City Rating: Boston

28 Nov

Boston is a city that can mean different things to different people, but the city’s elements blend together well. It’s a historic place, a coastal seaport city, a city of many different neighborhoods, and a modern college town, all in one neat package. There’s many situations in which you can’t decide if it feels more European or American, for example, it’s crazy about American sports, but has a very European feel about its downtown. The city feels both like it has a fascinating and visible past, but is also ready to take on the modern age. It’s these balancing, but not necessarily contrasting elements that make Boston a great place to explore.

I will rate Boston out of 10 in four categories: food, character (character is a broad term, to me it just means whether it is interesting to walk around and see the architecture, get a feel for the city, etc.), attractions, and urban planning. I will then take the average of the ratings, add 1.5 to it, then take away 0.5 if it is expensive or add 0.5 if it is cheap. Let’s begin.

Food: Boston has a wide variety of food. Like in any major city, the food in tourist areas is quite overpriced (Faneuil Hall has a food court full of overpriced food), but in general, there’s a lot of good food here in Boston, with both the classic New England fare in the more touristy areas and plenty of international options. It’s no New York or Paris, but I’ll give it a 7.5/10.

Attractions: Boston has a variety of tourist attractions. None will blow your mind away, but they are all quite interesting. The Freedom Trail historic sites, though nothing like the grand castles and cathedrals in European cities, are fun to see. There are good museums like the ICA and the museum of Fine Arts. The problem is, however, that for every type of attraction Boston has, another city does it better. Historic sites and architecture? Most European cities are much better. Big museums? NY has the Met and Paris has the Louvre, both of which no museum in Boston can match. The zoo? Bronx Zoo in New York is bigger. Boston Common? Central Park in New York is bigger. Personally, I will give Boston a 7/10 with attractions.

Character: Boston is an absolute joy to walk around in. One minute you can be by the sea near big hotels, then in between skyscrapers on streets that feel like Alleyways, then you can enter the North End and feel like you’re in Italy, the list goes on and on. Although the main city area is quite small, it feels big enough for an afternoon of just walking around and taking it all in. There used to be a big ugly green bridge over a major street in Boston, but now the bridge has been replaced with a tunnel and there is a beautiful park. It’s a much prettier city than it used to be. Boston gets a 9/10. The only reason I don’t give it a 10 is that it’s a little on the small side.

Urban Planning: Boston does Urban Planning quite well, although I do feel the downtown is a little too compact. If it was more spread out it would be better, but overall, Boston’s urban planning is good. This is part of why it’s so fun to walk through. There’s many nice green spaces, like the esplanade on the Charles River, the Emerald Necklace and slightly further away, the Blue Hills. I do, however, wish the public transit felt more up-to-date. It’s an extensive system compared to most US Cities, but it feels very old and decaying. Boston gets an 8/10.

 

Boston gets a 9.2/10

 

 

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