Welcome to Boston
As the capital of Massachusetts, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Originally founded in 1630, the Hub is filled to the brim with a rich history that pervades through many of its antiquated buildings.
Of course, there's far more to the city than that – Boston has got something for everybody, and if you're looking for a place that's sure to keep you on your toes, you won't be disappointed.
Boston has long held a reputation as an intellectual center, thanks in no small part to the tremendous number of universities and other learning institutions that reside in a relatively small space. More than 250,000 students attend school in Boston and Cambridge alone, a number that doesn't take into account the dozens of universities beyond those city lines.
As the fourth-largest employer in the city, Boston University is a mainstay of the area, and its presence can be felt in many local activities. The school maintains its campus along the Charles River and a medical campus in the South End. With a student body of more than 30,000, BU is filled with eager young minds.
No conversation about Boston-area schools would be complete without Harvard and MIT, both of which can be found across the Charles in the nearby city of Cambridge. Some of the greatest minds in the world have attended (and currently attend) these schools, situated just a short distance from the MBTA, Boston's public transportation network.
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It's impossible to escape the sense of history as you make your way through Boston's street. Perhaps the most famous event of the Revolutionary War – the Battle of Bunker Hill – took place in the city. Although the battle ended in victory for the British, they lost more than 800 men, including a number of officers, while colonial forces were able to retreat with relatively few lives lost.
Of course, when you think of the Revolutionary War, Paul Revere probably tops the list of subjects. The Paul Revere house, where he lived for a number of years, is a beloved part of the city and is maintained as a non-profit museum to this very day. Amazingly, 90 percent of the original materials used to build the house in 1680 are still in place today.
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Boston absolutely deserves its reputation as a sports town. All four teams are adored by a rabid fanbase that consistently often sell out each venue. Perhaps the most famous teams is the Red Sox, one of the most storied franchises in all of Major League Baseball. As one of the founding teams of the sport, they've been playing in Fenway Park since 1912. The field is perhaps the defining image of Boston and has frequently shown up in major Hollywood features, most notably The Town.
The New England Patriots represent more than one state, but they are essentially a Boston team. Playing at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, the Pats didn't find very much success until the early 2000's. Since then, however, they have become one of the most successful franchises in football history, winning three of four Super Bowls between 2001 and 2005 and coming heartbreakingly close to a perfect 19-0 season in 2008, only to fall to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
The Bruins represent Boston in the National Hockey League and share the TD Garden with the Celtics. The team has been gaining steady attention for the past few years, putting together a few notable playoff runs before coming home with the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Since acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007, the Celtics have seen a return to prominence after years waiting in the wings. They won their 17th championship in 2008 and returned to the finals in 2010. And, although the venue has been renamed to the TD Garden, players and fans remain true to the franchise's history by affectionately calling their home turf "The Garden."
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Arts and Music
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is one of the premier orchestras in the world. It was founded back in 1881 and has enjoyed a rich history of performance, mostly within Symphony Hall, which many regard as one of the best venues in the world. The BSO was the first to perform live on the radio and continue the tradition to this very day. It has also worked on several films, including the likes of Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. Boston has embraced the BSO and continues to support their endeavors throughout the year.
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Boston is home to some of the finest seafood you will ever have the pleasure of eating, not the least of which is its scrumptious clam chowder, which simply can't be overhyped. Beyond the city limits, many of Massachusetts's nearby coastal towns feature fresh seafood throughout the year and are sure to please even the pickiest gourmand. It's just a quick drive north up to Maine for some of the best lobster you'll ever have the pleasure of feasting upon.
Photo credit: Shutterstock / Marcio Jose Bastos Silva