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Boston

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For the conurbanation of towns and cities centred around Boston proper, see also Greater Boston.

Boston is the largest city in New England, the capital of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and one of the most historic, wealthy and influential cities in the United States of America.

Although technically not part of Boston proper, the cities of Cambridge (just across the Charles River, home to Harvard and MIT), NewtonNewton,Brookline and Somerville are in many ways an integral part of the larger city and are an essential component to any visit to Boston.

Hancock Tower, Copley SquareHancock Tower, Copley Square
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Hancock Tower, Copley Square

boston Travel Guide :

Boston

Districts

Boston is a city of diverse neighborhoods, many of which were originally towns in their own right before being assimilated into the city itself. These neighborhoods still go by their original names and people will often tell you they are from "JP" (Jamaica Plain) or "Eastie" (East Boston) rather than from "Boston". Alternatively, people from the suburbs will tell you they are from Boston when in fact they are not, but live in one of the nearby (or even outlying) suburbs. If in doubt, you can look for "Resident Parking Only" signs which will tell you what neighborhood you are in.

"Southie" is short for South Boston. Be aware, this is different from the South End (which is west of South Boston and north of Roxbury).

Each neighborhood and neighboring city has more specific listings than what's on this page.

Boston

City of Boston

Among Boston's many neighborhoods, the historic areas of Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, Downtown, the Fenway, the Financial District, Government Center, the North End, and the South End comprise the area considered "Boston Proper." It is here where most of the buildings that make up the city's skyline are located.

Boston neighborhoods (aka):

Allston and Brighton are very small and abutting; you will often hear it called Allston-Brighton. They are connected to the rest of the city by a narrow neck of land between the Charles River and the town of Brookline.

East Boston is on a peninsula across Boston Harbor from the main bulk of the city. Logan Airport is in East Boston. Several underwater tunnels connect East Boston to the rest of the city.

Charlestown is across the Charles River, on the part of the mainland where Cambridge and Somerville are located. It's where you'll find the Bunker Hill Monument.

The South End, North End, South Boston, and the West End are not the neighborhoods farthest in these respective directions.

The Back Bay is one of the few neighborhoods with a grid-like street network. It is so named because it used to be an actual bay (like with water) until the city made an enormous landfill project ending in 1862. It is now one of the higher-rent neighborhoods in the city. The cross-streets are named in alphabetical order from towns in England (and New England) from east starting at the Public Garden and heading west to Kenmore: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester (pronounced gloster), and Hereford. After Hereford is Massachusetts Avenue (or Mass. Ave, as it is commonly known) and then Charlesgate, which marks the boundary of Back Bay. (Trivia fact: the alphabetical streets continue on the far side of Massachusetts Avenue in the Fenway neighborhood, with Ipswich, Jersey, and Kilmarnock -- but at that point, it's no longer a grid.)

There are also several "districts" you might hear mentioned. "Districts" are generally areas of common interest located within a larger neighborhood:

  • Financial District (downtown)
  • Leather District (downtown)
  • SoWa District (South of Washington, South End)
  • Theatre District (between Chinatown and Bay Village)
  • Waterfront District (South Boston)
  • Ladder District (newer phrase for Downtown Crossing)
Boston

When to visit

As many know, the weather is New England is very unpredictable and sees the some of the coldest winters and most uncomfortable summers in the country.

Overall, the spring is nice, but it's hit or miss in terms of weather. Sometimes the warm weather starts late, sometimes it starts early, and sometimes it's off and on until late June.

The early fall is most always very comfortable, and predictable. Though the days are shorter, the comfortably warm weather will often persist into the evenings, through September. Come October the days are cooler, but perfect for spending time outside and walking the city. November is hit or miss, but expect it to be cold.

While a day of snowfall in New England can be pretty, the winter is otherwise bitterly cold and generally a mess to get around in. Roads become unsafe the day of a storm, sidewalks covered in messy slush, ice, flight delays and cancellations, and all of the other unpleasantness that one associates with snow. Drivers can take solace, however, in knowing that the system of plows and road salting/sanding in Boston is very adept at clearing snow and ice and the roads will be passable as fast as possible. A sunny winter day, while it may be frigid (usually around -2C/30F, but as low as -13C/9F), can be absolutely beautiful. There are rare days where the weather will get downright balmy, but these are few and far between. Also note that the number on the thermometer will not be the temperature you are feeling. The combination of high humidity and wind off the Charles River will make it feel noticeably colder and sharper.

Early summer tends to be nice, but you don't know when that will be year to year. In that time however, the temperature will be perfect, and there will be no humidity. The remainder of summer tends to be very warm with uncomfortably high humidity. Walking around Boston in this weather can be very uncomfortable. You'll be best off taking a cab, bus, or The T.

Boston

Understand

American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes once called Boston "the hub of the solar system", but common usage has expanded to the now-current Hub of the Universe. This half-serious term is all you need to know to understand Boston's complicated self-image. Vastly important in American history, and for centuries the seat of the USA's social elite, Boston lost prominence in the early twentieth century, largely to the cities of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Over the past two decades, Boston has regained political, cultural, and economic importance. Is it the center of everything? Don't expect a straight answer from a wry Bostonian.

The city was founded in 1630 by members of the Massachusetts colony, Puritan religious dissidents who had fled England to find freedom in the New World. It rapidly assumed a leading role in the fledgling New England region, with a booming economy based on trade with the Caribbean and Europe. The devastating Fire of 1760 destroyed much of the town, but within a few years the city had bounced back.

Boston was the center of America's revolutionary activity during the Colonial period; several of the first Revolutionary War skirmishes were fought there, including the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, and the Battle of Bunker Hill; the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought nearby. The residents' ardent support of independence earned the city the nickname The Cradle of Liberty.

Throughout the 19th century, Boston continued to grow rapidly, assimilating outlying towns into the metropolitan core. Its importance in American culture was inestimable, and its economic and literary elite, the so-called Boston Brahmins assumed the mantle of aristocracy in the United States. Harvard College in nearby Cambridge became, and in many ways remains, America's premier center of learning.

