Downtown Boston – Boston, MA

History and modernity collide in Downtown Boston, where Revolutionary-era buildings nestle next to ultra-modern skyscrapers. Residents enjoy fast access to the city's financial, government and commercial centers, making the neighborhood a convenient choice for downtown professionals seeking a quick commute. Popular with tourists and locals alike, the neighborhood pulses with constant energy. Downtown Boston sits in the center of Boston's most active area, surrounded by Chinatown to the south and the North End to the north. Boston Common and the Financial District sit on the west and east sides, respectively. Residents come to Downtown Boston for its central location, numerous shopping opportunities, world-class restaurants and the historical gems that sit on every corner. Enormous parks and expansive waterfront views lie a 15-minute walk from any point in the neighborhood, creating a pleasant blend of urban and natural environments.

Schools in Downtown Boston

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

The streets of Downtown Boston teem with restaurants that span the range of global cuisines. From quick, inexpensive shawarma to high-end French fusion, you'll find an option for every taste and budget. At Piperi Mediterranean Grill, enjoy a chicken mezze plate at lunch, or pick up an order of crispy falafel for a quick snack. Local professionals flock to the tiny restaurant at lunch for the spot-on spices and sub-$10 prices. If you're feeling flush, head to upscale Marliave to sip a Delirium Tremens and dip oysters in the house Prosecco lime sauce during Oyster Happy Hour. Admire the vintage tin ceilings, and bask in the speakeasy vibe while you dig into a gooey rarebit appetizer and steak frites. CBS Boston recommends the burgers, which are made from sustainable local beef and served on fresh buns made in house. Work off your dinner with a night of salsa dancing at Mojitos Latin Lounge and Nightclub. Don't worry if you can't dance — the club hosts lessons. If you're craving a more low-key vibe, sit down with a board game at the upscale Highball Lounge. Locals love the bar for its lack of pretension, eclectic crowd and the rubber-duck drink garnishes. For live music, residents head to the King Street Tavern, where a different group plays every night, or the Orpheum Theatre, which hosts cover bands and big-name performers.

History & Culture

The land that makes up Downtown Boston has been occupied for as many as 7,500 years. Originally the site of ancient Native American settlements, the area was colonized by Puritans in 1630. The neighborhood has been at the center of many crucial moments in American history, including the Boston Massacre, the Siege of Boston, numerous Revolutionary War battles and anti-slavery movements of the Civil War. The Kennedy family, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere all called the area home at one point in history. Over time, the Puritan population gave way to the Boston Brahmins and the Irish Catholics. Today, the neighborhood houses people from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Downtown Boston contains a staggering array of museums and historical sites, such as the Old South Meeting House, Boston Massacre site and the Park Street Church. Don't miss the Old State House, where you can see one of John Hancock's coats and read about the Royalist and Patriot speeches that took place within the walls. At the Granary Burying Ground, take a tour of the Revolutionary-era graves with a tour guide in period costume. Many of the neighborhood's museums and sites lie along the Freedom Trail, which winds through the area. Theatres in Downtown Boston largely gather in the nearby Theatre District, which hosts operas, plays, musicals, instrumental works and dance performances year round. Festivals are a constant in Downtown Boston, and residents participate in events such as BostonFest, the Summer Street Market and ArtWeek Boston.


Given Downtown Boston's central urban location, walking opportunities and public transportation links abound. Residents usually opt to make short journeys on foot, while the bus and train provide a welcome haven during inclement weather or for longer trips. The Red Line, Green Line, Yellow Line and Silver Line trains run through the neighborhood, making for quick trips to other parts of the city. Numerous bus lines cross the area, with lines 43, 55 and 11 providing the most convenient service. When you need to take a cab, just step out onto the street — no need to call in advance. Uber also provides excellent coverage in Downtown Boston. Downtown Boston has a bike score of 83, and residents enjoy safe and quick bike trips. Many major roads feature bike lanes, and many riders choose to take advantage of the paths on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway. Street parking in Downtown Boston can be a nightmare, so most residents opt to use one of the structures scattered throughout the neighborhood. On average, you can expect to pay $30 per day or $500 per month. Get out of the city quickly on Interstates 90 and 93, which are less than two miles away.


Life in Downtown Boston comes with one of the highest cost of living averages in the city. Food and entertainment tend to be priced similarly to the rest of the city, but high housing costs bump the yearly cost of living to $96,000 — dramatically higher than the citywide average. A one-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood goes for $3,300 per month, in comparison to the $2,700 citywide average.


Much of the shopping in Downtown consists of national chain outlets such as H&M and T.J. Maxx. For high-end shopping, make the 15-minute walk to Back Bay or Beacon Hill. Locals spend happy afternoons perusing the unique specialty boutiques that cluster around the pedestrian section of Washington Street between Temple Place and School Street. Book lovers in Downtown Boston find inexpensive reads and hidden gems at the quaint Brattle Book Shop on West Street. Don't miss the rare-book room on the third floor, and find the perfect child's gift on the shelf dedicated to classic Little Golden Books. The store also buys books for cash or credit — an excellent resource for Boston bibliophiles with limited space. Head to Downtown Crossing to find Lou Lou Boutique on Washington Street, a charming shop that carries a carefully curated selection of classic and trendy accessories. From handmade earrings to brightly colored fedoras, you'll find something to suit your tastes. Most residents of Downtown Boston live close to small neighborhood markets, making it easy to conduct small shopping runs. For bigger grocery shopping expeditions, pop over to Back Bay. When you need a quick snack or a prepared sub, the deli at Lambert's Marketplace has you covered. The store also features a small produce section and a limited supply of pantry staples, so you can pick up the last few ingredients for dinner on your way home from work. City Convenience on Beacon Street sells an eclectic variety of foods that ranges from eggs and Greek yogurt to fresh fruit. Locals often pop in to pick up a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer from the store's sizable alcohol selection. The Dewey Square Farmers' Market is popular among Downtown Boston residents who prefer to eat local, seasonal fruits and vegetables. The lively market also hosts bakers and pastry chefs who ply the crowds with fresh bread and lightweight pastries.


Downtown Boston houses several small parks, including the King's Chapel Cemetery, Ashburton Park and Winthrop Square. The oldest park in the country, Boston Common, draws residents from all over the city. The enormous, fee-free park features off-leash areas for pets, paved walking trails and a slew of regular events. Families with children frequent the kid-friendly Frog Pond for the spray pool in the summer, the ice-skating rink in the winter and the nearby playground. Residents of all ages enjoy Shakespeare on the Common and the Pumpkin Festival. Fitness-minded residents of Downtown Boston make their way to Norman B. Leventhal Park, which offers free fitness classes. In the summer, stop by for the Summer Midday Music concert series, or read a book from the park's Library on the Lawn. Other features include free Wi-Fi and an onsite cafe.
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