|City of Atlanta|
From top to bottom left to right: Atlanta skyline seen from Buckhead, the Fox Theatre, the Georgia State Capitol, Centennial Olympic Park, Millennium Gate, the Canopy Walk, the Georgia Aquarium, The Phoenix statue, and the Midtown skyline
|Nickname(s): Hotlanta, ATL, The City in a Forest, The A, The Gate City. (See also Nicknames of Atlanta)|
|Motto: Resurgens (Latin for rising again)|
City highlighted in Fulton County, location of Fulton County in the state of Georgia
Location of the city of Atlanta, Georgia
|Country||United States of America|
|City of Atlanta||December 29, 1845|
|• Mayor||Kasim Reed|
|• Body||Atlanta City Council|
|• City||132.4 sq mi (343.0 km2)|
|• Land||131.8 sq mi (341.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.6 sq mi (1.8 km2)|
|• Urban||1,963 sq mi (5,080 km2)|
|• Metro||8,376 sq mi (21,690 km2)|
|Elevation||738 to 1,050 ft (225 to 320 m)|
|• Density||3,382/sq mi (1,305.7/km2)|
|• Metro||5,522,942 (9th)|
|• Metro density||630/sq mi (243/km2)|
|• CSA||6,162,195 (11th)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP code(s)||30060, 30301-30322, 30324-30334, 30336-30350, 30353|
|Area code(s)||404, 470, 678, 770|
|GNIS feature ID||0351615|
Atlanta (i//, locally i//) is the capital of and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia, with an estimated 2013 population of 447,841. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5,522,942 people and the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Atlanta is the county seat of Fulton County, and a small portion of the city extends eastward into DeKalb County.
Atlanta was established in 1837 at the intersection of two railroad lines, and the city rose from the ashes of the Civil War to become a national center of commerce. In the decades following the Civil Rights Movement, during which the city earned a reputation as “too busy to hate” for the progressive views of its citizens and leaders, Atlanta attained international prominence. Atlanta is the primary transportation hub of the Southeastern United States, via highway, railroad, and air, with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport being the world’s busiest airport since 1998.
Atlanta is considered an “alpha-” or “world city”, and with a gross domestic product of $270 billion, Atlanta’s economy ranks 15th among world cities and sixth in the nation. Although Atlanta’s economy is considered diverse, dominant sectors include logistics, professional and business services, media operations, and information technology. Topographically, Atlanta is marked by rolling hills and dense tree coverage. Revitalization of Atlanta’s neighborhoods, initially spurred by the 1996 Olympics, has intensified in the 21st century, altering the city’s demographics, politics, and culture.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Culture
- 6 Sports
- 7 Parks and recreation
- 8 Government and politics
- 9 Education
- 10 Media
- 11 Transportation
- 12 Tree canopy
- 13 Sister cities
- 14 See also
- 15 Notes
- 16 References
- 17 Further reading
- 18 External links
Prior to the arrival of European settlers in north Georgia, Creek and Cherokee Indians inhabited the area. Standing Peachtree, a Creek village located where Peachtree Creek flows into the Chattahoochee River, was the closest Indian settlement to what is now Atlanta. As part of the systematic removal of Native Americans from northern Georgia from 1802 to 1825, the Creek ceded the area in 1821, and white settlers arrived the following year.
In 1836, the Georgia General Assembly voted to build the Western and Atlantic Railroad in order to provide a link between the port of Savannah and the Midwest. The initial route was to run southward from Chattanooga to a terminus east of the Chattahoochee River, which would then be linked to Savannah. After engineers surveyed various possible locations for the terminus, the “zero milepost” was driven into the ground in what is now Five Points. A year later, the area around the milepost had developed into a settlement, first known as “Terminus”, and later as “Thrasherville” after a local merchant who built homes and a general store in the area. By 1842, the town had six buildings and 30 residents, and was renamed “Marthasville” to honor the Governor’s daughter. J. Edgar Thomson, Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad, suggested the town be renamed “Atlantica–Pacifica,” which was shortened to “Atlanta”. The residents approved, and the town was incorporated as Atlanta on December 29, 1847.
By 1860, Atlanta’s population had grown to 9,554. During the Civil War, the nexus of multiple railroads in Atlanta made the city a hub for the distribution of military supplies. In 1864, following the capture of Chattanooga, the Union Army moved southward and began its invasion of north Georgia. The region surrounding Atlanta was the location of several major army battles, culminating with the Battle of Atlanta and a four-month-long siege of the city by the Union Army under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman. On September 1, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood made the decision to retreat from Atlanta, ordering all public buildings and possible assets to the Union Army destroyed. On the next day, Mayor James Calhoun surrendered Atlanta to the Union Army, and on September 7, General Sherman ordered the city’s civilian population to evacuate. On November 11, 1864, in preparation of the Union Army’s march to Savannah, Sherman ordered Atlanta to be burned to the ground, sparing only the city’s churches and hospitals.
After the Civil War ended in 1865, Atlanta was gradually rebuilt. Due to the city’s superior rail transportation network, the state capital was moved to Atlanta from Milledgeville in 1868. In the 1880 Census, Atlanta surpassed Savannah as Georgia’s largest city. Beginning in the 1880s, Henry W. Grady, the editor of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper, promoted Atlanta to potential investors as a city of the “New South” that would be based upon a modern economy and less reliant on agriculture. By 1885, the founding of the Georgia School of Technology (now Georgia Tech) and the city’s black colleges had established the city as a center for higher education. In 1895, Atlanta hosted the Cotton States and International Exposition, which attracted nearly 800,000 attendees and successfully promoted the New South’s development to the world.
During the first decades of the 20th century, Atlanta experienced a period of unprecedented growth. In three decades’ time, Atlanta’s population tripled as the city limits expanded to include nearby streetcar suburbs; the city’s skyline emerged with the construction of the Equitable, Flatiron, Empire, and Candler buildings; and Sweet Auburn emerged as a center of black commerce. However, the period was also marked by strife and tragedy. Increased racial tensions led to the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906, which left at least 27 people dead and over 70 injured. In 1915, Leo Frank, a Jewish-American factory superintendent, convicted of murder, was hanged by a lynch mob, drawing attention to antisemitism in the United States. On May 21, 1917, the Great Atlanta Fire destroyed 1,938 buildings in what is now the Old Fourth Ward, resulting in one fatality and the displacement of 10,000 people.
On December 15, 1939, Atlanta hosted the film premiere of Gone with the Wind, the epic film based on the best-selling novel by Atlanta’s Margaret Mitchell. The film’s legendary producer, David O. Selznick, as well as the film’s stars Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and Olivia de Havilland attended the gala event at Loew’s Grand Theatre, but Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel, an African American, was barred from the event due to the color of her skin.
Atlanta played a vital role in the Allied effort during World War II due the city’s war-related manufacturing companies, railroad network, and military bases, leading to rapid growth in the city’s population and economy. In the 1950s, the city’s newly constructed freeway system allowed middle class Atlantans the ability to relocate to the suburbs. As a result, the city began to make up an ever smaller proportion of the metropolitan area’s population.
During the 1960s, Atlanta was a major organizing center of the Civil Rights Movement, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and students from Atlanta’s historically black colleges and universities playing major roles in the movement’s leadership. While minimal compared to other cities, Atlanta was not completely free of racial strife. In 1961, the city attempted to thwart blockbusting by erecting road barriers in Cascade Heights, countering the efforts of civic and business leaders to foster Atlanta as the “city too busy to hate”. Desegregation of the public sphere came in stages, with public transportation desegregated by 1959, the restaurant at Rich’s department store by 1961, movie theaters by 1963, and public schools by 1973.
In 1960, whites comprised 61.7% of the city’s population. By 1970, African Americans were a majority of the city’s population and exercised new-found political influence by electing Atlanta’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, in 1973. Under Mayor Jackson’s tenure, Atlanta’s airport was modernized, solidifying the city’s role as a transportation center. The opening of the Georgia World Congress Center in 1976 heralded Atlanta’s rise as a convention city. Construction of the city’s subway system began in 1975, with rail service commencing in 1979. However, despite these improvements, Atlanta lost over 100,000 residents between 1970 and 1990, over 20% of its population.
In 1990, Atlanta was selected as the site for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Following the announcement, the city government undertook several major construction projects to improve Atlanta’s parks, sporting venues, and transportation infrastructure. While the games themselves were marred by numerous organizational inefficiencies, as well as the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, they were a watershed event in Atlanta’s history, initiating a fundamental transformation of the city in the decade that followed.
During the 2000s, Atlanta underwent a profound transformation demographically, physically, and culturally. Suburbanization, rising prices, a booming economy, and new migrants decreased the city’s black percentage from a high of 67% in 1990 to 54% in 2010. From 2000 to 2010, Atlanta gained 22,763 white residents, 5,142 Asian residents, and 3,095 Hispanic residents, while the city’s black population decreased by 31,678. Much of the city’s demographic change during the decade was driven by young, college-educated professionals: from 2000 to 2009, the three-mile radius surrounding Downtown Atlanta gained 9,722 residents aged 25 to 34 holding at least a four-year degree, an increase of 61%. Between the mid-1990s and 2010, stimulated by funding from the HOPE VI program, Atlanta demolished nearly all of its public housing, a total of 17,000 units and about 10% of all housing units in the city. In 2005, the $2.8 billion BeltLine project was adopted, with the stated goals of converting a disused 22-mile freight railroad loop that surrounds the central city into an art-filled multi-use trail and increasing the city’s park space by 40%. Lastly, Atlanta’s cultural offerings expanded during the 2000s: the High Museum of Art doubled in size; the Alliance Theatre won a Tony Award; and numerous art galleries were established on the once-industrial Westside.
Atlanta encompasses 132.4 square miles (342.9 km2), of which 131.7 square miles (341.1 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) is water. The city is situated among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and at 1,050 feet (320 m) above mean sea level, Atlanta has the highest elevation of major cities east of the Mississippi River. Atlanta straddles the Eastern Continental Divide, such that rainwater that falls on the south and east side of the divide flows into the Atlantic Ocean, while rainwater on the north and west side of the divide flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Atlanta sits atop a ridge south of the Chattahoochee River, which is part of the ACF River Basin. Located at the far northwestern edge of the city, much of the river’s natural habitat is preserved, in part by the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Most of Atlanta was burned during the Civil War, depleting the city of a large stock of its historic architecture. Yet architecturally, the city had never been particularly “southern”—because Atlanta originated as a railroad town, rather than a patrician southern seaport like Savannah or Charleston, many of the city’s landmarks could have easily been erected in the Northeast or Midwest.
During the Cold War era, Atlanta embraced global modernist trends, especially regarding commercial and institutional architecture. Examples of modernist architecture include the Westin Peachtree Plaza (1976), Georgia-Pacific Tower (1982), the State of Georgia Building (1966), and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis (1985). In the latter half of the 1980s, Atlanta became one of the early adopters of postmodern designs that reintroduced classical elements to the cityscape. Many of Atlanta’s tallest skyscrapers were built in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with most displaying tapering spires or otherwise ornamented crowns, such as One Atlantic Center (1987), 191 Peachtree Tower (1991), and the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta (1992). Also completed during the era is Atlanta’s tallest skyscraper, the Bank of America Plaza (1992), which, at 1,023 feet (312 m), is the 61st-tallest building in the world and the 9th-tallest building in the United States. The Bank of America Plaza is currently the tallest building outside of New York City and Chicago, and was the last building built in the United States to be in the top 10 tallest buildings in the world until One World Trade Center was completed externally on May 2013. The city’s embrace of modern architecture, however, translated into an ambivalent approach toward historic preservation, leading to the destruction of notable architectural landmarks, including the Equitable Building (1892-1971), Terminal Station (1905-1972), and the Carnegie Library (1902-1977). The Fox Theatre (1929)—Atlanta’s cultural icon—would have met the same fate had it not been for a grassroots effort to save it in the mid-1970s.