At the same time, the city's working class swelled with immigrants from Europe. The huge Irish influx made Boston one of the most important Irish cities in the world -- in or out of Ireland. Gradually the Irish laborer population climbed into city's upper class, evidenced no better than by the continued importance of the Kennedy family in national politics.

From the early twentieth century until the 1970s, Boston's importance on the national stage waned. Cities in what was once the frontier, like Chicago, San Francisco, and later Los Angeles, shifted the nation's center of gravity away from liberty's cradle. In the past two decades, Boston's importance and influence has increased, due to growth in higher education, health care, high technology, and financial services. It remains America's higher educational center--during the school year, one in five Bostonians is a univerity student.

Boston's nicknames include "Beantown", "The Hub" (shortened from Oliver Wendell Holmes' phrase 'The Hub of the Universe'), "The City of Higher Learning" (due to the plethora of universities and colleges in the Boston area) and - particularly in the 19th century - "The Athens of America," on account of its great cultural and intellectual influence.

Boston

Get in

Boston

By plane

  • Logan International Airport (http://www.massport.com/logan/), East Boston. Accessible via the Blue Line (http://www.mbta.com/traveling_t/schedules_subway_blueline.asp) and the Silver Line (http://www.mbta.com/traveling_t/schedules_buses_findbus.asp?routenumber=SL1).
  • T. F. Green Airport (http://www.pvdairport.com/), Providence (Rhode Island). Accessible via the T (http://www.mbta.com) Attleboro (http://www.mbta.com/traveling_t/schedules_commuter_linedetail.asp?line=attleboro) commuter rail line and Amtrak (http://www.amtrak.com). You will have to connect with a RIPTA bus in downtown Providence to reach the airport from the train. This will change in the future with the new T.F. Green Airport/Warwick station
  • Manchester Airport (http://www.flymanchester.com), Manchester (New Hampshire).

From Logan: The MBTA Blue line is reasonably convenient and inexpensive provided that you are not carrying much luggage. Several free Massport shuttles provide connectivity to rail, water transit, and parking. For the Blue Line, look for the one with the electronic sign that says "SUBWAY". The fare is $1.25, and exact change is not needed. The last Blue Line train leaves the airport shortly after about 12:30 AM. If you arrive later than that you'll need to take a cab or have someone pick you up.

The Airport station has been recently renovated and is more uplifting, but a poor job was done for the luggage sliders to help you get through the turnstiles. Change at Government Center for Green Line trains and at State Street for Orange Line trains. If you need a red line train, you could to take a Green Line train from Government Center to Park Street, but the Silver Line (see below) is a better bet.

The shiny new Silver Line began service to Logan airport in June 2005. The large, low-floor articulated bus stops at each terminal roughly every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 15 minutes on weekends. From the airport the bus travels through the occasionally-clogged Ted Williams Tunnel, and then through a dedicated bus tunnel to an underground stop at South Station. Convenient transfers are available to the Red Line, westbound/southbound commuter rail trains, and Amtrak trains. The fare is $1.25, exact change only.

Cabs are more expensive than in many other cities but because of the close distance of the airport city, the fare is not extremely expensive. It would be about $25 for fares to Boston, and less if you are staying downtown in the financial district.

Driving to Logan from the north, take the Callahan Tunnel; from the south or the west, take the Ted Williams Tunnel. Routes are well marked, and there is no toll in this direction. Driving from the airport to downtown Boston or to points north, including Interstate 93 northbound, take the Sumner Tunnel; for points south and west, including Interstate 93 southbound & Interstate 90, take the Ted Williams Tunnel. There is a $3 toll for either tunnel. Routes are well marked, but the airport road system is complex... read the signs carefully and be sure you're in the correct lane, or you may be forced to swerve across several lanes of traffic to catch an unexpected off-ramp.

General Aviation traffic is mostly served by Hanscom Field off Route 128/I-95 near Lexington and Burlington

Boston

By train

Amtrak arrives at South Station, which intersects with the MBTA Red Line. You can take the Amtrak Northeast Corridor or Acela Express from South Station all the way to Washington D.C. and beyond. Average Acela time from Boston to Philadelphia is about 5 hours, New York City in 3.5. There is also a stop at Back Bay Station, which is much smaller, but more convenient to Back Bay, Beacon Hill and the South End. It is on the Orange Line on the subway and most of the Commuter Rail lines that terminate at South Station.

Amtrak also uses North Station at the Fleet Center for their Downeaster service to Haverhill, Peabody, and Maine.

If you have a first class Acela ticket, you may use the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge in South Station. it is historic and renovated. There is no lounge at Back Bay Station. You may use Quik Track machines to buy your ticket without standing in line, or to pick up tickets you have reserved online.

Arriving by train has the advantage of putting you within easy reach of most downtown destinations by public transit.

Boston

By bus

Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus also serve many cities from South Station but are generally more expensive than the Chinatown buses, with Greyhound and PPB averaging $30 to New York. The Chinatown buses (AKA Dragon Buses) now use South Station also and serve Hartford, Connecticut and New York City. Fares are competitive, but not as low as they once were (Fung Wah was $10 each way, is now $15. Some significantly lower quality Chinatown buses average $12.50 one way). It is necessary to note that Fung Wah now departs and arrives South Station with the other buses

Boston

By car

Boston has two major highways entering it, I-93 and I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike, or "Mass Pike", or "Pike"). I-93 enters the city from the north and the south; the Pike enters Boston from the west. The Mass Pike is a toll road - expect to pay $1.00 to enter the city via the Pike, in addition to the tolls charged when arriving at the I-90 / I-95 interchange in Weston, just outside the city (variable based on distance travelled, max price is $3.60 if you drive all the way from the automatic ticket machines near the New York border). There are minor roads, of course, that enter Boston as well, including Route 9 (Old Worcester Turnpike), Route 2, and US 1. Another major highway, I-95 (also known as Route 128) encircles the Boston area.

