Gift Guide

Access Boston 8e


With Access Boston, your visit will be an easy, enjoyable experience—the Old State House, Paul Revere House, Old North Church, and many other remarkable historical sites are at your fingertips.

BOSTON has been divided and organized into ...

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With Access Boston, your visit will be an easy, enjoyable experience—the Old State House, Paul Revere House, Old North Church, and many other remarkable historical sites are at your fingertips.

BOSTON has been divided and organized into neighborhoods, so you know where you are and where you're headed.

Unique color-coded and numbered entries allow you to discover the best:

  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • Attractions
  • Shopping sights
  • Parks and Outdoor Spaces

Large, easy-to-read maps with entry numbers keyed to text ensure that you will instantly find what you must not miss.

Access is your indispensable walk-around guide to Boston. Our writers, who live in and love the city, will lead you by the hand down the remarkable streets, sharing the unforgettable sights and pointing out the undiscovered gems and all the majestic landmarks that only BOSTON has to offer.

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
If we had to choose one small, sleek, fleet, glitzy guide, we'd give our guest Access. . . it's smart, fast, fun to use. . . . After the guests go, you'll use it, too.
Seattle Times
The one indispensable guidebook to slip into your coat pocket or handbag. . . A classic series that keeps getting better with each new edition.
Money Magazine
Full of surprising information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061147913
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/8/2007
  • Series: Access Boston Series
  • Edition number: 8
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 798,664
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

With the publication of his first book in 1962 at the age of 26, Richard Saul Wurman began the singular passion of his life: that of making information understandable. A holder of both M. Arch. & B. Arch. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, he has been awarded several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Graham Fellowships & two Chandler Fellowships. In 1991, Richard Saul Wurman received the Kevin Lynch Award from MIT for his creation of the ACCESS travel guides. In 1994, he was named a Fellow of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland & awarded a Doctorate of Fine Arts by the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. In 1995, he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Art Center College of Design & was Chairman of Graphic Design & Product/Industrial Design of the1995 Presidential Design Awards.

Richard Saul Wurman continues to be a regular consultant to major corporations in matters relating to the design & understanding of information. He is married to novelist Gloria Nagy, has 4 children & lives in Newport, Rhode Island.

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Read an Excerpt


Although Boston is only the twentieth-largest city in the country, its grandeur -- based on more than 350 years of history -- is genuinely impressive. The Freedom Trail alone connects 16 historical sites from colonial and Revolutionary days, including the Old State House, Paul Revere House, and the Old North Church. Such events as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's midnight ride, and Samuel Adams's impassioned protests against taxation without representation have all left their mark on the city and its residents.

Despite its historic ambience, Boston's student population -- about 250,000 a year flock to the city and nearby Cambridge -- keeps the city's spirit young and in flux. Many are tempted to stay on, and do. “It's so livable,” they marvel, meaning walkable and packed with odd pleasures -- not that the shortest distance between two points is ever a straight line here. The older parts of Boston, particularly Beacon Hill (“the Hill,” with its Brahmin residents) and the North End, as well as Cambridge (across the Charles River), were laid out helter-skelter along cow paths, Native American trails, and the ghosts of long-gone shorelines (from the very start, the city has stretched its limits with infusions of landfill). Logic is useless in assailing the maze, but getting “lost” is half the fun.

You could spend a day wandering the narrow and sometimes cobblestoned streets of Beacon Hill and never run out of charming 18th- and 19th-century town houses with interior lives you can only guess at. Furnish your own dream abode out of the grab bag of Charles Streetantiques stores in Beacon Hill, or while away a lazy afternoon sampling the market wares in the North End -- here a nibble of fresh mozzarella, there a briny olive, and virtually everywhere a cappuccino and biscotti topped with lively conversation. Eventually you'll gravitate, as the natives do, to the banks of the Charles River, where runners, walkers, bicyclists, and skaters whip by on their invigorating rounds.

Though the climate is trying at times (the seaborne weather can be quite capricious), it's certainly never boring. Summer's lush abandon cedes gradually to bracing autumns and bitter-cold Februaries. But greenery and sanity reemerge in May with the magnolias abloom along magnificent Commonwealth Avenue and the willows weeping around the Public Garden lagoon.

After a day on your feet, you'll be anxious to dive into a seafood feast (one of Boston's trademarks) or perhaps a gourmet meal. As recently as 15 years ago, you might have had trouble coming up with more than a handful of interesting restaurants in Boston; now the problem is choosing among them -- a number of talented chefs have flourished in an atmosphere of camaraderie rather than competition. Literature likewise provides rich repasts. Harvard Square is said to boast the largest concentration of bookstores in the country, and readings often draw crowds in the hundreds.

And finally there are the Boston sports teams: the Celtics, the Bruins, and the ever-maddening Red Sox. As frustrated as they may get with the players, Red Sox fans are inevitably caught up in the romance of tiny Fenway Park, a classic dating from the golden age of ballpark design, now threatened by modernization. But this should come as no surprise to anyone who knows a born-and-bred Bostonian. They are a people who savor the intimacy, the authenticity, and, above all, the history of their lovely city -- and rightly so.

Access Boston. Copyright © by Richard Saul Wurman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Orientation     4
Beacon Hill     14
Government Center/Faneuil Hall     32
North End     46
Waterfront/Fort Point Channel     62
Financial District/Downtown     74
Chinatown/Theater District     98
Back Bay     110
Kenmore Square/Fenway     142
South End     156
Charles River Basin     168
Cambridge     175
Other Neighborhoods     200
Day Trips     208
Gay Boston     218
History     230
Index     234
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