Atlanta is divided into 242 officially defined neighborhoods. The city contains three major high-rise districts, which form a north-south axis along Peachtree: Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead. Surrounding these high-density districts are leafy, low-density neighborhoods, most of which are dominated by single-family homes.
Downtown Atlanta contains the most office space in the metro area, much of it occupied by government entities. Downtown is also home to the city’s sporting venues and many of its tourist attractions. Midtown Atlanta is the city’s second-largest business district, containing the offices of many of the region’s law firms. Midtown is also known for its art institutions, cultural attractions, institutions of higher education, and dense form. Buckhead, the city’s uptown district, is eight miles (13 km) north of Downtown and the city’s third-largest business district. The district is marked by an urbanized core along Peachtree Road, surrounded by suburban single-family neighborhoods situated among dense forests and rolling hills.
Surrounding Atlanta’s three high-rise districts are the city’s low- and medium-density neighborhoods, where the craftsman bungalow single-family home is dominant. The eastside is marked by historic streetcar suburbs built from the 1890s-1930s as havens for the upper middle class. These neighborhoods, many of which contain their own villages encircled by shaded, architecturally distinct residential streets, include the Victorian Inman Park, Bohemian East Atlanta, and eclectic Old Fourth Ward. On the westside, former warehouses and factories have been converted into housing, retail space, and art galleries, transforming the once-industrial West Midtown into a model neighborhood for smart growth, historic rehabilitation, and infill construction. In southwest Atlanta, neighborhoods closer to downtown originated as streetcar suburbs, including the historic West End, while those farther from downtown retain a postwar suburban layout, including Collier Heights and Cascade Heights, home to much of the city’s affluent African American population. Northwest Atlanta, marked by Atlanta’s poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods, has been the target of community outreach programs and economic development initiatives.
Gentrification of the city’s neighborhoods is one of the more controversial and transformative forces shaping contemporary Atlanta. The gentrification of Atlanta has its origins in the 1970s, after many of Atlanta’s neighborhoods had undergone the urban decay that affected other major American cities in the mid-20th century. When neighborhood opposition successfully prevented two freeways from being built through city’s the east side in 1975, the area became the starting point for Atlanta’s gentrification. After Atlanta was awarded the Olympic games in 1990, gentrification expanded into other parts of the city, stimulated by infrastructure improvements undertaken in preparation for the games. Gentrification was also aided by the Atlanta Housing Authority‘s eradication of the city’s public housing. The gentrification of the city’s neighborhoods has been the topic of social commentary, including The Atlanta Way, a documentary detailing the negative effects gentrification has had on the city and its inhabitants.
Under the Köppen classification, Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) with four distinct seasons and generous precipitation year-round, typical for the inland South. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures somewhat moderated by the city’s elevation. Winters are cool but variable, with an average of 48 freezing days per year and temperatures dropping to 0 °F (−17.8 °C) on rare occasions. Warm air from the Gulf of Mexico can bring spring-like highs while strong Arctic air masses can push lows into the teens (≤ −7 °C). July averages 80.2 °F (26.8 °C), with high temperatures reaching 90 °F (32 °C) on an average 44 days per year, though 100 °F (38 °C) readings are not seen most years. January averages 43.5 °F (6.4 °C), with temperatures in the suburbs slightly cooler due largely to the urban heat island effect. Lows at or below freezing can be expected 40 nights annually, but extended stretches of high temperatures below 40 °F (4 °C) are very rare, with a recent hit on January 2014. Extremes range from −9 °F (−23 °C) on February 13, 1899 to 106 °F (41 °C) on June 30, 2012.
Typical of the southeastern U.S., Atlanta receives abundant rainfall that is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year, though spring and early fall are markedly drier. The average annual rainfall is 50.2 inches (1,280 mm), while snowfall is typically light at around 2.1 inches (5.3 cm) per year. The heaviest single snowfall occurred on January 23, 1940, with around 10 inches (25 cm) of snow. However, ice storms usually cause more problems than snowfall does, the most severe occurring on January 7, 1973. Tornadoes are rare in the city itself, but the March 15, 2008 EF2 tornado damaged prominent structures in downtown Atlanta.
|Climate data for Atlanta (Hartsfield–Jackson Int’l), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1878–present[a]|
|Record high °F (°C)||79
|Average high °F (°C)||52.3
|Average low °F (°C)||34.3
|Record low °F (°C)||−8
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.20
|Snowfall inches (cm)||1.3
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.9||9.8||9.7||8.6||9.3||9.9||11.7||9.7||7.5||6.9||8.8||10.5||113.3|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||0.8||0.6||0.3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.4||2.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||164.0||171.7||220.5||261.2||288.6||284.8||273.8||258.6||227.5||238.5||185.1||164.0||2,738.3|
|Percent possible sunshine||52||56||59||67||67||66||63||62||61||68||59||53||62|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)|
|Black or African American||54.0%||67.1%||51.3%||34.6%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||5.2%||1.9%||1.5%||n/a|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Atlanta had a population of 420,003. The population density was 3,154 per square mile (1232/km2). The racial makeup and population of Atlanta was 54.0% Black or African American, 38.4% White, 3.1% Asian and 0.2% Native American. Those from some other race made up 2.2% of the city’s population, while those from two or more races made up 2.0%. Hispanics of any race made up 5.2% of the city’s population. The median income for a household in the city was $45,171. The per capita income for the city was $ 35,453. 22.6% percent of the population was living below the poverty line. However, compared to the rest of the country, Atlanta’s cost of living is 6.00% lower than the U.S. average. Atlanta has one of the highest LGBT populations per capita, ranking third among major American cities, behind San Francisco and slightly behind Seattle, with 12.8% of the city’s total population recognizing themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
In the 2010 Census, Atlanta was recorded as the nation’s fourth largest majority black city, and the city has long been known as a center of African American political power, education, and culture, often called a black mecca. However, African American Atlantans have rapidly suburbanized in recent decades, and from 2000 to 2010, the city’s black population decreased by 31,678 people, shrinking from 61.4% of the city’s population in 2000 to 54.0% in 2010.
Atlanta has recently undergone a drastic demographic increase in its white population. Between 2000 and 2010, the proportion of whites in the city’s population grew faster than that of any other U.S. city. In that decade, Atlanta’s white population grew from 31% to 38% of the city’s population, an absolute increase of 22,753 people, more than triple the increase that occurred between 1990 and 2000.
Out of the total population five years and older, 83.3% spoke only English at home, while 8.8% spoke Spanish, 3.9% another Indo-European language and 2.8% an Asian language. Atlanta’s dialect has traditionally been a variation of Southern American English. The Chattahoochee River long formed a border between the Coastal Southern and Southern Appalachian dialects. However, by 2003, Atlanta magazine concluded that Atlanta had become significantly “de-Southernized”, with a Southern accent considered a handicap in some circumstances. In general, Southern accents are less prevalent among residents of the city and inner suburbs and among younger people, while they are more common in the outer suburbs and among older people; this pattern coexists alongside Southern variations of African American Vernacular English.
Religion in Atlanta, while historically centered around Protestant Christianity, now involves many faiths as a result of the city and metro area’s increasingly international population. While Protestant Christianity still maintains a strong presence in the city, in recent decades Catholicism has gained a strong foothold due to migration patterns. Metro Atlanta also has a considerable number of ethnic Christian congregations, including Korean and Indian churches. Large non-Christian faiths are present in the form of Judaism and Hinduism. Overall, there are over 1,000 places of worship within Atlanta.
Encompassing $304 billion, the Atlanta metropolitan area is the eighth-largest economy in the country and 17th-largest in the world. Corporate operations comprise a large portion of the Atlanta’s economy, with the city serving as the regional, national, or global headquarters for many corporations. Atlanta contains the country’s third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies, and the city is the global headquarters of corporations such as The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Delta Air Lines, AT&T Mobility, UPS, and Newell-Rubbermaid. Over 75 percent of Fortune 1000 companies conduct business operations in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and the region hosts offices of about 1,250 multinational corporations. Many corporations are drawn to Atlanta on account of the city’s educated workforce; as of 2010, nearly 43% of adults in the city of Atlanta have college degrees, compared to 27% in the nation as a whole.
Atlanta began as a railroad town and logistics has remained a major component of the city’s economy to this day. Atlanta is an important rail junction and contains major classification yards for Norfolk Southern and CSX. Since its construction in the 1950s, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has served as a key engine of Atlanta’s economic growth. Delta Air Lines, the city’s largest employer and the metro area’s third largest, operates the world’s largest airline hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and has helped make Hartsfield-Jackson the world’s busiest airport, both in terms of passenger traffic and aircraft operations. Partly due to the airport, Atlanta has become a hub for diplomatic missions; as of 2012, the city contains 25 general consulates, the seventh-highest concentration of diplomatic missions in the United States.
Media is also an important aspect of Atlanta’s economy. The city is a major cable television programming center. Ted Turner established the headquarters of both the Cable News Network (CNN) and the Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) in Atlanta. Cox Enterprises, the country’s third-largest cable television service and the publisher of over a dozen major American newspapers, is headquartered in the city. The Weather Channel, owned by NBCUniversal, Bain Capital, and The Blackstone Group, is headquartered just outside of Atlanta in Cobb County.
Information technology, an economic sector that includes publishing, software development, entertainment and data processing has garnered a larger percentage of Atlanta’s economic output. Indeed, Atlanta has been nicknamed the Silicon peach due to its burgeoning technology sector. As of 2013, Atlanta contains the fourth-largest concentration of information technology jobs in the United States, numbering 85,000. Atlanta also ranks as the sixth-fastest growing city for information technology jobs, with an employment growth of 4.8% in 2012 and a three-year growth near 9%, or 16,000 jobs. Information technology companies are drawn to Atlanta’s lower costs and educated workforce.
Largely due to a state-wide tax incentive enacted in 2005, the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, which awards qualified productions a transferable income tax credit of 20% of all in-state costs for film and television investments of $500,000 or more, Atlanta has become a center for film and television production. Film and television production facilities in Atlanta include Turner Studios, Pinewood Studios#Pinewood Atlanta, Tyler Perry Studios, Williams Street Productions, and the EUE/Screen Gems soundstages. Film and television production injected $1 billion into Georgia’s economy in 2010, with Atlanta garnering most of the projects. Atlanta has gained recognition as a center of production of horror and zombie-related productions, with Atlanta magazine dubbing the city the “Zombie Capital of the World”.
Compared to its peer cities, Atlanta’s economy has been disproportionately affected by the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent recession. The city’s economic problems are displayed in its elevated unemployment rate, declining real income levels, and depressed housing market. From 2010-2011, Atlanta saw a 0.9% contraction in employment and a meager 0.4% rise in income. As of 2012, the unemployment rate in Atlanta was over 9%, higher than the national average of 8.2%. These dismal statistics have garnered Atlanta recognition as one of the world’s worst economic performers, with the city’s economy earning a ranking of 189 among 200 global cities, down from a ranking of 89 during the 1990s, when the city realized 1.6% income growth and 2.6% employment growth. However, even when the 2008-2009 period is excluded, the 2001-2007 period is still one of the worst on record for Atlanta: the city never recovered the jobs it lost during the Early 2000s recession, and per capita income declined nearly 5% from 2000 to 2006, the largest decline among major U.S. cities. Thus, Atlanta’s current economic crisis was only worsened, and not caused, by the Recession. Adding to the city’s employment and income woes is the spectacular collapse of its housing market. Atlanta home prices fell by 2.1% in January 2012, reaching levels not seen since 1996, a decline that measured among the worst in the country. Compared with a year earlier, the average home price in Atlanta fell 17.3% in February 2012, the largest annual drop in the history of the index for any city. Atlanta home values average $85,000 as of January 2012, second-worst among major metropolitan areas, coming in just behind Detroit. This unprecedented collapse in home prices has led some economists to deem Atlanta the worst housing market in the country. Nevertheless, in August 2013, Atlanta appeared on Forbes magazine’s list of the Best Places for Business and Careers.
