Boston, MA

Destination Location

42.3601, -71.0589
  • 42.3601, -71.0589:primary
  • 42.362965, -71.006423:secondary

Overview

Isn't it time to join the more than 18 million people who visit Boston annually? Touted as one of the world's favourite cities, Boston's tourism bureau dares to ask, "Can your city do this?"

Boston offers a unique travel experience. Whether you're travelling for business or leisure, in the spring or the fall, there is always something to uncover in this great city. Boston's calendar is filled with things to do, places to go and people to see. Home to the Boston Marathon, this great city is also known for its Lilac Sunday or the Duckings Day Parade in spring. It's also host to the week-long Pride Festival in June. If you're travelling in the fall, be sure to check out the Charles Regatta. A winter holiday is complete with a Nutcracker performance presented by the Boston Ballet.

Find hotels that meet your needs and your budget in a city that offers everything from luxury and boutique properties to family-friendly and eco-friendly hotels.

Bring your appetite as the restaurant scene is as delicious as it is dynamic. Choose from Boston's four-star restaurants scattered all over the city or try a neighbourhood bistro that offers everything from contemporary cuisine to traditional New England fare.

One of the best ways to experience Boston is through a tour of its eclectic neighbourhoods, each with a remarkably different style and feel. Stroll through Back Bay's cosmopolitan streets and ornate Victorian townhouses. Walk around the narrow 17th century streets of Boston's North End and over to the spirited and funky neighbourhood squares of Cambridge - all within easy distance from one another.

Even the shopping in Boston is of historical proportions. Designer boutiques, eclectic galleries, prestigious department stores and name-brand outlets are bound to please everyone from the whimsical window-shoppers to serious fashionistas. You can choose from indoor and outdoor shopping centres or specialty stores throughout Boston and the surrounding area.

No visit to Boston is complete without a visit to legendary Fenway Park. Home to the Red Sox, it's Boston's most popular landmark. The thrill of being there – win or lose – is a must for any visit to Boston. And it doesn't end there. Depending on the season you travel, you can also see the Boston Celtics (NBA), the Boston Bruins (NHL), or the New England Patriots (NFL) in action.

Destination basics

Boston's climate varies throughout the four seasons. Summers are generally hot and humid, with rain showers that can occur at a moment’s notice. With average highs of 28 C and lows of 19 C in July, Boston is a warm and sunny place to visit in the summer; however, the average rainfall for July is only half an inch less than that of November so think about keeping a rain jacket with you as you explore the city.

Winters are generally wet and cold between December and February, with an average annual snowfall of 42 inches. You’ll want to bundle up if you're headed outdoors. Average highs at this time are 3 C.

Boston in Autumn is breathtaking. Temperatures tend to even out to pleasant warmth during the day and cooler nights. The vibrant changing colours of the leaves throughout New England is one of Boston's best assets.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Boston, MA

Seafood is a Boston favorite, as is the traditional Yankee boiled supper, but this ethnic melting pot has an eclectic selection of menus.

Waterfront
Seafood rules the dining scene here, enticing visitors with clam chowder and lobster. Legal Sea Foods is a local chain that is popular with residents and tourists alike, and has served their clam chowder at several recent presidential inaugurations. The Barking Crab has beer and crab cakes galore, and the Daily Catch will entice you with its specialties from the sea.

Faneuil Hall
You can find Yankee suppers, Irish fare, seafood and pub grub in this historic downtown marketplace. Durgin-Park has pot roast and boiled dinners. The Black Rose is a good spot for a pint of Guinness. There are also food courts for a quick bite.

Beacon Hill
This beautiful, old-fashioned neighborhood is known for its intimate and romantic places, including The Hungry I. Although there is often a wait for a table, the inviting cobblestone streets and gas-lit alleyways are perfect for a pre-dinner walk.

North End
The North End is home to historic landmarks and the best Italian food in Boston and perhaps in all of New England. Hanover Street is packed with such popular establishments as Mamma Maria, Mike's Pastry and Caffe Vittoria.

Chinatown
With the highest concentration of late-night dining options in the city, Chinatown eateries are crowded well into the night. Among the best are Chau Chow City and East Ocean City.

