A Brief History & Resources

About the Neighborhood

Steeped in history, Downtown Boston was once Boston’s hub for culture, commerce, and transportation. Over the years, through wars, downturns, suburbanization, and new paradigms in commerce, the area has experienced many ups and downs since its heyday. Parts of the area became known as the Combat Zone, a term coined in the 1960s to capture the area’s crime, violence, brothels, and adult entertainment that had taken hold – uniformed personnel who frequented the area while on leave from the Boston Navy Yard gave the area the feeling of a war zone.

Bolstered by a series of residential, commercial, and anchor developments, community activism, and government sponsored renewal initiatives, Downtown Boston has once again reemerged as one of Boston’s most important and fastest growing neighborhoods. Between 2000 and 2010 the area’s population grew 48% compared to an overall population growth of 4.8% for Boston during this period. With a number of new residential developments coming online since 2010, the neighborhood continues to attract residents at a record level.

Balancing modernization and historic preservation, new developments pay homage to the neighborhood’s rich history. The Freedom Trail and the Old City Hall, Old South Meeting House, and Filene’s department store facades are daily reminders of the rich history surrounding us. Today, condominiums, performance and cinema theaters, rental properties, restaurants, cafes, health clubs, universities, student dormitories, robust access to subway stations, push-cart vendors, schools, jewelers, hotels, retailers, grocery stores, and historic landmarks define the neighborhood.

With an estimated 250,000 people traveling through the area each day, Downtown Boston is once again a vibrant and thriving Boston neighborhood.


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Neighborhood Gallery

Downtown Boston Area Residential Buildings