Atlanta, while located in the South, has a culture that is no longer strictly Southern. This is due to a large population of migrants from other parts of the U.S., in addition to many recent immigrants to the U.S. who have made the city their home, establishing Atlanta as one of the most multi-cultural cities in the nation. Thus, although traditional Southern culture is part of Atlanta’s cultural fabric, it is mostly the backdrop to one of the nation’s leading international cities. This unique cultural combination reveals itself in the arts district of Midtown, the quirky neighborhoods on the city’s eastside, and the multi-ethnic enclaves found along Buford Highway.
Arts and theater
Atlanta is one of few United States cities with permanent, professional, resident companies in all major performing arts disciplines: opera (Atlanta Opera), ballet (Atlanta Ballet), music (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra), and theater (the Alliance Theatre). Atlanta also attracts many touring Broadway acts, concerts, shows, and exhibitions catering to a variety of interests. Atlanta’s performing arts district is concentrated in Midtown Atlanta at the Woodruff Arts Center, which is home to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Alliance Theatre. The city also frequently hosts touring Broadway acts, especially at The Fox Theatre, a historic landmark that is among the highest grossing theatres of its size.
As a national center for the arts, Atlanta is home to significant art museums and institutions. The renowned High Museum of Art is arguably the South’s leading art museum and among the most-visited art museums in the world. The Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), a design museum, is the only such museum in the Southeast. Contemporary art museums include the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. Institutions of higher education also contribute to Atlanta’s art scene, with the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Atlanta campus providing the city’s arts community with a steady stream of curators, and Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum containing the largest collection of ancient art in the Southeast.
Atlanta has played a major or contributing role in the development of various genres of American music at different points in the city’s history. Beginning as early as the 1920s, Atlanta emerged as a center for country music, which was brought to the city by migrants from Appalachia. During the countercultural 1960s, Atlanta hosted the Atlanta International Pop Festival, with the 1969 festival taking place more than a month before Woodstock and featuring many of the same bands. The city was also a center for Southern rock during its 1970s heyday: the Allman Brothers Band‘s hit instrumental “Hot ‘Lanta” is an ode to the city, while Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s famous live rendition of “Free Bird” was recorded at the Fox Theatre in 1976, with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant directing the band to “play it pretty for Atlanta”. During the 1980s, Atlanta had an active Punk rock scene that was centered around two of the city’s music venues, 688 Club and the Metroplex, and Atlanta famously played host to the Sex Pistols first U.S. show, which was performed at the Great Southeastern Music Hall. The 1990s saw the birth of Atlanta hip hop, a sub-genre that gained relevance following the success of home-grown duo OutKast; however, it was not until the 2000s that Atlanta moved “from the margins to becoming hip-hop’s center of gravity, part of a larger shift in hip-hop innovation to the South”. Also in the 2000s, Atlanta was recognized by the Brooklyn-based Vice magazine for its impressive yet under-appreciated Indie rock scene, which revolves around the various live music venues found on the city’s alternative eastside.
As of 2010, Atlanta is the seventh-most visited city in the United States, with over 35 million visitors per year. Although the most popular attraction among visitors to Atlanta is the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest indoor aquarium, Atlanta’s tourism industry mostly driven by the city’s history museums and outdoor attractions. Atlanta contains a notable amount of historical museums and sites, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, which includes the preserved childhood home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as his final resting place; the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum, which houses a massive painting and diorama in-the-round, with a rotating central audience platform, depicting the Battle of Atlanta in the Civil War; the World of Coca-Cola, featuring the history of the world famous soft drink brand and its well-known advertising; the Carter Center and Presidential Library, housing U.S. President Jimmy Carter‘s papers and other material relating to the Carter administration and the Carter family’s life; and the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, site of the writing of the best-selling novel Gone With the Wind.
Atlanta also contains various outdoor attractions. The Atlanta Botanical Garden, adjacent to Piedmont Park, is home to the 600-foot-long (180 m) Kendeda Canopy Walk, a skywalk that allows visitors to tour one of the city’s last remaining urban forests from 40-foot-high (12 m). The Canopy Walk is considered the only canopy-level pathway of its kind in the United States. Zoo Atlanta, located in Grant Park, accommodates over 1,300 animals representing more than 220 species. Home to the nation’s largest collections of gorillas and orangutans, the Zoo is also one of only four zoos in the U.S. to house giant pandas. Festivals showcasing arts and crafts, film, and music, including the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, and Music Midtown, respectively, are also popular with tourists.
Tourists are also drawn to the city’s culinary scene, which comprises a mix of urban establishments garnering national attention, ethnic restaurants serving cuisine from every corner of the world, and traditional eateries specializing in Southern dining. Since the turn of the 21st century, Atlanta has emerged as a sophisticated restaurant town. Many restaurants opened in the city’s gentrifying neighborhoods have received praise at the national level, including Bocado, Bacchanalia, and Miller Union in West Midtown, Empire State South in Midtown, and Two Urban Licks and Rathbun’s on the east side. In 2011, the New York Times characterized Empire State South and Miller Union as reflecting “a new kind of sophisticated Southern sensibility centered on the farm but experienced in the city.” Visitors seeking to sample international Atlanta are directed to Buford Highway, the city’s international corridor. There, the million-plus immigrants that make Atlanta home have established various authentic ethnic restaurants representing virtually every nationality on the globe. For traditional Southern fare, one of the city’s most famous establishments is The Varsity, a long-lived fast food chain and the world’s largest drive-in restaurant. Mary Mac’s Tea Room and Paschal’s are more formal destinations for Southern food.
Atlanta is home to professional franchises for three major team sports: the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball, the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association, and the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. The Braves, who moved to Atlanta in 1966, were established as the Boston Red Stockings in 1871 and are the oldest continually operating professional sports franchise in the United States. The Braves won the World Series in 1995, and had an unprecedented run of 14 straight divisional championships from 1991 to 2005.
The Atlanta Falcons have played in Atlanta since 1966. The Falcons have won the division title five times (1980, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2012) and the conference championship once, when they finished as the runner-up to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999. The Atlanta Hawks began in 1946 as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, playing in Moline, Illinois. The team moved to Atlanta in 1968, and they currently play their games in Philips Arena. The Atlanta Dream is the city’s Women’s National Basketball Association franchise.
Atlanta has also had its own professional ice hockey and soccer franchises. The National Hockey League (NHL) has had two Atlanta franchises: the Atlanta Flames began play in 1972 before moving to Calgary in 1980, while the Atlanta Thrashers began play in 1999 before moving to Winnipeg in 2011. The Atlanta Chiefs was the city’s professional soccer team from 1967 to 1972, and the team won a national championship in 1968.
Atlanta has been the host city for various international, professional and collegiate sporting events. Most famously, Atlanta hosted the Centennial 1996 Summer Olympics. Atlanta has also hosted Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994 and Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. In professional golf, The Tour Championship, the final PGA Tour event of the season, is played annually at East Lake Golf Club. In 2001 and 2011, Atlanta hosted the PGA Championship, one of the four major championships in men’s professional golf, at the Atlanta Athletic Club. In professional ice hockey, the city hosted the 56th NHL All-Star Game in 2008, three years before the Thrashers moved. In 2011, Atlanta hosted professional wrestling‘s annual WrestleMania. The city has hosted the NCAA Final Four Men’s Basketball Championship four times, most recently in 2013. In college football, Atlanta hosts the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the SEC Championship Game, and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Parks and recreation
Atlanta’s 343 parks, nature preserves, and gardens cover 3,622 acres (14.66 km2), which amounts to only 5.6% of the city’s total acreage, compared to the national average of just over 10%. However, 64% of Atlantans live within a 10-minute walk of a park, a percentage equal to the national average. Furthermore, in its 2013 ParkScore ranking, the The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, reported that among the park systems of the 50 most populous U.S. cities, Atlanta’s park system received a ranking of 31. Piedmont Park, located in Midtown is Atlanta’s most iconic green space. The park, which has undergone a major renovation and expansion in recent years, attracts visitors from across the region and hosts cultural events throughout the year. Other notable city parks include Centennial Olympic Park, a legacy of the 1996 Summer Olympics that forms the centerpiece of the city’s tourist district; Woodruff Park, which anchors the campus of Georgia State University; Grant Park, home to both Zoo Atlanta and the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum; and Chastain Park, which houses an amphitheater used for live music concerts. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, located in the northwestern corner of the city, preserves a 48 mi (77 km) stretch of the river for public recreation opportunities. The Atlanta Botanical Garden, adjacent to Piedmont Park, contains formal gardens, including a Japanese garden and a rose garden, woodland areas, and a conservatory that includes indoor exhibits of plants from tropical rainforests and deserts. The BeltLine, a former rail corridor that forms a 22 mi (35 km) loop around Atlanta’s core, will eventually be transformed into a series of parks, connected by a multi-use trail, increasing Atlanta’s park space by 40%.
Atlanta offers resources and opportunities for amateur and participatory sports and recreation. Jogging is a particularly popular local sport. The Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest 10 km race, is held annually on Independence Day. The Georgia Marathon, which begins and ends at Centennial Olympic Park, routes through the city’s historic east side neighborhoods. Golf and tennis are also popular in Atlanta, and the city contains six public golf courses and 182 tennis courts. Facilities located along the Chattahoochee River cater to watersports enthusiasts, providing the opportunity for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, boating, or tubing. The city’s only skate park, a 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) facility that offers bowls, curbs, and smooth-rolling concrete mounds, is located at Historic Fourth Ward Park.
Government and politics
Atlanta is governed by a mayor and the Atlanta City Council. The city council consists of 15 representatives—one from each of the city’s 12 districts and three at-large positions. The mayor may veto a bill passed by the council, but the council can override the veto with a two-thirds majority. The mayor of Atlanta is Kasim Reed, a Democrat elected on a nonpartisan ballot whose first term in office will expire at the end of 2013. Every mayor elected since 1973 has been black. In 2001, Shirley Franklin became the first woman to be elected Mayor of Atlanta, and the first African-American woman to serve as mayor of a major southern city. Atlanta city politics suffered from a notorious reputation for corruption during the 1990s administration of Bill Campbell, who was convicted by a federal jury in 2006 on three counts of tax evasion in connection with gambling income he received while Mayor during trips he took with city contractors.
As the state capital, Atlanta is the site of most of Georgia’s state government. The Georgia State Capitol building, located downtown, houses the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state, as well as the General Assembly. The Governor’s Mansion is located in a residential section of Buckhead. Atlanta serves as the regional hub for many arms of the federal bureaucracy, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Atlanta also plays an important role in federal judiciary system, containing the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
Historically, Atlanta has been a stronghold for the Democratic Party. Although municipal elections are officially nonpartisan, nearly all of the city’s elected officials are registered Democrats. The city is split between 14 state house districts and four state senate districts, all held by Democrats. At the federal level, Atlanta is split between two congressional districts. The northern three-fourths of the city is located in the 5th district, represented by Democrat John Lewis. The southern fourth is in the 13th district, represented by Democrat David Scott.
The city is served by the Atlanta Police Department, which numbers 2,000 officers and oversaw a 40% decrease in the city’s crime rate between 2001 and 2009. Specifically, homicide decreased by 57%, rape by 72%, and violent crime overall by 55%. Crime is down across the country, but Atlanta’s improvement has occurred at more than twice the national rate. Nevertheless, Forbes ranked Atlanta as the sixth most dangerous city in the United States in 2012.
Due to the more than 30 colleges and universities located in the city, Atlanta is considered a center for higher education.  Among the most prominent public universities in Atlanta is the Georgia Institute of Technology, a research university located in Midtown that has been consistently ranked among the nation’s top ten public universities for its degree programs in engineering, computing, management, the sciences, architecture, and liberal arts. Georgia State University, a public research university located in Downtown Atlanta, is the second largest of the 35 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia and a major contributor to the revitalization of the city’s central business district. Atlanta is also home to nationally renowned private colleges and universities, most notably Emory University, a leading liberal arts and research institution that ranks among the top 20 schools in the United States and operates Emory Healthcare, the largest health care system in Georgia.  Also located in the city is the Atlanta University Center, the largest contiguous consortium of historically black colleges, comprising Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Interdenominational Theological Center. Atlanta also contains a campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design, a private art and design university that has proven to be a major factor in the recent growth of Atlanta’s visual art community.
