America's Walking City

Nation's Cities Weekly, July 17, 2000 | Go to article overview

America's Walking City


A Focus on Neighborhoods

The 2000 Congress of Cities and Exposition will be held in Boston, Mass. December 5-9. Take the opportunity to visit "America's Walking City" and learn about successful programs in a historical city.

From the downtown core to the outlying neighborhoods, Boston is a city of intriguing diversity.

Within the city of Boston there's history and high technology, academic excellence and vibrant neighborhoods, financial prominence and hometown sports enthusiasm, scientific achievements and a thrilling cultural scene - all within walking distance.

What's more, Boston is a paradise for shoppers, restaurant connoisseurs and people who simply enjoy walking around town discovering new sights. In fact, Boston is one of the country's most walkable cities. You can easily get from one part of town to another by foot. And if you get tired, just hop on the "T," Boston's public transit system. The "T" connects all major attractions - museums, colleges, shopping attractions hotels and neighborhoods.

Some of Boston's attractions include The Freedom Trail, the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Science, Strolling along the Charles River Esplanade, window shopping on Newbury Street, and exploring the cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill are also popular pursuits.

You will develop your own list of favorite Boston activities and neighborhoods. The following Boston area descriptions will help you plan a memorable visit.

* Beacon Hill: The beacon on this hill used to warn settlers about foreign invasions is long gone, and today Beacon Hill is a close-knit community in a downtown location. The neighborhood's cobblestone streets and brick rowhouses directly border the Boston Common and the Public Garden, American's first botanical garden. The gold leaf of the State House Rotunda adorns the hill and shines across the Common. A great place for families, this historic neighborhood is a blend of classic Boston architecture and expansive green space.

* Back Bay: Once a stagnant pool of water behind the Public Garden, now holds some of the exclusive real estate in Boston. A stroll down Newbury St. will take you from high fashion to hip ice cream parlors, and a walk back up Commonwealth Avenue to see some elegant townhouses in the city. With its rows of historic homes and a vibrant commercial district to boot, Back Bay is an elegant and exciting place to live.

* Theatre District - Drama, comedy, ballet, opera, Broadway shows, home-grown talent, and restaurants ... it's all part of Boston's Theatre District. The tiny neighborhood of Bay Village, noted for its narrow streets, brick townhouses and gas lamps, borders the Theatre District.

* Downtown Crossing - It's easy to dash from store to store in this shopper's paradise. Downtown Crossing is completely blocked off to traffic and includes Filene's Basement (a Boston landmark) and Macy's East.

* South End: The South End, with its blocks of Victorian brick row houses, upscale restaurants, and art galleries, is swiftly becoming one of the most popular places to live in Boston. Many of the row houses underwent renovation starting in the 1960s, and today the neighborhood is filled with a diverse mix of families, young professionals, a gay and lesbian community, and a thriving artistic center. Trendy restaurants brush shoulders with coffee shops and Mom & Pop grocery stores along Tremont Street and its side streets all the way down to Washington Street, which is experiencing an artistic revival - a significant number of artists are moving in, and galleries are cropping up around the area to show their works.

* The Fenway: The Fenway, perhaps best known as the home for the "boys of summer," is more than just a ballpark. It is actually a dense urban neighborhood with a considerable amount of green space (the "Fens"). …

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