There are many car rental places around Boston, but one of the most unique is Zipcar (http://www.zipcar.com/), an hourly car rental service. If you don't plan to do much driving, this may be an economical alternative to owning a car. If you want to use Zipcar, you should try signing up in advance. It is not instantaneous. Rental fees and taxes differ between Boston and Cambridge, but the rental agencies at Logan Airport (in East Boston) are still usually less expensive and have a greater fleet of cars available.

The Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) is a toll road, as is the Sumner Tunnel (coming from the airport only), the Ted Williams Tunnel, and the Tobin Bridge (southbound/from the North Shore only).

If driving on a major highway during rush hour, do not be surprised to see cars driving in the breakdown lane on the shoulder. This is permitted in certain areas, at certain times, as indicated by signs along the road.

Boston

Parking

If you're looking for a place to park in the city, the Boston Common Garage is a good choice. There are three levels of parking under The Common. The garage is very clean and its central location makes it a good starting point for a day trip in the city. To get in and out of the garage, there are four pavilions on The Common; each has stairs and an elevator. Once out of the garage, the Park Street and Boylston Street subway stops are only a two or three minute walk away.

Daily rates and fees:

  • Up to 1 hr: $6
  • Up to 2 hrs: $11
  • Up to 3 hrs: $16
  • Up to 9 hrs: $18
  • Up to 12 hrs: $19
  • 24-hour maximum charge: $25

Evening Rate

  • Enter the Garage after 4 PM and exit before 10 AM: $10

Weekend Rate

  • Enter after 6 AM on Saturday or Sunday and exit by 10 AM the next morning: $10
  • Enter after 6 AM Saturday and exit by 10 AM on Monday: $20
  • Please note, all rates are subject to change.
Boston

Get around

Navigation on city streets is very hard if you're not familiar with the area. Driving is to be avoided if possible. There are many one-way streets, usually arranged haphazardly and poorly marked for drivers. Signage is nothing short of terrible and often you will have no clue what street you are crossing. Due to constant construction, the correct directions one day could be entirely wrong the next. Parking is expensive, and traffic can be slow - watch out for lots of double-parked vehicles. Drivers are also notorious for being aggressive, as are pedestrians and bicyclists, somewhat. Especially avoid driving during rush hour on weekdays; streets and highways become extremely crowded. For the most part, highways are clear outside of rush hour. The recent opening of the Central Artery Tunnel means that traffic on I-93 through downtown and to the airport via the Ted Williams Tunnel (I-90) are particularly quick, though confusingly signed.

For most tourist destinations in Boston and Cambridge, it's usually advisable to leave your car behind and take the subway. You'll do a bit more walking, but that will give you a chance to see the sights. However, much of the parking in Boston and surrounding towns is limited to neighborhood residents, who have stickers identifying their cars. You should therefore check whether parking on a particular street is open to you, and consider using metered parking or public or private lots.

Visit http://www.SmarTraveler.com for semi-real-time updates about traffic.

Boston

Public transit

Public transit in Boston is convenient and relatively inexpensive, and can take you directly to most points of interest. A single public transit agency serves the Boston Metro area, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority ("MBTA", or "the T" for short). The MBTA is the fourth-largest transit system in the U.S. For complete schedules, maps, and other information, see their official website at http://www.mbta.com.

The T consists of several components: subway, bus, water shuttles, and commuter rail. The subway is composed of four color-coded light rail lines: orange, red, blue, and green. The Red and Orange lines travel generally north-south; the Blue and Green lines travel generally east-west. The Green Line splits into four branches going west and are known as the B, C, D and E lines; the Red Line splits in two directions going south and are known as the Braintree and Ashmont branches, the latter of which connects to a streetcar line to Mattapan. Going west on the Green Line, the E line branches off at Copley Square station, the other three split at Kenmore Square station. Going south, the Red Line splits at JFK/UMass station. Subway maps usually also include the Commuter Rail (long-distance heavy rail) which is color-coded purple, and the Silver Line, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line currently under expansion. Collectively, the light rail and Silver Lines are known as Rapid Transit, and they all converge downtown.

The subway system is slightly confusing in that directions are often marked "inbound" and "outbound", rather than with a destination. "Inbound" means "into the center of Boston", where all four lines converge at four stops: State (Blue and Orange), Park Street (Red and Green), Government Center (Blue and Green), and Downtown Crossing (Orange and Red). "Outbound" means "away from the center of Boston". Of course, once one is in the center, the lines may indicate the actual destination of the trains, because all directions are "outbound". Nevertheless, note that the four stations listed above surround the center; for example, travel from Park Street to Government Center on the Green Line would be Inbound. One of the better ways to determine which way to go is to note what the last stop of the train is (usually denoted on the subway platform maps). For example, a train going outbound to Alewife from Downtown Crossing, is goin to stop at all stops in between these two stations. Please see link: http://www.mbta.com/traveling_t/schedules_subway_redline.asp

Note that subway and light rail service generally stops between midnight and 2am. Each line (green, blue, etc.) has a "last train" time, starting at one end of the line and going to the other. For example, Alewife, the north end of the red line, has a last traing leaving at 1:15 am, which means it'll most likely arrive at Park St. going south between 1:35 and 2, depending on the number of people using the T that night. Therefore, make sure to check with a T employee (usually someone is available in one of the token booths by the turnstiles) or with a bus driver to get the "last train" time for the subway or bus line you want to take.

You may have heard of the Night Owl, a bus service that ran the same route as the subways and some bus lines, which ran at later times at night, but it has been discontinued.

Your current alternative to late-night public transit is a taxi - expect to spend at least $5 and possibly up to $30 in the immediate surroundings (this includes the initial fare, a small tip for the driver, small one-way streets, bad traffic, construction, tolls for bridges, tolls for tunnels, tolls for the MassPike, and any wait time). To get further out of Boston, expect to spend much more (for example, from the airport to Wellesley, a Boston suburb, would be around $80, which includes the actual driving and tolls along the way).

