Towns

While greater Boston is home to 4.5 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country, the city itself is a walkable web of historic, picturesque neighborhoods, each with a flavor all its own. An international center of higher education and medicine, it is also a center for research, biotech and finance. Boston proudly remains high on world livability rankings, recently ranking third in the US and 36th globally.
 
Back Bay

One of Boston's most beloved neighborhoods, Back Bay is bordered roughly by the Charles River on the north, the Public Garden on the East, Columbus Avenue on the south and Kenmore Square to the West. Boston's Back Bay is a historic district recognized for its high concentration of Victorian-era brownstones and brick townhouses.

This high-end neighborhood is also known for its broad, tree-shaded streets - including the famed Commonwealth Avenue Mall - the sprawling green lawns of the Charles River Esplanade and the world-class shopping on Newbury Street. Homes here run the gamut from pristinely kept 1-bedrooms to grand limestone mansions that run close to 10,000 square feet.

Architectural details vary as well, from the pressed brick and sandstone of the French Academic to the stained glass and wrought iron of the High Victorian Gothic, to the carved gargoyles at copper cresting of the French Chateauesque style.

What is Back Bay known for?

  • Best shopping: Newbury Street, Copley Place, The Shops at the Prudential Center
  • Most green space: Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Public Garden, Charles River Esplanade
  • Best jog: Charles River Esplanade
  • Elegant architecture: Victorian brownstones with inviting front stoops and small but well-tended gardens
  • Best 4th of July celebration: July 4th Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular 

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Beacon Hill

Arguably Boston's most cherished neighborhood, Beacon Hill is of course home to the center of Massachusetts government with its centuries old State House at its pinnacle. Long the home of the city's elite, Beacon Hill is bordered on the South by the largest gems in the famed Emerald Necklace, the 50-acre Boston Common, and Public Garden. To the North is Cambridge Street, home of the nation's #1 ranked hospital, Massachusetts General. The State House on the East and Arlington Street and the banks of the Charles on the West.

Beacon Hill, separated in two by the charming village shops of Charles Street consists of 150 to 175-year-old townhomes that line the Hill proper, and mostly elegant, late 19th and early 20th century homes in the area known as the Flat of the Hill.

What is Beacon Hill known for?

  • Historic Architecture: Federal-style rowhouses, brick sidewalks, and gas-lit streets
  • Best high-end boutiques & antique shops, especially along Charles Street
  • Acorn Street, the most photographed street in America
  • The Massachusetts State House and it's magnificent gilded dome
  • Cheers, the bar made famous in the television series of the same name.
  • Best neighborhood Halloween celebration

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Brookline

Located South and West of the Charles River campus of Boston University, Brookline is an idyllic, 6.8 square mile town was settled in the 17th century, incorporated in 1705, and now consists of over 20 distinct neighborhoods. These offer everything from urban, condominium living to rambling, 19th-century estates.

Brookline is noted equally for its fine school system (both public and private) as it is for its sylvan, often arboretum-like setting. Brookline is home to The Country Club, the first of its kind in the country, it has hosted the U.S. Open several times. This 58,000 resident suburb is also famously the birthplace of John F. Kennedy.

Served by the MBTA green line, Brookline had an early 20th-century blossoming as one of Boston's streetcar suburbs. The rail line is flanked by many multi-family condominiums and apartments to this day. The town boast five retail centers, five fire stations, the main library with two branch locations and is home to several institutions of higher education.


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Charlestown

The original capital of the Massachusetts Bay colony, Charlestown is steeped in New England history and has a charming housing stock to match. Charlestown has been the site of massive gentrification since the late 1980s due to its proximity to the City and its incredible, intact 19th-century architecture. With streets lined with neat, Federal and Victorian style townhouses, the feel is reminiscent to Beacon Hill, especially as you climb the gently sloping streets leading to the Bunker Hill Monument.

Charlestown revels in its waterfront, perched on the banks of both the Boston Harbor and the Mystic River. MBTA transit on the orange line makes the city an easy commute, as does the close proximity of 93 South. Boston’s Logan International airport is just minutes away.

