10 Boston Fun Facts: How Well Do You Know Your City?

Updated on March 15th, 2024

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As the oldest town in America, the city of Boston is full of fascinating stories and plenty of “firsts” waiting to be discovered. So whether you just rented an apartment in Boston or you’ve owned a home in the city for years, check out this Redfin article and impress your friends and family with these must-know Boston fun facts.

boston skyline

1. The microwave was accidentally invented in Boston

Raytheon Engineer Percy Spencer invented the microwave in 1945; however, it wasn’t his intention to. He didn’t make the connection to food until he accidentally melted chocolate that was left in his pocket. Raytheon released the first microwave oven in 1947.

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2. The first U.S. lighthouse was built here in 1716

Located on Little Brewster Island, the historic Boston Light was first lit on September 14, 1716. Although the original lighthouse was partially destroyed when the British took over the island, a new tower was constructed in 1783 and still stands today.

3. Happy Hour isn’t allowed in Boston

Throughout a majority of the U.S., “Happy Hour” often includes a range of both food and drink specials. Not in Boston, though. Massachusetts banned time-limited drink specials in 1984 after a string of drunk driving accidents. However, in recent years, there has been a strong push to “bring back Happy Hour” across the state.

4. The first subway line was created in the 1890s in Boston 

Built during the second wave of the Industrial Revolution in Massachusetts, this invention helped ease the street congestion Boston was facing. This set the stage for public transportation in America.

5. You can actually drive 90 feet below the surface of Boston Harbor

The Ted Williams Tunnel is 1.6 miles long and the deepest vehicular tunnel in North America. It’s named after the Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams.

6. The first U.S. college was founded in the Greater Boston area

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the “oldest institution of higher education” and is one of the most prestigious universities to this day. It’s located in Cambridge, which is just under twenty minutes outside of downtown Boston.

7. Over 2 million gallons of molasses flooded the North End in 1919

This deadly accident took the lives of 21 people, several horses, and injured over 100 others.

8. The first-ever chocolate factory opened its doors in Boston

No, it wasn’t Willy Wonka who opened the factory. In 1780, James Baker founded The Baker Chocolate Company and was headquartered in Dorchester, Boston.

9. In 1990, the world’s largest art heist occurred in Boston

13 pieces of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in just 81 minutes. The stolen collection is valued at $500 million.

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10. Boston is the only state whose capital is located along a coastline

The stunning city of Boston boasts 47 miles of ocean coastline. A mix of beaches, bays, harbors, ports, and peninsulas constitute the greater Boston Harbor. Boston is also surrounded by several small islands, such as Long Island and Governors Island.


Learn more about Boston:

Saving for a House? 5 Free Things to Do in Boston

10 Things to Do in Boston in the Winter

A Local’s Guide to Hidden Gems in Boston

The 7 Most Beautiful Places in Boston

10 Most Affordable Boston Suburbs to Live In

8 Cities Near Boston to Buy or Rent in this Year

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Mekaila Oaks

Mekaila is a part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home would have ocean views and floor-to-ceiling windows to let in plenty of natural light.

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