Atlanta Public Schools enrolls 55,000 students in 106 schools, some of which are operated as charter schools. The district has been plagued by a widely publicized cheating scandal exposed in 2009. Atlanta is also served by various private schools, as well as parochial Roman Catholic schools operated by the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
The primary network-affiliated television stations in Atlanta are WXIA-TV (NBC), WGCL-TV (CBS), WSB-TV (ABC), and WAGA-TV (Fox). The Atlanta metropolitan area is served by two public television stations and one public radio station. WGTV is the flagship station of the statewide Georgia Public Television network and is a PBS member station, while WPBA is owned by Atlanta Public Schools. Georgia Public Radio is listener-funded and comprises one NPR member station, WABE, a classical music station operated by Atlanta Public Schools.
Atlanta is served by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, its only major daily newspaper with wide distribution. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the result of a 1950 merger between The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution, with staff consolidation occurring in 1982 and separate publication of the morning Constitution and afternoon Journal ceasing in 2001. Alternative weekly newspapers include Creative Loafing, which has a weekly print circulation of 80,000. Atlanta magazine is an award-winning, monthly general-interest magazine based in and covering Atlanta.
Atlanta’s transportation infrastructure comprises a complex network that includes a heavy rail subway system, multiple interstate highways, the world’s busiest airport, and over 45 miles (72 kilometres) of bike paths.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) provides public transportation in the form of buses and heavy rail. Notwithstanding heavy automotive usage in Atlanta, the city’s subway system is the eighth busiest in the country. MARTA rail lines connect many key destinations, such as the airport, Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, and Perimeter Center. However, significant destinations, such as Emory University, Cumberland and Turner Field, remain unserved. As a result, a 2012 Brookings Institution study placed Atlanta 87th of 100 metro areas for transit accessibility. Emory University operates its Cliff shuttle buses with 200,000 boardings per month, while private minibuses ply Buford Highway. Amtrak, the national rail passenger system, provides service to Atlanta via the Crescent train (New York–New Orleans), which stops at Peachtree Station.
With a comprehensive network of freeways that radiate out from the city, automobiles are the dominant mode of transportation in the region. Three major interstate highways converge in Atlanta: I-20 (east-west), I-75 (northwest-southeast), and I-85 (northeast-southwest). The latter two combine in the middle of the city to form the Downtown Connector (I-75/85), which carries more than 340,000 vehicles per day and is one of the ten most congested segments of interstate highway in the United States. Atlanta is mostly encircled by Interstate 285, a beltway locally known as “the Perimeter” that has come to mark the boundary between “Inside the Perimeter” (ITP), the city and close-in suburbs, and “Outside the Perimeter” (OTP), the outer suburbs and exurbs. The heavy reliance on automobiles for transportation in Atlanta has resulted in traffic, commute, and air pollution rates that rank among the worst in the country.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport as measured by passenger traffic and aircraft traffic, offers air service to over 150 U.S. destinations and more than 80 international destinations in 52 countries, with over 2,700 arrivals and departures daily. Delta Air Lines maintains its largest hubs at the airport. Situated 10 miles (16 km) south of downtown, the airport covers most of the land inside a wedge formed by Interstate 75, Interstate 85, and Interstate 285.
Cycling is a growing mode of transportation in Atlanta, more than doubling since 2009, when it comprised 1.1% of all commutes (up from 0.3% in 2000). Although Atlanta’s lack of bike lanes and hilly topography may deter many residents from cycling, the city’s transportation plan calls for the construction of 226 miles (364 kilometres) of bike lanes by 2020, with the BeltLine helping to achieve this goal.
Atlanta has a reputation as a “city in a forest” due to an abundance of trees that is rare among major cities. The city’s main street is named after a tree, and beyond the Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead business districts, the skyline gives way to a dense canopy of woods that spreads into the suburbs. The city is home to the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, an annual arts and crafts festival held one weekend during early April, when the native dogwoods are in bloom. However, the nickname is also factually accurate, as the city’s tree coverage percentage is at 36%, the highest out of all major American cities, and above the national average of 27%. Atlanta’s tree coverage does not go unnoticed—it was the main reason cited by National Geographic in naming Atlanta a “Place of a Lifetime”.
The city’s lush tree canopy, which filters out pollutants and cools sidewalks and buildings, has increasingly been under assault from man and nature due to heavy rains, drought, aged forests, new pests, and urban construction. A 2001 study found that Atlanta’s heavy tree cover declined from 48% in 1974 to 38% in 1996. However, the problem is being addressed by community organizations and city government: Trees Atlanta, a non-profit organization founded in 1985, has planted and distributed over 75,000 shade trees in the city, while Atlanta’s government has awarded $130,000 in grants to neighborhood groups to plant trees.
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- Stone, Clarence. Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta, 1946–1988. University Press of Kansas. 1989.
- Elise Reid Boylston. Atlanta: Its Lore, Legends and Laughter. Doraville: privately printed, 1968. Lots of neat anecdotes about the history of the city.
- Frederick Allen. Atlanta Rising. Atlanta: Longstreet Press, 1996. A detailed history of Atlanta from 1946 to 1996, with much about City Councilman, later Mayor, William B. Hartsfield’s work in making Atlanta a major air transport hub, and about the American Civil Rights Movement as it affected (and was affected by) Atlanta.
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- Official Website
- Atlanta Department of Watershed Management
- Atlanta Police Department
- Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Entry in the New Georgia Encyclopedia
- Atlanta Historic Newspapers Archive Digital Library of Georgia
- Atlanta Time Machine
- Atlanta, Georgia, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
- Atlanta City Online Travel Guide
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Atlanta, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
|City of Las Vegas|
Downtown Las Vegas skyline looking south, with the Las Vegas Valley in the background.
|Nickname(s): “Vegas”, The Gambling Capital of the World, “Sin City”, “The Entertainment Capital of the World”, “Capital of Second Chances”, “The Marriage Capital of the World”|
Location of the city of Las Vegas within Clark County, Nevada
Location in the contiguous United States
|Country||United States of America|
|Founded||May 15, 1905|
|Incorporated||March 16, 1911|
|• Mayor||Carolyn G. Goodman (I)|
|• City Manager||Betsy Fretwell|
|• City||352 km2 (135.8 sq mi)|
|• Land||352 km2 (135.8 sq mi)|
|• Water||0.1 km2 (.05 sq mi)|
|Elevation||610 m (2,001 ft)|
|• Density||1,659.5/km2 (4,298.1/sq mi)|
|(30th most in the U.S.)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC−8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC−7)|
|GNIS feature ID||0847388|
Las Vegas, / / (locally, also pronounced as / /) officially the City of Las Vegas and often known as simply Vegas, is the most populous city in the state of Nevada and the county seat of Clark County. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining and nightlife and is the leading financial and cultural center for Southern Nevada. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, Las Vegas is the 31st-most populous city in the United States, with a population at the 2010 census of 583,756. The 2010 population of the Las Vegas metropolitan area was 1,951,269. The city is one of the top three leading destinations in the United States for conventions, business and meetings. Today, Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
Established in 1905, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in that century (a distinction held by Chicago in the 19th century). The city’s tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films and television programs.
Las Vegas is commonly used to describe not just the city, but areas beyond the city limits – especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip – and the Las Vegas Valley. The 4.2 mi (6.8 km) stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Strip is in the unincorporated communities of Paradise, Winchester, and Enterprise (Clark County).
- 1 History
- 2 Geography and climate
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Culture
- 6 Sports
- 7 Parks and recreation
- 8 Government
- 9 Education
- 10 Transportation
- 11 Notable people
- 12 Sister cities
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
- 16 Further reading
Perhaps the earliest visitors to the Las Vegas area were nomadic Paleo-Indians, who traveled here 10,000 years ago, leaving behind petroglyphs. Anasazi and Pauite tribes followed at least 2,000 years ago.
Fast forward to 1829 when a young scout named Rafael Rivera is credited as the first European to encounter this valley. The area was named Las Vegas, which is Spanish for the meadows, as it featured abundant wild grasses, as well as desert spring waters for westward travelers. The year 1844 marked the arrival of John C. Fremont, whose writings helped lure pioneers to the area. Downtown Las Vegas’ Fremont Street is named after him.
Eleven years later members of the Mormon Church choose Las Vegas as the site to build a fort halfway between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, where they would travel to gather supplies. The fort was abandoned several years afterward. The remainder of this Mormon Fort can still be seen at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington Avenue.
Las Vegas was founded as a city in 1905, when 110 acres of land adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks were auctioned in what would become the downtown area. In 1911, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city.
The year 1931 was a pivotal one for Las Vegas. At that time, Nevada legalized casino gambling and reduced residency requirements for divorce to six weeks. This year also witnessed the beginning of construction on nearby Hoover Dam. The influx of construction workers and their families helped Las Vegas avoid economic calamity during the Great Depression. This engineering marvel was completed in 1935.
In 1941, the Las Vegas Army Air Corps Gunnery School was established. Currently known as Nellis Air Force Base, it is home to the aerobatic team called the Thunderbirds.
Following World War II, lavishly decorated hotels, gambling casinos and big-name entertainment became synonymous with Las Vegas.
The 1950s saw the opening of the Moulin Rouge, the first racially integrated casino-hotel in Las Vegas.
It was 1951 when the first atomic bomb was detonated at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. City residents and visitors were able to witness the mushroom clouds until 1963 when the limited Test Ban Treaty required that nuclear tests be moved underground.
The iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign was created in 1959 by resident Betty Willis, who never had it copyrighted.
During the 1960s, corporations and business powerhouses such as Howard Hughes were building and buying hotel-casino properties. Gambling was referred to as “gaming,” which transitioned into legitimate business.
In 1989, entrepreneur Steve Wynn changed the face of the Las Vegas gaming industry by opening up The Mirage, the Las Vegas Strip’s first mega-casino resort.
The year 1995 marked the opening of the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas’ downtown area. This canopied, five-block area features 12.5 million LED lights and 550,000 watts of sound from dusk until midnight during shows held on the top of each hour.
Due to years of revitalization efforts, 2012 was dubbed “The Year of Downtown.” Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of projects made their debut at this time. They included The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, a new City Hall complex and renovations for a new Zappos.com corporate headquarters in the old City Hall building.
Geography and climate
Las Vegas is situated within Clark County in a basin on the floor of the Mojave Desert and is surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides. Much of the landscape is rocky and arid with desert vegetation and wildlife. It can be subjected to torrential flash floods, although much has been done to mitigate the effects of flash floods through improved drainage systems.
The peaks surrounding Las Vegas reach elevations of over 10,000 feet, and act as barriers to the strong flow of moisture from the surrounding area. The elevation is around 2,030 ft (620 m) above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 135.86 sq mi (351.9 km2), of which 135.81 sq mi (351.7 km2) is land and 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2) (0.03%) is water.
Within the city there are many lawns, trees and other greenery. Due to water resource issues, there has been a movement to encourage xeriscapes. Another part of conservation efforts is scheduled watering days for residential landscaping. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant in 2008 funded a program that analyzed and forecast growth and environmental impacts through the year 2019.
Las Vegas’ climate is a subtropical, hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification: BWh), typical of the Mojave Desert in which it lies. The city enjoys abundant sunshine year-round; it has an average of about 310 sunny days per year. It is virtually free of tornadoes and ice storms.
The summer months of June through September are very hot and mostly dry, with a July daily average temperature of 92.5 °F (33.6 °C), while nighttime temperatures often remain above 80 °F (27 °C). There are an average of 134 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, and 74 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs, with most of the days in July and August exceeding the latter benchmark, and only occasionally failing to reach the former. Humidity is very low, often under 10%.