Unlimited-ride subway and bus passes are available from the T. If you're going to be riding a lot around town, these are worth investigating. See http://www.mbta.com/traveling_t/passes_special.asp#visitorpass for complete fare information on tourist passes. You should be aware that the Visitor pass is $35 for 7 days, whilst the Combo pass is just $16.50 for 7 days, and they are more or less the same. The Combo pass is the one to get.

The cost of a single ride on the T is $1.25. Buy a token from the booth to go through the turnstiles. This will get you to most destinations, although if you are going to the outskirts of Boston (specifically, Newton or Braintree), an extra charge may apply. You should get two tokens if you are planning a return trip as there can sometimes be long lines at the token booth. Parking at the Alewife station on the Red line is ample but will cost you $4.50 no matter when you come and go (for each 24 hour period).

Bikes are allowed on all MBTA vehicles EXCEPT buses. Please note there are certain rules you have to follow, so make sure you check their website.

There are also public ferries available, but some may be through private companies, so be sure to check the fares at the companies' websites.

Imporant note: Many subway stations do not accept cr cards and don't have ATMs, so bring cash. Between the fall of 2005 and 2006, the MBTA will be launching the Charlie Card and Charlie Ticket service that will replace the tokens. You'll be able to use a cr card for these.

Boston

By foot

Boston is a very compact city, given that walking was the predominant form of transportation for most of the city's history. Most of the major attractions can be visited on foot, although the climate is rather cold from December to April.

Within intersections (or at any convenient point along the street), mob rule is generally observed, and pedestrians rarely wait for the "walk" signal. Be careful when crossing the streets.

Boston

See

Boston

Museums

  • Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. (MFA Station, Green E Line), 617-267-9300. http://www.mfa.org - (Free for high-school students practically all-year round; entrance fees are optional on wednesdays.)
  • Institute of Contemporary Art 955 Boylston St (Hynes/ICA Station, Green B, C, or D line). 617-266-5152 http://www.icaboston.org/
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 280 The Fenway (MFA Station, Green E Line). 617-566-1401 http://www.gardnermuseum.org
  • John F. Kennedy Library and Museum Columbia Point, Dorchester (JFK/UMass Station, Any Red Line). http://www.jfklibrary.org/
  • Museum of Science Science Park (Science Park Station, Any Green Line), 617-723-2500.http://www.mos.org
  • Boston Children's Museum 300 Congress Street, Boston. (Downtown.) For directions and more info, see: http://www.bostonkids.org/
  • New England Aquarium Central Wharf, Boston. (Blue Line to Aquarium) Great fun for kids of all ages. 617-973-5200 http://www.neaq.org/
Boston

Events

  • March: St. Patrick's Day The Sunday after March 17th is the day of the parade. Despite the fact that Boston has one of the highest Irish populations outside of Ireland, March 17th is not celebrated as St. Patrick's Day publicly, but rather as Evacuation Day, a local holiday marking the expulsion of British troops from the city in 1776 coincidentally on March 17th.

http://www.saintpatricksdayparade.com/boston/boston.htm

  • Third Monday in April: Boston Marathon The oldest marathon in the US, commemorating Paul Revere's ride in 1775. The surrounding Patriot's Day festivities celebrate the start of the American Revolution in that year with the battles of Lexington and Concord (suburbs of Boston). The race runs from Hopkinton to the finish line in Copley Square. Parts of Commonwealth Avenue outbound from there and surrounding streets are closed for the race. http://www.bostonmarathon.com
  • June: Boston Pride The second-largest event in the city after the Fourth of July. Boston's LBGT community - and everyone else - comes out for a fabulous parade from Copley Square, through the South End, to Boston Common. Many other social events are scheduled around this weekend. http://www.bostonpride.org/
  • The Fourth of July: Independence Day Boston's Independence Day celebration. Started by Arthur Fiedler and philanthropist David Mugar. The Boston Pops plays to standing-room-only crowds on the Charles River Esplanade, followed by fireworks just after dusk. Televised nationally. Get there a few hours before dark if you want a good seat (or any seat) on the Esplanade or on the Memorial Drive side in Cambridge. It's an excellent opportunity for a picnic. Parts of Storrow Drive in Boston, Memorial Drive in Cambridge, and Massachusetts Avenue on and near the Harvard Bridge are closed due to extremely heavy pedestrian traffic. Note that the roads and public transit are heavily congested after the fireworks display. http://www.july4th.org/
  • Late August: The Feast of St. Anthony. The biggest of several Feasts in the North End. This one includes lots of food vendors, games, music, and a parade on Hanover Street and environs. (If I'm not mistaken, they have also had fireworks on the waterfront in the past.) http://www.stanthonysfeast.com/
  • December 31/January 1: First Night Boston's New Year's Eve celebration, a city-wide arts and culture event. The events begin at about 4PM on New Year's Eve, and culminate in fireworks on the waterfront. Dress warmly. http://www.firstnight.org/
  • Last Friday of every month: "Critical Mass." Join hundreds of Bostonians on a bike ride throughout Boston. The event begins at 5:30 pm, Copley Square. For more info: http://www.bostoncriticalmass.org/
Boston