New, concierge-style developments like Parris Landing and Flagship Wharf stand near charming single-family homes ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 square feet. Densely populated, upscale and urban, Charlestown is often exactly what young and middle-aged professionals are looking for.


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Fenway

Famed as the home of Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox, the Fenway area, which includes Kenmore Square, is a dynamic residential and commercial hub
 of Boston that promises unbeatable accessibility to culture, parks, commerce and public transportation. Located to the west of the Back Bay, Fenway began as mudflats of the Charles River Basin. In the 1870s, the land was filled, giving the topography that we know today.

A fashionable and lively urban district, Fenway is home to a mix of families, young professionals and students. The area has been built up with stately brick townhouses and apartment buildings—including a number of brand new luxury real estate developments near Fenway Park—as well as major cultural, educational and medical institutions.

Students, visitors and young people throughout the city are drawn to the lively restaurants, music venues and nightlife of Kenmore Square and Lansdowne Street. Huntington Avenue, which forms the southeast edge of the neighborhood, is celebrated as Boston’s “Avenue of the Arts” and is lined by Symphony Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Huntington Theater, and New England Conservatory. The neighborhood’s preeminent green space is the Back Bay fens, a unique urban park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace.


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Jamaica Plain

Long known for its bucolic setting just minutes from downtown Boston, Jamaica Plain offers a rare combination of urban and suburban conveniences. Originally part of Roxbury, Jamaica Plain was annexed to Boston in 1873 and the once farming community became a favorite destination for country estates of Boston’s well to do. A site of many 19th-century transportation developments—from horse-drawn omnibuses to railroads, streetcars, and parkways—the area transformed into a 20th-century streetcar suburb with commuters flocking to new single-family houses, two-family dwellings, and three-deckers that lined the neighborhood.


Today, “JP” has evolved into one of Boston’s most diverse and dynamic neighborhoods. Even with relatively high population density, however, residents and visitors still have access to an abundance of open green space. Often referred to in the 19th century as "the Eden of America," JP is home to Jamaica Pond, the original potable water source for Boston, the Arnold Arboretum and its wonderful walking trails, as well a significant portion of Boston’s Emerald Necklace, the park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the 19th century. Integral parts of the neighborhood, the greenery of JP contributes to a quality of life distinct to this setting alone.


What is Jamaica Plain known for?


  • Historic Architecture: Greek Revival style of the 1830s and ‘40s
  • Opportunities for guided tours and casual strolls through the Arnold ArboretumForest Hills Cemetery, and around Jamaica Pond
  • Site of the Samuel Adams Brewery
  • The original J.P. Licks ice cream shop, a favorite across Massachusetts
  • Quirky boutique shops and a variety of restaurants on Centre Street

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Midtown

Newly popular and skirting the eastern edge of the Boston Common is a revitalized, mixed-use urban neighborhood known as Midtown. Popular with its nightlife offerings and Theater District as one end, this compact, walkable neighborhood boasts the chic W Hotel and residences anchoring one end of the district and the elegant Ritz-Carlton hotel and residences at its opposite end. 

Midtown residential is comprised almost entirely of contemporary condominiums with a few renovated lofts repurposed from late 19th-century office and manufacturing buildings. Midtown's theaters, restaurants, boutique hotels and chic condominium developments, including The Ritz-Carlton Residences45 Province StreetMillennium Place, and Millennium Tower, make it an increasingly popular destination.

Served by the MBTA's red, orange and green lines, Midtown is just steps from the 50 acres of green that comprise the center stone in this city's famed Emerald Necklace of parklands, the historic Boston Common. In recent years, Midtown has become a choice neighborhood for Boston's young professionals.


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North End

Boston's story can be told right here, where Boston began and Paul Revere lived, where waves of Jewish, Irish, and finally, Italian immigrants recast this neighborhood in their own cultural traditions. Today, the North End retains its old-world charm; Italian is still heard in the streets, fresh pasta and cannolis still sold from small shops, and wonderful restaurants abound. But it is also very much of the 21st century, connected to the Greenway and offering unique residential opportunities.


