Boston Area Map
Boston, the capital of Massachusetts and the largest city in New England, features neighborhoods with names and identities that still hold strong to their colonial beginnings. Some neighborhoods began as cities of their own before they were incorporated as one. Therefore, many streets may have a duplicate in other parts of town. Many of Boston's best tours feature stops in some of the city's most historic neighborhoods, including the North End, Beacon Hill and Back Bay.
Accessible via the South Station, Boylston Street, Aquarium, State Street, Government Center, Park Street, Haymarket, Bowdoin and Downtown Crossing subway stations.
Downtown Boston is the most tourist-heavy area, with most of the city's highlights, including the start of the 2½-mile Freedom Trail and the Boston Tea Party site. Families should start their city tour here for the Boston Children's Museum and the New England Aquarium alone.
Downtown is also the commercial and financial heart of the city, so modern offices share blocks with historic buildings and colonial sites. Saunter along Washington Street and stumble upon Downtown Crossing (at the intersection of Washington and Summer streets, where Winter Street turns into Summer Street). This humming area overflows with fast-paced pedestrians, theatergoers making their way to the Boston Opera House and street vendors selling their wares. And in the vibrant Faneuil Hall Marketplace, you can shop and sample some of the region's iconic fare. Hotels in the downtown area will be convenient, but expensive.
Accessible via the North Station, Aquarium and Haymarket subway stations.
Boston's Little Italy can be found in the North End neighborhood (which, as the name suggests, is just north of downtown). The Freedom Trail winds through the North End past historic sites like the Old North Church and the Paul Revere House. You'll also want to step off and explore the neighborhood's cobblestone alleyways to soak up some of the North End's Old World charm. On Hanover Street and Salem Street, you'll find a handful of restaurants and shops with an Italian flair.
Accessible via the Back Bay, Ruggles and Massachusetts Avenue subway stations.
The South End is an artsy neighborhood that serves as the heart of the city's gay community. This diverse and stylish neighborhood is home to beautiful homes from the 19th century. If you're looking for a souvenir, be sure to pop inside one of the South End's eclectic furniture and handmade craft stores lining Washington Street and Harrison Avenue. And if you happen to be in town on a Sunday morning, head to the vibrant SoWa Open Market to blend in with locals weaving through stands filled with antique arts and crafts, vintage jewelry and colorful fruits, veggies and flowers. However, you'll find few hotels here.
Accessible via the Chinatown and Tufts Medical Center subway stations.
Situated just south of downtown near the city's theater district, the Chinatown-Leather District is where you'll find a range of specialty Asian shops and restaurants. Many of Chinatown's storefronts are housed within historic buildings, and you'll find a traditional Chinese gate on Beach Street, the area's eastern entrance. After snapping photos of the Chinatown gate, don't forget to explore the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, a stretch of parks that start at the eastern edge of Chinatown and weave their way north through the Leather District, downtown and the North End.
Accessible via the Bowdoin, Charles/ MGH and Park Street subway stations.
For a taste of Boston life in the old days, wander along Beacon Hill's charming, brick-lined streets, located west of downtown. Largely residential, the area's cobblestone streets and historic homes date back to the early 19th century. Mount Vernon Street and Charles Street are the main highlights for those looking for picture-perfect photo-ops and one-of-a-kind antiques.
Beacon Hill's portion of the Freedom Trail includes the oldest public park in the country, Boston Common. Simply referred to as "the Common," it was originally created in the 1600s. And just west of Boston Common sits Boston Public Garden, America's first public botanical garden.
Accessible via the Back Bay, Arlington, Copley, Massachusetts Avenue, Symphony and Hynes Convention Center subway stations.
Sitting just off the Charles River Basin southwest of downtown, the Back Bay features some of the most expensive properties in Boston. Often compared to San Francisco's fashionable Nob Hill area, the Back Bay neighborhood features glamorous mansions, trendy shops and chic cafes. At one point in its history, it was a sign of wealth and social standing to live here. Today, you will find both residents and tourists admiring Back Bay's architecture and strolling along Newbury Street, a charming thoroughfare lined with swanky boutiques and marquee galleries. Back Bay is also home to the ornate Boston Public Library. Keep in mind: The hotels in the Back Bay neighborhood can be particularly pricey.
Accessible via the Museum of Fine Arts, Kenmore, Fenway, Ruggles, Massachusetts Avenue, Symphony, Hynes Convention Center, Longwood, Blandford Street, Boston University East and Boston University Central subway stations.
Located to the west of downtown is Kenmore Square. This scenic area consists of trees and colorful flowers, the iconic Citgo sign, the Boston University campus and a variety of shops and bars. You'll also find more of the city's famous brownstones along Bay State Road and near Beacon Street.
As you wander along the gas lamp-lit streets at night, you'll find the lively Lansdowne Street, which cranks up the cool factor with buzzing dance clubs, jazz clubs and jam-packed pubs. The street is located just south of Kenmore Square alongside Fenway Park, a must-see attraction for any Red Sox fan or baseball enthusiast. If you're in town for a home game and can afford to shell out some extra dough for a seat, you won't want to miss cheering with Sox fans inside the Green Monster. Other highlights in the Fenway part of the neighborhood include the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Northeastern University campus and Symphony Hall.
Accessible via the Community College and North Station subway stations.
One of Boston's most historic areas, Charlestown lures culture hounds in pursuit of well-preserved pieces of history, like the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument. But another main draw is the spectacular scenery; climb the 294 steps to reach the top of Bunker Hill and you'll be rewarded with sweeping city views from its observatory. Though you won't find many hotels in this isolated residential area, you will notice a few upscale restaurants sharing blocks with charming 19th-century row houses. Charlestown is located to the north of Boston proper on a peninsula across the Charles River. To reach Charlestown, walk across the Charlestown Bridge from Boston's North End or take the Green or Orange "T" line to North Station or the Community College stop.
Accessible via the Harvard, Kendall/MIT, Lechmere, Porter and Alewife subway stations.
Although not in Boston proper, Cambridge is only a short ride northwest on the subway. The heart of this separate city is Harvard Square, which sits next to prestigious Harvard University and northwest of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Academia-themed boutiques and ethnic eateries fill out the area. When you're not brushing shoulders with intellectuals in a Harvard Square bookstore, wander along Brattle Street to pick up a pastry and admire 18th-century homes. There are also a bevy of museums here, including the Museum of Science, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the MIT Museum, the Harvard Art Museums and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
Though it's unlikely that you'll encounter any major crime as a Boston visitor, it's still wise to stay aware of your surroundings, especially if you decide to branch away from tourist areas. Like you would in other large cities, keep track of your belongings and stick to well-lit and crowded streets, particularly at night. And be sure to steer clear of vacant subway cars in the evening and avoid visiting urban parks after dark. It's also a good idea to carry extra cash and the number of a reliable cab company, or download a ride-hailing app on your smartphone, if you plan to enjoy a fun night out on the town. Stay especially alert in areas like Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan, where reports of crime are not uncommon. All of these neighborhoods are situated south of Boston proper.
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