Get us in your inbox

snowy boston
Photograph: Time Out Boston

21 things Bostonians do better than everyone else

We had a hard time limiting this list to only 21 items...

Written by
Time Out Boston Staff

Long after you’ve moved to Boston and checked off various rites of passage, you’ll start to notice the city-specific habits and skills at which you weirdly excel:    

1. Elocution. People can make fun of our accents all they want, but when a Bostonian tells you what they’re really thinking, you’ll get the point.

2. Avoiding car accidents while driving at breakneck speed down narrow, twisty streets without using turn signals. 

3. Grumbling about our broken, underfunded public transit system while refusing to put more taxpayer money into it.

4. We also deal with the T in very direct ways. If we’re on a train and it starts to fill up with smoke, we will bust out the windows and find our own way to safety.

5. Irish pubs. Because you're never far from one that would be the best in just about any other city.

6. Finding creative places to put enormous snow accumulations, such as on top of the car parked next to the one you’re shoveling out.

7. Sports. The Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins have won every championship that matters in the past decade. 

8. Loyalty. Fans of each of those teams, if they’re old enough, remember clearly when the team had a losing streak that seemed endless, but they kept cheering.

9. Provincialism. A lot of us grew up here and never left. The rest moved here and never want to leave.

10. Turning history into commerce. One of the country’s most important historic sites, Faneuil Hall, is now surrounded by tourist-filled chain stores.

11. Swimming in water most people would find too cold to drink. The L Street Brownies have been taking their annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge in Southie since 1904, but you don’t have to wait for the dead of winter. The ocean here is bone-chilling in July, too.

12. Boring fashion. It's getting better, but some still say if you see anyone from Boston wearing a color that isn’t black, white or gray, it’s probably a Red Sox jersey.

13. Coping with weather extremes. Some cities are always cool, or always warm, but in Boston, you can count on a summer day of 100-degree heat for each winter day that we get a foot of snow—not to mention the periods when it rains every day, or the occasional hurricane-force winds.

14. Education. Harvard, MIT, Tufts…need we say more? (If so, we can trot out a further list of more than 50 higher-ed institutions in the Boston area.)

15. Rejecting education. While half the population graduated from an esteemed college, the other half dismisses them as ivory-tower eggheads.

16. You know that thing where a person is gruff and cranky on the outside but kind, generous and loyal underneath? We invented that.

17. Pretending we don’t care about and are definitely not intimidated by New York.

18. St. Patrick’s Day.

19. Going to bed early(ish). If you want to rage past 2am, you have do it at home or take a bus to another city.

20. Self-improvement. When people say Boston is a racist city or has no good restaurants, you know they haven’t been here since the 1980s.

21. Unity. Big Papi said it best after the Boston Marathon bombings: “This is our f*cking city.”

Once you've had the chance to digest all of this knowledge, check out our list of the 20 things that make you a true Bostonian.

Latest news