Las Vegas’ winters are short and the season is generally mild. December, the coolest month, averages 47.7 °F (8.7 °C). The mountains surrounding Las Vegas accumulate snow during the winter, but snow is rare in the Las Vegas Valley itself. Most recently, on Dec. 16, 2008, Las Vegas received 3.6 inches (9.1 cm). Temperatures reach the freezing mark on 16 nights of the year but rarely sink to 20 °F (−7 °C).
Annual precipitation in Las Vegas is about 4.2 in (110 mm), which on average occurs on 26–27 days per year. Most of the precipitation falls in the winter, but even the wettest month (February) has on average only 4 days of precipitation.
|Climate data for McCarran International Airport (Paradise, Nevada), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1937–present|
|Record high °F (°C)||77
|Average high °F (°C)||58.0
|Average low °F (°C)||39.4
|Record low °F (°C)||8
|Precipitation inches (mm)||0.54
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||3.1||4.0||2.9||1.6||1.2||0.6||2.5||2.6||1.6||1.7||1.7||3.0||26.5|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||245.2||246.7||314.6||346.1||388.1||401.7||390.9||368.5||337.1||304.4||246.0||236.0||3,825.3|
|Percent possible sunshine||79||81||85||88||89||92||88||88||91||87||80||78||86|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)|
- Henderson, Nevada, incorporated
- North Las Vegas, Nevada, incorporated
- Paradise, Nevada, unincorporated
- Enterprise, unincorporated
- Sunrise Manor, Nevada, unincorporated
- Spring Valley, Nevada, unincorporated
- Boulder City, Nevada, incorporated
- White: 62.1% (Non-Hispanic Whites: 47.9%)
- Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 31.5% (24.0% Mexican, 1.4% Salvadoran, 0.9% Puerto Rican, 0.9% Cuban, 0.6% Guatemalan, 0.2% Peruvian, 0.2% Colombian, 0.2% Honduran, 0.2% Nicaraguan)
- Black or African American: 11.1%
- Asian: 6.1% (3.3% Filipino, 0.7% Chinese, 0.5% Korean, 0.4% Japanese, 0.4% Indian, 0.2% Vietnamese, 0.2% Thai)
- Two or more races: 4.9%
- Native American: 0.7%
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.6%
The city’s most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic Whites, have proportionally declined from 72.1% of the population in 1990 to 47.9% in 2010, even as total numbers of all ethnicities have increased with the population.
As of the census of 2010, there were 583,756 people, 211,689 households, and 117,538 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,222.5 /sq mi (1,630.3 /km2). There are 190,724 housing units at an average density of 1,683.3 /sq mi (649.9 /km2).
As of 2006, there were 176,750 households, out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 103.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $53,000 and the median income for a family was $58,465. Males had a median income of $35,511 versus $27,554 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,060. About 6.6% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.4% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.
According to a 2004 study, Las Vegas has one of the highest divorce rates. The city’s high divorce rate is not wholly due to Las Vegans themselves getting divorced. Since divorce is easier in Nevada than most other states, many people come from across the country for the easier process. Similarly, Nevada marriages are notoriously easy to get. Las Vegas has one of the highest marriage rates of U.S. cities, with many licenses issued to people from outside the area (see Las Vegas weddings).
The primary drivers of the Las Vegas economy are tourism, gaming and conventions, which in turn feed the retail and restaurant industries.
The major attractions in Las Vegas are the casinos and the hotels, although in recent years other new attractions have begun to emerge.
Most casinos in the downtown area are located on the Fremont Street Experience, The Stratosphere being one of the exceptions. Fremont East, adjacent to the Fremont Street Experience, was granted variances to allow bars to be closer together, similar to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, the goal being to attract a different demographic than the Strip attracts.
The Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, located downtown along the Fremont Street Experience, is the oldest continuously operating hotel and casino in Las Vegas; it opened in 1906 as the Hotel Nevada.
The year 1931 marked the opening of the Northern Club (now the La Bayou). The most notable of the early casinos may have been Binion’s Horseshoe (now Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel) while it was run by Benny Binion.
Boyd Gaming has a major presence downtown operating the California Hotel & Casino, Fremont Hotel & Casino and the Main Street Casino. Other casinos operations include the Four Queens Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Club and Mermaid’s Casino, which are also located downtown along the Fremont Street Experience.
Downtown casinos that have undergone major renovations and revitalization in recent years include the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, The D Las Vegas Hotel Casino (formerly Fitzgerald’s), Downtown Grand (formerly Lady Luck), El Cortez Hotel & Casino and The Plaza Hotel & Casino.
Las Vegas Strip
The center of the gambling and entertainment industry, however, is located on the Las Vegas Strip, outside the city limits in the surrounding unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester in Clark County. The largest and most notable casinos and buildings are located there.
When The Mirage opened in 1989, it started a trend of major resort development on the Las Vegas Strip outside of the city. This resulted in a drop in tourism in the downtown area, but many recent projects have increased the number of visitors to downtown.
An effort has been made by city officials to diversify the economy by attracting health-related, high-tech and other commercial interests. No state tax for individuals or corporations, as well as a lack of other forms of business-related taxes, have aided the success of these efforts.
With the Strip expansion in the 1990s, downtown Las Vegas – which has maintained an old Las Vegas feel – began to suffer. However, in recent years the city has made strides in turning around the fortunes of this urban area.
The Fremont Street Experience was built in an effort to draw tourists back to the area, and has been popular since its startup in 1995.
The city purchased 61 acres (25 ha) of property from the Union Pacific Railroad in 1995 with the goal of creating a better draw for more people to the downtown area. In 2004, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman announced plans for Symphony Park, which will include residential and office highrises.
Already operating in Symphony Park is the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (opened in 2010), The Smith Center for the Performing Arts (opened in 2012) and the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum (opened in 2013).
On land across from Symphony Park, the World Market Center Las Vegas opened in 2005. It currently encompasses three large buildings with a total of 5.1 million square feet. Trade shows for the furniture and furnishing industries are held there semiannually.
Also located nearby is the Las Vegas Premium Outlets – North, one of the top-performing outlet centers in its company’s portfolio. It is currently undergoing a second expansion.
A new Las Vegas City Hall opened in February 2013 on downtown’s Main Street, another urban area ripe for development. The former City Hall building is now occupied by the corporate headquarters for the major online retailer, Zappos.com, which opened downtown in 2013.
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has taken a personal, as well as a professional, interest in the urban area and is contributing $350 million of his personal wealth toward a multifaceted revitalization effort called the Downtown Project. This involves investing $200 million in real estate, $50 million in small businesses, $50 million in education and $50 million in technology startups.
The city is home to several museums including the Neon Museum (the location for many of the historical signs from Las Vegas’ mid-20th century heyday), The Mob Museum, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, the Nevada State Museum and the Old Las Vegas Mormon State Historic Park.
“First Friday” is a monthly celebration that includes arts, music, special presentations and food in a section of the city’s downtown region called 18b, The Las Vegas Arts District. The festival extends into the Fremont East Entertainment District as well.
The Thursday prior to First Friday is known in the arts district as “Preview Thursday.” This evening event highlights new gallery exhibitions throughout the district.
The Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts is a Grammy award-winning magnet school located in downtown Las Vegas.
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is situated downtown in Symphony Park. The center hosts Broadway shows and other major touring attractions, as well as orchestral, opera, ballet and dance performances.
Las Vegas does not have major-league sports, although the metropolitan population is as large or larger than many cities that have them. The two main reasons: concern about legal sports betting and competition for the entertainment dollar. The minor league sports team that plays in the city of Las Vegas is baseball’s Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League, the AAA farm club of the New York Mets.
Parks and recreation
Las Vegas has 68 parks. The city owns the land for, but does not operate, 4 golf courses: Angel Park Golf Club, Desert Pines Golf Club, Durango Hills Golf Club and the Las Vegas Municipal Golf Course. It is also responsible for 123 playgrounds, 23 softball fields, 10 football fields, 44 soccer fields, 10 dog parks, 6 community centers, 4 senior centers, 109 skates parks, 6 swimming pools and more.
The city of Las Vegas government operates as a council–manager government. The Mayor sits as a Council member-at-large and presides over all of the City Council meetings. In the event that the Mayor cannot preside over a City Council meeting, the Mayor Pro-Tem is the presiding officer of the meeting until such time as the Mayor returns to his/her seat. The City Manager is responsible for the administration and the day-to-day operations of all municipal services and city departments. The City Manager maintains intergovernmental relationships with federal, state, county and other local governments.
Much of the Las Vegas metropolitan area is split into neighboring incorporated cities or unincorporated communities. Approximately 700,000 people live in unincorporated areas governed by Clark County, and another 465,000 live in incorporated cities such as North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City. Las Vegas and Clark County share a police department, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which was formed after a 1973 merger of the Las Vegas Police Department and the Clark County Sheriff’s Department. North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and some colleges have their own police departments.
Las Vegas, home to the Lloyd D. George Federal District Courthouse and the Regional Justice Center, draws numerous companies providing bail, marriage, divorce, tax, incorporation and other legal services.
|Stavros Anthony||4th Ward Council member||2013|
|Ricki Y. Barlow||5th Ward Council member||2015|||
|Carolyn Goodman||Mayor and Council member at-large||2015||||Replaced her husband, Oscar Goodman, who was term-limited|
|Bob Coffin||3rd Ward Council member||2015|||
|Steven D. Ross||6th Ward Council member||2013|
|Lois Tarkanian||1st Ward Council member||2015|||
|Bob Beers, CPA||2nd Ward Council member||2013|
Primary and secondary schools
Primary and secondary public education is provided by the Clark County School District, which is the fifth most populous school district in the nation. Students totaled 314,653 in grades K-12 for school year 2013-2014.
Colleges and universities
The College of Southern Nevada (the third largest community college in the United States by enrollment) is the main higher education facility in the city. Other institutions include the University of Nevada School of Medicine, with a campus in the city, and the for-profit private school Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Many educational opportunities exist around the city; among them are the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Nevada State College run by the Nevada System of Higher Education, Desert Research Institute, The International Academy of Design & Technology Las Vegas and Touro University Nevada.
RTC Transit is a public transportation system providing bus service throughout Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and other areas of the valley. Inter-city bus service to and from Las Vegas is provided by Greyhound. Amtrak trains have not served Las Vegas since the service via the Desert Wind was discontinued in 1997. Though no Amtrak trains have served Las Vegas since the Desert Wind was cancelled in 1997, Amtrak California operates Thruway Motorcoach dedicated service between the City and its passenger rail stations in Bakersfield, California as well as Los Angeles Union Station via Barstow.
A bus rapid-transit link in Las Vegas called the Strip & Downtown Express (previously ACE Gold Line) with limited stops and frequent service was launched in March 2010, and connects downtown Las Vegas, the Strip and the Las Vegas Convention Center.
With some exceptions, including Las Vegas Boulevard, Boulder Highway (SR 582) and Rancho Drive (SR 599), the majority of surface streets in Las Vegas are laid out in a grid along Public Land Survey System section lines. Many are maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation as state highways. The street numbering system is divided by the following streets:
- Westcliff Drive, US 95 Expressway, Fremont Street and Charleston Boulevard divide the north–south block numbers from west to east.
- Las Vegas Boulevard divides the east–west streets from the Las Vegas Strip to near the Stratosphere, then Main Street becomes the dividing line from the Stratosphere to the North Las Vegas border, after which the Goldfield Street alignment divides east and west.
- On the east side of Las Vegas, block numbers between Charleston Boulevard and Washington Avenue are different along Nellis Boulevard, which is the eastern border of the city limits.
Interstates 15, 515, and US 95 lead out of the city in four directions. Two major freeways – Interstate 15 and Interstate 515/U.S. Route 95 – cross in downtown Las Vegas. I-15 connects Las Vegas to Los Angeles, and heads northeast to and beyond Salt Lake City, Utah. I-515 goes southeast to Henderson, beyond which US 93 continues over the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge towards Phoenix, Arizona. US 95 connects the city to northwestern Nevada, including Carson City and Reno. US 93 splits from I-15 northeast of Las Vegas and goes north through the eastern part of the state, serving Ely and Wells. US 95 heads south from US 93 near Henderson through far eastern California. A partial beltway has been built, consisting of Interstate 215 on the south and Clark County 215 on the west and north. Other radial routes include Blue Diamond Road (SR 160) to Pahrump and Lake Mead Boulevard (SR 147) to Lake Mead.
