A city of history and tradition, Boston offers a proud legacy of culture, education, and numerous sporting championships. Boston's independent spirit has been displayed to the world ever since colonists angry over a British tax on their beloved tea dumped shiploads of it into the harbor in protest.
No American city has made more of an effort to preserve its history, and you'll find buildings that pre-date the republic dotted throughout the region. But Boston isn't a city to dwell on the past: it has renovated and revitalized, in the process shedding its once deservedly parochial reputation. And its culture is refreshed every fall by an influx of freshmen pouring into its constellation of powerful universities, which attract great minds from around the globe. Visiting will reveal a distinct mix of puritanical ideals and liberal politics — the former responsible for the first public school in... Read more
A city of history and tradition, Boston offers a proud legacy of culture, education, and numerous sporting championships. Boston's independent spirit has been displayed to the world ever since colonists angry over a British tax on their beloved tea dumped shiploads of it into the harbor in protest.
No American city has made more of an effort to preserve its history, and you'll find buildings that pre-date the republic dotted throughout the region. But Boston isn't a city to dwell on the past: it has renovated and revitalized, in the process shedding its once deservedly parochial reputation. And its culture is refreshed every fall by an influx of freshmen pouring into its constellation of powerful universities, which attract great minds from around the globe. Visiting will reveal a distinct mix of puritanical ideals and liberal politics — the former responsible for the first public school in the Americas, the latter spurring Massachusetts to become the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. Don't believe everything you've heard about the gruff demeanor of locals. Bostonians are often friendlier than the unacquainted might expect... don't call it "Beantown" to their face.
The capital of Massachusetts and de-facto capital of New England, Boston is primarily known for three things: its academics, its sports, and its history. Its plethora of museums, historical sights, live performances, and a lively dining and shopping scene make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
Boston is one of the few old American cities that has managed to preserve a respectable chunk of its history, with buildings that pre-date the republic dotted across the city. But Boston isn't a city to dwell on the past; its culture is refreshed every fall by an influx of freshmen to its many universities and colleges.
Like much of New England, Boston's weather is unpredictable. It's prone to bouts of humidity and some surprisingly high temperatures considering the region, often topping out in the 90s, in the summer. Boston summers are warm and humid, with sunshine 60-65% of the time and typical highs in the mid-70s to high 80s °F (mid to upper 20s °C). Winters tend to be cold and bitter, with several days of heavy snowfall expected every winter, and temperatures sometimes known to fall below 0°F (-18°C).
When the heat does start, there are some beaches within the city, and many beaches outside of it, for swimming. Beware that no matter how hot it is outside, the ocean water will not be warm, with the exception of some beaches on nearby Cape Cod.
Early and late summer tends to be nice, but this varies by year. In that time, the temperature will be perfect, and there will be no humidity. The city does have unpredictable stretches of heat between late June and early August when low 90s and high humidity are expected. All public transit options, including cabs, buses, and the public transit system (both formally and informally called the T) are air-conditioned, with the exception of some older cars on the heavy rail T lines such as the Orange Line, Blue Line, and Red Line.
Boston's fall foliage is at or near its peak beauty in mid-October, which also normally offers the advantage of many crisp sunny days (outside the city itself, peak foliage timing depends on how far north or south you venture from Boston.)
If you visit during the wintertime, the Atlantic Ocean has a large moderating effect on temperatures. The average low in January is 22°F (-5°C), so there may be snow, freezing rain, or hail. However, it doesn't snow anywhere near as much as many other cities due to the effect of the ocean (although the winter of 2014–15 was an exception, smashing all local snowfall records). There is only snowfall on 10 days or so per year, at the absolute maximum (barring freakishly snowy winters like that of 2014–15).
The first people to arrive here discovered an archipelago of islands and isthmuses, filled with fruits of the land and sea. They called the land Shawmut, and would use fishweirs and tidal flows to catch their dinners. Calling themselves Massachusett, meaning "people of the great hills" they chased the seasons, heading inland to hunker down in winter hunting camps, while fishing and foraging by the coast during summer. These eponymous great hills are today known as the Blue Hills, located in nearby Milton.
Massachusetts' first governor, John Winthrop, famously called Boston a "shining city on the hill," a reference to Jerusalem and a declaration of the original settlers' intent to build a utopian Christian colony. From the very beginning, the people who lived there declared their home to be one of the most important cities in the world. Considering that the American Revolution and modern democracy got their start thanks to Bostonians, and that Winthrop’s quote is still used in modern political speech, one could argue that they were right!
