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Affluent Back Bay is a shopping and dining destination. Along Newbury Street, well-heeled locals frequent designer boutiques, fashion chains, art galleries and patio cafes set in elegant brick townhouses. Expansive Copley Square is flanked by 1800s landmarks Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library. Mansions dot the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets, many on Paris-inspired Commonwealth Avenue.
One of Boston’s most picturesque areas, tony Beacon Hill has steep streets lined with Federal-style and Victorian brick row houses lit by antique lanterns. The gold-domed Massachusetts State House overlooks Boston Common, with its winter skating pond. Across Charles Street, home to chic boutiques and antiques shops, is the formal Public Garden. The Charles River Esplanade’s Hatch Shell hosts summer concerts.
Cape and Islands
Like Cape Cod itself, the islands south of the Cape have evolved from whaling and trading areas to become resort destinations, attracting wealthy families, celebrities, and tourists. These include the large nearby islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Both islands are also famous summer tourist destinations, commonly accessed by ferry from several locations on the cape. The phrases Cape Cod and the Islands and the Cape and Islands are often used to describe the whole region of Barnstable County, Dukes County (including Martha’s Vineyard and the smaller Elizabeth Islands), and Nantucket County.
Busy Downtown Boston is home to Freedom Trail sites like the Old State House and Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Financial District, and City Hall, known for its brutalist architecture. Parks include sprawling Boston Common and the Public Garden. Department stores and fashion chains dot Downtown Crossing, while steakhouses mix with seafood spots and classic pubs. The nearby Theatre District has historic stage venues.
East Boston, nicknamed Eastie, is a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts with over 45,000 residents. Annexed by the city of Boston in 1836, it is bordered by the towns of Winthrop and Revere. It is separated from the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown and downtown Boston by Boston Harbor.
The Financial District is downtown’s business nerve center, crowded with stately banks, high-rise offices and sleek condos. Post Office Square, home to Norman B. Leventhal Park, offers a green respite with a lawn, sculptural fountain and garden trellises. Suited professionals frequent the district’s chain eateries, lunch spots and high-end coffee shops. Swanky lounges and boisterous Irish pubs draw after-work crowds.
Metro West Region
MetroWest is a cluster of cities and towns lying west of Boston and east of Worcester, in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The name was coined in the 1980s by a local newspaper.
The North End, Boston’s Little Italy, is a maze of narrow streets with some of the city’s oldest buildings. On the self-guided Freedom Trail, tourists pass historic sites like the 1680 Paul Revere House and the Old North Church, which played a key role at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Italian restaurants, coffeehouses, pastry shops and old-school delis pack the area, especially on lively Hanover Street.
North Shore Region
The North Shore of Massachusetts is the region north of Boston, along the Atlantic coast. It includes, among others, the towns of Lynn, Gloucester, Beverly, Salem and Newburyport. Each has their own history dating back four centuries.
The Seaport District is a redeveloped stretch of the South Boston waterfront lined with large, sleek restaurants, bars and hotels. The striking Institute of Contemporary Art has glass walls overlooking the harbor. Visitors and locals relax at cafe tables on Fan Pier, along the Harborwalk. Next to the huge Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, the Lawn on D offers summer concerts and games like bocce and ping-pong.
South Boston, or “Southie,” is an evolving residential neighborhood with a strong Irish-American heritage. Old-school diners and taverns mingle with pizzerias and gastropubs. Marking a Revolutionary War site, the Dorchester Heights monument offers sweeping Boston Harbor and downtown skyline views. Joggers and picnickers head to the waterfront trails and grassy lawn around the 1800s Fort Independence on Castle Island.
The South End is a culturally rich neighborhood with restored Victorian row houses surrounding charming English-style squares. Its popular dining and drinking scene spans family-friendly bistros, trendy eateries, gay bars and low-key pubs. The old warehouses of the SoWa Art & Design District house galleries, studios and home-decor shops. Artisans, farmers and food trucks gather at Sunday markets May through October.
South Shore Region
MassBays’ South Shore region encompasses nine communities from Cohasset to Plymouth, including six within the North and South Rivers watershed.
The downtown Waterfront is a series of walkway-lined wharves on Boston Harbor with marinas, seafood spots and hotels. Rose Kennedy Greenway, running parallel, is a string of parks with a carousel, fountains, public art and food trucks. Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park offers harbor views. Families and tourists embark on sightseeing cruises or head to the New England Aquarium’s IMAX Theatre and giant ocean tank.
The redeveloped West End is dominated by high-rises and Massachusetts General Hospital. Nearby, the riverside Museum of Science has interactive exhibits and a planetarium. TD Garden hosts hockey, basketball and big concerts. Bruins and Celtics fans jostle with North Station rail commuters in the surrounding sports bars, cheap pizzerias and pubs. The West End Museum highlights the area’s former immigrant communities.