Not from Boston? Here’s a primer on what you need to know.
- We have our own unique way of saying things
The Boston accent is one of the most recognizable accents out there. Popularized by the Kennedys and many iconic films and T.V. shows, you’ve probably heard someone using it before.
Boston University has an article on their website explaining how to speak/understand Boston English. In it they explain that:
- Words with “ah” (those without an R after it) should sound closer to “aw” so “dolls” becomes “dawlls”
- R’s can disappear after vowels other than A, like in “ee” sounds. So then “weird” sounds “wee-id” and old “Pawl’s” last name is “Reveah.”
- The “uh” sounds in certain words like “idea” gets replaced with an R, thus words that sound like: “idear”
- Consonants like D’s and T’s at the end of words can also get omitted so “don’t” sounds like “doan.”
There’s more to it than that but for now, it’s a good start. Boston English also has unique words like Southie, (South Boston) Uey, (U-turn) Wicked, (an intensifier) that you’ll have to look out for.
- Not everyone has the accent
Not all locals have it. Some parts of town exhibit the accent’s use more than others like in Southie.
Also, please don’t ask us about parking cars in Harvard Yard. We’ve heard it so many times now. You know that friend or colleague who always says the same joke and thinks it’s somehow funnier?
Yeah, that guy. No one wants to be that guy.
- History runs in our veins
We basically kickstarted the American Revolution. Boston has been an important cultural and financial center since its establishment in 1630. So many iconic events have happened here. Boston is arguably one of the most important cities in U.S.
Today it’s an international center for medicine, education, biotechnology, and other high-tech industries. But you can still see many historical sites throughout the city even though Boston’s skyline mostly towers with glass and steel.
Get on the Freedom Trail and retrace history. You can even find original cobblestone paths at Acorn Street at Beacon Hill.
- We take our sports seriously
Boston sports fans get a bad rap for being very passionate about their sports teams. But who can blame them? Boston sports teams are amazing. Between the Red Sox, the Bruins, the Celtics, the Revolution, and the Patriots, it’s hard not to get swept up in all the excitement.
The city’s teams have won 36 major professional sports championships to date. We’re only second to New York which has 54. That’s 2/3 of their wins even though we have half the teams.
In fact, one the world’s most legendary sports rivalries in the world are between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Heaven forbid you accidentally (or intentionally) wear a Yankees t-shirt out in public here.
- Winters can get very cold, the rest of the seasons are fine
December to February is not the best time to visit Boston for those who mind the cold. It’s actually ok if it weren’t so unpredictable.
The Northern United States can have particularly cold winters during these months. Plus there’s the nor’easters. (Winter storms that bring strong northeastern winds.) On mild winter days you can have all sorts of fun in the snow.
In Spring you’ll see a city in bloom. There are beautiful magnolias, cherry blossoms, rhododendrons, and roses planted throughout the city. In Summer, the beaches in Cape Cod and Nantucket will be your new favorite places. Fall can be the most romantic of the seasons, the leaves changing color are very beautiful.
- It’s all about the neighborhoods
The best thing about this city is its unique and diverse tight-knit neighborhoods. Each one tells a unique story. And each one brings something different to the table.
Most of these are easily walkable or accessible by riding the T.
- Back Bay is known for its trendy restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops, and vintage homes.
- Bay Village or “secret-garden” is a small historic neighborhood home to the Theatre District.
- Beacon Hill is the most historic place in town. The old Massachusetts State House is found here. Some streets here still use cobblestone.
- South Boston is a waterside neighborhood where George Washington once set up canons to drive the British outta the city. It’s home to historic industrial buildings and great beaches.
There’s more throughout the city so go out there and explore!