Introduction to Boston's Downtown
Jamaica Plain is Boston's neighborhood of hidden gems. There are expansive spaces with sweeping vistas of Boston. There are unique independent shops run by friendly retailers who offer unique wares. And there is a welcoming, diverse community population including:
- Young families, mature families, seniors, singles, couples, and pets.
- A vibrant Latino population.
- Some of Boston's most innovative nonprofit groups, community associations, and crime watch groups, and
- A growing LGBTQ community.
From the Jamaica Hills to Egleston Square, to the Stonybrook area, to Sumner Hill, to Forest Hills, to the Centre and South areas, to the Latin Quarter in Hyde and Jackson Square, you will find a mix of cultures greeting you in locally owned and operated shops, restaurants and services that can make every weekend an adventure as you explore Jamaica Plain's energetic and welcoming neighborhoods.
Jamaica Plain is a great place to explore Boston. It isn't one of the city's oldest sections like Charlestown. Jamaica Plain is a relatively "new" part of Boston, annexed by the city in 1874. After decades as a thriving trolley car community, Jamaica Plain went into a funk about 50 years ago. But the neighborhood was revived first by students of the Museum School, Mass Art, and Northeastern University living together in collective housing, then by thriving LGBTQ communities, and then by immigration from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
What kind of place is Jamaica Plain?
It's the kind of place where an abandoned Bruegger's Bagel bakery became an arts center.
It's the kind of place where college-educated professional people, environmental activists, political activists, tree-huggers, poets, writers, authors, and artists make creative connections.
It's the kind of place where the Latin community makes itself known through botánicas, churches, a Spanish-language newspaper, and festivals.
JP, as locals call it, is frisky and friendly, eclectic and artsy. It has preserved much of its Victorian architecture, but it has made tremendous efforts to fight off gentrification as its unique community festivals show. In July, the JP Porchfest links the community with dozens of walkable performances from household porches. In September, you can bring a picnic to the JP Music Festival in Olmstead Park. In October there is a Lantern Parade on Jamaica Pond. And all year round you will find that JP has been transformed into a year-round art show through JP Open Studios.
Jamaica Plain has transformed itself into the living room everyone would entertain in if we all lived together. But JP isn't just festivals. In this quirky, fun place to explore Boston, you can find:
Tapas bars, Cuban sandwiches, wine bars, shrimp and grits, world-class seafood, ice cream, pub food, and even soul food like shrimp and grits.
- A 485-acre park, the nation's second oldest 18-hole golf course, and a zoo.
- Harvard University's arboretum.
- All with parking that is much, much easier than downtown.
When you visit JP, there's just one rule: Don't have so much fun that you forget to pack up before you move here. Once you have discovered the charms of JP, you will want to stay forever.