Once home to stockyards, slaughterhouses and meatpacking industries, Allston today is a thriving center of activity. Largely populated by students and young families, Allston caters to the individual looking for something different - and affordable. It's hard to turn a corner in this neighborhood without finding a discount furniture or thrift store. Allston's Harvard Ave. boasts everything from upscale eateries and pool halls to local bars and mom & pop grocery stores. There's rarely a quiet moment in this neighborhood - everyone from students to the elderly travel the streets of Allston during all hours of the day and night.
The Back Bay, once a stagnant pool of water behind the Public Garden, is now home to some of the most exclusive real estate in Boston. A stroll down Newbury St. will take you from high fashion to hip ice cream parlors, and a walk back up Commonwealth Ave. will let you take in some of the most elegant townhouses in the city. With its rows of historic homes and a vibrant commercial district to boot, Back Bay is an elegant and exciting place to live.
Brighton, like neighboring Allston, was home to agricultural plots and stockyards in post-colonial days. The extension of street car lines in the 1800s, however, encouraged residential growth, and soon houses and apartments were built across the neighborhood. Unlike Allston today, Brighton is fairly quiet, especially at night. The neighborhood, which is primarily populated by graduate students, young professionals and families, consists of an intricate network of streets lined with houses and small apartment buildings. Local family businesses mix with national chains of pharmacies and banks along Brighton's main drag, Washington St, which runs straight through Brighton Center to Oak Square.
The traditional home of employees at the now-decommissioned navy yard, Charlestown has experienced a shift in its population and industry. The navy yard, a national historic landmark, has been converted to residential and office space, and an increasing number of young professionals are joining the families who have lived in the area for years. These newcomers are discovering Charlestown's renovated rowhouses and its accessibility to downtown Boston and the North End. Many residents walk to work in downtown or simply down to the nearby waterfront, both of which are only five minutes away.
Chinatown may have been built on a landfill, but you'd never know it while walking around this neighborhood. What identifies this area of the city is the truly mixed uses of land. Residential properties co-exist with family owned and operated businesses, local institutions and, of course, some of the best Chinese restaurants in the country. With four community murals and old ads still adorning the sides of brick buildings, a walk through Chinatown is a cultural and historical journey through the past. Chinatown is also unique in how accessible it is to residents and visitors alike with several nearby MBTA stations and major roadways.
Dorchester is Boston's largest neighborhood and also its oldest, founded a few months before the city itself. The neighborhood's historical diversity is exhibited in its architecture, from the old Victorian homes to the multi-family dwellings. Today, Dorchester retains its diversity. Its main thoroughfare, Dorchester Avenue, connects many close-knit neighborhoods and thriving commercial districts of all kinds. Dorchester is also home to the University of Massachusetts at Boston and the John F. Kennedy Library.
Downtown is the heart of the city. Many companies and agencies have their headquarters in the area, and city hall and the state house are also located there. The area comes alive each weekday around noontime as thousands of corporate businesspeople and other downtown employees break for lunch and do some quick shopping or run errands.
East Boston, a highly diverse neighborhood, has always been a neighborhood of immigrants and in recent years it has become home to people from all over South and Central America as well as Southeast Asia, Haiti and Eastern Europe. Though it is well known as home to Logan airport, East Boston is full of stores and restaurants representing its different ethnic groups. Long-time Italian restaurants stand next to Brazilian cafes. Its housing is a mix of historic and new, with many three deckers lining its streets. In recent years, homeowners have been restoring the historic homes of the area to their former glory.
The Fenway and Fenway Park, perhaps best known as the home of the Boston Red Sox, is more than just a ballpark. It is actually a dense urban neighborhood with a considerable amount of green space (the "Fens"). Although the Fenway consists of a large number of college students, it also contains a significant population of professionals, young and old. Landsdowne Street, bordering the Mass Pike on the North and Fenway Park on the south, is home to many of Boston's most popular clubs and bars.
Hyde Park is a true merger of city life and suburban life. Hyde Park prides itself on its tremendous amount of useful, open space including the George Wright Golf Course, but it also retains the City's character in its people and community institutions.
Yes, Jamaica Plain is a part of the City of Boston; no, it is not its own town. Diversity is the strength of "JP," as it is known to its residents. Every ethnicity, socio-economic stratum, and sexual orientation is well represented in this neighborhood sandwiched primarily between Roxbury and Brookline (Brookline is its own town). The rich diversity in JP has created a strong character of social awareness and tolerance among neighbors and residents.
