Boston, MA

Destination Location

42.3601, -71.0589

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.

Airport served by: BOS

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

One of the oldest cities in America, Boston evokes a distinctly European feel. The charming town is lined with ivied brick buildings and sprawling parks, lending it a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Once considered a conservative destination, Boston has developed quite the progressive attitude over the years, becoming one of the most exciting places in New England. You’ll find culinary treasures, shopping havens, and lots of youthful energy alongside national landmarks and historic sights that define this dynamic capital.

Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill is where the Boston elite live. Elegant houses stud cobblestone streets in the upscale neighborhood, making its residential zip code one of the most sought after in the city. Perhaps the best part of Beacon Hill is its prime location, which sits nearby the Boston CommonBoston Public Garden, and Charles River Esplanade. Also found at the top of the hill from which this quaint quarter takes its name is the Massachusetts State House.

North End
More than anything else, the North End attracts the hungry, specifically those craving Italian cuisine. The neighborhood has housed generations of Italian-American families and boasts some of the finest restaurants anywhere in the city. The oldest residential community in Boston, the North End also plays host to must-see historic sites like Paul Revere House and Old North Church. For the best tour of the neighborhood and one of the best ways to see the city at large, follow the Freedom Trail through the venerable North End.

South End
Hip and trendy, the South End is where visitors head for art galleries and boutiques, Champagne cocktails and charcuterie boards. It is also known for welcoming the LGBTQ scene at its many gay bars. At first glance, the neighborhood catches the eye with its stunning Victorian facade, comprised of family homes and young professional apartments. To get to the heart of the action, walk down Tremont or Washington Street and soak up the South End in all its modish glory.

Back Bay
Back Bay is a central neighborhood located right on the Charles River. It houses landmarks like the Prudential Center and Copley Square, where you’ll also find the Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library. Home to famed Newbury Street and its designer digs, Back Bay is also a prime shopping destination. Whether you follow Newbury Street through central Back Bay, picnic on the grassy mall between the Commonwealth and Massachusetts Avenues, or head to the Esplanade for panoramas of the Charles River, this dynamic neighborhood has something to offer absolutely everybody.

Jamaica Plain
Jamaica Plain has been described as a suburban neighborhood inside the city. It originally attracted wealthy Bostonians who wished to escape the grime and bustle of downtown Boston. Although many of the beautiful Victorian houses found in the area have fallen into disrepair over the years, Jamaica Plain is quickly being renovated to its former splendor, aiming not only to restore its shiny exterior but also preserve the character it has developed. While visiting, take a walk around Jamaica Pond or wander through the botanical gardens at the Arnold Arboretum.

Brookline
Brookline is a wealthy suburb just west of Boston. It has bars, movie theaters, shops, Jewish delicatessens, and restaurants that attract a mix of families, students, and professionals who all enjoy the quiet yet lively neighborhood. Coolidge Corner is particularly bustling, housing most of the entertainment options in the area.

Cambridge
Cambridge is a city unto itself. Located opposite Boston along the Charles River, it is best known as the home of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, two of the most prestigious American universities. It is more liberal than Boston proper, and most would argue much funkier, perhaps in part because of its student population. Central Square is one of the livelier corners of Cambridge, overflowing with cheap and tasty food, dance and live music clubs, and a high concentration of bars. Just outside iconic Harvard YardHarvard Square is home to fine restaurants, including many that challenge the student budget. You’ll also find fun shops like specialty bookstores and vintage clothing outlets scattered about the area. Before you leave Cambridge, be sure to check out the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Somerville
Somerville is north of Cambridge and home to its own acclaimed university: Tufts. Its lively bars and restaurants are frequented by young, hardworking students and professionals, and its outskirts predominantly feature family residences. Offering a fun mix of urban sophistication and suburban energy, Somerville may not be on the top of our list of places to see, but it has more than enough to offer a good time.

Boston is a world-class metropolis filled with endless ways to educate, enthrall, entice, and entertain visitors. Its thriving arts scene balances top museums, theaters, and galleries with the inexhaustible talents of the Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory communities. The city offers a constantly evolving culinary landscape, albeit one that holds on tight to its New England roots, and a nightlife scene active enough to entertain throngs of students. Of course, part of what makes Boston so magical is its pristine setting, and visitors can also take easy advantage of the scenic city’s outdoor opportunities while exploring Beantown.

Museums & Galleries
Boston has a magnificent selection of art complexes, ranging from large to small, American to Asian, local to national. The enormous Museum of Fine Arts and spectacular Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are the most popular in town, followed by the Children’s Museum for families and Museum of Science with its planetarium. Please note that many of the museums in Boston offer specials and student discounts. Regarding galleries, both Newbury Street and the South End boast a diverse array of art galleries, many of which focus on the area’s up-and-coming artists. Though smaller and quieter, Brookline also houses a handful of galleries.

Theater & Music
Chief among the dozens of theaters in Boston are the Wang Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, and Charles Playhouse. Each offers an inviting ambience, and together, the venues stage everything from regional theater to touring Broadway shows. You can also check out the events schedule at the Boston Opera House for premier performing arts.

Boston also boasts a healthy music scene, led by stars like the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which performs at Symphony Hall. For mainstream music, try a concert at TD Garden, the largest music and sporting events venue in the city. Otherwise, jazz clubs in Boston range from sleek hotel venues like Scullers and the Regattabar to lively, standing room-only favorites like Wally’s Café. To really celebrate the city, you can also enjoy live Irish 'seisiuns' almost nightly at the Brendan Behan Pub or the Burren.

Free concerts are held fairly frequently in Boston, particularly during summer. Head to the Hatch Memorial Shell on the Charles River Esplanade for gratis classical, jazz, or rock shows in the warmer months. And if you spend the Fourth of July in Boston, make sure to catch the beloved Boston Pops show also on the Esplanade.

Parks
Many of the beautiful parks you'll see scattered throughout the city belong to Boston’s “Emerald Necklace,” a park circuit that comprises a large part of what makes the city so delightful. Runners, cyclists, and skaters flock to the Charles River Esplanade in summer; the Public Garden and Boston Common fill up with picnickers in the spring, around when the famous Swan Boats reappear; and the Commonwealth Mall, which runs parallel to Newbury Street, teems with dog walkers year round. One little known outdoor oasis in Boston is the Back Bay Fens, home to gorgeous rose and community gardens. Stretching 256-acres (104-hectares) in Jamaica Plain, the Arnold Arboretum serves as another horticultural treasure.

Sports
Fans of the Celtics and Bruins will enjoy game night at TD Garden, and all visitors to Boston should experience a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, which many consider the finest stadium in the country. Regarding annual events, the Boston Marathon and Charles Rowing Regatta draw thousands of spectators and top athletes from all over the world. Boston is a city of sports enthusiasts, so whether or not you take in a game while you're in town, be ready to root on the home team with the locals.

Nightlife
Boston is full of varied crowds, lending to an eclectic nightlife scene. Student hubs like Allston and Back Bay are lined with bars and clubs, similar to popular tourist areas like Faneuil Hall and Lansdowne Street near Fenway Park. For hipper nightlife venues, take the party to Cambridge, and for classier evenings out, opt for the South End or the cosmopolitan Leather District.

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

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.

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