Boston, Massachusetts

Come explore the neighborhoods, buildings, events, sights, sports, art and famous people of Boston, Massachusetts. Beantown has shaped American history since 1630.

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1 Skyline from Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts

This is your first view of Boston when you are one of the 33 million passengers that fly into Logan International Airport each year. It is doubtful the colonists that named the city in 1630 after one in Lincolnshire England could have imagined this cityscape. But beneath those impressive, modern skyscrapers are nearly four hundred years of stories about how Boston shaped the history of New England and the United States.

1 Harborside Dr, Boston, MA 02128
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2 Boston Common and Back Bay Skyline in Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Common is the oldest U.S. city park with origins from 1634. Once owned by William Blaxton, who was Boston’s first resident from Europe, it was used as a public cow pasture for two hundred years. Today, the 50 acre park is an oasis in the center of Boston. To the north is Beacon Hill, to the east is the historic, financial, government and downtown areas, to the south is Chinatown and to the west, which is shown here, is the skyline of Back Bay’s skyscrapers.

139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111
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3 Swan Boat Ride in Boston Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Public Garden consists of 24 green acres in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. During the summer, families rent Swan Boats to slowly paddle around the four-acre pond and beneath the lagoon bridge. Nearby are the Boston Common and the famous bar, Cheers.

4 Charles St, Boston, MA 02116
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4 Parkman Bandstand at Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts

Since it was built in 1912, the Parkman Bandstand has hosted concerts, public forums and a presidential primary speech delivered by Barack Obama in 2007. But it is only one of several attractions at Boston Common. The 50 acre public park also offers Frog Pond for skating in the winter, a children’s carousel, a Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a Civil War monument, a historic graveyard, a water fountain, and plenty of grassy areas.

Tremont Street & Winter Street, Boston, MA 02108
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5 Cheers Bar Building Façade in Boston, Massachusetts

Every week for eleven seasons starting in 1982, fans of the TV comedy “Cheers” saw this building during the opening credits. While standing here in the Beacon Hill area of Boston, you expect to see Norm stroll by. The interior is very different than the show’s set, but there is a plaque at the edge of the bar with Norm’s name on it. So, pull up a stool, order a cold beer, hum that famous song and pretend to harass Cliff.

84 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108
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6 Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts

John Hancock is best known for his first and largest signature on the Declaration of Independence. He was also Massachusetts’ first governor and the previous land owner of Beacon Hill where the “New” Massachusetts State House was built. Governor Sam Adams laid the cornerstone in 1798. A famous Bostonian company, Paul Revere and Sons, covered the wooden dome with copper. Today, it still glows from the gold re-gilding in 1997. This Bulfinch main entrance (named after the architect) is only used when the U.S. President arrives and on the Governor’s last day in office. Massachusetts became the 6th state on February 6, 1788.

24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133
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7 Massachusetts State House Hall of Flags Ceiling in Boston, Massachusetts

In the middle of the Massachusetts State House’s second floor is a marble room dedicated to the flags that have returned from every war since the Civil War. The Hall of Flags’ stained glass ceiling has the 13 colonies seals including, in the nave, an early version of the Massachusetts seal with an Algonquian Native American. Surrounding these are eight carved eagles. All of the state’s historic seals are immortalized in the Grand Staircase’s stained glass window.

24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133
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8 Park Street Church Façade in Boston, Massachusetts

This white, 217 foot spire has crowned the brick façade of the Park Street Church in Boston since 1809. The first performance of the song “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” by Samuel Francis Smith, was here on July 4, 1831. The lyrics and sheet music for “America” was published the following year.

1 Park St, Boston, MA 02108
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9 Old City Hall Building in Boston, Massachusetts

After opening in 1865, this building on School Street served as Boston’s City Hall for just over 100 years. The two architects that designed this three story granite façade must have loved columns. It has Doric columns on the lower floor and Corinthian ones above plus matching pilasters that surround the arched windows. Interestingly, this site used to be the Boston Latin School which opened in 1635, making it the country’s first public school. Its alumni included Sam Adams, John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin.

45 School St, Boston, MA 02108
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10 Old South Meeting House in Boston, Massachusetts

This Georgian style building was a church when it was built in Boston in 1729. Benjamin Franklin was baptized here. Now called the Old South Meeting House, it’s most historic event occurred in 1773 when Samael Adams rallied 7,000 people inside to protest British taxation. Before the meeting ended, a throng rushed to the Boston Harbor in a protest called the Boston Tea Party.