The father of American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes) once called the Boston statehouse "the hub of the solar system," but common usage has expanded to the now-current Hub of the Universe. This half-serious term is all you need to know to understand Boston's complicated self-image. Vastly important in American history, and for centuries the seat of the USA's social elite, Boston lost prominence in the early twentieth century, largely to the cities of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Over the past two decades, Boston has regained political, cultural, and economic importance.
In 1629, Reverend William Blackstone was the first English immigrant to arrive in the city. A year later, John Winthrop and the Massachusetts Bay Colony had followed. The Massachusetts Bay Colony were Puritan religious dissidents who had fled England to find freedom in the New World. At the time the city was called Shawmut, a name coined by Native American settlers, however now a new settlement, Winthrop had decided to rename the city Boston after his hometown in England. Because of its easily defended harbor and the fact that it is the closest port to Europe it rapidly assumed a leading role in the fledgling New England region, with a booming economy based on trade with the Caribbean and Europe. The devastating Fire of 1760 destroyed much of the town, but within a few years, the city had bounced back.
Boston was also a city of great intellectual potential. Many statesmen had emerged in Boston along with prestigious Schools such as Harvard and the first public school in America, Boston Latin. With the founding of these schools as well as the first printing press in New England, Boston was becoming more of a colonial society.
Bostonians were the instigators of the independence movement in the 18th century, and the city was the center of America's revolutionary activity during the Colonial period. Several of the first Revolutionary War skirmishes were fought there, including the Boston Massacre, The Boston Tea Party, and the battles of Lexington and Concord - which were fought nearby. Soon after the Battle of Bunker Hill, Boston's direct involvement in the Revolution ended with the success of the Siege of Boston by George Washington. For some time afterward the city's political leaders continued to have a leading role in developing the new country's system of government. The residents' ardent support of independence earned the city the nickname The Cradle of Liberty.
Throughout the 19th century, Boston continued to grow rapidly, assimilating outlying towns into the metropolitan core. Its importance in American culture was inestimable, and its economic and literary elite, the so-called Boston Brahmins assumed the mantle of aristocracy in the United States. Their patronage of the arts and progressive social ideals was unprecedented in the New World and often conflicted with the city's Puritan foundations. They helped drive unprecedented scientific, educational and social change that would soon sweep the country. The Abolitionist movement, anesthesia, and the telephone are a few examples of this.
At the same time, the city's working-class swelled with immigrants from Europe. The huge Irish influx made Boston one of the most important Irish cities in the world, in or out of Ireland. Gradually the Irish laborer population climbed into city's upper class, evidenced no better than by the continued importance of the Kennedy family in national politics.
From the early twentieth century until the 1970s, Boston's importance on the national stage waned. Cities in what was once the frontier, like Chicago, San Francisco, and later Los Angeles, shifted the nation's center of gravity away from liberty's cradle. In the past two decades, Boston's importance and influence have increased, due to growth in higher education, healthcare, high technology, and financial services. It remains America's higher educational center; during the school year, one in five Bostonians are university students. There are more college students per square foot in Boston than any other city in the Western Hemisphere.
Boston's nicknames include "Beantown", "The Hub" (shortened from Oliver Wendell Holmes' phrase 'The Hub of the Universe'), "The City of Higher Learning" (due to the plethora of universities and colleges in the Boston area) and - particularly in the 19th century - "The Athens of America," on account of its great cultural and intellectual influence. If you don't want to stand out as a tourist, don't refer to Boston by any of these nicknames. Locals don't use any of them, except the heavy use of "Hub" in journalism (Boston takes up more headline space).
