Description - The largest city in New England, Boston is sometimes considered to be the unofficial economic and cultural center of the New England region; the city of Boston had an estimated population of 596,638 in 2005. However, the city lies at the center of America's eleventh-largest metropolitan area (5th largest CSA) known as Greater Boston, which is home to 4.4 million people (7.4 million for CSA) and includes the nearby cities of Worcester and Providence. Residents of the city are called Bostonians.
In 1630, Puritan colonists from England founded the city on the Shawmut Peninsula. During the late 1700s, Boston was the location of several major events during the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. Several early battles of the American Revolution, such as the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston, occurred within the city and surrounding areas. After the revolution, Boston became a major shipping port and manufacturing center, and its rich history now attracts 16.3 million visitors annually. The city was the site of several firsts, including America's first public school, Boston Latin School (1635), and college, Harvard College (1636) in neighboring Cambridge, as well as the first subway system in the U.S.
Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded throughout the peninsula. It has become one of the most culturally significant cities in the United States, and is recognized as a global city. With many colleges and universities within the city and surrounding area, Boston is a center of higher education and a center for health care. The city's economy is also based on research, finance, and technology — principally biotechnology. Boston has been experiencing some level of gentrification, and has one of the highest costs of living in the United States.
- Many consider Boston to have a strong sense of cultural identity, perhaps as a result of its intellectual reputation; much of Boston's culture originates at its universities. The city has several ornate theatres, including the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston Opera House, The Wang Center for the Performing Arts, Shubert Theater, and the Orpheum Theater. Renowned performing arts groups include the Boston Ballet, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Boston Lyric Opera Company, and the Handel and Haydn Society (one of the oldest choral companies in the United States). There are also many major annual events such as First Night, which occurs during New Year's Eve, and several events during the Fourth of July. These events include the weeklong Harborfest festivities and a Boston Pops concert accompanied by fireworks on the banks of the Charles River.
Recreation - Because of the city's prominent role in the American Revolution, several historic sites relating to that period are preserved as part of the Boston National Historical Park. Many are found along the Freedom Trail, which is marked by a red line or bricks embedded in the ground. The city is also home to several prominent art museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In December 2006 the Institute of Contemporary Art moved from its Back Bay location to a new contemporary building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro located in the Seaport District. The University of Massachusetts campus at Columbia Point houses the John F. Kennedy Library. The Boston Athenaeum (one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States), Boston Children's Museum, Bull & Finch Pub (whose building is known from the television show Cheers), Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium are within the city.
Climate - Boston experiences a continental climate that is very common in New England, but with distinct maritime influences due to its position on the Atlantic Ocean. Summers are typically hot and humid, while winters are cold, windy and snowy. It has been known to snow in May or October but these events are rare.
The city averages about 42 in (108 cm) of rainfall a year. It also coincidentally averages about 42 in (108 cm) of snowfall a year, although this increases dramatically as one goes inland away from the city. Massachusetts' geographic location's jutting out into the North Atlantic also makes the city very prone to Nor'easter weather systems that can produce much snow and rain. Fog is prevalent, particularly in spring and early summer and the occasional tropical storm or hurricane can threaten the region, especially in early autumn.
In 1630, Puritan colonists from England founded the city on the Shawmut Peninsula.