Mattapan was annexed to Boston in 1870 as part of Dorchester. Like other neighborhoods of the time, Mattapan developed as the railroads and streetcars made downtown Boston accessible. Predominately residential, Mattapan is home to a mix of single family homes as well as two and three family houses. Mattapan Square, where Blue Hill Avenue, River Street, and Cummins Highway meet, is the neighborhood's commercial heart.
Dorchester is Boston's largest neighborhood and also its oldest, founded a few months before the city itself. The neighborhood's historical diversity is exhibited in its architecture, from the old Victorian homes of wealthy Bostonians to the multi-family dwellings of later groups of immigrants. Today, Dorchester retains its diversity. Its main thoroughfare, Dorchester Avenue, connects many close-knit neighborhoods and thriving commercial districts of all kinds. Dorchester is also home to the University of Massachusetts at Boston and the John F. Kennedy Library.
Once filled with farms and most of the breweries in Boston, Mission Hill today is an architectural landmark district with a combination of freestanding houses built by early wealthy landowners, blocks of traditional brick rowhouses, and many three deckers. Many families and some students and staff from the nearby Longwood Medical Area come to Mission Hill for the affordable rents. A diverse community in proximity to downtown, Mission Hill offers its residents an excellent view of the city from an historic neighborhood.
Boston's North End is a neighborhood where residents walk the streets, visiting local fruit stores, butcher shops and corner markets for their groceries. The North End is most famous for its many Italian restaurants and strong ties to Italian roots. With a different Italian festival every weekend throughout the summer, there rarely is a dull moment in the North End, and the community is considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Boston.
Roslindale, sometimes referred to as "Rosinopoulos" by residents for its large Greek population, began as a classic street car suburb. Today, one of the most unique characteristics of the area is the sheer number of people from all races, backgrounds and countries who call Roslindale home. Roslindale Square, the heart of the neighborhood, is the subject of a National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street award. It is considered to be an example of the value of historic and aesthetic preservation in economic revitalization.
A drive through Roxbury is both a history lesson and a tour of a modern urban neighborhood. One of the oldest neighborhoods in Boston, Roxbury has long thrived on its proximity to downtown while retaining its neighborhood qualities. Home to a great number of parks, schools and churches, a visitor can see Boston's history in the architecture and landmarks of the neighborhood. At the same time, Roxbury is a thriving community with a multitude of housing options and a variety of ethnic shops.
If the dictionary had a listing for neighborhood pride, there would be a picture of South Boston next to it. Its residents are famous in town for their love of and loyalty for their neighborhood. Southie boasts miles of beaches and waterfront parks that culminate in Castle Island. There, visitors can enjoy the Revolutionary War era fort, play in the playground, fish off the pier, or simply take a stroll. South Boston is densely populated, and it is also home to a great variety of bars and pubs. Year round, a visitor can find residents strolling up and down Broadway doing their shopping and greeting their neighbors.
The South End, with its blocks of Victorian brick rowhouses, upscale restaurants, and art galleries, is swiftly becoming one of the most popular places to live in Boston. Many of the rowhouses underwent renovation starting in the 1960s, and today the neighborhood is filled with a diverse mix of families, young professionals, a gay and lesbian community and a thriving artistic center. Trendy restaurants brush shoulders with coffeshops and mom & pop grocery stores along Tremont Street and its side streets all the way down to Washington Street (link to Wash. Main Streets), which is experiencing an artistic revival - a significant number of artists are moving in, and galleries are cropping up around the area.
The West End, considerably impacted by urban renewal of the 1970s, is a small but significant community tucked behind Beacon Hill. Historically an ethnically diverse and vibrant neighborhood, the West End today is economically anchored by Massachusetts General Hospital.
Originally part of the town of Roxbury, West Roxbury formed its own government in 1851 and was annexed by Boston in 1874. Bordered by Roslindale and Hyde Park, West Roxbury's main thoroughfare is Centre Street, lined with local restaurants and commercial establishments. Today, the neighborhood's tree-lined streets and mostly single family homes give it a suburban feel in an urban setting. Life in the neighborhood centers around political and civic activism as well as local parishes and youth athletic leagues.