The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau maintains two visitor centers:
The National Park Service also maintains two visitor centers as many of the historic sites in Boston are considered part of the Boston National Historical Park:
Navigating the streets of Boston is difficult if you are not familiar with the area. While many other American cities have their streets laid out in a grid (New York, Chicago, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix), or along a river, lake, or other geographical feature (New Orleans, Cleveland), the modern streets of Boston are a twisty and seemingly incomprehensible maze. Boston in the 1600s was a narrow peninsula surrounded by farmland and distant settlements. Landfill, urban expansion, waves of radical economic change, and new technologies have seen sensible street patterns added on to and collide in less sensible ways. Due to dense development, the older street patterns have largely remained in place without being adapted to their modern surroundings. In this way, Boston is more similar to old European cities than most typical large American cities that were geometrically planned, expanded into unsettled land, or were mainly settled in the late 20th century. Streets in Boston not only turn of their own volition, but often vanish for no particular reason or change names. If you intend to drive in Boston, a GPS or smartphone with GPS capabilities are essential, because Boston streets and avenues have no rhyme or reason to their layout, and signs are often conspicuously lacking.
Public transit in Boston is plentiful for an American city of its size, and is useful in getting around the city, especially considering the issues with driving. A single public transit agency serves the Boston metropolitan area, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority ("MBTA", or "the T" for short). The MBTA is the fourth-largest transit system in the U.S. For complete schedules, maps, and other information, see their official website.
After decades of using tokens for fare payment, the entire MBTA system was converted in 2007 to an electronic CharlieCard and CharlieTicket system. Dispensing machines at all stations accept cash, credit cards, and debit cards. If you go straight to a dispensing machine, you'll get a paper CharlieTicket with magnetic stripe. If you have time, first ask an attendant at any underground station for a plastic CharlieCard, which is a contactless "smart card". The Card is free and will give you a discount on all T and bus fares, and it's the only way to get free transfers to and from buses. If you think you'll be boarding the T many times you may wish to purchase a day or week LinkPass. Note that these do not allow rapid repeated use at the same station, for a group, for instance. In general, a CharlieCard should be considered a must for its convenience (you can leave it in your wallet), decreased fares, and free or discounted transfers. Most passes (but not one and seven day passes) can be loaded onto a CharlieCard. Unfortunately, CharlieCards are oftentimes not available at stations. However, almost all 7-11 convenience stores in the Boston area sell them, and you can find other places to buy CharlieCards on the MBTA's website.
Bicycles are sometimes possible to transport on the MBTA. Bikes are allowed on the Blue, Red, and Orange T lines except at peak hours, but are not allowed on the Green and Silver lines. Bikes are always allowed on MBTA buses that are equipped with bike racks. The MBTA is currently installing bike racks on many bus routes - check the MBTA website for the latest updates. Bikes are allowed on MBTA boats and ferries at any time. On commuter rail trains, they are allowed anytime except weekday rush hours, as noted on individual train line schedules.
The MBTA system consists of several components: T, bus, water shuttles, and commuter rail.
Full-color system maps are available at major stations; you may need to ask an agent if you would like one. They are extremely useful for locals and travelers getting a bit off the beaten track, because they show all bus, rapid transit, commuter rail, and boat lines. Most of the T maps you will see only show the rapid transit lines, which are identified by color. If you have a color printer, you can make one yourself by printing the PDF version online. (Front, back.)
The T is composed of four color-coded rail lines: the Red Line, Orange Line, Blue Line, and Green Line. The Green Line is technically an above ground streetcar system, although downtown the stops are often underground. It uses light-rail or streetcar/trolley rolling stock, stops frequently, is powered using overhead lines, and never goes above 45 miles an hour. Despite this, it carries a surprising amount of passengers and is without a doubt the most useful T line for tourists. The newer Silver Line is technically part of the subway system, but in reality is comprised of dual mode diesel-electric buses with the ability to draw power from overhead wires like a trolley. Despite the higher subway fare, most Bostonians consider the Silver Line to be a bus, not rapid transit.
The Green Line splits into four branches going west that are known as the B, C, D and E lines (from north to south). Going west on the Green Line, the E line branches off at Copley Square station, the other three split at Kenmore Square station. Just after the lines split, these lines all run above ground, the B and C lines run in the medians of Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street respectively, the D line runs on the Highland Branch, an old railway line through forests, parks, and town squares out to Newton, and the E line runs in mixed traffic along Huntington Avenue. Note that most Green Line trains do not go all the way to the end of the line at Lechmere; most turn around either at North Station or Park St. If you are traveling farther than Park St, your best bet is to get on the first train that comes, and then wait on the platform at the stop where you are forced to leave the train until the next Lechmere or North Station train arrives. (Depending where you are, Lechmere trains might not stop there.) Only trains coming from the E Branch will proceed to Lechmere, unless otherwise noted. From North Station or Haymarket, it's a fairly short walk to Lechmere.
