Boston's Fenway neighborhood gains its fame from its biggest attraction, Fenway Park, home ball park of the Boston Red Sox.
However, the Fenway area of Boston also includes 18 colleges and universities, world-renowned medical research centers and hospitals in the Longwood Medical Area, lively nightlife along Lansdowne Street, and the highest concentration of cultural institutions in the city, including the Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Symphony Hall.
"East Fenway" includes the famous ballpark, House of Blues Boston, and other bars, restaurants, and shops in the Kenmore Square commercial stretch near Boston University.
"West Fenway" includes museums, the medical area, and more colleges and universities. Lots of medical professionals and students live in the neighborhood's residential areas.
Fenway's sports and cultural attractions bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the neighborhood every week when the Red Sox play home games.
Fenway Park - Cheer the Red Sox for the quintessential Boston experience - or catch one of the star-studded rock concerts or other sports events hosted twice a year here. Red Sox schedule and ticket information.
Ball Park Tour - See the famed ballpark up close, and enjoy your guide's entertaining stories about Fenway history, legendary players, and funny events. You even get to go on top of the Green Monster. Allow about 1 hour. Included with Boston discount card
Museum of Fine Arts - World-famous for its comprehensive collections spanning 7 thousand years. Must-sees include the Egyptian mummy collection and the dazzling new Art of the America's wing. Included with Boston discount card
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - This 1903 mansion, modeled after a 15th century Venetian palace, displays the wide-ranging art collection of its creator. Free admission if you're named "Isabella." Don't miss the Sunday afternoon concerts. Included with Boston discount card
Symphony Hall - Home to Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops. Attend a concert and enjoy its perfect acoustics, or join a free tour for behind-the-scenes views and stories.
Jordan Hall - Another acoustically superb concert hall, and the main performance venue for the New England Conservatory as well as guest performers. Free admission to many student performances - huge bargain considering that some students here are already renowned professional musicians.
Mapparium (200 Massachusetts Ave, next to the Christian Science Mother Church) - This enormous walk-through painted glass globe in the Mary Baker Eddy Library at the Christian Science Mother Church features a 1935 world map overlaid with geography and global history. Included with Boston discount card
Boston Marathon - The almost-final stretch of this famous race cuts through Fenway along Commonwealth Ave. Traditionally, the Red Sox play a home game on Marathon Day, timed to finish just as the first runners streak by. Crowds pour out of Fenway Park to cheer on the racers as they tear through Kenmore Square on their way to the finish line in Back Bay.
Opening Our Doors - Annual FREE 1-day event, usually on Columbus Day weekend, to celebrate Fenway's extensive arts and cultural institutions, with free museum admissions, performances, tours, workshops, concerts, and a ton of other fun things to do.
CITGO Sign - Dating back to 1940, this red triangular sign measures 60 feet by 60 feet and can be seen from many Boston locations, including Fenway Park. The sign, now considered a historic landmark, used to be neon, but now sports thousands of LEDs. The lights go out at 1am - coincidentally, closing time for Boston bars.
Fenway's famous Citgo sign across from Buckminster Hotel
Eastern Standard Kitchen and Drinks (528 Commonwealth Ave) - French brasserie styling and food, with a terrific bar. Go for the steak-frites, bouillabaisse, and anything with seafood. Sidewalk patio for warm months. More Boston seafood restaurants
Canestaro Restaurant and Pizzaria (16 Peterborough) - Southern Italian favorites made with high-quality ingredients. Patio seating for warm weather. A neighborhood gem. More Boston Italian restaurants
Petit Robert Bistro (468 Comm Ave) - Classic French bistro cuisine, and a great wine selection. You can almost imagine you're in Paris. Affordable, even the not-to-be-missed American bouillabaisse on the dinner menu. More French restaurants in Boston
Island Creek Oyster Bar (500 Comm Ave) - Showcase for Duxbury's Island Creek oysters - plus lots of other very fresh local seafood and a terrific raw bar.
Restaurant Row (Peterborough Street, between Kilmarnock and Jersey Streets) - After burning down a few years ago, Restaurant Row is finally reviving with old favorites back in place and an exciting newcomer: El Pelon Taqueria (best fish tacos in Boston), Thornton's Fenway Grill (now serving draft beer), Rod Dee Thai (don't miss the green papaya salad) and Swish Shabu (Japanese hot pots).
Elephant Walk (900 Beacon St) - Classic French dishes on one side of the menu and traditional and contemporary Cambodian offerings on the other side reflect the owners' ethnic heritages and expertise. Long-time personal favorite.
Basho - (1338 Boylston) - Stylish Japanese brasserie. LIvely mix of pop, hip-hop, and rap sets the tone for the eclectic menu. Try the sushi/sashimi, miso black cod, sweet potato tempura, and anything from the robata grill.
Tasty Burger (1301 Boylston St) - Burgers, dogs, and "Green Monster" shakes - plus wine and beer, pool table, and a jukebox. What's not to love?
Fenway Franks - No, not a restaurant, but iconic Fenway cuisine - get them inside the ballpark, or in Bleacher Bar.
Buckminster Hotel (645 Beacon Street)
A block and a half from Fenway, and one of Boston's biggest hotel bargains. No designer linens here - but great rates for a comfortable stay.
Designed by famed architect Stanford White (Boston Public Library) and built in 1894, the 97-room Buckminster played its own role in Fenway's history. The Buckminister is where:
Happily, the Buckminster became a hotel again in the early 1970s and remains one of Boston's true bargain hotels. Its Kenmore Square location places it within easy reach of Fenway Park, Boston University, and all the Lansdowne Street nightlife, and its proximity to the Green Line's Kenmore station makes getting to other parts of Boston easy.