- East–west roads, north to south
- North–south roads, west to east
McCarran International Airport handles international and domestic flights into the Las Vegas Valley. The airport also serves private aircraft and freight/cargo flights. Most general aviation traffic uses the smaller North Las Vegas Airport and Henderson Executive Airport.
The Union Pacific Railroad is the only Class I railroad providing rail freight service to the city. Until 1997, the Amtrak Desert Wind train service ran through Las Vegas using the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
- Huludao, China
- Bandung, Indonesia
- Angeles City, Philippines
- Ansan, South Korea
- Jeju City, South Korea
- Phuket, Thailand
- Las Vegas Strip
- List of people from Las Vegas
- List of films set in Las Vegas
- List of films shot in Las Vegas
- List of mayors of Las Vegas
- List of Las Vegas casinos that never opened
- List of television shows set in Las Vegas
- Las Vegas weddings
- Radio stations in Las Vegas
- Television stations in Las Vegas
- Merriam Webster’s Geographical Dictionary (3rd ed.). Merriam-Webster. 1997. p. 633. ISBN 9780877795469.
- “Words and Their Stories: Nicknames for New Orleans and Las Vegas”. VOA News. March 13, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- Lovitt, Rob (December 15, 2009). “Will the real Las Vegas please stand up?”. MSNBC. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- “Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Las Vegas city, Nevada”. U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
- “Find a County”. National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Jones, Charisse (August 21, 2013). “Top convention destinations: Orlando, Chicago, Las Vegas”. USA Today.
- “Overseas Visitation Estimates for U.S. States, Cities, and Census Regions: 2011” (PDF). International Visitation in the United States. US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, US Department of Commerce. May 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
- Joe Schoenmann (February 3, 2010). “Vegas not alone in wanting in on .vegas”. Las Vegas Sun.
- “County Turns 100 July 1, Dubbed ‘Centennial Day’” (Press release). Clark County, Nevada. June 23, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
- “History”. City of Las Vegas. Archived from the original on July 1, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Downtown Las Vegas Visitors Guide 2014
- “Geography of Las Vegas, Nevada”. geography.about.com. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Source: National Weather Service Forecast Office, November 2012
- “NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- “KLAS-TV on many broadcasts along with other stations broadcasts”. Lasvegasnow.com. November 13, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
- “Station Name: NV LAS VEGAS MCCARRAN AP”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- “WMO Climate Normals for LAS VEGAS/MCCARRAN, NV 1961–1990”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
- Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850–1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 159.
- “Las Vegas, Nevada 2010 Census Profile”. census.gov. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- “Las Vegas (city), Nevada”. State & County QuickFacts. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
- “Nevada – Race and Hispanic Origin for Selected Cities and Other Places: Earliest Census to 1990”. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
- “Las Vegas: Bright Lights, Big City, Small Town”. State of the Reunion. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
- “American FactFinder”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. “factfinder.census.gov”. factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
- “Most Stressful US City”. City Mayors. January 10, 2004. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
- Blakeslee, Sandra (December 16, 1997). “Health: Suicide Rate Higher in 3 Gambling Cities, Study Says”. New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
- Rinella, Heidi Knapp (July 27, 2000). “New book raises questions about Silver State”. Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- “Fremont Street Experience Brings Downtown Las Vegas Into Next Century”. Fremont Street Experience. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
- 2013 Fiscal Year In Review, city of Las Vegas Economic and Urban Development Projects, “A New Downtown Emerges.”
- City of Las Vegas Economic Development Investment Strategy, 2014, http://www.lasvegasnevada.gov
- City of Las Vegas Economic and Urban Development Department DATA Book, http://lvrda.org
- 2013 Fiscal Year in Review, city of Las Vegas Economic and Urban Development Projects, “A New Downtown Emerges.”, http://www.lvrda.org
- City of Las Vegas Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, May 2014, http://www.lasvegasnevada.gov/Find/parks_facilities.htm
- “2011 Municipal Primary Election April 5, 2011”. Clark County, Nevada. April 5, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
- “2011 Municipal Primary Election April 5, 2011”. Clark County, Nevada. April 5, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
- Source: city of Las Vegas Planning Department, MAY 2014.
- “California-Train and Thruway service”. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
- Green, Steve (August 17, 2011). “Lawsuit prompts RTC to drop ‘ACE’ name from bus lines”. Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- Most arterial roads are shown, as indicated on the Nevada Department of Transportation‘s Roadway functional classification: Las Vegas urbanized area map. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
|Find more about Las Vegas at Wikipedia’s sister projects|
|Definitions and translations from Wiktionary|
|Media from Commons|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Source texts from Wikisource|
|Textbooks from Wikibooks|
|Travel guide from Wikivoyage|
|Learning resources from Wikiversity|
- City of Las Vegas official website
- “The Making of Las Vegas” (historical timeline)
- Geologic tour guide of the Las Vegas area from American Geological Institute
- National Weather Service Forecast – Las Vegas, NV
- Chung, Su Kim (2012). Las Vegas Then and Now, Holt: Thunder Bay Press, ISBN 978-1-60710-582-4
- Stierli, Martino (2013). Las Vegas in the Rearview Mirror: The City in Theory, Photography, and Film, Los Angeles: Getty Publications, ISBN 978-1-60606-137-4
- Venturi, Robert (1972). Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form, Cambridge: MIT Press, ISBN 978-0-26272-006-9
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Las Vegas, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
|City of Boston|
Clockwise: Skyline of Back Bay seen from the Charles River, Fenway Park, Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston Common and the Downtown Crossing skyline, skyline of the Financial District seen from the Boston Harbor, and Massachusetts State House
|Nickname(s): Beantown, The Hub, The Cradle of Liberty, The Cradle of Modern America, The Athens of America, The Walking City|
|Motto: Sicut patribus sit Deus nobis (Latin: “As God was with our fathers, so may He be with us”)|
Boston (red) is in Suffolk County (gray+red) in the state of Massachusetts
Location in the United States
|Historic countries|| Kingdom of England
Kingdom of Great Britain
|Historic colonies||Massachusetts Bay Colony, Province of Massachusetts Bay|
|Settled (town)||September 7, 1630 (date of naming, O.S.)|
|Incorporated (city)||March 4, 1822|
|• Type||Strong mayor – council|
|• Mayor||Marty Walsh (D)|
|• Council||Boston City Council|
|• State capital||89.63 sq mi (232.14 km2)|
|• Land||48.42 sq mi (125.41 km2)|
|• Water||41.21 sq mi (106.73 km2)|
|• Urban||1,770 sq mi (4,600 km2)|
|• Metro||4,500 sq mi (11,700 km2)|
|• CSA||10,600 sq mi (27,600 km2)|
|Elevation||141 ft (43 m)|
|• State capital||645,966 |
|• Density||13,340/sq mi (5,151/km2)|
|• Urban||4,180,000 (US: 10th)|
|• Metro||4,590,000 (US: 10th)|
|• CSA||7,600,000 (US: 6th)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||617 and 857|
|GNIS feature ID||0617565|
Boston (pronounced i//) is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. Boston also serves as county seat of Suffolk County. The largest city in New England, the city proper, covering 48 square miles (124 km2), had an estimated population of 645,966 in 2014, making it the 24th largest city in the United States. The city is the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.5 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region is home to 7.6 million people, making it the sixth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States.
One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan colonists from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston. Upon American independence from Great Britain, the city continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub, as well as a center for education and culture. Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded beyond the original peninsula. Its rich history helps attract many tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone attracting over 20 million visitors. Boston’s many “firsts” include the United States’ first public school (1635), and first subway system (1897).
The area’s many colleges and universities make Boston an international center of higher education and medicine, and the city is considered to be a world leader in innovation for a variety of reasons. Boston’s economic base also includes finance, professional and business services, and government activities. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, though it remains high on world livability rankings.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Culture
- 6 Sports
- 7 Parks and recreation
- 8 Government
- 9 Education
- 10 Media
- 11 Infrastructure
- 12 Notable people
- 13 Gallery
- 14 Sister cities
- 15 See also
- 16 Notes
- 17 References
- 18 Further reading
- 19 External links
Boston’s early European settlers had first called the area Trimountaine (after its “three mountains”—only traces of which remain today) but later renamed it Boston after Boston, Lincolnshire, England, from which several prominent colonists had come. The renaming, on September 7, 1630 (old style), was by Puritan colonists from England, who had moved over from Charlestown earlier that year in quest of fresh water. Their settlement was initially limited to the Shawmut Peninsula, at that time surrounded by the Massachusetts Bay and Charles River and connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The peninsula is known to have been inhabited as early as 5000 BC.
In 1629, the Massachusetts Bay Colony‘s first governor, John Winthrop, led the signing of the Cambridge Agreement, a key founding document of the city. Puritan ethics and their focus on education influenced its early history; America’s first public school was founded in Boston in 1635. Over the next 130 years, the city participated in four French and Indian Wars, until the British defeated the French and their native allies in North America. Boston was the largest town in British North America until Philadelphia grew larger in the mid 18th century.
Many of the crucial events of the American Revolution—the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s “midnight ride”, the battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill, the Siege of Boston, and many others—occurred in or near Boston. After the Revolution, Boston’s long seafaring tradition helped make it one of the world’s wealthiest international ports, with rum, fish, salt, and tobacco being particularly important.
The Embargo Act of 1807, adopted during the Napoleonic Wars, and the War of 1812 significantly curtailed Boston’s harbor activity. Although foreign trade returned after these hostilities, Boston’s merchants had found alternatives for their capital investments in the interim. Manufacturing became an important component of the city’s economy, and by the mid-19th century, the city’s industrial manufacturing overtook international trade in economic importance. Until the early 20th century, Boston remained one of the nation’s largest manufacturing centers and was notable for its garment production and leather-goods industries. A network of small rivers bordering the city and connecting it to the surrounding region facilitated shipment of goods and led to a proliferation of mills and factories. Later, a dense network of railroads furthered the region’s industry and commerce.
During this period Boston flourished culturally as well, admired for its rarefied literary life and generous artistic patronage, with members of old Boston families—eventually dubbed Boston Brahmins—coming to be regarded as the nation’s social and cultural elites. Boston also became a center of the abolitionist movement. The city reacted strongly to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, contributing to President Franklin Pierce‘s attempt to make an example of Boston after the Anthony Burns Fugitive Slave Case.
In 1822, the citizens of Boston voted to change the official name from “the Town of Boston” to “the City of Boston”, and on March 4, 1822, the people of Boston accepted the charter incorporating the City. At the time Boston was chartered as a city, the population was about 46,226, while the area of the city was only 4.7 square miles (12 km2).
In the 1820s, Boston’s population grew rapidly, and the city’s ethnic composition changed dramatically with the first wave of European immigrants. Irish immigrants dominated the first wave of newcomers during this period, especially following the Irish Potato Famine; by 1850, about 35,000 Irish lived in Boston. In the latter half of the 19th century, the city saw increasing numbers of Irish, Germans, Lebanese, Syrians, French Canadians, and Russian and Polish Jews settled in the city. By the end of the 19th century, Boston’s core neighborhoods had become enclaves of ethnically distinct immigrants—Italians inhabited the North End, Irish dominated South Boston and Charlestown, and Russian Jews lived in the West End. Irish and Italian immigrants brought with them Roman Catholicism. Currently, Catholics make up Boston’s largest religious community, and since the early 20th century, the Irish have played a major role in Boston politics—prominent figures include the Kennedys, Tip O’Neill, and John F. Fitzgerald.
