Neighborhoods in Boston

Hop in your car rental and explore the neighborhoods in Boston

Boston is a wonderful collection of neighborhoods, which are best discovered on foot. Drive in your Boston hire car, or take the T to your destination, and then walk around to get a real feel for these places.

The Back Bay is central Boston's poshest residential neighborhood. It offers row upon row of elegant Victorian brownstone homes, its northern edge is the Esplanade park along the Charles River, and Newbury Street is Boston's most fashionable shopping street, with a wide variety of retail and dining options, along with a number of hotels. It wasn't always like this, though. In fact, the Back Bay was quite literally a body of water, until the city undertook a gigantic landfill project to reclaim this part of the Charles River. Copley Square is a striking intersection of ancient and modern, with the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church in the shadow of the blue-glass tower of the Hancock Place skyscraper. Back Bay station offers access to the buses and subways of the T, as well as Amtrak service to New York and Washington.

Cambridge is Boston's neighbor across the Charles, and the two cities have been linked to each other for centuries. Cambridge is probably best known for its two world-famous universities: Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Residents of Cambridge are called “Cantabrigians”. These two campuses are well worth touring, with spectacular architectural (old and new) and many public programs, often free of charge. A great stepping off point for your exploration of Cambridge is Harvard Square, which can be reached on the MBTA Red Line (subway), or by driving across the Mass Ave bridge from the Back Bay and following it all the way to the Square. Harvard Square offers a unique collection of shops, restaurants, museums and boutique hotels.

While Jamaica Plain is only five miles southwest of downtown Boston, it was a world away in the 19th century when wealthy families built summer homes around the cool environs of Jamaica Pond. As Boston spread through annexation, Jamaica Plain and its neighboring Brookline became woven into the city's fabric, connected by mass transit. Jamaica Plain can be most easily reached on the MBTA's Orange Line. The Pond is still a wonderful draw for locals and out-of-towners alike, and all year-round. And “J.P.” as it is known in the local vernacular, is a charming little village offering shops, restaurants, and a range of architectural styles dating all the way back to its founding in the 1630s.