Do

  • Boston Common and Public Garden A must-see for all visitors during the warmer months. Accessible from Park Street (Green, Red Lines), Boylston (Green Line), and Arlington (Green Line), and a short walk from any other downtown station. Ride the famous Swan Boats (http://swanboats.com) and generally enjoy the park with its shady trees, fountains, statues, sidewalk vendors, and greenery. Visit the "Cheers" bar. A great starting point for visitors interested in local historical sights, or on your way to Downtown Crossing or the Back Bay. Very nice foliage in the fall. Technically, the part west of Charles St. is the Public Garden, and the eastern part is Boston Common.
  • Community Boating For kids between ages 10 and 18, membership is only $1 for the entire summer. Membership includes all sorts of sailing lessons (sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, etc.) along with other benefits. Each class takes a couple of days. Located at the Charles/MGH stop on the Redline. Visit http://www.community-boating.org
  • Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, downtown Boston. (Green Line to Government Center, or Blue Line to Aquarium, or Orange Line or Blue Line to State) Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, two of Boston's oldest marketplaces, contain a great set of mainly tourist-oriented shops and eateries. Faneuil Hall also has a historic meeting hall in its upper levels, and is just down the street from the Old State House.
  • Copley Square. (Green Line to Copley or Orange Line to Back Bay) Take a Duck Tour, enjoy the fountains, visit the top of the nearby Prudential building, see the Boston Public Library, or go shopping along Newbury Street.
  • Boston Pops Orchestra (Green Line E train to Symphony) The Pops perform programs of both classical and popular music, consistently pleasing audiences. Tickets can be had inexpensively, but check for availability beforehand. Boston Pops (http://www.bso.org/armsOfBSO.jhtml?catName=Pops&area=pop)
  • Minuteman Bikeway (Red Line to Davis or Alewife). One of the most heavily used rail trails in the United States, this eleven mile paved path is popular with walkers, cyclists, and in-line skaters. The route closely follows that taken at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. http://www.minutemanbikeway.org/
Boston

Sports

Boston is a sports town, and its professional teams are much-loved. These include the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and New England Patriots.

  • Fenway Park The home of the Boston Red Sox 1 (http://www.redsox.com/). Take a B, C, or D Green Line train to Kenmore Station. You'll also be able to see the famous Citgo Sign. There are a few good restaurants in the Square. The local architecture is quite attractive. A short walk to the East is the grassy boulevard of Commonwealth Avenue, and to the West is Boston University, which has some interesting landmark structures.


Boston

Buy

The biggest shopping areas in the inner Metro are the Back Bay and Downtown Crossing. In addition, there are two large malls in and near the center of the city.

The Cambridgeside Galleria is accessible by T from Lechmere Station (Take the Green Line D or E or one of many buses, cross under the tracks, then go straight ahead) or by free shuttle ("The Wave") from just outside the Kendall/MIT station on the Red Line. Restaurants include the Cheesecake Factory and a food court; shopping includes a convenience store, Best Buy, department stores, lots of clothes, bookstores, and everything else, at mainstream retail prices.

Prudential Center is accessible on the Green Line from Hynes Convention Center/ICA/Auditorium (B/C/D), Prudential (E), and Copley (all branches).

Copley Place connects with Prudential Center via an overhead pedestrian walkway. It houses lots of upscale shopping (including Nieman Marcus and Tiffany's), restaurants, and connects with several large hotels. Accessible via Copley (all Green Line branches) and Back Bay (Orange Line, some Commuter Rail lines) Stations.

More local color can be experienced outdoors at any of several popular commercial areas:

Newbury Street: Back Bay, Boston. Often called "the Rodeo Drive of the East" Newbury is a wonderfully dense avenue colored by historic brownstones and lots of shops and restaurants. Extremely expensive near Boston Common, but gradually becoming more affordable as you move toward Massachusetts Avenue. One block north from Boylston Street (Arlington, Copley, Hynes Convention Center/ICA stops on the Green Line) which is similar but less so. Traffic can be very slow on Newbury Street itself; take parallel streets unless you have time to see the sights from your car.

Downtown Crossing: Downtown Boston. It is obligatory to visit the world-famous Filene's Basement. Unlike most other stores of the same name, this flagship outlet is actually underground. Bargain Alley has the distinctive feature of the Automatic Markdown plan - every week, the items in this area get 25% cheaper, until they are either sold or donated to charity. Many excellent deals can be found on merchandise floating down from the larger department store upstairs. The aisles here are narrow, and the store is usually busy, so avoid bringing lots of shopping bags in by stopping here first. The rest of Downtown Crossing features large Macy's and Borders, music stores, souvenirs, general retail, and lots of street vendors and quick food. Accessible from Downtown Crossing (Red and Orange Lines) or a short walk from any other downtown T stop such as Park Street (Red and Green Lines). An underground passage exists for free transfers between Park Street and Downtown Crossing stations, but there is shopping above-ground on Park Street as well.

Harvard Square: Cambridge. Take a tour of the University and the Yard, visit the historic cemetery, shop around. Several excellent bookstores, plenty of restaurants and cafes. See the famous chess tables outside Au Bon Pain where a scene in Good Will Hunting was filmed. Walk past the offices of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe, and say hello to the punks. A short walk down to the scenic Charles River. Street musicians often play near the famous Out of Town News. For a good burger stop in a Bartley's, a Harvard landmark. For a fantastic margarita and cheap Mexican food, be sure to hit up the Border Cafe. Accessible from Harvard Station (Red Line, many buses). The nonprofit Brattle theater shows classic and independent films.

Coolidge Corner: Brookline. A little less urban, more like your local village shops and restaurants. The Coolidge Corner Theater is known for showing interesting independent and art house films. Take the C Branch of the Green Line. Beacon Street has interesting shops along most of its length. One can also walk north from Coolidge Corner along Harvard Ave. towards Allston-Brighton (and the B Branch of the Green Line) for additional shopping and dining.

Boston

Eat

Boston has excellent seafood from the nearby New England coast. Local specialties include baked beans, cod, and clam chowder. Another local specialty is ice cream.

A variety of excellent ethnic restaurants can be found in Chinatown and the North End (Italian).

The best sit-down restaurants can be quite crowded in the evenings on weekends. Unless you have a reservation, be prepared to wait anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on how refined your tastes are.

If you are indecisive, visit one of the outdoor commercial areas listed in the previous section (or the Prudential) and walk around until you find something that sounds tasty and in your price range.

