Reservations are required for Michele Topor's three-hour North End Market Tours, scheduled year-round on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Fridays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. In summer, call at least three weeks ahead for a Saturday tour. The tours, which run rain or shine, cost $49 per person. Group tours can also be arranged. Info: 617-523-6032, www.northendmarkettours.com.
THE NORTH END: Reservations are also required for the two-hour North End Secret Tour run by longtime resident Guild Nichols. The tour, which details Sacco and Vanzetti's wake, the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 and other historical intrigue, is offered Fridays and Saturdays at 10 a.m., 1 and 4 p.m., and costs $30. Info: 617-720-2283, www.northendboston.com/secrettours.
Summer in the North End means Catholic festival time; almost every weekend a local organization takes over Battery and Hanover streets, such as the St. Joseph Society (July 29-31), the St. Agrippina di Mineo Society (Aug. 6-8) and the Madonna Della Cava Society (Aug. 12-14). One of the largest festivals, the 86th-annual St. Anthony's Feast (Aug. 26-28) runs along Thatcher and Endicott streets, complete with marching bands, accordians, an outdoor mass and lots of food. Info: 617-723-8669, www.stanthonysfeast.com.
The Freedom Trail (www.thefreedomtrail.org) runs through the neighborhood, a 2.5-mile history trail that also goes through Beacon Hill, downtown Boston and Charlestown. First-time visitors shouldn't miss Old North Church (193 Salem St., 617-523-6676, www.oldnorth.com), where the lanterns arranged by Paul Revere were hung and which is still an active congregation, and the Paul Revere House (19 N. Square, 617-523-2338, www.paulreverehouse.org).
INFORMATION: For more information on the North End, try community organization NorthEndBoston.com, 617-720-2283, www.northendboston.com, or the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, 888-733-2678, www.bostonusa.com.
-- Anne McDonough