Hotel Commonwealth (500 Commonwealth Ave)
One of Boston's top luxury boutiques, replete with Italian linens, down comforters, complementary WiFi, and nice electronics. You'll even find pet-friendly amenities, such as a pet bed and tasty treats.
What makes Hotel Commonwealth outstanding, though, is its personalized service, designed to make guests feel like . . . well, like pampered guests.
The independently-owned 148-room Hotel Commonwealth is only 2 blocks from Fenway Park, and about a 10-minute walk from the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Museum, and Boston University (one of the partner/owners).
Although the Second Empire-inspired Hotel Commonwealth fits in visually with some of the other mansions along Comm Ave, it is actually one of Boston's newer hotels, built only in 2004. However, it occupies a Kenmore Square location made famous by the previous occupant, punk rock club, The Rathskeller.
Over the course of several decades, The Rat, as it was called, hosted stellar rock and punk performers - Aerosmith, Joan Jett, Thin Lizzy, the Dropkick Murphys (catch them these days at nearby House of Blues), Stevie Ray Vaughn, Mission of Burma, U2, Talking Heads, Metallica, The Ramones, Patti Smith - and many, many more.
The Inn at Longwood (342 Longwood Ave)
Located in the Longwood Medical Area, and convenient for patients and their families. It is also close to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Wentworth Institute of Technology, and is a 10-15 minute walk to Fenway Park.
Fenway's legendary nightlife - and there's a lot of it - mostly clusters around Fenway Park. Several of these spots rank among the top sports bars in the city (a couple even top national lists), others showcase live music, and some manage to do both. Many also serve lunch and dinner, and all serve bar food.
When the Red Sox are playing or a concert or other sports event is scheduled at Fenway Park, expect these places to be crazed. Weekends also pack in crowds. Otherwise, they're quiet (well, relatively speaking) neighborhood spots.
With Back Bay's Newbury Street, Boylston street, Prudential Center, and Copley Place just next door, Fenway offers mostly small neighborhood and specialty shops.
Bodega (6 Clearway St - but there's no street sign, so find Dorothy's, walk along Mass Ave toward the Christian Science Church, and turn left onto the first side street) - Enter through the door marked "6", and you're in a tiny and artfully messy space filled with packed foods and papers. Walk straight back and just before you hit the wall, a hidden door slides open to reveal a beautifully curated collection of shoes and jackets - Yes, you're in Bodega, possibly the best sneaker boutique in New England, renowned for periodically collaborating with Nike on limited edition designs. Try to look cool as you drool.
Back Bay Fens - A serpentine-shaped park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as one of the "jewels" in the Emerald Necklace of parkland encircling Boston. Usually just called "The Fens," and known for its World War II era Fenway Victory Gardens, Kelleher Rose Garden, and Veterans Memorial Park. Memorial Day services take place each spring in this grassy area containing 3 memorials honoring veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Although the Fens are rumored to be dicey late at night, the park is filled with students, joggers, and gardeners during the day. Big playground, lots of statues, and a tranquil stream called Muddy River.
Ramler Park (Peterborough Street) - Half-acre urban oasis created from a former parking lot. Plants, flowers, benches, a fountain, plus a summer concert series make this a favorite neighborhood gathering spot.
Footbridge over Muddy River in The Fens
Eighteen colleges, universities, and professional schools call Fenway "home," giving it the highest concentration of higher education institutes of any Boston neighborhood.
Find more information about each of these Fenway colleges, universities, and schools at Universities and Colleges in Boston
Fashion creations by Fenway's Mass Art students on display at Chestnut Hill Mall
The 213-acre Longwood Medical Area bounded by Riverway, the Fenway, and Huntington Ave contain some of the world's premier medical research and care institutions, as well as top academic institutions. More than 40,000 people work within the LMA, more than 18,000 students study here, and approximately 1 million patients receive care here each year.
Medical centers located in Fenway's LMA include:
Look for changes to the Fenway landscape during the next few years as Fenway Center, a huge new solar-powered complex of offices, apartments, condos, and stores begins to take shape.
Question: If you look around densely-developed Fenway today, you may wonder where Fenway Center could possibly be built?
Answer: Right over the Massachusetts Turnpike between Beacon Street and Brookline Ave in a space near Fenway Park now occupied by . . . air. With much of Boston already built on land created during the 1800s by filling bays, swamps, and marshes, Fenway Center will break new ground, so to speak. Stay tuned!
Tracks for the T's Green Line B runs down the center of Comm Ave near Boston University -
Photographed during early evening in January
On-street parking is almost non-existent in most areas of Fenway, aside from metered spaces along some parts of Huntington Ave and Commonwealth Ave. and nearby streets. You're almost always better off taking the T, especially on Red Sox game days.
But if you must drive, check out nearby parking garages and lots
North: Charles River
East: Charlesgate West, Massachusetts Turnpike, Boylston St, Dalton St, Belvidere St, Huntington Ave, Massachusetts Ave
South: Southwest Corridor, Ruggles Street, Parker Street, Ward Street, Huntington Ave, Francis St
West: Muddy River, St Mary's Street, Commonwealth Ave, Boston University Bridge
Caveat: These boundaries are approximate, and opinions about Fenway boundaries vary. Boston neighborhoods don't have "official" boundaries, so they're often ambiguous and sometimes contentious.
Fenway Alliance website: http://www.fenwayculture.org/
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Hotels near Fenway Park
Where to Eat near Fenway
Fenway Bars & Nightlife
Boston Red Sox Schedule
Why Is Fenway Park Special?
Parking near Fenway
Fenway Park Tour
Fenway Victory Gardens
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