Boston

Italian

The North End is full of Italian eateries, and it's certain that you'll find something here to your liking. Take the Green or Orange Lines to the Haymarket T, follow the pedestrian passageway through the Big Dig, and then follow the signs to Hanover Street, the main commercial thoroughfare. Most of the good restaurants are on this street or on side streets. While you're here, may we recommend:

  • Mike's Pastry, 300 Hanover St, Boston. Wherever you eat in the North End, do not order dessert. Instead, hop on down to Mike's for the Western Hemisphere's best cannolis. (Cannolis are an Italian pastry dessert filled with a wonderful sweet cheese.) We kid you not - check out the pictures on the walls, where you'll see former Presidents of the United States shaking hands with the store's owners. There's also a rich selection of other deserts available, and a small number of tables for sit-down service. Mike's can get quite busy, especially at night on the weekends. But don't worry; the line moves quickly and the staff will quickly package your selection for you take elsewhere to enjoy. (You'll probably be able to find Mike's just by following the trail of people carrying their trademark string-tied white boxes.) 617-742-3050 http://www.mikespastry.com/

Mike's is great, but for cannoli's recommended by the locals, just down and across the street from Mike's -- also on Hanover Street - is Modern Pastry. The cannoli's are made fresh and simply cannot be beat.

Don't overlook the cheesecake at Mike's Pasteries either--it's light, fluffy, and simply delicious. However, their cheesecake lacks the usual gramham cracker crust. Regardless, it was some of the best cheesecake I've ever eaten. Unlike most pastery shops, Mike's is open fairly late on Friday and Saturday nights.

  • Pizzeria Regina, 11 1/2 Thacher St., Boston. Not on Hanover Street and a little hard to find (bring a map) and a bit crowded on weekends, but well worth it. This is where the locals go to get their pizza. Expect to wait outside in line duting peak hours. Also expect a rather gruff staff. No cr cards accepted - cash only. 617-227-0765. There's also a fast-food style booth at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, though it's not quite the same quality as the main location.
  • Al Dente Ristorante, 109 Salem St., Boston. This Italian gem has an amazing selection. Choose your pasta type (about a dozen) and then choose your sauce (also about a dozen). For a truly excellent combo, try one of their homemade pastas with a the tangy vodka sauce. Lap the extra sauce down with the fresh bread and clear your pallet with some nice cold Peroni beer.
  • Osteria Rustico, 85 Canal St., Boston. Just outside of the North End, near the Fleetcenter, lies this tiny gem of a restaurant. There are only 6 tables and the menu is not very extensive, however the exceptional food makes up for this. Always open for lunch and only open for dinner when events are at the Fleet, this is a stop to be sure to visit. For lunch, be sure to try the Casalinga with grilled chicken and for dinner, the seafood pasta is out of this world.

Outside the North End:

  • Vinnie Testas. Extremely good (one opinion) / ordinary (another) / terrible (reality) Italian food in extremely large quantities, for cheap. Bring a friend or five to help you eat. http://www.vinnytestas.com/ Several New England locations; in the Boston metro area are: Back Bay - 867 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-262-6699 (take the Green Line to Hynes Convention Center/Auditorium or Copley Square) and 1700 Beacon Street, Brookline, 617-277-3400 (take the C Branch of the Green Line to Tappan St.)
Boston

Budget

  • Bob the Chef's, 604 Columbus Ave., Boston 617-536-6204. Inexpensive Southern/Cajun food in the South End. Very friendly, large portions, live jazz Thurs-Sun. http://www.bobthechefs.com
  • South Street Diner, 178 Kneeland Street, Boston (near South Station), 617-350-0028. A great 50s-style, 24-hour diner. http://southstreetdiner.com/
  • Durgin-Park, Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Famous for their service with attitude. Wholesome New England fare, especially prime rib, lobster. 617-227-2038. This place does have highly-rated meals, but can range from about $8 for a burger, to up to $25-40 for bigger meals (steak/lobster). Expect to pay at least $20 per person for dinner (not exactly budget...)
  • Silvertone Bar and Brill, 69 Bromfield St. A hip afterwork hangout with very good "new American" food and the best macaroni and cheese in town, right near Boston Common. 617-338-7887
  • Campo De Fiori, Boston University near Kenmore Square. This new Italian-French fusion restaurant is located in the base of a graduate student housing building at BU, in the same courtyard as the famous Comm School (School of Communications). The constant stream of European exchange students and blaring Johnny Halliday should say something about the flare and quality, but what will amaze are the prices. $6.50 for a filling combo of gourmet food (the Goat Cheese and Potato Pizza, Palermo sandwich and Tomato Basil Soup are all favorites) along with a drink is a hard bargin to pass up. Lunch (12-2) can be a tough time to find a table, but it is well worth it.
Boston

Seafood

  • Legal Sea Foods, multiple locations, including at Kendall/MIT (Red Line) and the Prudential Center mall. Legal Seafood is a Boston original - well, technically Cambridge, since it started as a fish market in Inman Square, Cambridge. Legal Seafood is known for its excellent, fresh fish, New England Clam Chowder, and curt, abrupt service. Expect to pay between $25-$30/person at dinner.
  • Barking Crab, 88 Sleeper Street. MBTA: Red line to South Station. $20-30 per person. Excellent seafood and American cuisine. Outdoor dining in a clam shack atmosphere, overlooks Boston Harbor and view of downtown. Kid friendly. Live music daily.
  • Union Oyster House, 41 Union Street. MBTA: Green or Blue Line to Government center. $30-50 per person, but also delicious and much cheaper to eat in the bar section. Oldest continually operating restaurant in the US. Comfortable atmosphere. A favorite of John F. Kennedy. http://www.unionoysterhouse.com
  • Summer Shack Restaurant, this place has WONDERFUL selections of seafood, which change on a daily basis. I have always had better experiences at this place than some of the bigger names- Legal, Union Oyster. The Summer Shack has a rotating selection of oysters and clams, and always have fresh lobsters for boiling or grilling on a wood flame. In addition, their fried seafood (not the most glamorous, I know) is a great pick if you are looking for the best in that category. You can expect to pay anywhere from $15-$40 per person for dinner because of the large range in price of all dishes. Try their raspberry mojitos, or check out Bukowski's next door for any of their 100+ beers. Summer Shack Restaurant (http://www.summershackrestaurant.com/) Location: 50 Dalton Street in the Back Bay, across from the Sheraton Hotel entrance and the Hynes Auditorium. 617-867-9955
Boston

