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Boston Neighborhoods

Retrieved from http://www.cityofboston.gov/neighborhoods/ on July 3, 2012. All information provided by the City of Boston website.

Allston

This radiant neighborhood is best known for its student population due to its proximity to many colleges and universities. In recent years, an influx of immigrants and young professionals has taken an increasingly active role in the neighborhood. This varied mix of people creates one of the most energetic and diverse populations in Boston. Harvard Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue and Brighton Avenue host many ethnic restaurants and popular watering holes. The Honan Allston branch public library, named after the late Boston City Councilor Brian Honan, is a treasure of information and genuine resource for the entire community.

Back Bay

It's easy to understand why the Back Bay is one of America's most desirable neighborhoods. Newbury Street, Boylston Street and Commonwealth Avenue are lined with unique shops, trendy restaurants and vintage homes, making the Back Bay an extremely fashionable destination for Boston residents and visitors. In fact, it's not uncommon to spot celebrities strolling up and down these picturesque streets. This bustling neighborhood also houses the two tallest members of Boston's skyline, the Prudential Center and the John Hancock Tower, in addition to architectural treasures such as Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library.  

Bay Village

One of the smallest neighborhoods in the City of Boston, Bay Village more than makes up for its lack of size with its inviting and friendly atmosphere. Created by a landfill in the 1820's by developer Ephraim Marsh, Bay Village has been known as the Church Street District, South Cove and Kerry Village. Many of the homes look like smaller versions of Beacon Hill townhouses because the craftspeople who built the Beacon Hill residences settled in this area and built local residences for their own use. The neighborhood is also centrally located to several restaurants, the Theater District and many other cultural attractions.

Beacon Hill

One of Boston's oldest communities, Beacon Hill gets its name from a beacon that once stood atop its hill to warn locals about foreign invasion. Approximately one square mile in size, Beacon Hill is bound by Beacon Street, Bowdoin Street, Cambridge Street and Storrow Drive. Its architecture and lay-out is reflective of old colonial Boston, consisting of brick row houses with beautiful doors, decorative iron work, brick sidewalks, narrow streets, and gas lamps. Beacon Hill is also home to the Massachusetts State House and America's first African Meeting House. Charles Street, the neighborhood's main thoroughfare, is lined with antique shops and restaurants. Beacon Hill has been home to many notable Americans, including Louisa May Alcott, Oliver Wendell Homes, Daniel Webster, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, and Senator John Kerry.

Brighton

Multi-family homes and condominiums line the streets of this welcoming neighborhood, which is located in the northwest corner of Boston, on the shores of the Charles River. Many of Brighton's small businesses are located along Washington Street, which runs straight through Brighton Center to Oak Square. The Brighton Center Main Streets Program has been actively attracting new businesses to the neighborhood, as well as offering grants for storefront renovations. St. Elizabeth's Hospital and the Franciscan Children's Hospital also call Brighton home. Families, young professionals and graduates students are all lured to Brighton for its tranquil yet dynamic atmosphere.

Charlestown

Situated on the banks of Boston Harbor and the Mystic River on the north side of the city, Charlestown has translated its historical roots into a thriving 21st Century neighborhood. As the home to such significant landmarks as the U.S.S. Constitution, the Bunker Hill Monument and the Navy Yard, Charlestown's allure has enticed a new generation of immigrants and young professionals to join its traditionally Irish-American population. Residents, new and old, frequent the local restaurants and establishments along Main Street and in City Square.

Chinatown - Leather District

Boston's Chinatown is the third largest Chinese neighborhood in the country. Located between the city's Financial District and Theater District, Chinatown is one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Boston. Locals and tourists alike are drawn to the area's large selection of Asian restaurants and bakeries, where they can sample everything from dim sum to almond cookies. During the popular August Moon Festival, children carry brightly colored lanterns and revelers eat sweet cakes known as Moon Cakes, each containing a secret message. The Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, which opened in 2005, is a tremendous resource for the community, providing residents with English-language classes, childcare, and social and recreational opportunities.

Located between Chinatown, Downtown and South Station, in recent years the Leather District has emerged as a distinct Boston neighborhood. Made up of old leather factories transformed into residential and commercial uses, the Leather District boasts a historic appeal while offering 21st-century amenities. Residents cherish the "loft living" options that characterize this community. Locals do not have to travel far to sample some great restaurants, cafés and shopping destinations. The Leather District will also experience the splendor of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway as this innovative project nears completion.

