Newton is made up of 13 "villages" or neighborhoods, including Auburndale, Chestnut Hill, Lower Falls, Newton Centre, Newton Corner, Newton Highlands, Newtonville, Nonantum, Oak Hill, Thompsonville, Upper Falls, Waban, and West Newton. While mainly a suburb of Boston, it is a sizable city in its own right, boasting a population of over 80,000. Each village has its own historical and architectural character. Many of the villages grew up around railroad stations after the Boston & Worcester Railroad opened up through the north side of Newton in 1833. Another railroad line opened up across the south side of Newton in 1851 and is the "D" Branch of the MBTA's Green Line today. Walking tours of most villages are available through the website of the Newton City Planning Department.
Striking enclaves of Victorian houses and Gothic Revival churches can be seen in Auburndale, Chestnut Hill, Newton Centre, Newton Corner, Newton Highlands, and Newtonville, and West Newton Hill. Newton's grandest boulevard is Commonwealth Avenue, which winds through the entire city and is lined with historic mansions. "Comm Ave," as it is known to Bostonians, connects Boston to Weston and serves as the route of the Boston Marathon (Patriot's Day, third Monday of April). Heartbreak Hill begins just east of Newton City Hall. Divided down the middle by a landscaped mall that runs throughout the city, the street was designed by celebrated landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead, who also designed Central Park in New York City and the Emerald Necklace in Boston.
For trivia buffs: in 1886, Nabisco's Fig Newton cookie was named after the City of Newton.
Mass Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), . Newton is connected to Boston and surrounding communities by light rail/streetcar, commuter rail, and busses. The Green Line "D" Branch (Riverside line) is a light rail line running into downtown Boston, about 30 minutes away. It runs frequently throughout the day. The commuter rail line, which originates at Boston's South Station, has stops at Newtonville, West Newton, and Auburndale villages and travels west to Framingham and Worcester. It operates frequently at the rush hours and less often the rest of the day. Express busses travel from Washington Street to the Massachusetts Turnpike and on to downtown Boston.
Newton is on the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) and Interstate 95 (also called Route 128). Routes 9 and 16 also pass through the city. From Boston, you can also reach Newton via city streets: both Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue run directly to and throughout Newton, and provide a more scenic drive (particularly Beacon Street).
Newton is well-served by the MBTA bus, light rail, and commuter rail lines. The D line of the T's Green Line provides the best access throughout Newton, with 7 stops located in the city. Otherwise, there are 3 commuter rail stops in the city, and several bus lines.
Newton History Museum at the Jackson Homestead, 527 Washington Street, Phone: +1 617 796-1450, . Tu-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 2PM-5PM. A Federal-style farmhouse built in 1809. The museum offers an intriguing introduction to Newton's history with exhibits of paintings, photographs, costumes, and historic objects. The house was a station on the Underground Railroad hiding escaped slaves. $5/$3.
Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, . See the original Neo-Gothic campus with buildings designed by Maginnis & Walsh. The McMullen Museum of Art shows changing art exhibits. Alumni Stadium and the Conte Forum showcase BC's football, basketball, and hockey teams.
Newton Free Library, 330 Homer Street, Phone: +1 617 796-1360, . Airy contemporary library with extensive collection, Newton History Room, and auditorium with constant concerts and lectures.
Newton Centre, Intersection of Centre Street and Beacon Street. The largest and most bustling of the city's village centers. Boasts a number of high-end clothing stores, salons and spas, restaurants of various cuisines, coffee shops, ice cream shops, and banks. Abuts Newton's largest public park. Only a short stroll from beautiful Crystal Lake.
Newton Highlands, Intersection of Walnut Street and Lincoln Street. Perhaps the most quaint of Newton's village centers. Mostly a daytime destination for locals, but has some of the best restaurants in the city, and one of the best independent coffee shops, Lincoln Street Cafe.
In the warmer months, rent a canoe or kayak at the Charles River Boathouse off Commonwealth Avenue at the Weston Bridge (Route 30).
West Newton Cinema, 1296 Washington Street, Phone: +1 617 964-6060, . See a foreign or independent film at one of the region's top cinemas.
In Newtonville, view annual Independence Day firework at Albemarle Field along the banks of Cheesecake Brook (corner of Albemarle Rd. and Crafts St.).
Go for a swim at scenic Crystal Lake in Newton Highlands, and enjoy the beautiful houses abutting the lake.
Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill. Located between Boston College campus and Cleveland Circle. A beautiful reservoir with biking and walking trails surrounding it. Very popular during warm weather months. Like Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, the reservoir was also designed by renowned landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead.
