Boston's Top 20

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Explore Boston's Neighborhoods

 

Back Bay

The Back Bay neighborhood is one of Boston’s most renowned neighborhoods. Fashioned after the Parisian boulevard system, best exemplified by Commonwealth Avenue and its fabled Mall, the prime residential section of the Back Bay is bordered by the Charles River and Esplanade, Boston Public Garden, Huntington Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue. Newbury Street is a magnet to tourists and locals alike who frequent the upscale retailers, restaurants and art galleries. The Charles River Esplanade is not only a preferred venue for the Boston Pops at the Hatch Shell, but a recreational destination for all of Boston’s neighborhoods who enjoy its bike and jogging trails, sailing from the Union Boat Club or just prefer to sunbathe on the banks of the Charles River. Back Bay was created when the tidewater flats of the Charles River were filled in; today this coveted neighborhood is home to some of Boston’s most opulent brownstone mansions, condominiums and full service doorman buildings. From 1857-1882 the railroad firm of Goss and Munson built approximately 6 miles of railroad between Needham and Boston. Loading the 35-car trains full of fill, they made 16 round trips per day. Twenty five years later the Back Bay was complete. The first Back Bay row houses were built in 1860 and can be viewed on the first block of Commonwealth Avenue. By 1917, all construction of new homes was complete.

 


 

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill is one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods, with the earliest existing houses dating back to the late 1700’s. This village-like neighborhood is only about one square mile in size, approximately 20% larger than the Public Garden and Boston Common combined. The Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian style architecture of its townhouses is accentuated with gas lights, decorative iron work, cobblestone streets and hidden gardens. Beacon Hill is known for its South Slope, North Slope and the Flat. The South Slope, bordered by the Boston Common,Charles Street, Pinckney Street and the State House, was developed in the 1790’s by the Mount Vernon Proprietors for Boston’s most affluent Brahmin families. The North Slope runs from Myrtle Street down to Cambridge Street while the Flat is located between Charles Street, the Public Garden and the Charles River. Charles Street and Cambridge Street frame Beacon Hill and are home to a large concentration of antique shops, restaurants and gourmet food shops. Boston’s best known proprietor, architect Charles Bullfinch, designed several Beacon Hill houses. Just a short walk to the Financial and Back Bay Business Districts, Boston Common, Public Garden, Charles River and the Charles and Cambridge Street shopping areas, Beacon Hill is the perfect neighborhood for the auto-less resident.

 


 

Midtown

Midtown section of Downtown Boston is home to a relatively new, small cluster of doorman buildings. The most notable full service buildings include The Residences at the Ritz Towers, the new 45 Province, Parkside and The Grandview. This neighborhoods’ boundaries include the Boston Common and Tremont Street, Boylston Street, Washington Street and School Street. Nestled between the Financial District, Boston Common, Theatre District and Downtown Crossing Shopping District, Midtown offers a vibrant lifestyle and a location of convenience. Many of Boston’s most popular and historic restaurants are sprinkled throughout this neighborhood. Some of Boston’s most picturesque views of the Boston including the Common, Public Garden, Charles River, Financial District and Boston Harbor, can be seen from these buildings. 

 


 

The Waterfront

The Waterfront neighborhood area forms a crescent shape, bordered by the Boston Harbor to the East and North, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market and the Financial District to the South and the North End to the West. Built along both sides of Commercial Street and Atlantic Avenue, most residential buildings are conversions of, or on the sites of, former wharfs or commercial buildings that catered to Boston’s colonial shipping trade. Two of Boston’s newest luxury residential developments, Battery Wharf and The Residences at the Intercontinental, sit at either end of the Waterfront. Residents not only enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean, they are a short walk to their favorite North End restaurant, North Station and their business interests in the Financial District. Boat slips are available adjacent to some of the luxury doorman buildings. Access the interstate 93, the Callahan Tunnel and Water Shuttle service to Logan Airport is conveniently located nearby. 

 


 

The South End

The South End is Boston’s largest neighborhood, bordering the Back Bay. It extends from Columbus Avenue to Harrison Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue to Berkeley Street. In 1973 the South End was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the largest urban Victorian neighborhood in the country; in 1983 it was also designated a Boston Landmark District. Originally a narrow strip of land known as the Boston Neck which connected Boston to Roxbury and surrounded by a tidal marsh, only a few mansions existed. In the 1840’s the city added land to the Neck by adding fill, brought in from Needham, to the marshy areas. In the 1850’s, architect Charles Bullfinch developed a plan for the new South End. The plan included ornate brick row houses of various architectural styles and small parks with fountains were interspersed into the neighborhood. Soon the South End was in vogue, attracting families from other more crowded areas of Boston. Today it remains one of Boston’s most historic, diverse and trendy neighborhoods. It is home to some of Boston’s most popular restaurants, cafes, bars, nearly 30 parks, a thriving arts community, the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) and the Boston Ballet School. 

 


 

The North End

 

The North End is Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood. Settled in the 1630’s, today it is known as Boston’s ”Little Italy” for its large Italian-American community. But the history-rich enclave has been home for many cultures. Originally home to some of Boston’s wealthiest residents, followed by the first community of African-Americans made up of freed and escaped slaves, the Irish during the last 1800’s, subsequently a center for Jewish life and then in the early 1900’s the North End became home to a large Italian-American community. The elevated Central Artery, constructed in the 1950’, divided the North End from the rest of the city. With the completion of the Big Dig, the North End has been reconnected to the city with the beautiful Rose Kennedy Greenway. Best traveled by foot, locals and tourists alike flock to its authentic Italian restaurants and annual festivals celebrating its patron saints.History abounds; visit the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church and the ancient Copp's Hill Burying Ground with grave sites dating back to the 17th century. The Freedom Trail passes through the North End. North Station and the TD Garden (home to the Celtics and Bruins) is a short walk away.