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 .

Get around

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.

By car

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.

By train

Green Line: the B branch of the Green Line 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.

By bus

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.



Things to do in Allston largely include just walking about and enjoying the area. There's a lot of little boutiques, excellent friendly coffee/tea shops, some interesting crowds, and a relatively easy-going atmosphere. It's also an excellent area for photography.



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 - for instance, if you want good Vietnamese, follow the Vietnamese crowd.




Allston-Brighton is a bit of a student village, and naturally you would expect bars. Lots of bars. There are, in fact, many. As of 2003, there is no smoking in any restaurant or bar in the metro Boston area.


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.

Bed and Breakfasts


Stay safe

Allston-Brighton is generally a safe place if you don't mind seeing the occasional drunken hooligan on weekends. It has a large college student population, so criminals of opportunity - burglars, pickpockets, petty thieves - exist. Peak seasons for them are any time students are moving in and out - May and September. Allston-Brighton also has its fair share of 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. 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 certified R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense) instructor, and one of the founding members of Allston's Ringer Park Crime Watch.

Go next

Routes through Allston-Brighton

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