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Steeped in history, rich in culture, and brimming with energy and diversity, Boston dishes up both vintage and newfangled charm. Historical landmarks dating to the first English settlers in 1630 stand alongside modern buildings of glass and steel. Immigrants helped build and still enrich Boston’s many neighborhoods while students at its world-class universities infuse the city with zest, creativity, and talent. Superb local ingredients, like seafood from icy New England waters, form the backbone of many restaurant menus. Add a serious beer scene, hip cocktail bars, and a bounty of cafes, and there’s no shortage of fuel to power a spin through Boston — a city brimming with superb museums, stellar sports teams, and super friendly locals.

Contents

introduction

Steeped in history, rich in culture, and brimming with energy and diversity, Boston dishes up both vintage and newfangled charm. Historical landmarks dating to the first English settlers in 1630 stand alongside modern buildings of glass and steel. Immigrants helped build and still enrich Boston’s many neighborhoods while students at its world-class universities infuse the city with zest, creativity, and talent. Superb local ingredients, like seafood from icy New England waters, form the backbone of many restaurant menus. Add a serious beer scene, hip cocktail bars, and a bounty of cafes, and there’s no shortage of fuel to power a spin through Boston — a city brimming with superb museums, stellar sports teams, and super friendly locals.

mATADOR GUIDES

General Tips

When to visit

Boston has all four seasons, offering visitors a range of things to see and do throughout the year. Fall is one of the most popular times to visit due to the changing leaves, which carpet New England in a stunning mix of sienna, burnt orange, vermillion, and crimson. Winter usually brings snow toward December, with mud and maple syrup season arriving around March.

Come April, the city bursts into bloom with tulips, daffodils, and cherry blossoms. Jackets come off, sailboats dot the harbor, and the Boston Red Sox baseball team kicks off its new season. Summer brings warm weather, along with weekend traffic, for locals and visitors traveling to the Cape, famous for its beaches and coastal towns.

Language

English is the only language you should need to get around Boston. But if your native language is something other than English, there's a good chance you'll find people to chat with. According to the city's own report, over 140 languages are spoken in Boston, and one-third of city residents speak at least a second language. The most common languages other than English are Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, and French.

Safety

Boston is a generally safe city (although, as with any city, don't wander down dark streets alone at night). Avoid parks at night unless there happens to be a concert or other event there. Areas with plenty of people at night, like the waterfront or theater district, are generally safer.

Transportation

Getting around Boston is relatively easy although Boston's drivers are notoriously rude. (Consider yourself warned.) However, taxis are plentiful, along with services like Uber and Lyft. The city's rail, bus, and boat system is called the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Nicknamed the MBTA and more often called "the T," it offers an inexpensive way to get from point A to point B. In addition to a network of various colored subway lines, buses also snake throughout the city. The Commuter Rail train system transports riders from Boston to the suburbs of eastern Massachusetts, and the MBTA boat system ferries passengers in and around Boston Harbor.

To travel to and from Logan International Airport, you can take the Blue Line Subway into Boston or the free Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit from Logan Airport inbound to South Station. Once in the city, biking is a popular way to get around, but (given those Boston drivers) be sure to wear a helmet, even if it's not required for those over 16. Walking is another excellent mode of transport, and the historic sites, in particular, are easily walkable.

Cannabis

Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts for people 21 years and older. However, you can't use it in public or on federal land, whether you're smoking, vaping, or eating it. You can carry up to one ounce, but you can't have any form of cannabis in a car on the road or in a public place unless the marijuana is in a closed container in your trunk or locked in the glove compartment. Since weed became legal in the state in November 2018, only a handful of dispensaries have opened in Boston.

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