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Seaport District

The tides are quickly changing in Boston’s Seaport. No longer a land of parking lots and warehouses, the Seaport has become Boston’s newest mixed-use neighborhood, full of office buildings, luxury condominiums, retail stores, cultural offerings and restaurants. All these amenities, coupled with the location — across from downtown, right off of the highway, and just a short T ride to the airport — have transformed the Seaport into a highly desirable area for Boston luxury real estate. 


Also known as the South Boston Waterfront and Innovation District, the Seaport District includes the area just east of the Fort Point Channel. The area is also known by its neighborhood names, including Seaport Place, Fort Point, Fan Pier and Liberty Wharf. A number of small pocket gardens are located throughout the Seaport District, especially along Northern Avenue, and the Harborwalk extends along its piers, designed to connect the public to a clean and restored Boston Harbor. 


Since Mayor Menino rebranded the Seaport as the Innovation District, thousands of jobs and individuals have made the transition across the Fort Point Channel. Luxury lofts continue to take shape to cater to the residential and visitor expansion, as do a number of new dining options from small local eateries to larger restaurant developments. For example, Barbara Lynch, the famed Boston restaurateur, launched restaurants MentonSportello, and Drink, and Joanne Chang opened an outpost of the acclaimed Flour Bakery + Café. Liberty Wharf, a $60 million development, caters especially well to crowds looking for waterfront dining, offering Jerry Remy’sTemazcalDel Frisco’s, and the 3-story Legal Harborside. 


Seaport District Cultural Attractions:



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South Boston

South Boston is steeped in Revolutionary War history, being the site where George Washington forced the evacuation of British troops from Boston in 1776. The neighborhood stretches from Fort Independence on Castle Isle to the East to Dorchester Avenue on the West and includes over three miles of public beach. South Boston has a long history as a working port, and that tradition continues today with cruise ships pulling into the Black Falcon Terminal and high-end furnishings coming and going from the Boston Design Center. Boston’s Convention & Exhibition Center, designed by Rafael Viñoly and the largest in the Northeast, calls South Boston home.

Known in the 19th to mid-20th centuries as a predominantly Irish Catholic community, South Boston has become the go-to neighborhood for young professionals in the past decade with a renovation of 150-year old row houses and the introduction of full-service buildings like the LEED certified Macallen Building. Families are also drawn by South Boston’s strong sense of community and close proximity to the South End, Financial District, and public transportation.

Miles of paths have been created along the South Boston Waterfront, perfect for jogging or walking, and culture has burst onto the scene with the opening of The Institute of Contemporary Art. Planned development for the South Boston Waterfront includes residential, office, retail, and hotel use.


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South End

Developed in the mid-19th century around a series of fountained squares, the South End neighborhood was the home of many of Boston's well-to-do residents before the tidal marsh to the North was filled in, creating the Back Bay. Marked by neat rows of bow-front houses, the South End has seen a complete renaissance occur over the past two decades.

This neighborhood is known for its energy, its embrace of the arts in its SoWa district of art and design, and its proliferation of fantastic restaurants and bistros. Housing in the South End can be as simple as a self-contained studio or elaborate as a Union Park townhouse restored to all its 19th-century glory. The South End also is home to many of Boston's full-service, doorman buildings.

What is the South End known for?

  • Tree-lined streets of red-brick bow-front townhouses dating to the 1800s
  • Some of Boston's best restaurants, design stores and boutiques, especially along Tremont, Shawmut and Washington streets
  • SoWa (for South of Washington), where some of the city's better contemporary art galleries are located
  • SoWa Open Market: Every Sunday from May to October, this outdoor market includes an extensive arts/crafts section, an award winning farmer’s market and a collection of the best food trucks around

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Waterfront

The Waterfront is located just below the North End of Boston and follows the shoreline of Boston Harbor and Fort Point Channel. Historically, the Waterfront served as the manufacturing and storage hub of Boston’s bustling harbor.

Today, Boston’s historic wharves are home to some of the most exclusive Boston Waterfront properties, many of them restored wharves that have been refurbished into luxury townhomes and condominiums. The Waterfront neighborhood is highly sought after for its incredible views, its proximity to Boston's bustling Financial District as well as its close relationship to Boston's linear urban park system, the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

What is the Waterfront known for?



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