Thai

  • Rod Dee two locations Coolidge Corner and the Fenway. Amazing Thai Food, amazing value. Walking by it, you might not be impressed, but when you eat there you will know why there are so many Zagat stickers on the door.
  • Noodle St. Commonwealth Ave. near BU East T. This newer establishment has been a hit with the student crowd with its complex menu of create-it-yourself Thai fusion at reasonable, if not quite insanely cheap prices. Try the special buckwheat noodles or the NS soup
Boston

Korean & Japanese

  • Apollo Grille, 84 Harrison Ave, +1 617-423-3888, open until 4 AM. Located in Chinatown, stop by for some authentic Korean and/or Japanese cuisine. The sushi selection is vast, and they're all great. Comfortable environment, open late, friendly service, and relatively inexpensive. A great place to enjoy a relaxing meal.
Boston

Vegetarian

  • Buddha's Delight two locations- Chinatown and Buddha's Delight Too at Coolidge Corner; they serve Vietnamese food with tofu, fake chicken, fake beef, fake duck...it's actually all quite good. their spring rolls are very good; as is their taro. A complete vegan restaurant
  • Christophers in Porter Square (in Cambridge) is a great place if you need both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. They are very vegetarian friendly, but also have good burgers and beer, and some more yuppie-ish options.
  • Grasshopper in Union Square in Allston - another strictly vegan Asian restaurant with a definite Vietnamese influence. Very delicious and (arguably) better than Buddha's Delight. Lunch specials under $6, dinner between $7 - $14 for entrees.
  • VeganBoston.com is a great resource for those looking to find vegetarian or vegan eats in the Boston Area. www.VeganBoston.com (http://www.veganboston.com)
Boston

Splurge

  • Abe and Louie's, 793 Boylston Street, +1 617-536-6300. Su-Th 11:30AM-11PM, Fr-Sa 11:30AM-12PM. A happening steakhouse with some of the best cuts in town. Make sure to get reservations or come in on off hours, however. http://www.abeandlouies.com/
  • Fugakyu, Beacon Street, Brookline (Coolidge Corner). Some of the best sushi in town. It truly lives up to the meaning of its name, "house of exquisite excellence." Don't worry about bringing people who don't like sushi, as they have an extensive menu (many pages) of cooked food and appetizers including shabu-shabu, tempura, katsu, sukiyaki, teriyaki, along with plenty of vegetarian options. There are many private dining rooms for 4 to 20 people that can be requested at the door for smaller parties - reservations are only made for larger groups, along with a large number of open-floor tables.
  • Top of the Hub, Prudential Center, Boston. Dine in luxury at the top of the Prudential Building, the second tallest building in the city. Light jazz, excellent food, and outrageous prices accompany a view of the city and everything around. On a clear day, you can see Maine and Cape Cod. Expect to pay $40/person, $60-80 with drinks at dinner.
  • Elephant Walk, Beacon Street, Brookline. For a slightly different menu combination, The Elephant Walk has a combined French and Cambodian menu. The setting is elegant enough for a special occasion, but intimate enough for a date. Expect about $30-40 per person before drinks. http://www.elephantwalk.com
  • Morton's Steakhouse Located near the Hynes Convention Center and Newbury Street. A conservative dinner for two without drinks will run you about $150, not including tax and gratuity. Morton's Steakhouse (http://www.mortons.com/website/htmldocs/locations/boston.html)
Boston

Drink

With a large Irish population, Boston has a number of very good Irish pubs. Many tourists look for an authentic "Boston Irish Pub". A good rule of thumb is if the establishment has a neon shamrock in the window, it is not an authentic Irish pub.

  • Doyle's Cafe, Washington Street (Jamaica Plain). An Irish pub. http://www.doylescafe.com/
  • The Burren, Davis Square (Somerville). An Irish pub once said to pour more Guinness than any other in North America. http://www.burren.com/
  • J.J. Foley's, Downtown Crossing (Boston). Hard-drinking Irish bar for the downtown crowd.
  • The Black Rose, Fanueil Hall Marketplace (Boston). Often filled with tourists on the weekends due to its location, but a favorite of the locals as well.
  • Fire and Ice, Berkeley Street (Boston). A great place to have fancy blended drinks and appetizers, or you go upstairs and have some delicious grill. You get to pick your own food and sauces, and they cook it right in front of you. $16.95, all you can eat. Definitely a fun place to go on Saturday night.

http://www.fire-ice.com/

  • Pink is one of the biggest women's bar and club in Boston with DJ, Dancing, VIP Lounge and more....for women. (LGBT friendly; duh!)

13 Lansdowne St; 617.417.0186

Boston

Sleep

Boston is not known for its cheap hotels. Budget internet sites are almost essential for finding an affordable and comfortable hotel downtown.

Boston

Budget

The hostel on Hemenway Street.

* Beantown Hostel Located on Friend Street right near North Station and the TD BankNorth Garden (yep, that is the name this week), this popular spot is near lots of night spots and not too far from the North End. Take the T because "Big Dig" diversions make driving in the area a veritable nightmare. Watch out for the 2AM curfew.

* Days Inn Boston (http://www.travelnow.com/hotels/hotelinfo.jsp?cid=151422&ID=126854) CLICK LINK FOR PICTURES The Days Hotel Boston Is A Value Hotel Located Just One Mile From Harvard Square On The Boston Side Of The Charles River. Downtown Boston And Fanueil Hall Are Only Five Miles Away, And Logan International Airport Is Eight Miles From The Hotel.