Dorchester

Dorchester, Boston's largest neighborhood, is also one of its most diverse. Long-time residents mingle with newer immigrants from Ireland, Vietnam, and Cape Verde. The nation's first Vietnamese Community Center is located in Fields Corner, the heart of the Vietnamese community in Boston. Dorchester Avenue anchors the neighborhood business district with a unique mix of ethnic restaurants, beauty salons, electronics stores, and pharmacies. Franklin Park, considered the "crown jewel" of Frederick Law Olmsted's Emerald Necklace Park System, is located here. The Park features 527 acres of green space and walking paths, a zoo, and an 18-hole municipal golf course. Neighborhood pride is strong in Dorchester, as former residents have been known to wear T-shirts proclaiming "OFD" - "Originally From Dorchester." Bordered by the Neponset River and Boston Harbor, Dorchester residents enjoy the riverfront amenities of Pope John Paul II Park as well as harbor beaches and boating opportunities.

Downtown

Boston's center of business and government combine with the Boston Common and the Public Garden to form a dynamic downtown. Downtown also serves as a sanctuary for shoppers, offering everything from large department stores to cozy boutiques. Home to many of Boston's most historic sites such as Faneuil Hall, downtown Boston will soon benefit from two innovative plans designed to enhance and enliven this area, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway and the Crossroads Initiative. The Greenway will beautify this area by weaving twenty-seven acres of green space into the fabric of the city. Crossroads will introduce a new set of 21st century street standards through downtown and reunite the surrounding neighborhoods to Boston Harbor and each other, with the Greenway as the centerpiece.

East Boston

Originally a center of shipbuilding, East Boston has always been a neighborhood of immigrants. Today its population is made up largely of Italian-Americans and immigrants from Central and South America and Southeast Asia. That diversity is reflected in the neighborhood's myriad of ethnic restaurants. The nation's first branch library was built in East Boston in 1870. The housing is a mixture of old and new, including many restored triple-deckers. Logan Airport is located here, making East Boston a gateway to people from around the world. Located across Boston Harbor, East Boston residents enjoy fantastic waterfront views of the city skyline.

Fenway - Kenmore Square

Perhaps most recognized as the home of Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox, Fenway/Kenmore also boasts many of the City's top cultural institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts and Symphony Hall. Fenway/Kenmore also has a strong academic presence, including Boston Latin School, America's first public school, as well as several institutions of higher learning. Many of these undergraduate students, as well as young people throughout the city, are drawn to the lively bars and clubs along Lansdowne Street. The Fenway is another central thoroughfare that encircles the Back Bay Fens, the neighborhood's preeminent green space, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead.

Hyde Park

As Boston's southernmost neighborhood, Hyde Park offers the intangibles of city life as well as the open space more commonly associated with the suburbs. The historic Neponset River runs through this neighborhood that was annexed to the City of Boston in 1912. Hyde Park's unmatched community spirit is on display in the many small shops and restaurants along Hyde Park Avenue, River Street and Fairmount Avenue that make up the Cleary and Logan Square business districts. In the spring and summer, many city residents flock to Hyde Park to golf at the George Wright Golf Course, one of the city's two municipal golf courses. Hyde Park's charm has also captured the heart of Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a lifelong resident.

Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain, or "JP" as the locals call it, is a classic "streetcar suburb" that has evolved into one of Boston's most diverse and dynamic neighborhoods. The ethnically diverse area is home to many Latinos, young families, and a growing gay and lesbian community. Hyde and Jackson Squares have significant Spanish-speaking populations from Cuba and the Dominican Republic. This blend of cultures is reflected in local businesses, such as the many different restaurants which line Centre Street, one of its main thoroughfares. Residents and visitors enjoy walking, biking, and running along Jamaica Pond situated on the Jamaicaway, part of Boston's Emerald Necklace.

Mattapan

The Native American Mattahunt Tribe once inhabited Mattapan in the early 1600's. Since then, a diverse population of Irish, Jewish, and Haitian immigrants has settled here in large numbers. Today Mattapan's population is largely made up of African Americans and immigrants from the Caribbean. A 21,000 square-foot Boston Public Branch Library is being planned adjacent to the Mildred Avenue Middle School and Community Center, making it a resource for the entire community. Mayor Menino recently established the Mattapan Economic Development Initiative, a collaboration of city agencies, residents, non-profits, and businesses to encourage investment, create jobs, and promote business development in the area.

Mid Dorchester

Read about the pilot CityLinks office located in Dorchester! CityLinks is an initiative that brings together neighborhoods, non-profits, and government, connecting resources for community solutions.

Dorchester is Boston's largest neighborhood and also its oldest, founded a few months before the city itself. The neighborhood's historical diversity is exhibited in its architecture, from the old Victorian homes of wealthy Bostonians to the multi-family dwellings of later groups of immigrants. Today, Dorchester retains its diversity. Its main thoroughfare, Dorchester Avenue, connects many close-knit neighborhoods and thriving commercial districts of all kinds. Dorchester is also home to the University of Massachusetts at Boston and the John F. Kennedy Library.

Mission Hill

With the addition of mixed-income housing, the renovation of One Brigham Circle and a strong business district along Tremont Street and Huntington Avenue, Mission Hill is alive with renewed energy while still retaining its original character. The community consists of a large African American and Hispanic population, a healthy collection of students from nearby colleges and young families who work in the Longwood Medical Area, making it one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Boston. New condominiums now join the traditional brick row houses and many three-decker homes that mark this architectural landmark district. Located just one mile from downtown Boston, Mission Hill also houses the historic Mission Church.

Newton

Newton is a suburban city approximately seven miles from downtown Boston. Rather than having a single city center, Newton is a patchwork of thirteen "villages", many boasting small "downtown" areas of their own. The 13 villages are: Auburndale, Chestnut Hill, Newton Centre, Newton Corner, Newton Highlands, Newton Lower Falls, Newton Upper Falls (both on the Charles River, and both once small industrial sites), Newtonville, Nonantum (also called "The Lake"), Oak Hill, Thompsonville, Waban and West Newton. Oak Hill Park is a place within the village of Oak Hill that itself is shown as a separate and distinct village on some city maps, and Four Corners is also shown as a village on some city maps. Although most of the villages have a post office, they have no legal definition and no firmly defined borders.

North End

Home to American patriot Paul Revere, the North End is one of Boston's most historic neighborhoods. Traditionally a first stop for immigrants arriving in Boston, the North End is most well known as an enclave of Italian immigrants. Today the North End is populated by a mixture of Italian Americans and young professionals who are attracted to the neighborhood's tight-knit feel and access to downtown. Tourists come from near and far to sample authentic Italian cuisine, enjoy a cannoli or a cappuccino, and explore its narrow streets. In recent years, a number of boutiques have opened in the North End specializing in everything from trendy clothing to jewelry. The North End also offers access to Boston's waterfront along Commercial Street. Residents and visitors can enjoy strolling and relaxing in the newly renovated Christopher Columbus Park, and during summer evenings the park is host to a performing arts series.

Roslindale

Once considered a "garden suburb" of Boston, today's residents of Roslindale are still attracted to the neighborhood's natural beauty. Locals walk and bike in the Arnold Arboretum, a 265-acre oasis that is part of Frederick Law Olmstead's Emerald Necklace. Many of the neighborhoods' large colonial homes are being converted into condos to accommodate the influx of young professionals and families. Roslindale Village is the city's original Main Street district and now one of the city's most vibrant, featuring several bistros, unique shops, and wireless Internet access. The MBTA Orange Line and Commuter Rail provide commuters with easy access to downtown.

Roxbury

Once a farming community, Roxbury is home to the historic Shirley Eustis House, the only remaining country house in America built by a British Royal Colonial Governor. Today this neighborhood, which serves as the heart of Black culture in Boston, is undergoing a renaissance. Hundreds of new business and housing initiatives have revitalized the neighborhood's Dudley Square, Crosstown, and Grove Hall areas. The dramatic transformation of Blue Hill Avenue from a street lined with vacant lots to a dynamic business district is one of Mayor Menino's proudest achievements. The Roxbury Center for the Arts, Culture, and Trade, which opened in 2005, celebrates the cultural richness of the community through the visual and performance arts.

South Boston

Once a predominantly Irish Catholic community, in recent years South Boston has become increasingly desirable among young professionals and families who are attracted to the neighborhood's strong sense of community and quick access to downtown and public transportation. People from all over the city enjoy taking a stroll around Castle Island, a Revolutionary War-era fort and 22-acre park that is connected to the mainland. "Southie Pride" is on full display in March when city residents flock to the neighborhood to enjoy the annual South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade. Today the breathtaking South Boston Waterfront is emerging as Boston's newest neighborhood. Already home to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, planned development for the Waterfront includes residential, office, retail, and hotel use. The Institute for Contemporary Art, slated to open in September, stands as an iconic symbol of the South Boston Waterfront's unlimited potential.

South End

Located just minutes from downtown and the Back Bay, in recent years the South End has become one of Boston's most popular neighborhoods. It has attracted a diverse blend of young professionals, families and a vibrant gay and lesbian population to this Boston Landmark District. You will be sure to notice the South End's renowned Victorian brownstone buildings and homes as you walk along Tremont Street, Columbus Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue. Small business owners also enjoy the amenities of the South End and are supported by the national award winning Washington Gateway Main Streets Program. Some of Boston's finest restaurants, a thriving arts community and nearly 30 parks also call the South End home.

West End

The West End, considerably impacted by Urban Renewal of the 1950's and 60's, is a small but significant community tucked behind Beacon Hill. Drivers on Storrow Drive recognize the West End from the famed signs outside the West End Condominiums and Apartments that read "If You Lived Here...You'd Be Home Now." Historically an ethnically diverse and vibrant neighborhood, the West End today is economically anchored by Massachusetts General Hospital.

West Roxbury

West Roxbury, located in Boston's southwest corner, was originally part of the town of Roxbury and home to a 19th century experimental, utopian community frequented by such notable writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau. Today, West Roxbury is known for its civic activism and youth programming.

Student Organizations

Student Organizations