According to Boston’s Office of Neighborhood Services, there are 23 different neighborhoods in the city. About 66% of today’s Boston land didn’t exist when the city was initially founded. It was created by gradually filling in tidal areas over the course of centuries, leveling the city’s three original hills, and bringing in gravel by train from Needham.
Downtown, and the areas directly around it, are primarily made up of low-rise Greek Revivals and Federals. The Financial District comprises modern high rises, and Back Bay is home to prominent landmarks like the Boston Public Library, the old John Hancock Building, and Copley Square. Areas of single-family homes are interspersed with smaller commercial districts, and there are many wooden and brick multi-family row houses as well. The South End Historic District has the largest collection of surviving Victorian homes in the country.
Single-family homes in Boston number 1,980, while condos are the most prominent type with 28,893 units. The residential stock also includes 5,160 multi-family buildings, 16 farms and ranches, and 1,453 residential buildings of other classifications. On the commercial side there are 2,066 buildings, 230 industrial structures, and 2,340 mixed-use developments. Civic use buildings number 1,783 and there are 4,267 properties of various other uses, as well as 4 vacant lots.
Boston grew organically and the roads do not follow any type of planned grid system. The city is the eastern terminus of Interstate-90. Almost one-third of Boston residents commute via public transport– the 5th highest usage rate in the country. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, known to residents as the ‘T’, is the largest underground rapid transit system in the country and one of the 5 busiest overall. It covers more than 65 miles of track over four lines. 13% of the city commutes on foot, which makes it the highest pedestrian commuting major city in the country.
There are upwards of 57,000 students enrolled in Boston Public Schools, covering 145 schools. Boston Latin School, established in the early 1600s, is the oldest public high school in the country. There are more than 100 colleges and universities in the Boston area, with a total enrollment of around a quarter of a million students. The most well-known schools include MIT, one of the top universities in the world, Harvard, the oldest university in the country, and the prestigious Tufts.
Medical and research facilities abound in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area. Some of the most well-known medical facilities in that area include Beth Israel, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Other medical centers can be found in the Beacon Hill area, including Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Crime in Boston has been reducing almost yearly since the ‘90s, thanks in part to the Boston Police Department’s work with churches and neighborhood groups. This collaboration, along with other initiatives, has created the “Boston Miracle” in which murder rates went from 152 in 1990 to 31 in 1999. Major crime was also down 7% between 2008 and 2016.
Boston Common is the oldest public park in the U.S. Located adjacent to Boston Public Garden, it’s part of a string of parks designed to encircle the city. Other locations include the largest park in the city – Franklin Park – and the largest body of freshwater in the city – Jamaica Pond. The Esplanade on the shore of the Charles River is another favorite city park./p>
Fine dining options abound in Boston, with seafood at Ostra, French at Mistral, and Italian at Davio’s. A more casual evening can be spent at Pizzeria Regina, American diner food can be had at Theo’s Cozy Corner Restaurant, and there’s Italian and seafood at Pauli’s.
A long list of draft beers can be found at Bukowski Tavern, City Bar offers chic cocktails, and the Hawthorne is well-known for its living-room vibe.