Politically progressive, ethnically diverse, and packed with boisterous pubs, Boston has evolved quite a bit since it was founded by prim Puritans.
But for all it's changed, you’ll still find evidence of the city’s rich history seemingly everywhere you look. In the Beacon Hill neighborhood, gas-lit cobblestone streets meander past trendy boutiques and organic grocery stores, and in Boston Common—one of the oldest parks in the country—you’ll find both students flinging Frisbees and costumed guides leading tours of Colonial history.
Often landmarks aren't made to stand apart from the rest of the city, but rather blend in seamlessly. Locals tend to forget they're strolling past Paul Revere’s house after picking up pastries in a North End bakery, or passing the site of the Boston Massacre on their way to work in a downtown office building. It is hard to miss the 221-foot Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, however.
Boston's position alongside the Atlantic Ocean means fresh seafood isn't hard to come by there. Throughout the city, you'll find cute clam shacks and high-end restaurants alike slinging creamy clam chowder, buttery lobster rolls, and fresh cod. In the North End—often referred to as "Little Italy—winding avenues are lined with fine Italian restaurants, cheerful gelaterias, and colorful pastry shops. Down in Chinatown, vendors hawk colorful fruits in front of Asian markets and pho noodle restaurants.
It would be ill advised to walk into Fenway Park wearing a Yankees cap. The Red Sox–Yankees rivalry is legendary, and many Bostonians are enthusiastic about showing support for their home team ("Yankees Suck" t-shirts are quite popular during baseball season). When game time rolls around, fans flock to sports bars to root for their team over pitchers of Sam Adams and baskets of chicken wings.
The metro Boston area is home to more than 50 colleges and universities, from powerhouse universities such as Harvard and MIT to small liberal arts colleges such as Emerson and Wheelock. Every year, hundreds of thousands of college students from around the world pour into the city. Their effect on local culture is most apparent during the academic year, when the Boston comes alive with student film festivals, lectures, and boisterous fraternity parties.