310 Washington St, Boston, MA 02108
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11 Old South Meeting House Steeple in Boston, Massachusetts

This 183 foot steeple once crowned Boston’s largest building starting in 1729. The church welcomed historic figures like Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock. It also hosted numerous protest meetings that sparked the Revolutionary War. In retaliation, the British destroyed the interior in 1775. But today, it stands proudly against the skyscrapers in downtown Boston as an important landmark in American history.

310 Washington St, Boston, MA 02108
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12 Old State House in Boston, Massachusetts

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walking path through historic downtown Boston. When you reach Washington and State Streets, stop to enjoy the Old State House. It was first built in 1713, making it the city’s oldest building. So many notable events occurred here, like the 1770 Boston Massacre and the proclamation of independence from Britain in 1776. Visit the museum inside to learn what happened during the next 200 plus years.

206 Washington St, Boston, MA 02109
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13 Quincy Market in Boston, Massachusetts

The Greek Revival style Quincy Market was built from granite in 1826 as a grocery store with vendors selling all kinds of fresh produce, meats, etc. You can still get something to eat inside but it is mostly fast food and quick serve meals from stalls. The dome over the seating area is spectacular. Quincy Market, North Market and South Market are collectively called Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

4 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109
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14 Paul Revere House in Boston, Massachusetts

Paul Revere was born in the North End of Boston in 1734 and lived in this timber house on North Square from 1770-1800. Here he created engravings of the 1770 Boston Massacre and took his midnight ride in 1775. Revere’s wife, Sarah Orne, shared this humble home until she died in 1773. He married again the same year. In all, Paul Revere fathered 16 children. The house – now a museum along the Freedom trail – was built in 1680 and is the oldest in Boston.

19 N Square, Boston, MA 02113
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15 Paul Revere Grave at Granary Burying Grounds in Boston, Massachusetts

Paul Revere is famous for his ride in April of 1775 to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming. But his hero status did not occur until 1861 when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem, “Midnight Ride.” In fact, Revere’s military career ended after he headed 44 naval ships to fight at Castine, Maine. The Penobscot Expedition was considered the worst navy defeat until Pearl Harbor. But Revere was a very successful silversmith and owned an iron foundry. He was laid to rest in the Granary Burying Grounds in 1818. Nearby are the graves of Samuel Adams (died 1803) and John Hancock (died 1793).

Tremont St, Boston, MA 02108
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16 Copper Tripartite, Bay Windows in Boston, Massachusetts

The North End is a delightful neighborhood for three reasons. First, as part of the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail, you will pass several historic landmarks like Paul Revere’s home. Second, the area is lined with spectacular Italian restaurants. And third, several of the buildings have copper, tripartite bay windows with connecting fire escapes like these at 5 North Square.

5 North Square, Boston, MA 02113
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17 Custom House Tower in Boston, Massachusetts

The Custom House has had several locations during Boston’s history, but this one was built in 1847 along the waterfront docks. Its Greek Revival style is impressive but so is this 496 foot tower that was added in 1911, making it the city’s tallest skyscraper for over fifty years. That clock is 22 feet in diameter but failed to work for decades. This location on McKinley Square is now a timeshare resort run by the Marriott Vacation Club.

3 McKinley Square, Boston, MA 02109
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18 New England Aquarium Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts

You can start enjoying New England Aquarium’s 20,000 marine animals before you enter because behind the ticket booth on the plaza is a large tank with swimming harbor seals. They are the perfect ambassadors to welcome you to the educational fun inside. The best attractions are the Giant Ocean Tank and the penguin exhibit. Next door are the Simons IMAX Theater and the boats offering whale watching tours.

1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110
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19 Boston Tea Party Museum in Boston, Massachusetts

On December 16, 1773, a group named the Sons of Liberty stormed three ships. The protestors threw over three hundred chests of cargo into Boston Harbor. This defiance to the British Tea Act led to the Parliament’s Coercive Acts. The new law rescinded Massachusetts’ ability to self-govern. More protests followed until, in less than two years, the Revolutionary War began. This red museum in Fort Port Channel welcomes tourists to board a ship similar to those historic vessels.

306 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210
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20 InterContinental on the Waterfront in Boston, Massachusetts

This stunning glass complex along Boston’s waterfront is the InterContinental. In addition to five-star hotel rooms on the first 13 floors, it also offers apartments and condos. But this kind of luxury with spectacular views and lots of amenities is not inexpensive. One bedroom condos start at $750,000.

