Boston & Cambridge
Boston is the Athens of America, Beantown, a college town that considers itself second to none, the home of "wicked smaaaht" people who are in the business of creating global futures, and the resting place of early national history. Boston runs on Dunkin Donuts coffee, clam chowdah and cheers pouring from Fenway Stadium mixed with beats booming out of the House of Blues and the tuning of the BSO string section. If you ask Wellesley women, Boston is like nowhere else.
This pedestrian-friendly area of Brookline features the artsy Coolidge Corner Theatre—see movies in an original Art Deco auditorium. Salons, giftshops, and services abound, and it’s just a short walk to JFK’s birthplace and loads of kosher or Asian (also kosher AND Asian) restaurants.
Davis Square/Tufts University
Davis Square in Somerville is the off-beat picture of student bohemia near Tufts University. The laid-back neighborhood is less storied than Harvard Square (see below) but these days has a more "indie" feel. It's known for the famous Redbones BBQ, some great Irish bars and Indian restaurants, and ice cream and coffee galore. Several vintage and second-hand clothing shops can add to your sartorial splendor when you return to Davis Square to hit Johnny D’s for live music and food, or the Somerville Theater for a movie or performances ranging from world music and a capella to novelty acts.
During the spring, summer, and fall, regardless of the day, you'll always see people biking to work, walking their dogs, or sitting on a bench enjoying the scenery. It's fun to be a part of such a mix of people, strangers who you'll never know, but with whom you exchange a casual 'good morning' or a friendly smile. I love the Esplanade because it reminds me that even in the midst of a city full of concrete sidewalks and bustling crowds there's still space for nature, a space which is happily shared by so many different city dwellers. - Victoria Rines '15
Three miles of gorgeous park that runs alongside the Charles River. Take a walk, hear the Boston Pops play, see fireworks, and gawk at the beauty of Boston in the fall. And winter. And spring. and summer.
A world-famous cultural and historical destination, the Square is a bustling meeting place, alive with street musicians, tea shops and cafes (try Burdick’s hot chocolate—yum), four kinds of pizza parlor, hip clothing stores, and as a backdrop, of course, Harvard Yard.
There aren’t many places where you can canoe and ice skate within a single neighborhood but Kendall Square, which sits at the edge of MIT in Cambridge, offers these activities alongside an eclectic mix of art-house theater, brew pub, pool hall, boutiques, and an open air plaza just a stone’s throw from the Charles River.
Kenmore Square/Boston University
Kenmore Square is the gateway to Boston University and Fenway Park. The Square itself sits at the intersection of Beacon Street, Commonwealth Avenue, and Brookline Street, making it a bustling hub catering to students and other urbanites. Adjacent Lansdowne Street throbs with nightclubs.
Known as the birthplace of the American Revolution and the oldest neighborhood in Boston, the North End is home to a thriving Italian community. Winding narrow streets give it a European feel as do Italian-speaking soccer fans arguing in Caffe dello Sport. Great restaurants, bakeries, and notable sights such as the Old North Church are crammed into the North End and handy to the waterfront, Faneuil Hall, Government Center, and The Boston Garden.
You want art galleries? You want restaurants? The South End (not to be confused with South Boston, a different kettle of fish) is for you. With a fascinating riches-to-rags-and-back-again history that mirrors Boston’s urban development, the South End now describes itself on its neighborhood website as “a place where people of differing financial circumstances, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual preference live as neighbors.”
For The New York Times' take on Boston's "high-end neighborhood-of-the-moment," check out its Style Map article called " Mass Appeal ."