“Beantown”, “the Hub of the Universe” or simply “the Hub”, by whatever name Boston is the economic and cultural hub of New England. It is the largest city in Massachusetts, New England’s largest city by a substantial margin, and one of the 20 largest cities in the United States.
Located in eastern Massachusetts on the harbor that bears the same name, Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan colonists from England. These Puritan colonists of the Massachusetts Bay colony were different than the Pilgrims that founded the Plymouth Colony, which became part of Massachusetts Bay in 1686.
Boston was the scene of many of the major events leading up to the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre (1770), Boston Tea Party (1773), the Battle of Bunker Hill (1775), and the Siege of Boston (1775/1776). Boston is often referred to as “the cradle of liberty” and is thought to be the birthplace of the Revolution. Many attractions in Boston such as the Freedom Trail, the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum, the Old North Church, and the Bunker Hill Monument can help you to plug in to this very important part of American history.
Education and Medicine
In addition to tourism, higher education is a major reason that people come to Boston. Students attending schools in the Boston area, or friends and family visiting students, or alumni coming back for events are all travelers to Boston who take in its diverse sights and attractions. Boston is also one of the major cities for medicine and life sciences. Many people visit Boston to take advantage of its’ world renown hospitals.
Unique in Boston
There are many unique attractions in Boston including Fenway Park, the oldest major league ballpark in the United States; the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship; Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States; adjacent to Boston Common the Boston Public Garden, which is part of the Emerald Necklace, a string of parks designed by world famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. This is but a small sample of the attractions that await you in Boston. See below for a more complete list of attractions and things to do.
Did You Know?
The lights on top of the John Hancock building have meaning:
- Blue = Clear good weather
- Flashing Blue = Clouds
- Red = Rain
- Flashing Red = Snow (or in summer the Red Sox game has been rained out)
Boston weather is classified as humid continental or humid subtropical. What that means to the rest of us is that Boston has warm, humid, and often rainy summers; and cold, windy, and often snowy winters. July is Boston’s hottest month with an average daytime temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures around 65 degrees. It can, and often does, get above 90 degrees in the summer in Boston.
Conversely, January is the coldest month in Boston with an average daytime temperature of 36 degrees and nighttime temperature of 22 degrees. Temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit are not uncommon during a Boston winter, however. The message here is dress cool in the summer and have a light jacket handy for rainy days, and be prepared to bundle up in the winter.
Getting To and Around Boston
Many travelers to Boston arrive at Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS) in East Boston. It is not uncommon, however, for people to come to Boston via T. F. Green Airport (PVD) serving Providence, Rhode Island or Manchester-Boston Airport (MHT) in Manchester, New Hampshire. Remember that this is New England and distances between cities and states is not as great as some from other parts of the country.
A Very Walkable City
Boston is a very compact city. It is the second smallest in land area of any U.S. city over 600,000 people. Because of this, Boston has the highest percentage of pedestrian commuters of any major city in the United States.
In addition to access via air travel, Amtrak operates extensive train service into both of Boston’s train stations (North Station and South Station) including high-speed Acela Express service to New York and Washington, D.C.
If you are driving, getting around Boston can be a bit of a challenge. Big portions of the city are not laid out on a grid system like other major cities. To top it off, there are many narrow and one-way streets that can make getting from point A to B challenging.
The good news, however, is that Boston is very compact and an immensely walkable city. In fact, according to the 2000 Census, Boston has the highest percentage of pedestrian commuters of any major city in the United States.
In addition, Boston has ample public transportation. The MBTA (the “T”) operates an underground rapid transit system, as well as an extensive buss system and commuter rail system. It is also typically very easy to catch a cab in Boston.