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Places like London and New York are massive, sprawling expanses that are home to millions. While Boston seems to be a much smaller city, it’s in fact surrounded by other ‘cities’ that make up the area as a whole. It can be confusing, as some areas are considered metro neighborhoods but have their own names,. Others are separate cities all together, but have subway stops on the main city lines. Regardless, it’s well worth venturing outside downtown to see the best parts of Boston’s local scene and style.


MIT campus aeriel shot

Home of the academics and strolls along the Charles River, a jaunt through Cambridge can give visitors to Boston a distinguished and exciting experience. OF course, see the open Harvard University campus and all its glory, dating back to the 1600s. Afterwards, have a walk through some of the vibrant gathering places – Porter Square, Harvard Square or Kendall Square. If you’re into theater, try a show at Brattle Street, where many local artists and performers got their start to fame.


This town is tucked between Wellesley and Brookline, all with impressive pedigrees. These are more residential spots near Boston, but can be fun to explore for interesting shopping, cafes and people watching.


Assembly Row Somerville MA

Next to Cambridge, this is a hipster haven with plenty of local charm as well. It has a thriving art scene, complete with a medium-sized concert venue, live music at many of the bars and art galleries. Enjoy a vibrant night out around Davis Square, exploring every water hole from speakeasys to traditional Irish pubs. Assembly Row has recently got a facelift, offering a large shopping center and endless foodie options to indulge all in one pretty place on the Mystic River harbor.


Originally, Dorchester was a town of itself south of Boston. Now it’s since become a part of the metropolitan area, but still has a distinction all it’s own remnant of the past. Breweries are popping up all over the place, including the Dorcester Brewing Company with 20 local taps on hand. They also boast the interesting John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, full of artifacts from the well-loved president’s lifetime.


One of the last stops on the Red Line of the MBTA is Quincy. It’s home to many famous historical figures in US politics, including (of course) John Quincy Adams. But these days the city has a culture all its own that includes a massive sister Chinatown to Boston. There is heavily influence from Chinese and Vietnamese communities, shining bright in culinary options and even some public celebrations throughout the year. Quincy has a nice harbor front as well called Marina Bay with a few tasty seafood restaurants and bars.

When you visit cities, do you ever venture outside of downtown? Have you found any great neighboring cities in your travels?


Author EileenCotterWright

Eileen Cotter Wright is a Boston, MA local and a former London, UK expat. Despite losing her passport the first day she left her home country, she's continued to roam the earth with gusto for more than 16 years. You can keep up with her hot mess adventures on Instagram @CrookedFlight.

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