500 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02210
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21 Federal Reserve Building in Boston, Massachusetts

At 614 feet, the Federal Reserve building is Boston’s third tallest skyscraper. Its unique design was called a Venetian blind even before it was completed in 1977. Another interesting feature is the opening at ground level that lets wind from the wharf pass through into Dewey Square. The Boston Fed is responsible for the First District which covers five northeast states.

600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA
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22 Greenway Wall by Shinique Smith in Boston, Massachusetts

This vibrant 70 by 76 foot mural on the Greenway Wall in Dewy Square Park is called “Seven Moon Junction.” According to the artist, Shinique Smith, it represents “where art and life merge.” It was installed in September of 2014 and will remain for one year as part of her “Bright Matter” exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Sponsors include the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservatory.

600 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02210
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23 South Station Clock and US Flag in Boston, Massachusetts

This art deco clock and American flag hang inside the terminal of the South Station in Boston and silently watch as over 20 million passengers a year walk beneath them. Plans are underway to significantly increase the size of this bus, train and subway station so it is uncertain how much longer these iconic symbols will remain.

700 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02111
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24 South Station Train at Platform in Boston, Massachusetts

This train just arrived along one of 13 tracks at South Station which was originally built in 1899 and renovated in 1978. It is now a major, intermodal transportation hub for downtown Boston that offers local buses and subways plus Amtrak trains that serve the eastern and Midwest states.

700 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02111
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25 Chinatown Gateway in Boston, Massachusetts

The Chinatown Gateway is a traditional paifang that marks the entrance to Boston’s densely populated neighborhood of Asian residences, shops and restaurants. It is the last historic Chinese district in New England. This gate, which is flanked by two foo lions, was created in 1982 by the Republic of China of Taiwan and gifted by the Edward Ingersoll Brownie Trust Fund.

7072 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
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26 Freemasonry Grand Lodge Seal in Boston, Massachusetts

This mosaic of the Seal of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has been proudly displayed since 1966 on their building in Boston. Called St. John’s Lodge, it was the first in North America to receive permission from the English Grand Lodge to form in 1733, making it the third oldest lodge in the world. Their headquarters have been on this corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets since 1859.

186 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111
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27 Wilbur Theater in Theater District of Boston, Massachusetts

The Greek mask carvings on the Wilbur Theater facade suggest you are in the heart of the Theater District that runs for several blocks on Tremont and Boylston Streets. Boston’s first theater opened in 1793 and, at the peak in the 1940s, there were 50 theaters. Today, there are still dozens of theaters, playhouses and centers offering everything from Broadway shows, dance, opera and, in the case of the Wilbur, comedy clubs.

246 Tremont, Boston, MA 02116
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28 Back Bay Skyline in Boston, Massachusetts

The skyline of Boston’s Back Bay district showcases two of its tallest skyscrapers. The blue glass building in the center is Hancock Place, also called the John Hancock Tower. Since it was built in 1976 it has dominated the horizon at 790 feet. On the left is the second tallest high-rise in Bean Town. The Prudential Tower is 749 feet and was finished in 1964. The Back Bay derives its name from when it was a marshy bay before being filled with gravel during a massive landfill project which started in the mid-1850s.

821 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111
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29 Church of the Covenant in Boston, Massachusetts

This was the Central Church when it was built from Roxbury puddingstone in Boston’s Back Bay in 1867. It is now the Church of the Covenant serving the Presbyterian faith. Oliver Wendell Holmes, a 19th century writer, once called its 236 foot steeple “absolutely perfect.” It was Boston’s tallest building for almost 50 years.

67 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116
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30 Church of the Covenant Tiffany Glass Window in Boston, Massachusetts

This window called “The Angel and Cornelius” is one of 42 in the Church of the Covenant that were installed in 1896 by the Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company which was founded by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the son of the luxury jewelry store founder. This window represents the conversion of a wealthy Roman centurion as the first Christian.

67 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116
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31 Berkeley Building Weather Beacon in Boston, Massachusetts

The Berkeley Building, also called the Old John Hancock building, was one foot short of being Boston’s tallest from 1947 until 1964. But its most prominent feature is this weather beacon at 495 feet. The lighting scheme predicts the near-term weather forecast. A special pattern of flashing red and blue lights is reserved for when the Red Sox win the World Series.

