2010: 617,594, #22 in U.S., #1 in Massachusetts

1950: 801,444, #10 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area: 4,552,402, #10 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 2,875,876, #6 in U.S.


Boston was founded in 1630 where the Charles River flows into Massachusetts Bay on the Atlantic Ocean. Boston is an important port for cargo and cruises, and there are ferries on Boston Harbor and to Cape Cod and Salem.


Tallest building: John Hancock Tower (1976), 790 feet

List of tallest buildings

There are observation decks on the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower (1964, 750 feet) and on the 26th floor of Marriott’s Custom House (1915, 496 feet).


Downtown Boston has a variety of department stores. Macy's is in the former flagship building of the Jordan Marsh store in the Downtown Crossing area, where the streets are closed to most traffic. The historic Filene's department store in Downtown Crossing closed in 2006. Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York are in the Copley Place mall in the Back Bay area; Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylor are also in the Back Bay.


Amtrak has trains from South Station (1899) on the Northeast Corridor going south to New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., as well as west to Albany and Chicago on the Lakeshore Limited. Trains from North Station go north to Portland, Maine, on the Downeaster.

The Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company has 10 commuter lines, from South Station and North Station, going as far north as Newburyport, as far west as Worcester, and as far south as Providence.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has four rapid transit lines and five light rail lines. Much of the system is underground.

Boston Skyline and Harbor


Museums in downtown Boston include the Museum of Science and the Institute of Contemporary Art. The Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are just west of downtown. The New England Aquarium is on the downtown waterfront.


The AMC Loews Boston Common 19 is downtown, and the Regal Fenway Stadium 13 is just west of downtown. Former movie theaters include the Colonial (1900, now presenting touring Broadway shows), the Majestic (1903), the Opera House (1928), the Orpheum (1852, renovated 1916), and the Wang (formerly the Metropolitan, 1925).

The Boston Symphony Orchestra plays at Symphony Hall (1900), west of downtown. The Boston Lyric Opera plays at the Majestic Theater and other venues. Boston also has a variety of other theaters with live performances.


The Boston Red Sox of the American League play at Fenway Park (1912), west of downtown. The NBA Boston Celtics and NHL Boston Bruins play at the TD Garden (1995). The NFL  New England Patriots play at Gillette Stadium in suburban Foxborough.

Map of Downtown Boston

Convention and Visitors Bureau

Boston Architecture