Newtonville Books, 296 Walnut Street, Newtonville--Independent bookstore noted for contemporary fiction, children's books, and frequent author readings.
Chestnut Hill Mall, Route 9, Chestnut Hill--A very expensive, high-fashion mall. Houses the only Bloomingdale's in New England and, until recently, the only Barney's New York (a second store opened in 2006 in Copley Mall in downtown Boston).
Atrium at Chestnut Hill, Route 9, Chestnut Hill--Another very expensive mall. Glitzier than the Chestnut Hill Mall. Includes the Cheesecake Factory, Tiffany's, Borders, Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware.
Simon and Sons, 210 Needham Street. Friendly, helpful, family run store selling mainly boy's suits but with men's also.
Eastern Mountain Sports, 300 Needham Street. Sells travel accessories and gear. Rents kayaks, skis and snowshoes. Helpful staff will answer questions about local trails and parks.
Cafe Saint Petersburg, 57 Union Street, Newton Centre. Lively Russian restaurant.
Johnny's Luncheonette, 30 Longley Road, Newton Centre. Contemporary diner-style breakfasts and sandwiches.
Sol Azteca, 75 Union Street, Newton Centre. Full-scale Mexican restaurant with outdoor terrace.
Antoine's Bakery, 317 Watertown Street, Nonantum. Old-fashioned bakery with cakes, cinnamon bread, and cookies.
Legal Seafoods, Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill. The most famous of Boston's seafood restaurants. The clam chowder has been served at the U.S. president's inaugural ball for years. Very pricey.
Skipjack's, Needham Street, Newton Upper Falls. Another great, if pricey, seafood restaurant.
Lincoln Street Cafe, Lincoln Street, Newton Highlands. One of the best independent coffee shops in the city, with excellent espresso and a very laid back atmosphere. Has live music some nights of the week. A welcome change from the ubiquitous Starbucks shops that fill the rest of the village centers.
Karoun, 839 Washington Street, Newtonville. Armenian and Middle Eastern cuisine, plus featuring live music and belly dancing.
Coconut Cafe, 759 Beacon Street, Newton Centre. Great Thai food. Seating is limited.
Amarin of Thailand, 287 Centre Street, Newton Corner. Another great Thai restaurant with an authentic ambiance.
Tartufo, 22 Union Street, Newton Centre. Very popular Italian restaurant overlooking Newton Centre.
Kouzina, 1649 Beacon St., Waban. Greek and Mediterranean style restaurant; great food and great wine.
Tango Mango, Centre Street, Newton Centre. Small taco joint, not nearly as good as Annas Tacqueria in Brookline
Village Cafe, 719 Washington Street, Newton. Great place for breakfast and lunch.
Just Next Door, 327 Auburn Street, Auburndale, ☎ 617-965-6796. Independently owned card, gift and toy store. Best cards around. Unique gifts. Friendly and helpful staff. Always something new.
Angora Ice, 3-A Boylston St, ☎ 617-730-8900, . 9AM-11:30PM. Frozen yogurt, ice cream, coffee and pastries.
Hotel Indigo Boston Newton Riverside, 399 Grove Street (From Downtown Boston:Take I-90 West to I-95 South to Exit 22, Grove Street.), ☎ +1 617 969-5300, . Contemporary boutique hotel with free internet, outdoor pool, and on-site restaurant.
Boston Marriott Newton, 2345 Commonwealth Avenue, +1 617 969-1000, (Fax: +1 617 527-6914), . Indoor pool, onsite restaurant.
Sheraton Newton, 320 Washington Street, +1 617 969-3010 (Fax: +1 617 630-2976, . Built above the Massachusetts Turnpike at Exit 17.
Holiday Inn, 399 Grove Street, +1 617 969-5300, .
Best Western Terrace Inn, 1650 Commonwealth Avenue, +1 617 566-6260,. Free continental breakfast and free parking.
Mount Ida College, Located in the more suburban south side of the city.
Boston College, Originally located in Boston's South End, the campus moved to the Boston/Newton border in the 19th Century. The Boston campus (which is actually located in Newton) is filled with stunning Collegiate Gothic architecture, while the Newton campus boasts more modern buildings.
Lassell College, Located in Auburndale. Lovely campus, some of which overlooks Woodlands Country Club golf course.
Andover Theological Seminary, Located right next to Newton Centre.
Newton North High School and Newton South High School are among the best public high schools in the country. There are several elementary schools which feed into four middle schools and ultimately the two high schools.
Greater Boston uses 10-digit dialing. This means you need to include the area code whenever you are making a call. The standard area code is 617, but some phone numbers, especially cell phones, use the new 857 overlay.
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