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CityTips Guide to Boston

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The most European of American cities, Boston will charm even the most discerning traveler. Perfect to be explored on foot, from the Freedom Trail to Faneuil Hall. Visit this ethnic melting pot of diversity.

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Local Overview

Boston, one of the oldest cities in America, evokes a distinct European feel, which is evident in the city's culture. The city's role in the American Revolution has led to the nickname, the "Cradle of Liberty."

Once considered ultra-conservative, Boston has developed a progressive culture and attitude. It has become one of the most exciting places in New England, with excellent culinary hotspots and an abundance of attractions and sights. Historical buildings, parks and cemeteries are national landmarks, and the city boasts the birthplaces of many famous patriots, presidents and politicians. The city's architectural treasures include lovely brownstones and cobblestone streets, and gas-lamps light the way in many neighborhoods.

Beacon Hill

Each of Boston's neighborhoods has unique characteristics and reasons to be explored. Beacon Hill, or "the flat on the hill," is where Boston's elite resides. With its impressive row houses and gas-lit cobblestone streets, it is still one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in town.

South End

The South End is home to the city's gay-friendly community and is filled with art galleries and excellent bistros. The North End offers a dizzying array of authentic Italian eateries and is home to several summertime Italian festivals.

Newbury Street

Popular Newbury Street is a swanky, upscale stretch filled with shops, restaurants and cafes. At the end of Newbury, you can people-watch in the Public Garden and "make way for ducklings" on the Swan Boats.

Newbury Street runs through the heart of the Back Bay, where you will find opulent brownstones. Stroll down the grassy mall on Commonwealth Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue and the Public Garden to get a feel for the way Bostonians lived in the 18th Century. Bordering Back Bay is the Charles River, and the parkland along its banks, called the Esplanade, where you can roller-blade, bike or run to your heart's content.

Waterfront

Near the Boston Harbor waterfront is Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which is an important stop along the Freedom Trail. It is a great place for souvenir shopping and photo opportunities.

Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain has been described as a suburban neighborhood inside the city. Have a picnic at Jamaica Pond or wander through botanical gardens at the Arnold Arboretum. Old and rambling Victorian houses of wealthy Bostonians who wished to escape the grime and crime of downtown, are being renovated to their former splendor as this vibrant and diverse area is rediscovered.

Brookline

Brookline is a wealthy suburb just to the west of Boston. The bars, movie theaters, shops, Jewish delicatessens and restaurants attract families, students, and professionals who enjoy the area's friendly urbanity. The Coolidge Corner area, at the intersection of Harvard Avenue and Beacon Street, is the town's liveliest and most rewarding area to visit.

Somerville

Somerville is located to the north of Cambridge and home to Tufts University. The lively bars and restaurants here are frequented by young, hard-working professionals who cannot afford to live downtown, as well as by older residents who enjoy Somerville's funky mix of urban sophistication with a suburban pace and attitude.

Cambridge

Cambridge is a city unto itself, located opposite Boston along the Charles River. It is best known as the home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, two of the most prestigious universities in the United States. The city is more colorful, liberal and funky than staid Boston, perhaps because of the large population of students and alumni. Central Square in Cambridge is a lively area with cheap ethnic cuisine and perhaps the highest concentration of music clubs and bars in the greater Boston area. Harvard Square is the area just outside of famed Harvard Yard. It is home to many fine restaurants that are beyond the budget of any college student, along with unique shops including several specialty bookstores and funky clothing stores. Another great attraction is the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Any warm weekend evening is a mini-carnival, as street performers compete for loose change from passersby on almost every street corner.

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