Information for visitors to Boston

Although the metropolitan area of BOSTON has long since expanded to fill the shoreline of Massachusetts Bay , and stretches for miles inland as well, the seventeenth-century port at its heart is still discernible. Forget the neat grids of modern urban America; the twisting streets clustered around Boston Common are a reminder of how the nation started out, and the city is enjoyably human in scale.

Boston was, until 1755, the biggest city in America; as the one most directly affected by the latest whims of the British Crown, it was the natural birthplace for the opposition that culminated in the Revolutionary War . Numerous evocative sites from that era are preserved along the Freedom Trail through downtown. Since then, however, Boston has in effect turned its back on the sea. As the third busiest port in the British Empire (after London and Bristol), it stood on a narrow peninsula. What is now Washington Street provided the only access by land, and when the British set off to Lexington in 1775 they embarked in ships from the Common itself. During the nineteenth century, the Charles River marshlands were filled in to create the posh Back Bay residential area. Central Boston is now slightly set back from the water, separated by the John Fitzgerald Expressway that carries I-93 across downtown. The city has been working on routing the traffic underground (a project a decade in the making known as "the Big Dig"), though the monumental task won't likely be completed