Introduction to Boston's Downtown
Encompassing the hill where the Massachusetts State House resides, Beacon Hill is one of the most iconic, revered, and historical neighborhoods in Boston. Similar to how Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. refers to the neighborhood where the legislature resides, Beacon Hill is used as a metonym to refer to Boston’s state government. Considered to be one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Boston, Beacon Hill is also one of the most expensive with streets featuring brick sidewalks, narrow walkways that are gaslit, and federal-style rowhouses with many having been restored in spectacular fashion. Comprising only about ⅙ of a square mile, Beacon Hill is marked by boundaries along Storrow Drive along with Cambridge, Bowdoin, Park and Beacon Streets. The neighborhood is also situated along the picturesque Charles River Esplanade and just a few minutes walk north of the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common. Originally featuring three hills in the neighborhood, Beacon Hill’s elevation was reduced from 138 feet to 80 feet between 1807 and 1832 and includes three different sections - south slope, north slope, and flat of the hill which resides on a landfill.
With the golden glow of the State House making it easy to find the streets within Beacon Hill, nearly every home, restaurant, and business within the neighborhood is bathed in a golden light that add an aura of prosperity and wealth to the area. Once home to iconic fiction writers Robert Frost and Louisa May Alcott, Beacon Hill maintains their unique spirit and pays homage to their legacies throughout the neighborhood. Featuring cobblestone streets, it is easy to see why so many fall in love with Beacon Hill and want to call it home. In addition to being a prime residential area, Beacon Hill is also home to the Boston African American National Historic Site which marks the historic buildings along the black Heritage Trail that were to home to the residences, schools, churches, and businesses of the African American community in Boston. A visit to Beacon Hill is not complete without stopping at the Museum of African American History which is the largest museum in New England dedicated wholly to African American history.
Originally nicknamed Trimount because of the three hills in the neighborhood, Beacon Hill is now known for the quintessential antique stores that line Charles Street and legendary Acorn Street which if it isn’t already on your must see list of locations in the United States it needs to be because of the narrow alleyway, tree lined brick rowhouses, and legendary early American architecture. If you want to explore Boston to its fullest, then a visit to the Beacon Hill neighborhood is a must.