Boston - Allston-Brighton
Allston-Brighton, Massachusetts is a part of the city of Boston, though it has alternated annexation over the years. First founded in 1646, Allston-Brighton was known as Little Cambridge for the better part of the 18th century. In 1807, Allston-Brighton separated from the City of Cambridge. For nearly a century, Allston-Brighton thrived as a meat-packing and slaughter town; in 1874, the City of Boston annexed Allston-Brighton.
Today, Allston-Brighton is known as the student village, owing to the enormous number of college students and recent graduates that live in the area. Boston University and Boston College bookend Allston-Brighton.
For more general history, visit the Allston-Brighton Historical Society .
Allston-Brighton is located on the western edge of Boston, bordering Brookline to the south, Boston College and Newton to the west, Boston University and Kenmore Square to the east, and Cambridge, Watertown, and the Charles River to the north. Though the boundaries between Allston and Brighton tend to be quite blurred, for practical purposes Warren St. cuts Allston-Brighton in half, with Brighton to the west and Allston to the east.
Like the rest of Boston, driving a car is generally a bad idea and a means of transportation to be avoided if at all possible. If you must use a car, however, exits 19 and 18 off the Mass Pike (Interstate 90) will bring you to Allston-Brighton.
The MBTA Green Line B trolley travels the length of Allston-Brighton along its southeastern edge. Major stops from east to west are Packard's Corner, Harvard Ave., Washington St., and Chestnut Hill Ave.
Allston-Brighton is served by buses 57, 64, 65, 66, 70, 70A, 86, 501 and 503. The 57 bus traverses Allston-Brighton through its center; board at any B-line stop from Kenmore Square to Packard's Corner. The 66 and 64 buses respectively connect Cambridge's Harvard and Central Squares to Allston-Brighton. The 86 bus runs from Sullivan Square in Charlestown, through Union Square (Somerville) and Harvard Square (Cambridge), down Market St. in Brighton, and turns around at the Cleveland Circle stop on the C-line. The 70 and 70A buses run along Western Ave. in North Allston-Brighton, both connecting Central Square (Cambridge) to Waltham (with the 70 going to Cedarwood and 70A to North Waltham). The 501 and 503's being express buses running (only on weekday rush hours) down through Washington Street in Brighton Center westward towards the Mass Pike in Newton Corner where they then run eastwards to their respective destinations, Downtown Boston and Copley Square.
- One of the best activities in Allston-Brighton is people-watching, for whatever your motivations. You'll find an exciting mix of ethnicities and age groups, from upper middle class college kids to Vietnamese immigrants to the local Russian community. Take in the sights at the White Horse Tavern or The Kells on Brighton Avenue during summertime when the floor to ceiling windows are open, or just grab a patch of stoop and watch.
- The main drag of Allston is Harvard Ave., specifically the stretch between Cambridge St. and Comm Ave. A cluster of interesting shops and eateries are to be found here. Walking west 1/4 mi. from the intersection of Harvard and Brighton Ave. towards Cambridge St. is Union Square (not to be confused with Somerville's Union Square), marked by the wonderfully old Twin Donuts sign.
- Grab the 57 bus or walk about a mile down Cambridge St. to the heart of Brighton, Brighton Center, at the corner of Washington and Market Streets. Farther down Washington St. at the westernmost edge of Boston lies Oak Square, a largely residential neighborhood with several great bars and restaurants. Taking Chestnut Hill Avenue a mile south from Brighton Center you'll come across Cleveland Circle right on the edge of Brookline, with lots of bars, restaurants, a movie theater, and the end of the Green Line C trolley.
- One of Frederick Law Olmstead's renowned creations is Ringer Playground, located on Allston St. between Commonwealth Ave. and Brigton Ave.
- Boston College(B.C.), 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA(Take the T's B Green Line train to the Boston College stop. It's the last stop on the route so don't worry, you won't miss it.), . B.C. is a Jesuit, Catholic University known for its Collegiate Gothic architecture in the middle campus.
- McMullen Museum of Art, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA(Take the T to the BC stop, cross the street to Lower Campus, and ask the attendant at the gate or a student how to get to Devlin Hall. There are also maps located near the stairs (which are approximately 7 stories vertical.) There is also an elevator in the Commonwealth Avenue Garage, which you can take to the top floor to avoid the stairs. BC is very hilly, but it is possible to get around without stairs if mobility impaired. During the winter months be careful of ice: it's usually very well salted but there can still be slick patches. The Museum is located on the first floor of Devlin Hall, around the corner from the Office of Admissions.), ☎ (617)-552-8100(email@example.com), . Monday-Friday 11:00-4:00, Saturday and Sunday 12:00-5:00. Hours can vary due to breaks and special events. Call or check the website for details. Located in Devlin Hall on Boston College's "middle campus", the McMullen Museum has both a permanent collection and a featured exhibit, usually changed on a semester basis. Free.