Newbury Street
Fusion restaurants and countless cafes line this busy Back Bay street. Stephanie's on Newbury and Sonsie Bistro & Cafe are swank spots for the dining elite. Davio's has great Italian food and a cozy atmosphere. 29 Newbury is known for celebrity spotting and chic dining in a intimate setting. For special occasions, L'Espalier is a truly romantic French restaurant.

South End
The South End, with its quaint row houses and manicured buildings, has a variety of dining options to choose from. On a walk along Columbus Avenue and Tremont Street in this neighborhood, you will encounter restaurants offering modern French and American food, Ethiopian cuisine and down-home southern cooking. Tremont 647 and Mistral are two hotspots in this area.

Cambridge
On the other side of the Charles River, Cambridge has many hidden jewels, many of which are priced out of the student budget range and offer a fine dining experience in this cosmopolitan little city. The Border Cafe is the place for margaritas and quesadillas.

Often the best way to find a good meal in Boston is by exploring on foot. Every neighborhood in Boston has interesting choices, from gourmet to pub grub.

Boston, one of the oldest cities in America, evokes a distinct European feel, which is evident in the city's culture. The city's role in the American Revolution has led to the nickname, the "Cradle of Liberty."

Once considered ultra-conservative, Boston has developed a progressive culture and attitude. It has become one of the most exciting places in New England, with excellent culinary hotspots and an abundance 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 gas-lamps light the way in many neighborhoods.

Beacon Hill
Each of Boston's neighborhoods has unique characteristics and reasons to be explored. Beacon Hill, or "the flat on the hill," is where Boston's elite resides. With its impressive row houses and gas-lit cobblestone streets, it is still one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in town.

South End
The South End is home to the city's gay-friendly community and is filled with art galleries and excellent bistros. The North End offers a dizzying array of authentic Italian eateries and is home to several summertime Italian festivals.

Newbury Street
Popular Newbury Street is a swanky, upscale stretch filled with shops, restaurants and cafes. At the end of Newbury, you can people-watch in the Public Garden and "make way for ducklings" on the Swan Boats.

Newbury Street runs through the heart of the Back Bay, where you will find opulent brownstones. Stroll down the grassy mall on Commonwealth Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue and the Public Garden to get a feel for the way Bostonians lived in the 18th Century. Bordering Back Bay is the Charles River, and the parkland along its banks, called the Esplanade, where you can roller-blade, bike or run to your heart's content.

Waterfront
Near the Boston Harbor waterfront is Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which is an important stop along the Freedom Trail. It is a great place for souvenir shopping and photo opportunities.

Jamaica Plain
Jamaica Plain has been described as a suburban neighborhood inside the city. Have a picnic at Jamaica Pond or wander through botanical gardens at the Arnold Arboretum. Old and rambling Victorian houses of wealthy Bostonians who wished to escape the grime and crime of downtown, are being renovated to their former splendor as this vibrant and diverse area is rediscovered.

Brookline
Brookline is a wealthy suburb just to the west of Boston. The bars, movie theaters, shops, Jewish delicatessens and restaurants attract families, students, and professionals who enjoy the area's friendly urbanity. The Coolidge Corner area, at the intersection of Harvard Avenue and Beacon Street, is the town's liveliest and most rewarding area to visit.

Somerville
Somerville is located to the north of Cambridge and home to Tufts University. The lively bars and restaurants here are frequented by young, hard-working professionals who cannot afford to live downtown, as well as by older residents who enjoy Somerville's funky mix of urban sophistication with a suburban pace and attitude.

Cambridge
Cambridge is a city unto itself, located opposite Boston along the Charles River. It is best known as the home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, two of the most prestigious universities in the United States. The city is more colorful, liberal and funky than staid Boston, perhaps because of the large population of students and alumni. Central Square in Cambridge is a lively area with cheap ethnic cuisine and perhaps the highest concentration of music clubs and bars in the greater Boston area. Harvard Square is the area just outside of famed Harvard Yard. It is home to many fine restaurants that are beyond the budget of any college student, along with unique shops including several specialty bookstores and funky clothing stores. Another great attraction is the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Any warm weekend evening is a mini-carnival, as street performers compete for loose change from passersby on almost every street corner.

Once considered ultra-conservative and boring, Boston has become a world-class metropolis with endless ways to educate, enthrall, entice and, of course, entertain. Vibrant nightlife and a surge of innovative restaurants have added options to an existing stable of world-class museums and theaters, making Boston an entertainment magnet in New England.