200 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
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32 Brattle Square Church Tower Close Up in Boston, Massachusetts

The First Baptist Church was founded in 1665 and their current meeting house is the Brattle Square Church which they purchased in 1882. It was built ten years before by a young, inexperienced architect named Henry Hobson Richardson who would go on to fame for creating the Richardsonian Romanesque architecture style. Equally significant is the top of the 176 foot bell tower. The frieze was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who would later create the Statue of Liberty. It features four trumpeting angels and four sacraments, including this one representing marriage. Also carved were famous people like Longfellow, Hawthorne and Lincoln.

110 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02116
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33 Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts

Old South Church in Boston had a bell tower when it was built in 1873. When the tower began to lean in the 1920’s, it was replaced with this 246 foot campanile containing a 2,000 pound bell. Despite the appearance in this photo, the tower is now straight. The copper lantern was inspired by the Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice. This Gothic Revival design by Charles Cummings is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

645 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
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34 Copley Square Fountain in Boston, Massachusetts

Since the late 19th century, Copley Square has been the epicenter of Boston’s Back Bay. The public park is surrounded by some of the neighborhood’s most historic buildings, including Trinity Church, the Boston Library, the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel and the John Hancock Tower. It was also the scene of one of the explosions during the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. This water fountain was added in 1991 as part of the square’s major renovation.

560 Boylston, Boston, MA 02116
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35 Marathon Massacre Display in Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts

Flowers, teddy bears and victims’ photos began to appear in Copley Square soon after one of two bombs exploded here on April 15, 2013, during the Boston Marathon. In the next couple of weeks, the display grew into this huge memorial for the three who died and the 250 injured. It was a very somber experience to see the names and faces of so many people that were attacked that day and watch as family and friends kept adding their own silent tributes.

560 Boylston, Boston, MA 02116
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36 Trinity Church in Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts

The Trinity Church is the centerpiece of Copley Square in the Back Bay of Boston. Built in 1877, it is considered to be one of the ten most significant buildings in the United States by the American Institute of Architects.

206 Clarendon St, Boston, MA 02116
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37 Trinity Church Religious Reliefs in Boston, Massachusetts

These religious reliefs of Saint Mathew, Saint Mark and the Apostles at the Last Supper grace the exterior of the Trinity Church in Boston. The architectural style of the 1877 church is called Richardsonian Romanesque after the charismatic yet combative young architect who designed and built it: Henry Hobson Richardson.

206 Clarendon St, Boston, MA 02116
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38 Trinity Church Reflection in John Hancock Tower in Boston, Massachusetts

When plans were announced for the new John Hancock Tower in the late 1960s, public protests demanded that the new skyscraper be redesigned so as not to cast a permanent shadow over the Trinity Church in Copley Square. However, the blue windows of Boston’s tallest building provide an interesting reflection of the neighboring church that was built 99 years before.

206 Clarendon St, Boston, MA 02116
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39 John Hancock Tower in Boston, Massachusetts

The John Hancock Tower is not only Boston’s largest skyscraper at 790 feet since it was constructed in the Back Bay in 1977, but its 60 floors also makes it the biggest in New England. It contains over 10,000 window panes of blue reflective glass, all of which had to be replaced in 1973. In 2006, it was purchased by Broadway Partners for $1.3 billion but, when they defaulted during the financial crisis, it was sold at auction for half that amount.

200 Clarendon St, Boston, MA 02116
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40 John Hancock Tower and Boston Public Library Lights in Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Public Library has nearly 24 million materials, including almost nine million books of which 1.7 million are rare. This collection makes it the second largest public library in the U.S. The “gas” lights are an example of the McKim Building’s ornate façade. In stark contrast is the 60 story, blue glass cladding John Hancock Tower that was built in the Back Bay nearly 80 years later in 1976.

700 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
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41 McKim Public Library Main Staircase in Boston, Massachusetts

This section of the McKim Public Library’s main staircase is a small sample of its amazing interior. The steps are ivory gray marble and the walls are yellow Siena marble. The lion is one of two by sculptor Louis Saint-Gaudens. And the three murals set within the arches are by Puvis de Chavannes. They represent History, Astronomy and Philosophy.

700 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
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42 Five Hundred Boylston Building in Boston, Massachusetts

Most people will recognize the Five Hundred Boylston building in the Back Bay as the headquarters of the fictional Crane, Poole & Schmidt law firm from the TV show Boston Legal. But I think of it fondly as the courtyard where I stood countless times sipping coffee and having a smoke break while serving one of my financial service clients during my career as a management consultant.