The T system is slightly confusing in that directions are often marked "inbound" and "outbound", rather than with a destination. "Inbound" means "into the center of Boston", where all four lines converge at four stops: State (Blue and Orange), Park Street (Red and Green), Government Center (Blue and Green), and Downtown Crossing (Orange and Red). "Outbound" means "away from the center of Boston". Once one is in the center, signs generally give the direction ("eastbound") or the last stop on the line in that direction ("Alewife"). All trains are signed with the last stop in the direction they are headed, and this is the best way to know if you are going in the right direction.
T service stops around 12:30am. (The last outbound commuter rail train on each line is around midnight, and may be earlier on weekends.) Each line (Green, Blue, etc.) has a "last train" time, starting at one end of the line and going to the other. Check the schedule in advance if you are going to be out late. Sometimes the last train is delayed due to passenger load or the need to wait for the last connection from another line, so you might get lucky if you are running late. Check with a T employee near the fare gates to see if you've missed the last train or not. A general rule of thumb is to be in the station by midnight to safely catch the last train. A consequence of this is that taxis can be extremely difficult to hail after 2:30am when most of the bars close, especially in touristy areas such as Faneuil Hall.
Regular bus service (the vast majority of buses) is usually slower than rapid transit, but is also cheaper and may take you closer to your final destination. Express buses are faster, more expensive, and travel longer distances.
The MBTA runs a number of water shuttles, but the most useful for tourists is the shuttle from Long Wharf to Navy Yard. This provides a convenient connection between the USS Constitution Museum and the area around Faneuil Hall and the New England Aquarium. There's also a shuttle from Long Wharf to Logan Airport, but it runs relatively infrequently, so the Blue Line is your best bet for getting between these two destinations.
There are also non-MBTA public ferries available from several ports, notably the Aquarium and Long Wharf, and a water taxi service on the waterfront. The Boston Harbor Islands, an interesting destination for wildlife and scenery, are primarily accessed through private water shuttles which run every 30 minutes out of a stretch of the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Commuter rail in Boston is primarily used for traveling to towns outside of the city. Due to its limited frequency compared to the T, it is not generally recommended for travel within the city itself. An exception is travel between Back Bay Station and South Station, which is served by 5 commuter rail branches on weekdays and is free one way.
Trains heading north of the city leave from North Station, while those heading south or west leave from South Station. Both stations have connections to the T: North Station is on the Green and Orange Lines, and South Station is on the Red and Silver Lines. The two stations are not directly connected: you cannot board a train north of the city and take it to a point south of the city. Such a journey will require a T ride in-between train trips to make the connection.
Although there is no one official livery, taxis in Boston are predominantly white (hence called "white cabs" by locals) and can be hailed along any street so far as the driver can safely pull over (much like in any major city).
As of 2014, Uber X and Lyft are both available in Boston and may be cheaper than taking a white cab, especially for longer trips. Note that both services sometimes increase fares during periods of high demand that may negate the savings over a traditional taxi.
Boston's downtown core is compact and easily walkable. Most tourist attractions can be visited on foot, although some neighborhoods require rail and/or bus connections. Take note that while jaywalking is technically illegal, the fine is $1 and tickets haven't been issued for decades. However, if you cross against signals just remember to watch out for stray bikes, cars, and some unusual traffic patterns you won't be used to.
For an idea of how compact Boston is, one can easily walk from Downtown Crossing to Harvard Square in less than an hour.
The climate is cold from December to April, and the city is the windiest in America. Snow can also be an obstacle.
If it's late at night, or you feel you cannot deal with the cost of a taxi or the wait involved with the MBTA, then Boston is a relatively small, relatively safe city and walking is an option. Just remember to use the same sense you would in any other city.
Many Boston residents use bicycling as their primary mode of transit all year round, and Boston's small size and relative flatness make biking an appealing way to get around. Boston lacks many amenities for bicyclists, however, as the roads are covered with potholes and frequently absent of designated bicycle lanes or bicycle racks, so visitors wishing to travel by bicycle should have excellent urban riding skills prior to renting a bicycle. Cambridge tends to have more bicycle lanes and racks, though many streets still lack them. Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in the city of Cambridge, and frowned upon in Boston, and being well-lit in the evenings is important both for following regulations and for being safe. Recent efforts by Mayor Thomas Menino promise increased city investment in bicycling as a viable mode of transportation, and the mayor himself has taken up biking around town.
