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Boston travel guide

Downtown skyscrapers

Overview

As one of the oldest settlements in the USA and the largest city in New England, Boston has a wealth of history and culture to offer travellers. Despite the serious academic and historical pedigree of the city, however, the huge student population from more than 50 colleges and universities situated in the greater Boston area ensures a youthful vibrancy that adds a totally different dimension to the historic charm of the city.

Cambridge lies across the Charles River and is the largest college town in the world, synonymous with Harvard University, founded in 1638. The neat ivy-covered brick buildings of the university grounds, as well as the labyrinth of twisting streets in Boston centre and the historical buildings in the old-world neighbourhoods are best explored on foot. Boston refers to itself as the 'Walking City' and is a remarkably compact city that is centred on the country's oldest public park, Boston Common. The Information Centre in Boston Common is the starting point for two of the city's main attractions, which are in fact walking tours: The Freedom Trail explores the city's revolutionary past and the birth of the modern American Republic, while the Black Heritage Trail highlights Boston's place in black American history and its role in anti-slavery.

Boston is an easy blend of historic charm and modern convenience, with a busy street life and beautiful architecture, green parks and gardens, skyscrapers and modern freeways, museums, galleries and colonial churches. Boston is home to the first public library, the first public school and the first subway system in the US; it is the site of the Boston Tea Party that started the Revolutionary War; and is the location of the Cheers bar, made famous by the popular TV sitcom. Boston is also the city from whence both planes that crashed into the World Trade Centre on September 11th, 2001 originated, and many of those who died were local residents - this tragedy hit the city particularly hard, and has only added to the famed patriotism of Bostonians.

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