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9 Best Cities Like Boston & Boston Alternatives [2024]

9 Best Cities Like Boston & Boston Alternatives [2024]

Cities Like Boston: Nestled along the picturesque shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Boston stands as a historical and cultural gem in the heart of New England. Its cobblestone streets, revolutionary past, and vibrant arts scene make it a city like no other. 

Yet, for those who have fallen in love with the unique charm of Beantown, the question often arises: “Are there other cities out there that share Boston's allure?” 

In this exploration, we embark on a journey to discover cities that, in their own distinct ways, echo the spirit of Boston. 

List of Cities Like Boston

1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, fondly known as the “City of Brotherly Love,” stands as a historical treasure trove reminiscent of Boston's colonial past. 

The city's cobblestone streets, lined with row houses and historic landmarks, transport visitors to an era when the United States was in its infancy. 

Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Beyond its historical significance, Philadelphia boasts a thriving arts scene, with the Philadelphia Museum of Art housing world-class collections.

Best Places to Visit

  1. Eastern State Penitentiary: Explore the eerie beauty of this historic prison, which once housed notorious criminals like Al Capone. Its haunting allure makes it a unique attraction.
  2. Magic Gardens: Step into a surreal mosaic wonderland at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, an art installation spanning indoor and outdoor spaces.
  3. Reading Terminal Market: A food lover's paradise, this bustling market features a cornucopia of local specialties, from Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels to gourmet donuts.


Philadelphia's culinary scene is as diverse as it is delectable. While the city is renowned for its iconic Philly cheesesteak, there's much more to savor. Be sure to try soft pretzels from street vendors, a local favorite. 

The Italian Market in South Philly is a food lover's dream, offering an array of fresh produce, meats, and international specialties.

Don't leave without sampling a classic “hoagie” sandwich or indulging in a decadent serving of tomato pie, a regional delight.

2. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal's sun-drenched capital, is a city steeped in history and culture that resonates with the soul of Boston. 

Its hilly terrain is reminiscent of the Massachusetts landscape, while its historic neighborhoods, like Alfama and Bairro Alto, exude old-world charm. 

Visitors can immerse themselves in maritime history at the Maritime Museum, or explore the grandeur of Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Best Places to Visit

  1. Feira da Ladra: Lisbon's famous flea market is a treasure trove of antiques, vintage clothing, and local crafts. It's a must-visit for those seeking unique souvenirs.
  2. Fado Houses: Experience the soul-stirring melodies of Fado, Portugal's traditional music, in intimate Fado houses where emotion flows through every note.
  3. LX Factory: This vibrant arts and culture hub is housed in a former industrial complex and features galleries, boutiques, and trendy restaurants.


Lisbon's culinary scene is a delightful fusion of tradition and innovation. 

Begin your day with a pastel de nata, a creamy custard tart that's a beloved local treat. 

For a hearty meal, try bacalhau à brás, a Portuguese dish featuring salted cod, eggs, and potatoes. Seafood lovers can savor fresh grilled sardines or indulgent seafood rice. 

3. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina, exudes Southern hospitality and charm that resonates with Boston's historical allure. 

The city's historic districts, including Rainbow Row and the French Quarter, boast beautifully preserved antebellum architecture. 

Stroll along cobblestone streets, taking in the fragrant magnolia blossoms and the soft murmur of horse-drawn carriages. 

Best Places to Visit

  1. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens: Explore lush gardens, swamps, and an antebellum plantation house at this picturesque estate.
  2. Middleton Place: Wander through America's oldest landscaped gardens, featuring terraces, reflecting pools, and centuries-old oak trees.
  3. Fort Sumter National Monument: Delve into Civil War history by taking a ferry to Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.


Charleston is a haven for foodies, offering a rich blend of Lowcountry cuisine and Southern comfort food. Sample classics like shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and fried green tomatoes.

 The city's culinary scene extends beyond tradition, with renowned chefs crafting innovative dishes that blend flavors from around the world. 

4. Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, echoes Boston's literary heritage and rich cultural traditions. 

The city is steeped in history, from the medieval architecture of Dublin Castle to the Georgian elegance of Merrion Square. Trinity College's library houses the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript dating back to the 9th century and a cultural treasure akin to Boston's own historical archives. 

Best Places to Visit

  1. Temple Bar: Dublin's cultural quarter is home to galleries, theaters, and vibrant street art, making it a hub for arts and entertainment.
  2. Guinness Storehouse: Explore the history of Ireland's most famous export at this iconic brewery, complete with a gravity bar offering panoramic views of the city.
  3. Trinity College: Beyond the Book of Kells, the college's campus and courtyards provide a serene escape in the heart of the city.


Dublin's food scene has evolved in recent years, offering a delightful mix of traditional Irish fare and modern culinary innovation. 

Enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast, complete with bacon, sausage, black and white pudding, and eggs. For a taste of Irish pub culture, savor hearty dishes like beef and Guinness stew or a classic fish and chips. 

5. Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada

Montreal, the largest city in Quebec, shares a bilingual and multicultural spirit with Boston. 

The city is known for its rich history, evident in its historic Old Montreal district, where cobblestone streets and centuries-old architecture transport visitors to a bygone era. 

Montreal also boasts a vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries and theaters. 

Best Places to Visit

  1. Mont Royal: Hike to the summit of Mount Royal for panoramic views of the city or relax in Parc du Mont-Royal, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same landscape architect behind Boston's Emerald Necklace.
  2. Notre-Dame Basilica: Marvel at the intricate Gothic Revival architecture and stunning interior of this iconic basilica in Old Montreal.
  3. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Explore a diverse collection of art spanning various periods and styles, including Canadian and Indigenous art.


