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Areas of Boston
The diverse areas of Boston offer an interesting perspective of the city as a whole. From cultural communities like Little Italy in the North End, to the posh neighborhoods of Beacon Hill and Back Bay, to the more commercial atmosphere of Downtown Boston, there’s something new to be found in each area.
At a Glance
Boston, aka “Beantown” has a deep historic background, going as far back as the 17th century. The city has played a key role in many famous events, such as the American Revolution, and it bears the marks to prove it. But Boston isn’t just rooted in the past. It’s a cultural hub and sporting playground for fans of the Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins, and the Patriots.
The Boston area is packed with a lot of history, architecture, and visitor attractions. From cultural centers like Chinatown and Little Italy, history in Beacon Hill, or Downtown Boston, each neighborhood has its own personality.
There are 21 official neighborhoods making up the Boston area: Allston-Brighton, Beacon Hill Back Bay, Chinatown, Charlestown, Downtown Boston, Dorchester-Mattapan, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Fenway-Kenmore, Hyde Park, North End, Roxbury, South Boston, South End-St. Botolph, and West Roxbury-Roslindale.
The Allston-Brighton neighborhoods are home largely to immigrant families from places like Russia and Brazil. Students and young adults frequent the area, thanks to its close proximity to Harvard University and Boston University.
The Back Bay and Beacon Hill neighborhoods are some of the priciest places to live in the Boston area. Back Bay is known for its Victorian brownstones, along with landmarks like Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, the Old South Church, and the John Hancock Tower.
Charlestown has a largely working class Irish American population, ever since the Great Irish Famine in the 1840s that saw an influx of Irish immigrants to the states. The famous Battle of Bunker Hill took place on the Charlestown Peninsula, and you can visit the Bunker Hill Monument that also lies at the end of the Freedom Trail.
The Dorchester-Mattapan neighborhoods lie next to each other, and are largely residential areas. Approximately three-fourths of Mattapan’s inhabitants are African American or Caribbean American.
Downtown Boston is a tourist mecca, sprinkled with historic landmarks and modern entertainment. From the beginning of the Freedom Trail at Boston Common, to Downtown Crossing, a major shopping center, it’s the perfect blend of old and new.
Step out of Logan International Airport and you’ll find yourself smack in the middle of East Boston. Enjoy a spectacular view of the Boston skyline from this end of the city or enjoy a walk down Constitution Beach.
Most notably the home of Fenway Park, the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood is a popular place for Red Sox fans. The area also rubs shoulders with several notable educational institutions, such as Boston University, Harvard Medical School, Berklee College of Music, and Northeastern University.
Hyde Park is a largely urban neighborhood with a suburban feel and an industrial past. These days, it’s a slowly growing area, in both diversity and population, much like Mission Hill, a major employment center next to Downtown Boston.
Standing at the very tip of Boston is the North End neighborhood, one of the oldest residential areas around and home to Little Italy. Here you’ll find Paul Revere’s old house and an Italian eatery on virtually every corner.
For a true Bostonian dining experience, drop by Restaurant Row in the South End neighborhood, where you can indulge in cuisine from around the world. If food isn’t your thing, you should also take note that the South End was a hub for jazz music and black musicians until the 1950s.
With so many neighborhoods to cover, the best way to get anywhere and everywhere without breaking the bank is to make use of the city’s public transit system, the “T.” On the other hand, Boston is known as “America’s Walking City,” so ditch the trains, planes, and automobiles and get a lay of the land by walking around. Driving a car in the Boston area isn’t recommended, with few parking lots and pricey parking garages, not to mention traffic.