Between 1631 and 1890, the city tripled its area through land reclamation by filling in marshes, mud flats, and gaps between wharves along the waterfront. The largest reclamation efforts took place during the 19th century; beginning in 1807, the crown of Beacon Hill was used to fill in a 50-acre (20 ha) mill pond that later became the Haymarket Square area. The present-day State House sits atop this lowered Beacon Hill. Reclamation projects in the middle of the century created significant parts of the South End, the West End, the Financial District, and Chinatown. After The Great Boston Fire of 1872, workers used building rubble as landfill along the downtown waterfront. During the mid-to-late 19th century, workers filled almost 600 acres (2.4 km2) of brackish Charles River marshlands west of Boston Common with gravel brought by rail from the hills of Needham Heights. The city annexed the adjacent towns of South Boston (1804), East Boston (1836), Roxbury (1868), Dorchester (including present day Mattapan and a portion of South Boston) (1870), Brighton (including present day Allston) (1874), West Roxbury (including present day Jamaica Plain and Roslindale) (1874), Charlestown (1874), and Hyde Park (1912). Other proposals, for the annexation of Brookline, Cambridge, and Chelsea, were unsuccessful.
By the early and mid-20th century, the city was in decline as factories became old and obsolete, and businesses moved out of the region for cheaper labor elsewhere. Boston responded by initiating various urban renewal projects under the direction of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), which was established in 1957. In 1958, BRA initiated a project to improve the historic West End neighborhood. Extensive demolition was met with vociferous public opposition. The BRA subsequently reevaluated its approach to urban renewal in its future projects, including the construction of Government Center. In 1965, the first Community Health Center in the United States opened, the Columbia Point Health Center, in the Dorchester neighborhood. It mostly served the massive Columbia Point public housing complex adjoining it, which was built in 1953. The health center is still in operation and was rededicated in 1990 as the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center. The Columbia Point complex itself was redeveloped and revitalized into a mixed-income community called Harbor Point Apartments from 1984 to 1990. By the 1970s, the city’s economy boomed after 30 years of economic downturn. A large number of high rises were constructed in the Financial District and in Boston’s Back Bay during this time period. This boom continued into the mid-1980s and later began again. Hospitals such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital lead the nation in medical innovation and patient care. Schools such as Boston College, Boston University, the Harvard Medical School, Northeastern University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory attract students to the area. Nevertheless, the city experienced conflict starting in 1974 over desegregation busing, which resulted in unrest and violence around public schools throughout the mid-1970s.
Boston is an intellectual, technological, and political center but has lost some important regional institutions, including the acquisition of The Boston Globe by The New York Times, and the loss to mergers and acquisitions of local financial institutions such as FleetBoston Financial, which was acquired by Charlotte-based Bank of America in 2004. Boston-based department stores Jordan Marsh and Filene’s have both been merged into the Cincinnati–based Macy’s. Boston has experienced gentrification in the latter half of the 20th century, with housing prices increasing sharply since the 1990s. Living expenses have risen, and Boston has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, and was ranked the 129th most expensive major city in the world in a 2011 survey of 214 cities. Despite cost of living issues, Boston ranks high on livability ratings, ranking 36th worldwide in quality of living in 2011 in a survey of 221 major cities. On April 15, 2013, at approximately 2:50 p.m. EDT, two Chechen Islamist brothers exploded two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring roughly 264.
Boston has an area of 89.6 square miles (232.1 km2)—48.4 square miles (125.4 km2) (54.0%) of land and 41.2 square miles (106.7 km2) (46.0%) of water—and is the country’s third most densely populated city that is not a part of a larger city’s metropolitan area.[a] This is largely attributable to the rarity of annexation by New England towns. The city’s official elevation, as measured at Logan International Airport, is 19 ft (5.8 m) above sea level. The highest point in Boston is Bellevue Hill at 330 feet (100 m) above sea level, and the lowest point is at sea level. Situated near the Atlantic Ocean, Boston is the only state capital in the contiguous United States with an ocean coastline.
Boston is surrounded by the “Greater Boston” region and is contiguously bordered by the cities and towns of Winthrop, Revere, Chelsea, Everett, Somerville, Cambridge, Newton, Brookline, Needham, Dedham, Canton, Milton, and Quincy. The Charles River separates Boston from Watertown and the majority of Cambridge, and the mass of Boston from its own Charlestown neighborhood. To the east lie Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area (which includes part of the city’s territory, specifically Calf Island, Gallops Island, Great Brewster Island, Green Island, Little Brewster Island, Little Calf Island, Long Island, Lovells Island, Middle Brewster Island, Nixes Mate, Outer Brewster Island, Rainsford Island, Shag Rocks, Spectacle Island, The Graves, and Thompson Island). The Neponset River forms the boundary between Boston’s southern neighborhoods and the city of Quincy and the town of Milton. The Mystic River separates Charlestown from Chelsea and Everett, and Chelsea Creek and Boston Harbor separate East Boston from Boston proper.
Boston is sometimes called a “city of neighborhoods” because of the profusion of diverse subsections; the city government’s Office of Neighborhood Services has officially designated 23 neighborhoods.
More than two-thirds of inner Boston’s modern land area did not exist when the city was founded, but was created via the gradual filling in of the surrounding tidal areas over the centuries, notably with earth from the leveling or lowering of Boston’s three original hills (the “Trimountain”, after which Tremont Street is named), and with gravel brought by train from Needham to fill the Back Bay. Downtown and its immediate surroundings consists largely of low-rise (often Federal style and Greek Revival) masonry buildings, interspersed with modern highrises, notably in the Financial District, Government Center, and South Boston. Back Bay includes many prominent landmarks, such as the Boston Public Library, Christian Science Center, Copley Square, Newbury Street, and New England’s two tallest buildings—the John Hancock Tower and the Prudential Center. Near the John Hancock Tower is the old John Hancock Building with its prominent illuminated beacon, the color of which forecasts the weather. Smaller commercial areas are interspersed among areas of single-family homes and wooden/brick multi-family row houses. The South End Historic District is the largest surviving contiguous Victorian-era neighborhood in the US. The geography of downtown and South Boston was particularly impacted by the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (known unofficially as the “Big Dig“), which allowed for the removal of the unsightly elevated Central Artery and the incorporation of new green spaces and open areas.
Boston has a continental climate with some maritime influence, and using the −3 °C (27 °F) coldest month (January) isotherm, the city lies within the transition zone from a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) to a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), although the suburbs north and west of the city are significantly colder in winter and solidly fall under the latter categorisation; the city lies at the transition between USDA plant hardiness zones 6b (most of the city) and 7a (Downtown, South Boston, and East Boston neighborhoods). Summers are typically warm to hot, rainy, and humid, while winters oscillate between periods of cold rain and snow, with cold temperatures. Spring and fall are usually mild, with varying conditions dependent on wind direction and jet stream positioning. Prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore minimize the influence of the Atlantic Ocean.
The hottest month is July, with a mean temperature of 73.4 °F (23.0 °C). The coldest month is January, with a mean of 29.0 °F (−1.7 °C). Periods exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) in summer and below freezing in winter are not uncommon but rarely extended, with about 13 and 25 days per year seeing each, respectively, and the most recent sub-0 °F (−18 °C) reading occurring on January 24, 2011; several decades may pass between 100 °F (38 °C) readings, with the most recent such occurrence July 22, 2011. The city’s average window for freezing temperatures is November 9 through April 5.[b] Official temperature records have ranged from −18 °F (−28 °C) on February 9, 1934, up to 104 °F (40 °C) on July 4, 1911; the record cold daily maximum is 2 °F (−17 °C) on December 30, 1917, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 83 °F (28 °C) on August 2, 1975.
Boston’s coastal location on the North Atlantic moderates its temperature, but makes the city very prone to Nor’easter weather systems that can produce much snow and rain. The city averages 43.8 inches (1,110 mm) of precipitation a year, with 43.8 inches (111 cm) of snowfall per season. Snowfall increases dramatically as one goes inland away from the city (especially north and west of the city)—away from the moderating influence of the ocean. Most snowfall occurs from December through March, as most years see no measurable snow in April and November, and snow is rare in May and October. There is also high year-to-year variability in snowfall; for instance, the winter of 2011−12 saw only 9.3 in (23.6 cm) of accumulating snow, but the previous winter, the corresponding figure was 81.0 in (2.06 m).[c]
Fog is fairly common, particularly in spring and early summer, and the occasional tropical storm or hurricane can threaten the region, especially in late summer and early autumn. Due to its situation along the North Atlantic, the city is often subjected to sea breezes, especially in the late spring, when water temperatures are still quite cold and temperatures at the coast can be more than 20 °F (11 °C) colder than a few miles inland, sometimes dropping by that amount near midday. Thunderstorms occur from May to September, that are occasionally severe with large hail, damaging winds and heavy downpours. Although downtown Boston has never been struck by a violent tornado, the city itself has experienced many tornado warnings. Damaging storms are more common to areas north, west, and northwest of the city.
|Climate data for Boston (Logan Airport), 1981−2010 normals, extremes 1872−present[d]|
|Record high °F (°C)||72
|Average high °F (°C)||35.8
|Average low °F (°C)||22.2
|Record low °F (°C)||−13
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.36
|Snowfall inches (cm)||12.9
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||11.3||9.8||11.6||11.2||12.0||10.9||9.6||9.4||8.6||9.4||10.6||11.6||126.0|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||6.7||5.3||4.2||0.7||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||0.8||4.6||22.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||163.4||168.4||213.7||227.2||267.3||286.5||300.9||277.3||237.1||206.3||143.2||142.3||2,633.6|
|Percent possible sunshine||56||57||58||57||59||63||65||64||63||60||49||50||59|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961−1990)|
|* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
In 2010 Boston was estimated to have 617,594 residents (a density of 12,200 persons/sq mile, or 4,700/km2) living in 272,481 housing units— a 5% population increase over 2000. Some 1.2 million persons may be within Boston’s boundaries during work hours, and as many as 2 million during special events. This fluctuation of people is caused by hundreds of thousands of suburban residents who travel to the city for work, education, health care, and special events.
In the city, the population was spread out with 21.9% at age 19 and under, 14.3% from 20 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males. There were 252,699 households, of which 20.4% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 25.5% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.0% were non-families. 37.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 3.08.
The median income for a household in the city was $51,739, and the median income for a family was $61,035. Full-time year-round male workers had a median income of $52,544 versus $46,540 for full-time year-round female workers. The per capita income for the city was $33,158. 21.4% of the population and 16.0% of families are below the poverty line. Of the total population, 28.8% of those under the age of 18 and 20.4% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
In 1950, whites represented 94.7% of Boston’s population. From the 1950s to the end of the 20th century, the proportion of non-Hispanic whites in the city declined; in 2000, non-Hispanic whites made up 49.5% of the city’s population, making the city majority-minority for the first time. However, in recent years the city has experienced significant gentrification, in which affluent whites have moved into formerly non-white areas. In 2006, the US Census Bureau estimated that non-Hispanic whites again formed a slight majority. But as of 2010, in part due to the housing crash, as well as increased efforts to make more affordable housing more available, the minority population has rebounded. This may also have to do with an increased Latino population and more clarity surrounding US Census statistics, which indicate a Non-Hispanic White population of 47 percent (some reports give slightly lower figures).
|White (includes White Hispanics)||53.9%||62.8%||81.8%||96.7%|
|Black or African American||24.4%||25.6%||16.3%||3.1%|
|Two or more races||3.9%||–||–||–|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||17.5%||10.8%||2.8% ||0.1%|
|Non-Hispanic Whites||47.0%||59.0%||79.5% ||96.6%|
People of Irish descent form the largest single ethnic group in the city, making up 15.8% of the population, followed by Italians, accounting for 8.3% of the population. People of West Indian ancestry are another sizable group, at 6.0%, about half of whom are of Haitian ancestry. Some neighborhoods, such as Dorchester, have received an influx of people of Vietnamese ancestry in recent decades. Neighborhoods such as Jamaica Plain and Roslindale have experienced a growing number of Dominican Americans. The city and greater area also has a large immigration population of South Asians, including the tenth-largest Indian community in the country.