Museums and Galleries
Boston has a magnificent selection of art complexes—large to small, American to Asian, local to national. Many museums offer specials and discounts for students. Boston's enormous Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are the best-known and most popular. Kids love the Children's Museum, and everyone loves the Museum of Science, with its theater and planetarium.

Newbury Street, South End and Brookline boast a diverse array of galleries, many of which showcase the region's up-and-coming artists.

Theater and Music
Boston has dozens of theaters, including outstanding regional theaters and venues for touring Broadway shows. The Wang Center for the Performing Arts, the American Repertory Theatre and the Charles Playhouse are among the better-known theaters.

There is also a lively and varied music scene, including the world-renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra, which performs at Symphony Hall. The free performance by the Boston Pops on the Charles River Esplanade every Fourth of July is not to be missed. Both ensembles have summer performances at Tanglewood Music Center, a beautiful outdoor concert hall in the Berkshire mountains.

For mainstream music, check out the TD Banknorth Garden, the city's largest musical and sporting venue. The Paradise and Avalon are other venues for pop music concerts. In warmer months, the Hatch Memorial Shell on the Charles River Esplanade is famous for its free classical, jazz and rock concerts. Jazz clubs range from sleek hotel venues such as Scullers and the Regattabar to lively, standing-room-only favorites like Wally's Cafe and Bob's Southern Bistro. Irish music is also very popular in Boston, with live Irish seisiuns occurring almost nightly at the Brendan Behan Pub, and The Burren, to name a few.

Parks
Rollerbladers and runners flock to the Charles River Esplanade. The Public Garden and Boston Common fill with walkers and strollers in the spring, which is about the time that the famous Swan Boats reappear. The Commonwealth Mall, which runs parallel to Newbury and Marlborough Streets, overflows with walkers, many accompanied by their dogs. One little-known oasis is the Back Bay Fens with its gorgeous rose and community gardens. The Arnold Arboretum is a 256-acre horticultural treasure. From April to October, you can rent a sailboat on lovely Jamaica Pond. Many of these parks are part of Boston's so-called "Emerald Necklace," a series of green spaces preserved or designed by the famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York's Central Park.

In South Boston, on historic Castle Island, you can walk around old Fort Independence and watch planes take off from nearby Logan International Airport.

Sports
Watch the Celtics play basketball and the Bruins play hockey at the TD Banknorth Garden. You will never forget watching the storied Red Sox play baseball at historic Fenway Park, which many fans consider the finest stadium in the country. The Boston Marathon and the Head of the Charles Rowing Regatta are two annual events that attract thousands of spectators and top athletes from all over the world.

Nightlife
Boston has many options for the music lovers, young professionals and hipsters who enjoy the varied nightlife. A word to night owls: All establishments close promptly at 2a and the MBTA stops running at 12:45a, so be prepared to take a cab home.

Lansdowne Street, located next to Fenway Park, boasts various clubs, each with a different theme. Avalon, which is the largest, boasts an impressive list of visiting DJs and live acts. For a more polished atmosphere, consider the Leather District. Off the beaten path between South Station and Chinatown you will find numerous places catering to a cosmopolitan crowd.

Boston

State: Massachusetts

Country: United States

Boston by the Numbers
Population: 667,000 (city); 4,628,900 (metropolitan)
Elevation: 10 feet / 3 meters 
Average Annual Precipitation: 44 inches / 112 centimeters
Average Annual Snowfall: 44 inches / 112 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 28°F / -2°C
Average July Temperature: 75°F / 24°C

Quick Facts

Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz, standard two pin plugs

Time Zone: GMT -5 (GMT -4 daylight saving time); Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Country Dialing Code: 1

Area Codes: 617 & 857

Did You Know?

Boston is home to the nation's first public park (The Boston Commons 1640), the first public library (1653) and the first subway (1897).

On January 15, 1919 the Great Molasses Flood occurred in the North End of Boston - a tank burst at the Purity Distilling Company, dumping over 2 million gallons of molasses into the streets and killing 21 people. Some say that on hot days, the streets have the faint odor of molasses.

Orientation

Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and sits next to the Atlantic Ocean. It's about about 215 miles (346 kilometers) away from New York City and about 308 miles (496 kilometers) from Montreal, Canada.

Native Americans had been living on the Boston peninsula for more than 2,000 years when Captain John Smith, famous for helping lead the settlement of Virginia to the south, sailed into the harbor in 1614. Smith mapped the area between Cape Ann to the north and Cape Cod to the south and called it New England. He named the largest river in the area the Charles, after the British prince. In 1620, the Puritans, chased out of England for their religious beliefs, landed in nearby Plymouth, and founded the first permanent European settlement in the Boston area.

A few years later, William Blackstone, a scholar and clergyman from the Plymouth settlement, set out in search of solitude. He found himself, his bull and several hundred books at the foot of Beacon Hill. In 1630, Blackstone lured other Puritans to Boston with promises of ample fresh water. He soon was in the middle of a bustling community that included the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop.

The town was named Boston (Native Americans had called it Shawmut) after the town of the same name in England, which had been named after St. Botolph, the patron saint of fishing. From the beginning, the growing town used the Atlantic Ocean as its lifeline, and over the next 40 years, Bostonians built more than 730 ships. As Boston became a center for publishing, education and trade, the strict moral teachings of the Puritans clashed with the zeal of the emerging merchant class. By 1680, the once independent colony was firmly under British control. As Paul Revere's famous engraving of 1768 shows, British warships conveyed troops to the city in response to protests over the Stamp Act of 1765, which required tax stamps to be placed on any published materials. The act was later rescinded after protests by the "Sons of Liberty," who included Samuel Adams, John Hancock, John Adams, Patrick Henry and James Otis.

But the British Crown issued mandates that imposed additional taxes on the colony. By 1770, there was one British soldier in town for every four colonists. The powder keg exploded on March 5, 1770, with the Boston Massacre. The site where British troops fired into a crowd of colonists, killing five people, is marked today by a ring of cobblestones at Congress and State Streets.

On December 16, 1773, a mob led by Samuel Adams boarded three ships and dumped their cargoes of tea overboard in "The Boston Tea Party". The British parliament responded by sending even more troops to close off Dorchester Neck, the only land entrance to Boston. The "shot heard 'round the world" was fired in Lexington on April 19, 1775, when a group of colonial militiamen engaged in battle with British regulars. The American Revolution had begun.

The tide turned for the Bostonians with George Washington's first major victory on March 16, 1776. Using the cover of night, the rebel army moved much of their artillery to the top of Dorchester Heights. British troops awoke to find enough cannon staring down at them to destroy their fleet anchored in Boston Harbor. On March 17, Evacuation Day, they fled the city, and the date has been a city holiday ever since.

Post-Revolutionary Boston had a population less than a third of what it had been just prior to the war. But the early years of the 19th Century were boom times for Boston, which added thousands of new residents every 10 years, along with mills, tanneries and factories. Eventually annexed by the city were fast-growing suburbs: Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and Dorchester. Landfill was another way to meet the ever-increasing demands for more space: Mount Vernon gave up tons of dirt and gravel to form Charles Street at the base of Beacon Hill. The Back Bay, once a soggy bank along the Charles River, was built on top of landfill.

It was during these prosperous times that Frederick Law Olmsted, one of the nation's foremost landscape architects, designed the "Emerald Necklace." This is a series of green spaces that connects the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall to parks of Olmsted's design like the Arnold Aboretum, Franklin Park and the Back Bay Fens.

The end of the Civil War signaled an end to Boston's booming economy. Newly constructed rail lines eliminated trade from Boston's waterfront. Factories around the country produced goods more cheaply than in Boston, and the shoe and textile industries vanished by the 1920s. With the arrival of the Great Depression of the 1930s, Boston's economy seemed doomed. The renovation of Boston finally came at the hands of Mayor John Collins, who undertook a massive restructuring of the city in the 1950s. Many old landmarks were destroyed, but he also created many jobs and helped pump dollars into the slowly reawakening economy.

The John Hancock Tower, designed by famed architect I.M. Pei, soared skyward in 1975 as Boston's tallest building. In 1978, renovated Quincy Market symbolized a new period of growth. The 1990s saw the beginning of the giant urban renovation program known as the Big Dig, designed to bury Interstate 93.

Boston, now one of the country's major centers of high-tech development and a popular tourist destination, has entered the new millennium with the energy, perseverance and heady spirit that have always been the city's trademarks.

Points of interest in Boston, MA

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