Boston Landmarks

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The Bunker Hill Monument
is located in Charlestown, just to the north of downtown Boston. It commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill, which was the first significant clash between the American and British forces in the Revolutionary War. The battle was fought on June 17, 1775. The Monument is a granite obelisk, reminiscent of the Washington Monument, and was dedicated on June 17, 1843. A climb to the top of the 221-foot tower affords a wonderful view of the surrounding areas, Boston and the harbor.

Within sight of Bunker Hill is one of Boston's newest landmarks - the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. Commonly called the Zakim Bridge. Part of the 'Big Dig' (the most expensive and largest highway construction project in US history), the Zakim bridge carries Interstate 93 and Highway 1 over the Charles River. The cable stayed bridge was completed in 2003, and the design of its towers mimic the silhouette of the Bunker Hill obelisk.

The two classic skyscrapers that defined Boston's skyline for decades sprouted in the Back Bay neighborhood. The Prudential Tower - which locals call “The Pru” - was completed in 1964 with 52 floors in 749 feet. There is an observation deck on the 50th floor, and the “Top of the Hub” restaurant on the 52nd floor is popular with tourists and locals alike. The Prudential building did not win any design awards, so when rival insurance company John Hancock decided to build an even taller skyscraper, it turned to star architect I.M. Pei. The 60-story, 790 foot tall Hancock Place was a stunning addition to the skyline. Clad entirely in blue glass panes, the Hancock reflects the clouds and blue sky to dramatic effect. Unfortunately, those glass panes tended to pop out of their frames in high winds and crash to the street... a problem that was fixed by replacing the more than 10,000 windows. The Hancock's observation deck was closed after the September 11, 2001 attacks. So if you want the view, go to the Pru.

One of the most delightful places to visit in Boston is the Charles River Esplanade, which runs along the Charles River in the Back Bay part of the city. This long, narrow park features bike paths, bridges, lagoons and meadows. The famous Hatch Memorial Shell is the home of the Boston Pops, which perform here every 4th of July with a spectacular fireworks show that is visible from both sides of the river.