|Boston, one of the oldest cities in America,
evokes a distinct European feel, still evident in the city's culture.
Serving as the gateway to New England, its history is steeped in the
American Revolution, and it claims the title "cradle of
liberty." Once considered ultra-conservative, Boston has developed a
progressive culture and attitude, but it has kept close ties to heritage
and tradition presented in a new world charm. It has become one of the
most exciting places in the New England, from excellent culinary hotspots
to an abundnace of attractions and sights. Historical buildings, parks and
cemeteries are national landmarks, and the city boasts the birthplaces of
many famous patriots, presidents and politicians. The city's architectural
treasures include lovely brownstones and cobblestone streets, and
authentic gaslights light the way in many neighborhoods.
Getting Around Boston
The streets Bostonians use are not easy to navigate. They are believed to follow cow paths trodden in the 17th century, which gives some reason to the labyrinth of confusing one-way streets and rotaries. For those who don't mind their own two feet, Boston is considered the "walking city" of America. Driving in the city can be a torturous experience for visitors, and is not highly recommended. Even a map of Boston can be chaos for a newcomer. Making matters even worse is the Big Dig, a massive renovation of the city's roadways that is now the biggest public-works project in the United States. Fortunately, neighborhoods and districts are easily accessible by America's first underground transit system, started in the early 1800s. It's called the MBTA but Bostonians refer to it simply as the T.
Who's Who in Boston
The city and environs draw some 200,000 students to more than two-dozen universities, including some of the world's most famous institutions, such as Harvard and MIT. This regular influx of younger generations, including students from all over the world, has played a major role in the entrepreneurial and international spirit of the metropolis. Walk down Newbury Street or to a nightclub on Lansdowne Street and you'll hear a medley of foreign languages.
One cannot forget the slew of famous writers, artisans, politicians and industry leaders who have called "Beantown" their home and have paved the way for this eclectic and innovative city. Boston's best known residents have included everyone from Paul Revere and Cotton Mather to literary wunderkinds Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, TS Eliot and Edgar Allen Poe. Add to that list comedian Dennis Leary, actor Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and the rock band Aerosmith and the diverse array of celebrities widens even more. And finally there is the Kennedy family, in the spotlight now for generations, are also from Boston.
For those who want to experience city living without being overwhelmed, Boston is an excellent choice. The MBTA or the "T", makes owning a car non-essential. You can take the "T" to concerts, nightclubs, sporting events, and to fine shops and restaurants. Boston is also a Mecca for continuing education and an up-and-coming hotbed of technology and financial institutions.
Boston has many neighborhoods and districts, each with unique characteristics and reasons to be explored. You can get a little bit of everything in this bayside landmark. There is Beacon Hill, or "the flat on the hill," where Boston's Brahmins once lived. With its impressive row houses and gaslit cobblestone streets it's still one of the more expensive neighborhoods in town. Walk down Charles Street and poke around the dozens of antique shops.
Popular Newbury Street is a swanky, upscale stretch filled with shops, restaurants and cafes. You can people watch in the middle of the Boston Common and "Make way for ducklings" on the Swan Boats. Catch a Broadway play in the Theatre District and finish the night with dim sum in nearby Chinatown.
The South End is home to the city's gay-friendly community and is filled with quaint art galleries and excellent bistros. The Back Bay is where you'll find in opulent brownstones; stroll down the grassy mall on Commonwealth Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue and the Public Gardens to get a feel for the 17th century way of Bostonian living.
Right around the corner is the Charles River and the parkland along its banks, Boston's biggest playground, where you can roller blade, bike or run to your heart's content.
Down near the waterfront is Faneuil Hall Marketplace. It's not only a good place to begin the Freedom Trail, but a great venue for souvenir shopping and photo opportunities. Shop where locals shop in Downtown Crossing, an ecclectic array of department stores, jewelers and tiny shops.
The North End offers a dizzying array of authentic Italian eateries and is home to a carnival dedicated to Italian culture. Or experience the Seaport District and all the harborside activities that are popular during the summer months.
Local events always draw repeat crowds in this small city, be sure to watch for big events like the Boston Marathon and the Head of the Charles Regatta.
For a suburban neighborhood that is still within city limits, Jamaica Plain has a wealth of activites to see and do. Have a picnic at Jamaica Pond, wander through botanical gardens at the Arnold Aboretum or have a lobster roll at theJP Seafood Cafe.
These are just a handful of the many ways to discover New England's metropolis and experience the remarkable culture and tradition that Boston has to offer.
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