Boston, Massachusetts is a huge city with many bustling neighborhoods, and Allston is one of them. Located in the western part of the city, near Brighton, it is known as the student village due to the enormous number of college students and recent graduates in the area.
Sometimes known as Allston Rock City, the neighborhood is home to a variety of popular music venues for the local music scene. Music venues in Allston include Brighton Music Hall, Paradise Rock Club, Wonder Bar, Great Scott and O'Brien's Pub. There are several recording studios in the area, such as Galaxy Park.
The neighborhood of Allston is named after the American painter and poet Washington Allston. Allston influenced the romantic movement of American landscape painting and attended Harvard College. Allston is buried in Harvard Square, in "the Old Burying Ground" between the First Parish Church and Christ Church.
Make sure to visit the many beautiful campuses in the area. Boston College is a Jesuit university known for its Gothic architecture on its middle campus. Located in Devlin Hall on Boston College's middle campus, McMullen Museum of Art has a permanent collection and a featured exhibit you can enjoy while touring the college. Harvard University campus straddles the Charles River, with facilities in both Boston and Cambridge. The 358-acre Allston campus is within walking distance to Harvard Square and historic Harvard College.
The neighborhood music scene includes a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) community. The annual Allston-Brighton parade and annual Allston DIY Fest features many from the local music scene. The DIY Fest is an annual community event that takes place on a Saturday in July. Since its start in 2010, the festival was promoted as a free, all-ages, sober festival celebrating do-it-yourself culture.
With the added bonus of being able to walk everywhere, you can enjoy a night out without a designated driver. Nightlife in Allston revolves around food and drink in the culturally diverse neighborhood where the restaurants represents this diversity. College students populate the area so you will typically find cheap, good food. Lower Allston has fewer students and is a short walk to Allston Village.
A drive out of the suburbs of Allston and into downtown Boston will fill your day with historic and cultural attractions. The three-mile Freedom Trail leads you through 16 of Boston's historic monuments and sites. At the start of Freedom Trail, Boston Common, America's oldest park, is filled with locals, statues and the Swan Boats, first launched in the 1870s.
The Cambridge Festival is a colorful and festive celebration that is rooted in African traditions and Afro-Caribbean culture. The festival, a Cambridge institution, is the largest celebration in Cambridge. The highlight of the festival is a grand costume parade. Check out the carnival if you are in town in September.
Roughly a 45 minute drive out of Allston you’ll find the home of the famous 1692 witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. Several locals were executed during the trials for allegedly practicing witchcraft. Brush up on your American religious history on the ride over so you can understand the background of the trials, or take a tour of the courthouse.
Harvard Avenue, the stretch between Cambridge Street and Commonwealth Avenue, is considered the main street of Allston. The street is lined with unique shops and restaurants and is in walking distance of Union Square. Stay in the area if you prefer easy access to restaurants or plan on enjoying the local shops frequently.
Commonwealth Ave. is beautiful for its Commonwealth Avenue Mall, a greenway filled with statues and memorials that connects the Boston Public Garden to the Fens. The avenue is often compared to Paris boulevards. This area is perfect for strolls in the city while being closer to nature.
Hotels are tricky to find in Allston so staying in a rental is a better option while in the neighborhood. Venture farther into Boston if you are determined in staying in a hotel. Around graduation time, in September, hotels fill up quick so book in advance to avoid stress.
Explore the main streets on foot as everything is in walking distance and driving a car is generally dissuaded by locals. If you must be transported on wheels, the Green Line trolley travels the entire length of Allston and Brighton. Major stops include Packard’s Corner, Harvard Ave., and Washington Street.
The average length of time it takes you to get to your destination is roughly 20 minutes at most. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes while visiting Alston as you will be sight-seeing most of it on foot.
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