Things to do in Allston largely include just walking about and enjoying the area. There's a lot of little boutiques, some interesting crowds, and a relatively easy-going atmosphere.
Need supplies for magic or just new age stuff? Visit Ritual Arts, 153 Harvard Avenue, Allston. The former store O has been incorporated into Ritual Arts, and offers exotic gifts for women.
Also, right next door at Re;Generation Tattoo, 155 Harvard Av. Safe, clean, proffesional Tattoo parlor. Used to host punk shows three or four times a month.
Allston-Brighton has some of the best ethnic restaurants in the metro Boston area, bar none. Brazilian and Vietnamese dominate, and the bars aren't half bad either, but more on that later. The best indicator of the local restaurants' quality are the patrons - if you want good Vietnamese, follow the Vietnamese crowd.
- Eagles Deli, 1918 Beacon St, +1 617-731-3232. Voted by the Travel Channel as #2 on their "Top 10 Places To Pig Out". This deli, located near Cleveland Circle, boasts the "Eagles Challenge Burger", which for a mere $50.00, you can get a cheeseburger featuring 5 pounds of beef, 20 slices of cheese, 20 pieces of bacon, 5 pounds of french fries, a pickle and a fountain soda, and it must be served to one person! Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Bagel Rising, 1243 Commonwealth Ave. (T: Harvard Ave), Phone: +1 617-789-4000, . M-Sa 7AM-7PM, Su 7AM-5:30PM. Fresh-baked bagels that rank among even the best of New York City. Tons of bagel sandwich and wrap combinations. Lots of vegan and veggie options. Soups, teas and coffees. Delicious and very crowded. $2-$5.
- Buk Kyung 151 Brighton Ave, +1 617-254-2775. $20 will put a LOT of food on your table. Definitely worth a trip. Get the scallion pancake. Delish and the kimchi.
- Le's Vietnamese, 137 Brighton Ave. (T: Harvard Ave), Phone: +1 617-783-2340. M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10PM. Formerly Pho Pasteur. Home of some of the best Vietnamese around. Cheap and gigantic portions of their namesake pho (noodle soup with meat). Their spring rolls are to die for. $5-$12.
- Café Belô, 2 locations: 181 Brighton Ave., & 1243 Commonwealth Ave. (T: Harvard Ave), Phone: +1 617-783-4858, Phone: +1 617-202-6277, . An amazing buffet of Brazilian and South American foods. $3.99/lb.
- Tokyo City, 92 Harvard Avenue (T: Harvard Av.), Phone: +1 617-562-8888. M-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su noon-11PM. Offers inexpensive, good quality sushi, Japanese, and Chinese food. Their bento lunch box (until 3PM) is an especially good deal: a 5-course meal of 5 choices each for $5.95. Entrees $5-$15.
- Carlo's Cucina Italiana, 131 Brighton Av. (T: Harvard Ave), Phone: +1 617-254-9759. M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 2PM-11PM. Possibly the best Italian outside of the North End. Unbelievably perfect homemade pasta in a cramped yet cozy setting. Lines out the door most nights. Full bar. $8-$20
- Grasshopper, 1 N Beacon St. in Union Square, +1 617-254-8883. Another strictly vegan Asian restaurant with a definite Vietnamese influence. Very delicious. Awesome vegan cheesecake. Lunch specials under $6, dinner between $7 - $14 for entrees.
- Jasmine Bistro. 412 Market St at Washington St., Brighton, Phone: +1 617-789-4676. Middle Eastern, Hungarian and French may seem like an odd fusion, but the Jasmine Bistro brings them together in an assortment of dishes for every taste. The Chicken Paprikash is highly recommended, as are the seasonal specials, particularly the mushroom appetizer and the cold cherry soup. The restaurant is family owned and operated, complete with an in house pastry chef making some of the best desserts in Boston. $15 to $25.
- Spike's Junkyard Dogs, 108 Brighton Ave, Allston, +1 617-254-7700. Offers vegetarian hot dogs and tasty poodle fries on the cheap.
- Tasca, 1612 Commonwealth Ave. (T: Washington St), Phone: +1 617-730-8002, . Su-Th 5PM-11PM, F-Sa 5PM-12AM. Offers tapas, small, appetizer-sized dishes that you order in groups as a meal. A tasty, fun way to enjoy multiple dishes from Spanish cuisine. Tapas $3-$7, entrees $14-$20.