A central transit for bikers in Boston is the Southwest Corridor Bike Path, a major park/bike way placed along a route once slated for a major freeway system. This runs parallel to the T's Orange Line and connects Forest Hills to the Back Bay. This is an excellent means of transit if you intend on staying in Jamaica Plain.
In 2011, Boston launched Hubway, a bike sharing system very similar to those in Washington D.C. and New York City. As of 2014, there are 140 stations and 1,300 bicycles; visitors can purchase a pass for one day or three days, or those staying longer can purchase a monthly or annual membership. Pick up a bike at any station and return it to any other station. Each pass offers unlimited 30-minute rides; longer rides incur expensive extra fees, making renting a bike a better option for long rides.
There are several visitor pass programs that offer discounted or free admission to a number of the sites listed below, among them the GoBoston Card and the Boston CityPASS. Depending on the length of your stay and what you want to see, either program could potentially save you quite a bit of money.
Like any respectable American city, Boston has a series of
Further afield, the Arnold Arboretum in
There are also a great many parks in
A good resource for daily and nightly event listings of all sizes and interests can be found by picking up a free Weekly Dig from one of the many free newspaper vending boxes located at most major busy intersections.
Boston is a sports town, and its professional teams are much-loved. These include the Red Sox (baseball), Celtics (basketball), Bruins (hockey), New England Patriots (football), and New England Revolution (soccer). Another professional team, the Boston Breakers (women's soccer), is less well established.
Boston has excellent seafood from the nearby New England coast. Local specialties include baked beans, cod, lobster rolls, and clam chowder. For dessert, you'll have no trouble finding good ice cream. Boston (and New England as a whole) is one of the top per-capita ice cream consuming regions.
A variety of excellent ethnic restaurants can be found in neighborhoods such as the North End, Chinatown, Allston, or Coolidge Corner.
The best sit-down restaurants can be quite crowded in the evenings on weekends. Unless you have a reservation, be prepared to wait anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on how refined your tastes are.
The North End is full of Italian eateries, and it's certain that you'll find something here to your liking. Take the Green or Orange Lines to the Haymarket station, cross the Greenway park(what used to be Interstate 93 pre-Big Dig), and then follow the signs to Hanover Street, the main commercial thoroughfare. Most of the good restaurants are on this street or side streets. If you visit the North End on the weekend in the summer, you may encounter one of many saint's festivals. Streets are closed off, and there are music, food, and parades of the saint's statues.
The Bull & Finch Pub in Beacon Hill was the inspiration for the hit television show "Cheers." Very pricey for bar fare, but an essential part of the Boston tourist experience. The Beacon Street address is the original and does not look much like the set of the show. There are another Cheers at Faneuil Hall which is more of a replica of the TV set. If you ask a local for directions to Cheers, you may be directed to Faneuil Hall. The Beacon Street bar is referred to by its original name. Both locations are very touristy complete with souvenir shops.
Legal Sea Foods is a Boston original - well, technically Cambridge, since it started as a fish market in Inman Square, Cambridge. Legal Seafood is known for its New England Clam Chowder.
Despite having a huge student population, the political clout of residential neighborhood associations who value late-night peace has historically kept Boston from offering many options for late-night dining. Most restaurants close by 10 or 11PM, even in college neighborhoods such as Allston and Brookline. Bars stay open until 2AM for drinking, but their kitchens usually close at midnight or earlier. Exceptions are found in Chinatown, where several eateries serve their full menu till 2AM or later, and in the South End, where dining until midnight is possible even early in the week. If you're planning a long night, though, it's probably best to plan and buy some snacks in advance.
Boston has a thriving nightlife and is known to be a 'drinking' town. There are many venues that cater to college students, businesspeople, sports fanatics, and many others. There is NO happy hour in Massachusetts. Bar Hopping is very easy and commonly done.
That said, if you're taking the subway or buses back to your hotel, you may have to call it a night early lest you miss the last train by mistake. And if you have people under 21 with you, you're going to have trouble finding a place that will let your group in; pretty much every bar/club in and around town is 21+.
