In his 1869 published letter, “A First Visit to Boston,” Mark Twain, who named Boston as one of only four unique cities in the U.S. (along with New Orleans, San Antonio and San Francisco), noted that “One of the most engaging peculiarities of Boston is her reverence for her tradition, her relics, her antiquities.”  

Boston is also unusually serious about progress. With some $23 billion in new construction since 2012, including the skyline-busting 61-story Four Seasons tower rising in the Back Bay, groups have more options than ever.

“The extraordinary pace of development on the waterfront and in the Seaport District has helped shape a new image of Boston,” said Greater Boston CVB President & CEO Patrick Moscaritolo. “Moving beyond culture, history and education as sole brand drivers, Boston’s brand essence is a city of innovation, discovery and global commerce. Teeming with opportunities, our broad appeal includes international business leaders, students, Millennials and meeting planners bringing a corporate or association meeting here to experience Boston’s unique blend of ‘old’ and ‘new.’”  

Like those Revolutionary days, Boston is a call to action.   

Boston

Connections are strong in Boston, such as the four Marriott Convention & Resort Network hotels (see “3.2.1...”, page 37) supporting the Hynes Convention Center and Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). Treasures like Faneuil Hall, meanwhile, are links to Boston as a place of historic meetings.

Wealthy merchant Peter Faneuil’s gift to Boston in 1742, this hallowed hall is where colonists established “no taxation without representation,” Samuel Adams rallied Bostonians to the cause of independence and George Washington toasted America’s first birthday. Incorporating the Quincy, North and South markets, the “Hub of the Hub” offers event spaces such as the Hall’s storied Rotunda and entire Quincy Market.

Another legendary Bostonian, Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840–1924), bequeathed her remarkable Fenway home as a museum “for the education and enjoyment of the public forever.” Opened in 1903, her re-created 15th century Venetian palazzo and its many treasures enchant like a dream. In 1990, the museum suffered the theft of 13 works, including pieces by Rembrandt and Degas. At $500 million, the heist, still unsolved, is the largest ever from a museum. Rentals include the New Wing, from famed museum architect Renzo Piano; the Cloisters; and buyouts for 450 guests.

Fenway Park (1912) is America’s oldest ballpark. Enshrined by locals, the Red Sox’s home offers tours and venues such as the 200-capacity outdoor deck atop the iconic 37-foot Green Monster wall.

America’s first library, the Boston Public Library (1848) offers the 15,000-square-foot Boylston Hall for events.

In the Fort Point Channel Landmark District, the event-capable Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum features guest experiences such as tossing East India tea into Boston Harbor. Steps away, the Boston Children’s Museum features the 40-foot Hood Milk Bottle, a 1930 landmark serving ice cream and snacks. Nearby, event-capable Barking Crab is an old-school seafood shack with waterside seating.

Fort Point borders the South Boston Waterfront and Seaport District, long epicenters of adaptive development. Milestones include the 2004-built BCEC—at 2.1 million square feet, the Northeast’s largest convention facility—and in 2006, the visionary new Institute of Contemporary Art building and $15 billion “Big Dig” transit project.

Today, this “Innovation District” keeps soaring behind mixed-use projects such as the restaurant-rich Fan Pier, and two truly transformative projects for groups.