- T.J. Scallywaggle's, 487 Cambridge St., +1 617-787-9884, . Noon to Midnight. Vegan house of subs and pizza, delicious food, excellent dessert (try the chocolate chip cookies!)
Allston-Brighton is the student village of the area, and naturally you would expect bars. Lots of bars. You'd not be incorrect. As of 2003, there is no smoking in any restaurant or bar in the metro Boston area.
- Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Avenue, Allston, . Live indie, rock, hiphop, and dance. Voted "Best Rock Club", "Best Bar", and hosts the "Best Dance Night (The Pill, Friday Mod/Brit") - Source: Boston Phoenix 2006 Readers' Poll. Daily 12PM-2AM. Showtime is 9PM and generally costs $8-$10.
- The Sunset Bar and Grill. With the exception of some bar in DC, the Sunset has the largest selection of beer in the country. 130 beers on tap, more than 300 bottled varieties. Get your free beer card at the door - then sample 20 different beers, and you get a t-shirt. There are bar stools with nametags on them. The honored ones sampled every beer the Sunset has.
- Big City. Combination bar and pool hall, served by the Sunset. Exceptionally nice.
- The Silhouette Lounge. If you are looking for the kind of bar that Archie Bunker would visit, this is it. The ceiling tiles are gray with age and dirt, the jukebox is broken, and the patrons are way past college age.
- White Horse Tavern. Enormous bar/club with a million TVs.
- Common Ground
Oddly enough, for a college-burg, Allston-Brighton has few hotels. You'll probably need to venture into Boston or Cambridge for accommodation. For less expensive hotels, try Natick or Framingham, west of the city. Be aware that as a college town, any Boston-area hotels fill up quickly in early September and around graduation-- book well in advance.
- Best Western Terrace Inn, 1650 Comm Ave. Brighton, MA 02135-5604 (Green Line B train to Washington Street; 1/10 mi up the hill on the left.), T: 617-566-6260, Toll-free reservations: 800-242-8377, . Free parking, free continental breakfast and free wireless internet.
- Days Hotel Boston, 1234 Soldiers Field Road Boston, MA 02135. T: 1-800-359-4827. Note the name is Days Hotel, not Inn-- this can certainly cause confusion when getting directions. This hotel has gone through several incarnations and seen lots of wear. While not convenient for walking to popular destinations, there is plenty of parking and a large supermarket across Western Ave.
- Doubletree Guest Suites, 400 Soldiers Field Road, +1 617-783-0090, Fax: +1 617-783-0897,  Free shuttle to Copley Square and the Back Bay (and Fenway Park) and about 20 minutes by public transportation.
- Farrington Inn, 23 Farrington Ave. (Green Line B train to Packard's corner; walk 1/4 mile W on Brighton Ave and go R on Linden St to Farrington. Or 57 bus to Linden St and walk N 3 blocks), 1-800-767-5337, . While certainly not a bargain, The Farrington is one of Boston's only "budget" accommodations, and certainly the only one in Allston. Tends to attract an international backpackers crowd as well as a swarm of 20-somethings Irish in the summer. Rooms vary in cleanliness, and rates fluctuate daily, but for those wishing to stay in the heart of Allston and party it up with the locals (and your new Irish roomies), the location can't be beat. $22-30/$55-95/$65-105 (dorms/singles/doubles, parking included). Online reservations.
Allston-Brighton has a large college student population, so criminals of opportunity - burglars, pickpockets, petty thieves - tend to visit Allston-Brighton in droves. Peak seasons for them are any time students are moving in and out - May and September. Allston-Brighton also has its fair share of very aggressive panhandlers and drunks - and not just the students.
Late at night, it's a good idea to travel in groups until you know the area. Even then, travelling in groups is not a bad idea. Allston-Brighton has reasonably good mobile phone coverage outside of buildings, so calling for help is relatively straightforward. However, due to recent budget cuts by the Boston Police Department, response times to 911 calls are significantly longer than they used to be, in some cases 15-30 minutes for police or ambulance response.
Allston-Brighton also has one of the best martial arts schools in America, though you'd never be able to tell based on the building's appearance. The Boston Martial Arts Center , located at 161 Harvard Avenue, offers self defense classes six days a week.
In addition, Emerald Necklace Budo Martial Arts , a traditional karate dojo, is also in Allston, featuring karate and self-defense classes for adult men and women. Jason Gould, the Chief Instructor at the Emerald Necklace dojo, is a certifed R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense) instructor, and one of the founding members of Allston's Ringer Park Crime Watch.
This page was last edited at 19:41, on 14 November 2008 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Tony, David, Nick Roux and Colin Jensen, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.