Boston, MA: A Virtual Guided Tour, from a Local's Perspective


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Boston, MA is one of the great cities in America. And while there are a number of decent tours people can choose from while visiting Boston, most of them don't go much beyond Quincy Market and the Freedom Trail. In this feature written by the founder of Boston's Hidden Restaurants and Travel Guide of America, you will learn about the entire city of Boston, from Fenway Park to Hyde Park.

Boston, at its heart, is a city of neighborhoods. And many of these sections of Boston have a lot to offer the visitor. While the virtual tour of Boston is going to begin in familiar surroundings, you will soon learn about these great neighborhoods that are often overlooked by tourists.

Let's start downtown, where you have the historic Boston Common, Quincy Market, Fanueil Hall, and much more. This bustling area is where most visitors come. If you go northeast a few blocks, you end up in the North End, an old Italian neighborhood with narrow streets and great restaurants. From here, you can take the tunnel to East Boston, a close-knit working-class neighborhood that also has a strong Italian influence, though it also has a large Brazilian population now, too.

From East Boston, cut back through the tunnel and head north to Charlestown, a charming old neighborhood with quaint row houses lining steep hills. From Charlestown, go back through downtown, heading west through Beacon Hill, a tree-shaded old-money neighborhood, and both the South End and Back Bay, two exciting, trendy parts of Boston, and go past The Fens, where Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is located. You soon arrive in Allston and Brighton, two parts of Boston populated by college students. These funky areas are filled with restaurants, bars, and shops.

From Allston, head south, eventually ending up in Jamaica Plain, one of the funkiest Boston neighborhoods. Jamaica Plain is filled with ma-and-pa shops and has some of the most beautiful architecture in Boston. From here, move southwest into Roslindale and West Roxbury, two mostly middle-class sections of Boston that are mostly residential, though Roslindale is becoming known for its terrific restaurants, too. East of here is Hyde Park, a quiet part of Boston that hasn't changed much over the years and feels more like a suburban town.

If you continue east from Hyde Park, you reach Roxbury and Mattapan, sprawling neighborhoods that are undergoing a lot of renovation and beautification. This close-knit part of Boston has some great parks and wonderful old Victorian houses.

Continuing further east, you arrive in Dorchester, a huge neighborhood that is mostly working class. Black, Irish, and Vietnamese neighborhoods make up most of Dorchester, but young professionals are also discovering its beautiful homes and old-time charm. From Dorchester, continue northeast into South Boston, where Boston's Irish families have lived for more than a century. Southie has great beaches, steep hills, and amazing views of downtown. And it is a neighborhood that takes pride in its independence and uniqueness.

From South Boston, it is an easy drive back into downtown Boston, stopping by bustling Chinatown and the charming, quiet Bay Village along the way. There is much more to Boston than was covered in this brief article, but you will have to explore the rest of this great city on your own!

Copyright 2005, Boston's Hidden Restaurants. All Rights Reserved.

Marc is a Boston-based writer who has helped create two major Web sites: Boston's Hidden Restaurants , a restaurant guide that features top little-known dining spots in Boston and New England, and Travel Guide of America , a US travel guide that focuses on interesting cities, towns, and villages that are vacation destinations.


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