Boston

Mid-range


  • Braintree Hotel (http://www.hamptoninnbraintree.com/)The Hampton Inn-Boston/Braintree is located just 10 miles south of downtown Boston and Logan International Airport, 1 mile from South Shore Plaza, 4 miles from Quincy Adams' Homestead, 7 miles from the JFK Memorial Museum, 12 miles from Fenway Park, 15 miles from Gillette Stadium and across the street from F-1 Boston. Within 1 mile you can dine at several restaurants, including Joe's American Bar & Grill, Legal Seafood, 99 Restaurant and Pizzeria Uno. Indoor pool and whirlpool, exercise room, business center, guest laundry facility, express checkout, and 2 meeting rooms. Each guest room is equipped with dataport, on demand pay-per-view and Nintendo, iron/ironing board, coffeemaker, hairdryer, and TV with cable. Amenities include a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, free local and toll free phone calls, free wireless internet and complimentary shuttle service within a 4 mile radius of hotel. Valet service and rollaway beds are available for a nominal fee. Pets are also allowed. Kids stay free.
  • Doubletree Guest Suites, Boston (http://doubletree.hilton.com/en/dt/hotels/index.jhtml;jsessionid=404II0GVFCSTCCSGBIX222QKIYFCXUUC?ctyhocn=BOSSBDT/) This hotel is about a 5-10 minute free shuttle ride into Copley Square and the Back Bay (and Fenway Park) and about 20 minutes by public transport. Staying here was great, the service was wonderful, and they are located right on the Charles River, across from Central Square in Cambridge. I have put several people in this hotel who have visited our office in Boston, and have only gotten good feedback. 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston, Massachusetts, United States 02134-1893

Tel: +1-617-783-0090 Fax: +1-617-783-0897

****The Colonnade Hotel (http://www.travelnow.com/hotels/hotelinfo.jsp?cid=151422&ID=128380) CLICK LINK FOR PICTURES Four Stars. The Colonnade Hotel in Boston Stands 12 Floors Above The Brownstone Buildings Of The City's Historic Back Bay Neighborhood. Across From The Elegant Hotel Looms The Prudential Center Tower And Mall, Built Atop A Cavernous Stretch Of Interstate 90 And Boston's "T" Green Line Subway. The Magic Of Fenway Park Is Within Walking Distance On Summer Days, Located One Mile West Of The Hotel. Logan International Airport Is Five Miles East, Across Boston Harbor.

Boston

Splurge

  • Omni Parker House Hotel (http://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/default.asp?h_id=20) If you want to surround yourself in Boston history and opulence in the heart of Downtown Boston.
  • Intercontinental Boston, 500 Atlantic Ave. (On the Waterfront), phone number (617) 747-1000), 2 (http://www.intercontinentalboston.com/). Opening Mid-2006. The Intercontinental Boston Hotel, a new symbol of elegance and luxury on the Boston Waterfront. The 424 guest rooms & suites of this 5 star hotel will be conveniently located close to the Boston Commons, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North End, Logan Airport, Boston Convention Center and other downtown Boston attractions.

Nine Zero is trendy, fun, and not the usual hotel. For a real splurge stay in the Cloud Nine Suite with truly awesome views of Boston Common. The clue that you'll have a fabulous time is the message at the front door. It simply says: RELAX

*****The Boston Harbor Hotel (http://www.travelnow.com/hotels/hotelinfo.jsp?cid=151422&ID=116889) CLICK LINK FOR PICTURES. Five Stars. The Boston Harbor Hotel Is Known For It's Luxurious Rooms Are Decorated To Reflect Historic Boston Encompassing The Character Of The Waterfront In An Elegant, Yet Homey Manner. Huge Bay Windows Look Out Onto A Gold-domed Pavilion As Guests Enter Through A Grand Archway Where Doormen Stand Ready To Hail A Taxi. Below The Dome, On Boston Harbor, Lies A Lavish Lively Yacht Marina. Hand-carved Wood, Italian Marble, And Framed Historical Maps Of Boston Adorn The Hotel's Lobby And Elaborate Floral Arrangements Give Off Splashes Of Color And Delicately Scent The Air. Overlooking The Majestic Waterfront, This Boston Hotel Offers The Ideal Setting, Located Across The Street From The Financial District; Two Blocks From The New England Aquarium And Boston Tea Ship Museum; And Three Blocks From Faneuil Marketplace And Historic Freedom Trail. The Boston Harbor Hotel Is Located Four Miles From The Logan International Airport.

Boston

Learn

Boston and the Greater Boston area have at last count over 40 public and private universities and colleges. Some of the famous ones include:

  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Boston College
  • Boston University
  • Northeastern University
  • Tufts University
  • Brandeis University
  • Berklee College of Music
  • Wellesley College
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  • University of Massachusetts (at Boston - the famous one is in Amherst)
  • Simmons College
  • Emerson College
  • Suffolk University
  • Bentley College
  • Massachusetts College of Art (MassArt)
  • Bunker Hill Community College
  • and lots more...
Boston

Stay safe

Crime and other hazards in Boston are low for a major American city. Some neighborhoods (Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and parts of Jamaica Plain & Charlestown - all of which are off the beaten tourist path) are more dangerous than average, and extra care should be taken. Avoid walking in these areas at night if possible. Also avoid public parks after dark (unless there's a special event), especially the Fenway.

Dial 911 from any telephone for emergency police, medical, and fire services.

Boston

Contact

Greater Boston uses 10-digit dialing. This means you need to include the area code whenever you are making a call. The standard area code is 617, but some phone numbers, especially cell phones, use the new 857 overlay.

Boston

Get out

Boston makes an excellent starting point for any tour of New England.

  • Take a ferry from the harbor in the summer or one of several daily Cape Air flights from Logan year-round to Provincetown (aka P-town) to see some of the best entertainment and fun on the Cape (aka Cape Cod).
Boston

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