500 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116
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43 Prudential Tower and 111 Huntington Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts

Standing side-by-side as part of the Prudential Center complex are the Prudential Tower on the left and 111 Huntington Avenue on the right. These two skyscrapers owned by Boston Properties demonstrate distinctive architectural styles from different eras. The Pru was built in 1964, while the R2-D2 building, a nickname given because of its distinctive roof that resembles the robot from Star Wars, was built in 2002.

111 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02199
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44 Gucci Sign at Shops of Prudential Center in Boston, Massachusetts

Gucci is one of 75 upscale stores you will enjoy exploring under a glass atrium at The Shops of Prudential Center. The half million square feet of retail space is anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. The $100 million shopping mall opened in 1993.

800 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199
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45 Prudential Tower in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s second tallest skyscraper at 749 feet is the Prudential Tower in the Back Bay district. The Pru was built for the insurance company in 1964 and then sold to Boston Properties in 1988. Part of the deal was the retention of the name above the 52nd floor. It becomes a giant billboard of support for local sports teams when its window lights spell out “Go B’s” for the Bruins and “GO SOX” for the Red Sox.

800 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199
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46 Ariel View of Cambridge, Charles River and Boston, Massachusetts

This gorgeous view of Boston can be seen from the Skywalk Observatory on the 50th floor of the Prudential Center. On the left is Cambridge. The Longfellow Bridge spans the Charles River into Beacon Hill. And in the foreground are rows of Victorian brownstones in the Back Bay.

800 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199
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47 Victorian Brownstones in Back Bay in Boston, Massachusetts

The Back Bay has block after block of 19th century Victorian brownstone homes, many of which sell as luxury condominiums or are rented as apartments. They typically have high ceilings, ornate moldings and hardwood floors. Rent in this prestigious neighborhood starts at $1,750 a month for a studio apartment and a one room condo can cost $400,000 or more.

800 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199
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48 First Church of Christ, Scientist and Back Bay Skyline in Boston, Massachusetts

On the left is the Mother Church of the Christian Science Church in Boston, Massachusetts. This granite domed structure with a 126 foot steeple is called the Extension and was added to the complex in 1906. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, is seen across the Christian Science Plaza reflection pool. In the background is the historic Back Bay neighborhood.

210 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115
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Window Washers on Suspended Platforms in Boston, Massachusetts

There are so many occupations that you could not pay me enough to do, and being suspended on a swinging platform while washing a skyscraper’s windows is very high on my “too hazardous” list. I got nauseous just taking this photo. Thank goodness my parents sent me to college.

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49 Fenway Park Green Scoreboard in Boston, Massachusetts

Welcome to Fenway Park where the Boston Red Sox have delighted their loyal fans since 1912, making it the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball. This green scoreboard houses a giant jumbotron. Their most famous scoreboard, however, is part of the 37 foot high “Green Monster” wall in left field. It was added in 1934 and is still operated manually by three scorekeepers.

24 Yawkey Way Ext, Boston, MA 02215
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50 Boston Red Sox Logo in Boston, Massachusetts

In 1871, a baseball team was formed in Boston called the Red Stockings. They later moved to Milwaukee and finally became the Atlanta Braves. In their place, a new team was formed in 1901. They began to wear a single red sox emblem on their jerseys in 1908 and became the Boston Red Sox in 1908. A second sock was added to their emblem in 1931.

24 Yawkey Way Ext, Boston, MA 02215
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51 Oldest Firehouse Engine 33, Ladder 15 in Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Fire Department was founded in 1678 and Engine 33, Ladder 15 is their oldest of 35 active firehouses. This station was built in 1888 using the Richardson Romanesque architectural style. It remains extremely busy, responding to about 20 calls a day. Their crew were the first responders during the Boston Marathon Bombing that happened a couple of blocks away in 2013.

941 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02115
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52 President John Kennedy Library Pavilion in Boston, Massachusetts

This 115 foot glass pavilion at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum offers a wonderful view of the Boston skyline beyond Dorchester Bay. The building was completed in 1979, nearly 13 years after the president’s assassination. Notice the concrete construction. This material was used in order to maintain the original building budget after nearly a decade of construction delays. See the “U.S. Presidents” gallery on this site for more photos of JFK’s library and museum.

Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125
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