ticket to the show for free!


#7 Walk Around

Image of the North End as seen from above

This may sound like a cheap answer, but it really is the best way to spend the afternoon. There is so much to see and do in the North End, that for someone just visiting for a day, or looking to learn what the area is all about, the best thing to do is just take a stroll through!

You’ll find a ton of bars, shops, cafes, restaurants, and people that will interest you! Take time to explore and figure out what interests you, and try to make some friends along the way!

So there you go, all set for a day of touring the North End! And when you’re done, come check out one of our shows. Tickets can be purchased here, and any questions can be directed to boxoffice@improvasylum.com.