Keys To The City

Discover Boston's neighborhoods from the perspective of a local in our Keys To The City series. We highlight the real estate, the lifestyle, what to do and what makes each neighborhood unique.

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Back Bay is most famous for its rows of Victorian Brownstone homes, considered one of the best-preserved examples of 19th-century urban design in the United States. The landscape of Back Bay was inspired by Paris; browsing shop-lined Newbury Street, dining at sidewalk cafés, and strolling along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall all channel the City of Lights. Originally the site of a true bay, early city planners filled in hundreds of acres of tidal flats to create this unique residential district, which has represented elegant living in Boston since the turn of the last century.

Boundaries

East to West Charles St. to Massachusetts Ave.

North to South Charles River to Huntington Ave.

Nearby Neighborhoods Beacon Hill, South End, Bay Village, Charlestown

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Beacon Hill a historic and noble neighborhood nestled behind the golden dome of the state house. This peaceful community is surrounded by parks and offers proximity to many of Boston’s finest cultural institutions. Strolling through the sloped streets of Beacon Hill is like stepping straight into a 18th century English romance novel. Flames from gas street lamps flicker as the evening arrives. Wisteria vines edge their way around wrought-iron fences and sneak up brownstone facades, making each doorway feel akin to a secret garden entrance.

Boundaries

East to West Beacon Street to Cambridge Street

North to South Charles River to the State House

Nearby Neighborhoods Back Bay, Midtown, Bay Village, and South End

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South End, a family - friendly and diverse neighborhood within range of the Prudential Center and the Back Bay skyline. Victorian row houses and well-maintained sidewalks lend the community a walkable and engaging vibe. Most residents of the South End find homes in the neighborhood’s Federal style and bow-front brick row houses, most of which are five or six levels in total. Condominiums could be anything from a single floor penthouse unit to a triplex home that stretches from the garden to the parlor level. The historic housing stock is a mixture of Federal-style townhouses and bow-front brick row houses, coupled with a growing number of newly built modern mid-rises replete with concierge and garage parking.

Boundaries

Nearby Neighborhoods Back Bay, Bay Village, and Chinatown

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Busy Downtown Boston is home to Freedom Trail sites like the Old State House and Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Financial District, and City Hall, known for its brutalist architecture. Parks include sprawling Boston Common and the Public Garden. Department stores and fashion chains dot Downtown Crossing, while steakhouses mix with seafood spots and classic pubs.

Nearby Neighborhoods: Beacon Hill, Back Bay and the Theater District.

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Bay Village is Boston's smallest neighborhood. With a few hundred homes, tree-lined blocks lit by gas lamps featuring impeccably preserved redbrick row houses dating from the 1800s. From the first lofts in Boston, to being the East Coast screening and distribution hub for the major motion picture studios, to raising the neighborhood up 12 feet, Bay Village is a true gem and is rich with history and character.

Nearby Neighborhoods: Theatre District, Back Bay and the South End

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Seaport District, known as the “Innovation District” of the city,  with its forward-thinking culture is led by a strong community of entrepreneurs and creatives. This emerging community is on the cutting edge of Boston’s design and culture scene. Helmed by the contemporary art museum and myriad experimental restaurants, the Seaport is the city’s new center for sophisticated living.

Nearby Neighborhoods: South End, Downtown, South Boston

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Jamaica Plain is a fun and distinctive Boston neighborhood loved by its residents for its rich artistic and creative community. One of the city’s largest neighborhoods, Jamaica Plain stretches over 4.4 square miles and is home to a significant portion of Boston's Emerald Necklace of parks and green spaces. Offering trendy, newly-converted lofts, renovated triple-deckers and some of Boston's most spectacular historic mansions, Jamaica Plain real estate is as diverse as its residents.

Nearby Neighborhoods: Brookline, Somerville and South End

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Fenway is better known for housing the baseball stadium that all Bostonians hold in their hearts. A developing community, the Fenway is largely inhabited by those who thrive on the area’s social energy.The Fenway is a compact neighborhood of larger buildings, many with north of 50 units. Elevators are generally the norm here, with a few exceptions. Unit sizes range from small studios to larger homes more suitable for roommates or families.  Renowned cultural institutions include the Museum of Fine Arts and quirky Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The rambling Back Bay Fens park has a rose garden and walking trails

Nearby Neighborhoods: ​South End and Back Bay​

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South Boston, fondly dubbed “Southie” by locals, is one of the area’s oldest and most storied neighborhoods. A strong sense of tradition lives on here: locals remain intensely devoted to Boston sports teams and celebrate holidays with ornate parades and displays of pride. Long stretches of beaches and a historical waterfront park along Dorchester Bay make South Boston attractive to nature-lovers, long distance runners, and families alike.

Nearby Neighborhoods: ​Seaport, South End, Roxbury and Dorchester

As Boston’s creative sister community across the Charles, Cambridge is an intellectual hotspot with a vibrant arts and culture scene. As a city, Cambridge channels the spirit of a European capital with distinct neighborhoods, and a forward-thinking ethos. Cambridge is one of the nation’s most walkable cities, and each area has a distinctive feel—from cozy pub chats at Inman Square bars to the café society that spills out into Harvard Square’s streets. The steady flow of the Charles River and the gentle sway of oak and maple trees create an aura of natural calm throughout.

Nearby Neighborhoods: ​Somerville, North End and Back Bay

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