Montreal is a culinary paradise, celebrated for its unique fusion of French and North American flavors. 

Indulge in Montreal's famous bagels, known for their distinctive chewy texture and wood-fired baking process. Poutine, a Canadian comfort food favorite, consists of fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds, a must-try for food enthusiasts. 

6. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, resonates with history and culture, much like Boston. 

The city's Old Town and New Town areas offer a blend of medieval and Georgian architecture, with a UNESCO World Heritage designation. Explore the majestic Edinburgh Castle, perched atop an extinct volcano, or stroll down the Royal Mile, a historic thoroughfare bustling with shops, restaurants, and street performances. 

Best Places to Visit

  1. Arthur's Seat: Hike to the summit of this ancient volcano for panoramic views of the city, similar to the vistas from Boston's Beacon Hill.
  2. Holyrood Palace: Discover the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, with opulent rooms and beautiful gardens open to the public.
  3. National Museum of Scotland: Explore a diverse collection of artifacts, from ancient relics to contemporary art, in this renowned museum.


Scottish cuisine offers hearty and flavorful dishes, showcasing the country's natural bounty. 

Try haggis, Scotland's national dish, a savory blend of minced meat, oats, and spices, traditionally encased in a sheep's stomach. Enjoy a traditional Scottish breakfast, featuring ingredients like black pudding and Lorne sausage. 

7. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, often associated with its iconic Space Needle, is a city that mirrors Boston's blend of modernity and history. 

Nestled between Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains, Seattle offers a stunning natural backdrop. The city's historic neighborhoods like Pioneer Square and Capitol Hill provide glimpses into its past, while its thriving tech industry and innovative cultural scene embrace the future, much like Boston's vibrant innovation hub.

Best Places to Visit

  1. Space Needle: Ascend the Space Needle for breathtaking panoramic views of Seattle and the surrounding mountains, reminiscent of Boston's skyline vistas.
  2. Pike Place Market: Explore this bustling market, home to the original Starbucks and a lively array of food stalls, artisan crafts, and the famous fish toss.
  3. Chihuly Garden and Glass: Immerse yourself in the dazzling glass art of Dale Chihuly, set against the backdrop of the Space Needle.


Seattle is a food lover's paradise, known for its fresh seafood and Pacific Northwest cuisine. 

Savor a bowl of clam chowder at Pike Place Chowder or indulge in a seafood feast at one of the city's waterfront restaurants. Seattle's coffee culture is renowned, with numerous independent cafes and, of course, the original Starbucks. 

8. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, shares a deep connection with Boston as a hub of American history and culture. 

The city's iconic landmarks, such as the National Mall and the Smithsonian museums, draw millions of visitors each year. Washington, D.C., is also home to a diverse and dynamic population, much like Boston. 

Best Places to Visit

  1. National Mall: Explore the heart of the nation's capital, home to the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and a host of museums, all reminiscent of Boston's historic sites.
  2. The White House: Take a tour of the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States.
  3. Smithsonian Museums: Discover a wealth of knowledge at the Smithsonian museums, from the National Air and Space Museum to the National Museum of American History.


Washington, D.C., offers a culinary landscape as diverse as its population. Sample dishes from around the world at the vibrant Union Market, where food vendors offer everything from gourmet tacos to Korean barbecue.

9. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, often referred to as “Music City,” resonates with the creative spirit and cultural significance of Boston. 

The city is famous for its contributions to country music and the vibrant honky-tonk scene on Broadway. 

Best Places to Visit

  1. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: Explore the history and influence of country music through an extensive collection of memorabilia and exhibits.
  2. Ryman Auditorium: Visit the “Mother Church of Country Music,” a historic venue that has hosted legendary musicians.
  3. The Parthenon: Admire a full-scale replica of the ancient Greek Parthenon, complete with a stunning statue of Athena.


Nashville's food scene is more than just hot chicken (although that's a must-try!). Indulge in this fiery and flavorful dish at local hot chicken joints. 

For a taste of Southern comfort food, savor dishes like biscuits and gravy, catfish, and fried green tomatoes. Don't miss out on trying Nashville's famous meat-and-three restaurants, where you can choose from a variety of delicious meat and side dish combinations. 

9. York, England

York, a city steeped in history and culture, resonates with the charm of Boston's historic neighborhoods. The city's medieval architecture, including the iconic York Minster cathedral, evokes a sense of bygone eras. 

Best Places to Visit

  1. York Minster: Marvel at the stunning Gothic architecture of one of Europe's largest cathedrals, akin to Boston's architectural landmarks.
  2. The Shambles: Stroll down this medieval street lined with timber-framed buildings and boutique shops, reminiscent of Boston's historic streets.
  3. York Castle Museum: Explore the city's past through immersive exhibits in a former prison, offering a unique historical experience.


York offers a delightful blend of traditional British fare and modern culinary innovation. 

Sample classic dishes like Yorkshire pudding and roast dinners, which are a Sunday staple. For a sweet treat, indulge in a slice of Yorkshire curd tart or try traditional parkin cake, a spiced gingerbread dessert. 

Final Words

In this global journey, we've uncovered cities that resonate with the heart and soul of Boston, each offering its own unique blend of history, culture, and culinary delights. 

Whether you're drawn to the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia, the musical charm of Nashville, or the medieval alleys of York, these cities invite you to explore, discover, and connect with the essence of their individual allure.