With a large Irish population, Boston has some very good Irish pubs. Many tourists look for an authentic "Boston Irish Pub." A good rule of thumb is if the establishment has a neon shamrock in the window, it is not an authentic Irish pub. For nightlife and club listings look for "Stuff @ Night" or "The Weekly Dig" in the free boxes on the street. The annual "Best of Boston" issue of the free Improper Bostonian is always a good bet for finding the kind of establishment that you are in the mood for.
Places densest in bars include:
There are many dive bars in Boston.
If you are in the North End or near the Banknorth Garden, go to Sullivan's Tap. ESPN's Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, rated it "The most depressing bar in Boston."
In Davis Square, Somerville you can find Sligo's Pub, a similar hole in the wall serving cheap beer in plastic cups.
The Cantab Lounge near the Central Square subway station in Cambridge features local music.
If you're off the beaten path in the neighborhoods outside downtown (Dorchester, South Boston, East Boston, Hyde Park, etc.) in search of some real Bostonians, look for any tavern with a cheesy old lamp light out front. Be ready for an in-depth conversation about the "Red Sawx" or the Bruins back when Bobby Orr played.
Samuel Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plain and Harpoon Brewery in South Boston both offer tours and tastings.
GrandTen Distilling in South Boston and "Bully Boy Distillers" offer tours and tastings.
You should be able to stand on any corner in the city and see at least two Dunkin' Donuts stores. The commercials should be "Boston runs on Dunkin." Every Bostonian knows that "Dunks" is for coffee, not donuts - trust us. Dunkins is very popular, but coffee aficionados will consider it little more than coffee flavored sugar water and will want to look elsewhere. Quality and service at a Dunkin' Donuts are hit or miss depending on the location. Au Bon Pain's 200 stores began in Boston and are also common. Starbucks is, of course, plentiful.
Boston does, however, have some outstanding independent coffee shops as well, including the Boston Common Coffee Co. with multiple locations including one near Boston Common. Also, Pavement Cafe.
The biggest shopping areas in the inner Metro are the Back Bay and Downtown Crossing. In addition, there are two large malls in and near the center of the city.
More local color can be experienced outdoors at any of several popular commercial areas:
Crime and other hazards in Boston are low for a major American city.
Some neighborhoods (especially Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester) are more dangerous than average, and extra care should be taken there. It is even better to avoid walking in these areas at night if possible. Also avoid public parks after dark (except for special events).
Dangers related to alcohol consumption are not uncommon, such as fights and drunk driving. Be especially careful when there is a Red Sox and New York Yankees baseball game in progress. Wearing Yankees gear in any part of town (even if you're not from NY), especially in the Fenway area, is invitation to be verbally harassed by the locals. For example, instead of the usual "Yankees Suck" phrase, you might be told that you suck!. Although generally harmless and in good fun, it is not unheard of for these encounters to escalate into physical altercations, especially when there is excess alcohol consumption involved. If you find yourself in this situation, you might find it wise to walk away and/or leave the area rather than try to hold your ground.
Care should be taken as well if you decide to go clubbing on Landsdowne Street, the Theatre District, Chinatown, or Faneuil Hall. As mentioned above, the more dangerous parts of Boston are generally not visited or even seen by tourists, but there are a few mildly dangerous locales that you should be aware of if you plan on enjoying Boston's nightlife. In Kenmore Square, be especially careful on Landsdowne Street as muggers and pickpockets are becoming more common and also eat in the darker areas near Ipswich Street at the end of the strip. In Chinatown, be very careful if you wander off Kneeland Street. There are a plethora of little alleyways and inlets where muggers operate. Faneuil Hall is generally safe, but not without its share of fights and petty robberies.
The safest place to have a night on the town in Boston is definitely Boylston Street in the Back Bay, around the Prudential Center area. There are plenty of bars, pubs, clubs, and restaurants that cater to the college, professional, and upscale crowd, greatly reducing the likelihood of crime. Also, this area is within short walking distance from most of the major hotels in the city.
Still, Boston is a reasonably safe city known more for its schools and history than for its crime, petty or otherwise.
Boston's subway system, the MBTA, is generally safe compared to other major cities. Green Line trains and the northern half of the Red Line are mostly used by college students and young professionals moving to and from the immediate suburbs. Caution is still advisable late at night, especially when leaving the station or the train.
If there is an emergency, dial 911, a free call, from any telephone for police, medical, and fire services.
January 18, 2019
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