The city has a sizable Jewish population with an estimated 25,000 Jews within the city and 227,000 within the Boston metro area; the number of congregations in Boston is estimated at 22. The adjacent communities of Brookline and Newton are both approximately one-third Jewish.
The city, especially the East Boston neighborhood, has a significant Hispanic community. Hispanics in Boston are mostly of Puerto Rican (30,506 or 4.9% of total city population), Dominican (25,648 or 4.2% of total city population), Salvadoran (10,850 or 1.8% of city population), Colombian (6,649 or 1.1% of total city population) and Guatemalan (4,451 or 0.7% of total city population) ethnic origin. When including all Hispanic national origins, they number 107,917. In Greater Boston, these numbers grow significantly with Puerto Ricans numbering 175,000+, Dominicans 95,000+, Salvadorans 40,000+, Guatemalans 31,000+ and Colombians numbering 22,000+.
The city is the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.5 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region is home to 7.6 million people, making it the fifth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States.
Like many major American cities, Boston has seen a great reduction in violent crime since the early 1990s. Boston’s low crime rate since the 1990s has been credited to the Boston Police Department‘s collaboration with neighborhood groups and church parishes to prevent youths from joining gangs, as well as involvement from the United States Attorney and District Attorney‘s offices. This helped lead in part to what has been touted as the “Boston Miracle”. Murders in the city dropped from 152 in 1990 (for a murder rate of 26.5 per 100,000 people) to just 31—not one of them a juvenile—in 1999 (for a murder rate of 5.26 per 100,000).
In the 2000s, however, the annual murder count has fluctuated by as much as 50% compared with the year before, with 60 murders in 2002, followed by just 39 in 2003, 61 in 2004, and 73 in 2005. In 2008 there were 62 reported homicides. Although the figures are nowhere near the high-water mark set in 1990, the aberrations in the murder rate have been unsettling for many Bostonians and have prompted discussion over whether the Boston Police Department should reevaluate its approach to fighting crime.
Demographic breakdown by zip code
|Rank||ZIP Code (ZCTA)||Per capita
|1||02110 (Financial District)||$152,007||$123,795||$196,518||1,486||981|
|2||02199 (Prudential Center)||$151,060||$107,159||$146,786||1,290||823|
|3||02210 (Fort Point)||$93,078||$111,061||$223,411||1,905||1,088|
|4||02109 (North End)||$88,921||$128,022||$162,045||4,277||2,190|
|5||02116 (Back Bay/Bay Village)||$81,458||$87,630||$134,875||21,318||10,938|
|6||02108 (Beacon Hill/Financial District)||$78,569||$95,753||$153,618||4,155||2,337|
|7||02114 (Beacon Hill/West End)||$65,865||$79,734||$169,107||11,933||6,752|
|8||02111 (Chinatown/Financial District/Leather District)||$56,716||$44,758||$88,333||7,616||3,390|
|10||02467 (Chestnut Hill)||$53,382||$113,952||$148,396||22,796||6,351|
|11||02113 (North End)||$52,905||$64,413||$112,589||7,276||4,329|
|12||02132 (West Roxbury)||$44,306||$82,421||$110,219||27,163||11,013|
|13||02118 (South End)||$43,887||$50,000||$49,090||26,779||12,512|
|14||02130 (Jamaica Plain)||$42,916||$74,198||$95,426||36,866||15,306|
|15||02127 (South Boston)||$42,854||$67,012||$68,110||32,547||14,994|
|18||02136 (Hyde Park)||$28,009||$57,080||$74,734||29,219||10,650|
|20||02128 (East Boston)||$23,450||$49,549||$49,470||41,680||14,965|
|21||02122 (Dorchester–Fields Corner)||$23,432||$51,798||$50,246||25,437||8,216|
|22||02124 (Dorchester-Codman Square–Ashmont)||$23,115||$48,329||$55,031||49,867||17,275|
|23||02125 (Dorchester-Uphams Corner–Savin Hill)||$22,158||$42,298||$44,397||31,996||11,481|
|24||02163 (Allston-Harvard Business School)||$21,915||$43,889||$91,190||1,842||562|
|25||02115 (Back Bay/Fenway-Kenmore)||$21,654||$23,677||$50,303||29,178||9,958|
|29||02121 (Dorchester-Mount Baldwin)||$18,226||$30,419||$35,439||26,801||9,739|
|30||02120 (Mission Hill)||$17,390||$32,367||$29,583||13,217||4,509|
A global city, Boston is placed among the top 30 most economically powerful cities in the world. Encompassing $363 billion, the Greater Boston metropolitan area has the sixth-largest economy in the country and 12th-largest in the world.
Boston’s colleges and universities have a significant effect on the regional economy. Boston attracts more than 350,000 college students from around the world, who contribute more than $4.8 billion annually to the city’s economy. The area’s schools are major employers and attract industries to the city and surrounding region. The city is home to a number of technology companies and is a hub for biotechnology, with the Milken Institute rating Boston as the top life sciences cluster in the country. Boston receives the highest absolute amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health of all cities in the United States. The city is also considered highly innovative for a variety of reasons that include the presence of academia, access to venture capital, and the presence of many high-tech companies.
Tourism comprises a large part of Boston’s economy, with 21.2 million domestic and international visitors spending $8.3 billion in 2011. Because of Boston’s status as a state capital and the regional home of federal agencies, law and government are another major component of the city’s economy. The city is a major seaport along the United States’ East Coast and the oldest continuously operated industrial and fishing port in the Western Hemisphere.
Other important industries are financial services, especially mutual funds and insurance. Boston-based Fidelity Investments helped popularize the mutual fund in the 1980s and has made Boston one of the top financial cities in the United States. The city is home to the headquarters of Santander Bank, and Boston is a center for venture capital firms. State Street Corporation, which specializes in asset management and custody services, is based in the city. Boston is a printing and publishing center — Houghton Mifflin is headquartered within the city, along with Bedford-St. Martin’s Press and Beacon Press. Pearson PLC publishing units also employ several hundred people in Boston. The city is home to three major convention centers—the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay, and the Seaport World Trade Center and Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on the South Boston waterfront.
Several major companies headquartered within Boston or nearby—especially along Route 128, the center of the region’s high-tech industry. In 2006 Boston and its metropolitan area ranked as the fourth-largest cybercity in the United States with 191,700 high-tech jobs.
Boston shares many cultural roots with greater New England, including a dialect of the non-rhotic Eastern New England accent known as Boston English, and a regional cuisine with a large emphasis on seafood, salt, and dairy products. Irish Americans are a major influence on Boston’s politics and religious institutions. Boston also has its own collection of neologisms known as Boston slang.
Several theatres are located in or near the Theater District south of Boston Common, including the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Citi Performing Arts Center, the Colonial Theater, and the Orpheum Theatre. Symphony Hall (located west of Back Bay) is home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, (and the related Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, which is one of the largest youth orchestras in the nation) and the Boston Pops Orchestra, while the Boston Ballet performs at the Boston Opera House. Other performing-arts organizations located in the city include the Boston Lyric Opera Company, Opera Boston, Boston Baroque (the first permanent Baroque orchestra in the US), and the Handel and Haydn Society (one of the oldest choral companies in the United States). The city is a center for contemporary classical music with a number of performing groups, several of which are associated with the city’s conservatories and universities. These include the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Boston Musica Viva.
Off-Broadway theatre in Boston has suffered due to a lack of financial incentives, but an effort in 2014 to restore production tax credits appears poised to bring more shows to the city. 
There are several major annual events such as First Night, which occurs on New Year’s Eve, the Boston Early Music Festival, the annual Boston Arts Festival at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, and Italian summer feasts in the North End honoring Catholic saints. The city is the site of several events during the Fourth of July period. They include the week-long Harborfest festivities and a Boston Pops concert accompanied by fireworks on the banks of the Charles River.
Boston is one of the birthplaces of the hardcore punk genre of music. The area’s musicians have contributed significantly to this music scene over the years (see also Boston hardcore). The city’s neighborhoods were home to one of the leading local third wave ska and ska punk scenes in the 1990s, led by bands such as The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Allstonians. The 1980s’ hardcore punk-rock compilation This Is Boston, Not L.A. highlights some of the bands that built the genre. Several nightclubs, such as The Channel, Bunnratty’s in Allston, and The Rathskeller, were renowned for showcasing both local punk-rock bands and those from farther afield. All of these clubs are closed. Many were razed or converted during recent gentrification.
Because of the city’s prominent role in the American Revolution, several historic sites relating to that period are preserved as part of the Boston National Historical Park. Many are found along the Freedom Trail, which is marked by a red line of bricks embedded in the ground. The city is also home to several art museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The Institute of Contemporary Art is housed in a contemporary building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in the Seaport District. The University of Massachusetts Boston campus on Columbia Point houses the John F. Kennedy Library. The Boston Athenaeum (one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States), Boston Children’s Museum, Bull & Finch Pub (whose building is known from the television show Cheers), Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium are within the city.
Boston has been a noted religious center from its earliest days. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston serves nearly 300 parishes and is based in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross (1875) in the South End, while the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, with the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (1819) as its episcopal seat, serves just under 200 congregations. Unitarian Universalism has its headquarters on Beacon Hill. The Christian Scientists are headquartered in Back Bay at the Mother Church (1894). The oldest church in Boston is First Church in Boston, founded in 1630. King’s Chapel, the city’s first Anglican church, was founded in 1686 and converted to Unitarianism in 1785. Other churches include Christ Church (better known as Old North Church, 1723), the oldest church building in the city, Trinity Church (1733), Park Street Church (1809), Old South Church (1874), Jubilee Christian Church and Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Mission Hill (1878).
Boston has teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues plus Major League Soccer, and has won 34 championships in these leagues, as of 2013. It is one of five cities (along with New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit) to have won championships in all four major sports. It has been suggested that Boston is the new “TitleTown, USA”, as the city’s professional sports teams have won eight championships since 2001: Patriots (2001, 2003, and 2004), Red Sox (2004, 2007, and 2013), Celtics (2008), and Bruins (2011). No other city has won major championships in the four current major American sports leagues in as short a time period; only New York has done so faster, in the days of the old American Basketball League.
The Boston Red Sox, a founding member of the American League of Major League Baseball in 1901, play their home games at Fenway Park, near Kenmore Square in the city’s Fenway section. Built in 1912, it is the oldest sports arena or stadium in active use in the United States among the four major professional American sports leagues, encompassing Major League Baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League. Boston was the site of the first game of the first modern World Series, in 1903. The series was played between the AL Champion Boston Americans and the NL champion Pittsburgh Pirates. Persistent reports that the team was known in 1903 as the “Boston Pilgrims” appear to be unfounded. Boston’s first professional baseball team was the Red Stockings, one of the charter members of the National Association in 1871, and of the National League in 1876. The team played under that name until 1883, under the name Beaneaters until 1911, and under the name Braves from 1912 until they moved to Milwaukee after the 1952 season. Since 1966 they have played in Atlanta as the Atlanta Braves. Thanks to the heritage of the Braves, Boston can legitimately claim to be the longest active professional sports city in North America, two years longer than Toronto (whose Argonauts were founded in 1873), and three longer than Chicago (whose Cubs, while founded in the same year, took a two-year hiatus following the Great Chicago Fire).
The TD Garden, formerly called the FleetCenter, is adjoined to North Station and is the home of three major league teams: the Boston Blazers of the National Lacrosse League, the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League; and the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association. The arena seats 18,624 for basketball games and 17,565 for ice hockey games. The Bruins were the first American member of the National Hockey League and an Original Six franchise. The Boston Celtics were founding members of the Basketball Association of America, one of the two leagues that merged to form the NBA. The Celtics have the distinction of having won more championships than any other NBA team, with seventeen.
While they have played in suburban Foxborough since 1971, the New England Patriots of the National Football League were founded in 1960 as the Boston Patriots, changing their name in 1971 to better reflect its status as New England’s team. The team won the Super Bowl in 2001, 2003, and 2004. They share Gillette Stadium with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer. The Boston Breakers of Women’s Professional Soccer, which formed in 2009, play their home games at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville.