City Hall
One City Hall Square
Boston 617-635-4600

Chamber of Commerce
265 Franklin Street
Boston 617-227-4500

Boston is a city like no other. Although it is the oldest urban center in the Western Hemisphere, the adjectives most often used to describe it are vibrant, invigorating, stimulating, entertaining, and mesmerizing. Quite simply, Boston is an undisputed international center for education, high technology, finance, architecture, culture, commerce, research, and medicine. Known as the “Cradle of Liberty,” Boston is renowned in history, heritage, and in every aspect of human endeavor. The impressive list of ‘firsts’ seems endless, from the first public school and first college to the place where Alexander Graham Bell tried his new invention. Boston still upholds its reputation as one of the most popular and desirable destinations in the world.

Throughout its remarkable history, Boston has demonstrated an enviable propensity for regeneration. It’s fine institutions and founding industries have not only endured—they have grown, prospered, and evolved through passing generations. Millions of dollars have been poured into refurbishment and renewal over the decades, continually transforming the Boston skyline. In fact, Boston rivals Northern California as the force behind the nation’s information economy. For all this, Boston presents itself as an intimate, easily accessible and practical city. Convenience is one of Boston’s greatest assets, supported by well-planned network of major thoroughfares and a comprehensive mass transit system. Logan International Airport is located just three miles from the downtown business district, and the Port of Boston represents another critical link in the region’s transportation system.

Boston has long held an eminent international reputation, leading the world as a center for medical science, research, development, and applied technology. Among the leading hospitals in Greater Boston are such shining jewels as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham & Womans Hospital, New England Medical Center, the Massachusetts Eye & Ear infirmary, the Lahey Clinic, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and University Hospital. Massachusetts General Hospital is recognized as one of the best teaching hospitals in the nation. The exceptional caliber of medical and science education available attracts the finest students from around the globe, many of whom settle permanent in the Boston area and perpetuate the cycle of excellence.

Education has remained through the centuries a top priority and a predominate industry. Boston enjoys a national reputation for educational excellence and intellectual resources. The first public school in America was established here in 1635. In 1636, The Great and General Court of Massachusetts enrolled just nine scholars in the country’s first college—Harvard University. “America’s College Town” offers more institutions of higher learning than any area comparable in population of size, and many of its public and private colleges and universities are among the nation’s most prestigious. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is considered to be one of the finest technical universities in the world. Even the public elementary and secondary schools are known for innovative teaching methods and extraordinary opportunities for learning and discovery.

The clustering of renowned institutions of higher education has shaped the culture of the region as well, adding even more spice to the natural “melting pot” of diversity. Museums, performances. and collegiate athletic events draw crowds from across the region. Dubbed the “Athens of America,” Boston is a mecca for the arts. Exceptional performing arts attractions include internationally famous talent like the Boston Ballet, the Boston Pops, the Handel and Hayden Society, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra—one of the world’s most frequently recorded groups. Summertime and holidays find the Boston Pops performing at the Hatch Memorial Shell located on the scenic Charles River Esplanade.

Annual festivals include the Early Music Festival and First Night, and the citywide New Year’s Eve Celebration of the Arts. Summer music festivals include Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, the Boston Globe Jazz Festival, and Harborfest—a five-day Independence Day extravaganza with imposing ships, lively music and spectacular fireworks. The Boston Shakespeare Company performs classic and contemporary works as well as the plays of the Immortal Bard. A favorite New England winter holiday tradition is the Boston Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker.”

Aficionados of the theatre will discover the first-string talent of Broadway-bound shows in Boston’s Theater District or the classic and contemporary works of Off Broadway theatre. The Wang Center, the Wilbur, the Shubert, the American Repertory in Cambridge, and the Colonial theatres combine to fill the year’s calendar with crowd-pleasing productions. The area’s foremost art collections are located almost side-by-side in the Fenway Area. The Museum of Fine Art houses a world-renowned collection of Asian, Classical, Egyptian, and European art; while the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum displays European masterpieces.

Over 30 notable museums serve as examples of the city’s intellectual achievements. The New England Aquarium on the Boston waterfront showcases divers who feed sharks, giant turtles, and other marine creatures. Other highlights include the world’s first Computer Museum, the Boston Museum of Science, Boston Public Library, John F. Kennedy Library & Museum, Children’s Museum, and the Boston Tea Party Ship. As the culmination of Boston’s Revolutionary glory, the Freedom Trail winds around 22 of the city’s most significant historic sites, buildings, and monuments.

At the center of Boston’s lively waterfront is Faneuil Hall/Quincy Marketplace, a unique combination celebrating the glories of the past and the vitality of the present. More than 125 eclectic shops and 20 inviting restaurants are nestled in historically preserved 19th century warehouses. For shopping, Back Bay is home to Newbury Street, Copley Place, Prudential Plaza, and Kenmore Square. Beacon Hill’s Charles Street is known for fine antiques, while Downtown Crossing offers a brick and cobblestone walking mall anchored by major department stores and the original Filene’s Basement.

Boston is a town where the raw energy and tradition of collegiate and professional sports are both unrivaled. Fleet Center at North Station is the site of the Boston Celtics basketball and Boston Bruins ice-hockey home games. The “Green Monster” of Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team; Foxboro Stadium hosts the New England Patriots football team. Boston is also home to a wide variety of collegiate, national, and international sporting events, including the 26-mile Boston Marathon, the Head of the Charles Regatta, the U.S. Pro Tennis Championship, and the College Hockey Beanpot Tournament.

Whether you prefer a challenging game of golf and tennis or the most rugged of extreme sports, Boston can accommodate. Sail on the Charles River or enjoy miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking, cycling, and running. In the winter months, alpine areas invite cross-country skiing and sledding. American’s oldest urban park, Boston Common is the starting point for three of Boston’s pedestrian tours—the Freedom Trail, Black History Trail, and the Harborwalk. Boston’s Emerald Necklace is the longest continuous chain of parks in the country. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1860, The Necklace spans 1,000 acres of greenery. Each spring the swan boats glide across The Lagoon, the centerpiece of the Public Garden, where weeping willow trees and brilliant displays of flowers create a landscape with all the utopian allure of a Monet painting.

Well-defined and long-established neighborhoods have allowed Boston to retain the inviting atmosphere and friendly feeling of a small town in spite of its population density. Well-groomed lawns, magnificent old shade trees, and meticulously landscaped parks provide a rich showcase for the city’s elegant architectural masterpieces, while new hotels and apartment complexes are creating a residential enclave along the city’s spectacular waterfront. As livable as it is dynamic, Boston’s unique charm and natural beauty have stood the test of time. Whether your dream is a Federal, Victorian, colonial, or contemporary style home that is convenient to both culture and business, Boston delivers a quality of life beyond compare.

Boston Neighborhoods

The charming neighborhoods just across the river from Cambridge are popular with students, scholars, skilled workers, and academic professionals due to their proximity to Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, and Boston College. The Massachusetts Turnpike Extension provides residents of Allston and Brighton with easy access to downtown Boston and a good commute to the many high-tech and research and development centers located along Routes 128 and 495. Attractive residential choices range from a limited selection of single-family homes along quiet, tree-lined streets to condominiums in a variety of architectural styles. Pleasing neighborhoods that demonstrate a strong sense of civic pride and unique charm contribute to the overall appeal. Amenities include swimming pools, an ice-skating rink, boat landing on the Charles River, and access to the MBTA Greenline and bus routes.

The Back Bay
The soaring ceilings, bay windows, cozy fireplaces, spacious rooms, and breathtaking river views that once attracted Boston’s elite are still draw residents to this enchanting Victorian neighborhood. Claiming an aristocratic legacy, the Back Bay is only ten square blocks bounded by the Charles River, Beacon Hill, the South End and Massachusetts Avenue. Varied housing selections include apartments and condominiums carved out of lavish, stately single-family homes from the past. The population is diverse, since the beauty and prestige of its historic aura continues to draw some of Boston’s most creative and talented residents. Meticulously restored mansions and quaint, ivy-clad brownstones with wrought-iron gates bland harmoniously with impressive hotels, galleries, specialty shops, sidewalk cafes, boutiques, and restaurants.

Beacon Hill
Adjacent to the Back Bay is Beacon Hill, sharing its reputation as one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in Boston. Settled in the early 19th century by the wealthy, Beacon Hill offers the quintessential New England charm in its cobblestone streets, brick sidewalks, gas lamps, hidden gardens, and historic homes. An intimate atmosphere has emerged among today’s residents, bonded by their desire to protect the neighborhood’s elegance, aesthetics, and historic significance. Most enjoy a 10-minute to employment centers in downtown Boston and the financial district. This primarily residential enclave features period homes that reflect the finest in architectural design and craftsmanship. Commercial activity includes antique shops, local grocers, and gourmet food stores. The World famous Boston Common and the Public Gardens rest at the foot of the hill.

The epitome of historic Boston, Charlestown’s natural charm is being restored on every front. This serene, closely knit community features meticulously renovated Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian homes as well as a mix of contemporary housing and handsome multi-family complexes. Ancient trees shade cobblestone byways along the downtown sector’s most prestigious addresses of Monument and Winthrop Squares and Harvard Mall. City Square has undergone complete transformation in recent years, forming a connection with the North End. This intimate community also boasts the tourist attractions of Bunker Hill and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum. The ongoing revitalization of the Navy Yard is another classic example of the area’s evolving face. A well-defined program is ensuring that the Yard’s strong historical character serves a variety of modern purposes, maximizing the benefit of its prime waterfront location. The Navy Yard affords some of the city’s most spectacular views.

Chelsea emerged as a well-known summer resort community during the 19th century, and later became a permanent residential suburb of Boston. Although this neighborhood occupies and area just under three square miles, Chelsea retains a strong economic base through manufacturing activity that also provides opportunities for employment close to home. Residential districts have attracted a diverse population, offering housing options that meet a wide range of tastes, price ranges, and lifestyles. Newcomers can choose from single-family homes in classic architectural styles, duplexes that accommodate two families, and opportunities for multi-family living in townhouses and condominiums.

Reflecting the spirit of renewal in Boston, Dorchester’s renaissance has been driven by long-time residents who formed community action and city revitalization projects. Young professionals seeking affordable and attractive housing have been attracted in increasing numbers to this area of spacious Victorian homes, gaslights, and tree-shaded streets. Today, the long-established neighborhood claims a new, dynamic, and more youthful perspective. Beautification is most evident in the Savin Hill, Fields Corner, and Ashmont Hills areas, although evidence of the Dorchester’s rebirth as a “Victorian suburb” are everywhere. Single-family dwellings from brick bow-fronts to traditionals grace the tree-shaded streets, with more regal homes offering high ceilings, tiled fireplaces, and lush backyards. New shops and restaurants enhance the residential refurbishment.

The Fenway
Whether your passion is baseball, fine art, the symphony, or world-renowned educational facilities, The Fenway delivers. Located in southeast Boston, The Fenway is a unique neighborhood that draws many students, faculty, and artists. Cultural and recreational attractions as well as educational and medical facilities abound. Home of the famous Fenway Park ballfield, the area also features the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard Medical School, Simmons College, Northeastern University, Massachusetts College of Art, Wheelock, and Emmanuel College. Boston’s famous hospital district occupies the western fringe, including healthcare facilities of international repute such as Beth Israel and Children’s Hospitals and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Housing consists mainly of condominiums and rental apartments located in older, multi-story buildings. Major redevelopment of buildings into a shopping mall with cinemas and restaurants is further enhancing the attraction of this convenient neighborhood.

Hyde Park
Blending the best aspects of urban and suburban lifestyles, Hyde Park is located in the southeast part of the city—just a 15-minute commute to downtown Boston by rail or car. The neighborhood is further divided into smaller communities like Fairmont, Readville, and Stonybrook. Cleary Square and commercial establishments along Truman Highway provide a selection of retail shops and free public parking. Neat, well-kept yards; inviting streets shaded by large, old trees; and solidly constructed homes characterize Hyde Park. Most of the housing remains in good condition and is moderately priced, from single-family homes to multi-family townhouses, condominiums, and apartments. Social services are highly developed, especially for teens and seniors.

Jamaica Plain
Ideally located along the “Emerald Necklace” park system, Jamaica Plain offers a suburban atmosphere just three miles from the heart of downtown. Graced by such attractions as the Arnold Arboretum, a botanical garden with ponds and open landscapes linked to Harvard University, this unique neighborhood is particularly lush and scenic. Transportation efficiencies include Route 9 to the high-tech mecca west of Boston, Route 1 to the shops south of Boston, and the Orange Line T. Jamaica Pond enhances the quality of life by offering boating and fishing opportunities. Nestled between “JP” and Center Street are lovely older homes that included stately colonial and Victorians. Many have been converted into multi-family dwellings and condominiums. Residents share in interest in maintaining the beauty of their environment, keeping property values high and maintaining aesthetic harmony in architectural diversity.

The North End
Just beyond Faneuil Hall on the Freedom Trail lies one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods, affectionately known as “Little Italy.” The small, densely populated North End has attracted wave after wave of immigrants, beginning with 17th century Puritans. Nestled between the Waterfront on one side and the Central Corridor on the other, this colorful district is a showcase of Italian culture in its grocery stores, bakeries, pizza shops, cappuccino cafes, customs, and delightful summer festivals. This closely knit community embraces some of the most cherished monuments to the past, from Paul Revere’s house and Copp’s Hill Burial Ground to the Old North Church where two lanterns warned those crossing the river that the British were coming. The neighborhood offers excellent examples of 17th through 19th-century Boston architecture— although brick single-family homes, condominiums, and multi-family complexes predominate.

Situated just eight miles from downtown Boston, Roslindale claims one of the nation’s most elegant botanical parks as its northern boundary. An abundance of hillside vantage points ensure this neighborhood’s reputation as a convenient and panoramic residential retreat from the hectic urban pace. Along with families who have lived in the area for generations, Roslindale’s growing population has welcomed an influx of new residents that include young families and professionals. A variety of housing styles are available, many of which offer strategic hillside locations that offer beautiful views of the Boston skyline. Traditional Boston triple-deckers, condominiums, and other rental possibilities abound in this attractive neighborhood.

True to the nature of many of Boston’s long-standing neighborhoods, Roxbury has been home to a number of ethnic populations over the evolving decades. It currently serves as the heart of Boston’s black community. Founded in 1639, Roxbury was annexed to Boston in 1868. The majority of housing options in this area are two-family and triple-decker structures that remain in sound condition. Renovation is ongoing, and opportunities abound for ambitious first-time or bargain-minded prospective buyers to restore or remodel vintage Boston housing. The result is not only a sound property investment but a truly personalized and customized home.

The South End
Built as a fashionable neighborhood in the mid 1800s to complete with the prestigious Back Bay district, the South End evolved into an immigrant community of boarding houses by the early 1900s. In recent years, painstaking renovations and widespread revitalization have restored the area’s natural charm and distinctive personality. The neighborhood’s colorful diversity and unique character are still evident in family-owned shops, cobblestone streets, gas lamps, and pleasant parks. A wide cross-section of ethnic, social, professional, and artistic groups now occupy the beautiful row houses and fashionable brick-front brownstones that grace the area. Many of the single-family homes and multi-family conversions feature floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed brick walls, overhanging rooms, hidden backyards, and quaint balconies. Connected to downtown Boston by the Summer Street Bridge, this neighborhood with its hills, beaches, and waterfront offers a convenient location. A strong Irish flavor remains, and South Boston is definitely the place to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Many of the city’s finest chefs have moved to Tremont Street in the South End to create Boston’s Restaurant Row.

The Waterfront
Once a strictly commercial section of the city, the 19th century buildings and wharves of Boston’s Waterfront have been meticulously restored. These quaint structures are now home to new specialty shops and offices along with luxury apartments and condominiums graced by balconies and oversized picture windows that overlook the harbor. An area known for its exclusive residential enclaves, the Waterfront also offers residents the bustle and excitement of harbor living. The Waterfront is home to some of Boston’s finest attractions, including the Aquarium, The World Trade Center, sightseeing boat tours, and popular outdoor cafes. Close by are Faneuil Hall and Quincy Marketplace with Waterfront Park and the Rose Kennedy Rose Garden with its trellised walkway and lush picnic areas. Lewis, Sargent, Long, India, Rowes, and Commercial Wharves claim some of the most sought-after residential addresses in Greater Boston.

West Roxbury
The most suburban of Boston’s neighborhoods, West Roxbury has long been known for its high per-capita income. Striking Victorians are showcased on tree-shaded streets, and spaciousness is a key element in the long-established areas like Bellevue-La Grange. Here, meticulously groomed and sprawling yards complement the stately homes. Abundant parks create lush open space, crowned by the recreational jewel of Stonybrook Reservation, one of Boston’s most panoramic havens. The overall population has grown slowly, although an increasing number of young professionals are infusing new vitality. West Roxbury is located just 20 minutes from downtown Boston via private or public transportation. Routes 128 and 95 are just minutes from home, and shoppers enjoy close proximity to the Dedham Mall or the specialty shops along Route 1.

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