boston skyline

9 Bold Facts about Boston

The heart of the state of Massachusetts, Boston, is a city that’s been a part of the US landscape for almost 400 years – and with 650,000+ people calling the area home, it’s safe to say it’s one of the most populous areas state-wide. Whether you’re a Boston native or you’re planning a visit, there’s always something new to learn about this city. Here are some fun facts about Boston to help clue you in.

1. It was once called the Shawmut Peninsula.

Before Boston was colonized by modern Americans, the city was referred to as Shawmut by Algonquian tribes who lived there. The name is somewhat fitting – it means “living waters!”

2. Boston is the birthplace of the subway.

Everyone talks about the subway over in NYC, but Boston, MA actually got there first – and for good reason! With immigration rising in the area in the late 19th century, the US’ first-inaugurated subway opened in the state as of 1897. The opening transformed the way people traveled across the city – and would influence bigger, bolder projects elsewhere in the country.

3. Boston once banned Christmas.

No, really – while it’s as festive as any other US city nowadays, there were a few dark and gloomy years where the people of Boston decided Christmas was a festival to be avoided. This occurred during the years of 1659 and 1681, when Pilgrims decided celebrating the holidays was a corrupt activity. How things change!


4. There’s a tunnel running beneath Boston that goes deeper than any other in America.

Boston is famously home to the Ted Williams Tunnel, which runs as deep as 90 feet underground! No other tunnel system in the US dives this far – meaning it’s well worth visiting if you’re a transport fan.

5. It’s easy for Bostonians to predict the weather thanks to the John Hancock Tower.

Boston’s John Hancock Tower is a landmark in the city that flashes lights to show what kind of weather the citizens can expect for days to come. For example, the tower will flash red lights if it’s going to rain – and if they can expect the next Boston Red Sox baseball match to be canceled.

6. You can’t buy cheap drinks at Happy Hour in Boston.

For around four decades now, it’s been impossible to get cheap booze after hours in Boston bars. The ban on Happy Hours was raised in 1984 as a result of a drunk-driving death that shocked the area.

In fact, Boston goes further to ban the sale of alcohol on Sunday before 10am as a result of Puritanism influence. You won’t find anywhere selling a tipple or two at that time on a Sunday as it’s meant to reserve time for worship.

7. Boston’s big on baseball – in fact, they’re one of the oldest in the game.

The Boston Red Sox are among the most famous baseball teams not only in the US, but the world – and the stadium’s had longer than most to build up a crowd. Fenway Park was opened all the way back in 1912 – making it the oldest ballpark still used in Major League Baseball at the time of writing.

8. Boston celebrated the first Thanksgiving.

The first Thanksgiving festival as we know them today took place in Boston following Pilgrims harvesting their first crops since landing in the New World in 1621. The first Thanksgiving lasted three days!

9. The city was named after an English town.

If you’re reading this from Boston, Lincolnshire, believe it or not – your town influenced the name of the US city! The area was renamed after Boston, England as this is where many of the early settlers had set sail from.

Boston Red Sox game

FAQs about Boston

What is Boston famous for?

Boston is famous for being the capital of Massachusetts, but many also know it well for its sports teams and brewing scenes! It’s also the birthplace of Thanksgiving and – believe it or not – the American lighthouse!

What food is Boston famous for?

Boston is famous for a variety of dishes, in particular its baked beans, its lobster rolls, and its pot roasts.

How cold does it get in Boston?

Boston city gets coldest in January, when it reaches lows of 22 degrees Fahrenheit – at hottest, it reaches 36 degrees in the same month.

Further reading:

Do you know any interesting facts about Boston?  Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on November 22, 2023. Suggest an edit

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