Brookline offers the best of both worlds. With its picture-perfect houses and adorable neighborhoods, it offers a diverse culture of residents and visitors, from college students to retirees. Situated east of Newton—just over four miles outside of Boston—it spans 6.8 square miles. It has a population of 58,732.
Brookline was first settled by European colonists in the 17th century. It was originally part of Boston and known as the hamlet of the Muddy River. In 1705, the town was incorporated as independent, and named for the two small brooks sitting along the northern and southern borders. When Brighton merged with Boston in 1874, the border between the city and Brookline was redrawn, cutting the town off from the Charles River shoreline. Today, the northern border follows Commonwealth Avenue and extends to include a variety of parks and parkways, including the Larz Anderson Park and many other historic sites. Brookline also boasts an inclusive community—in 1882, the town became one of the first in the country to extend voting rights to women. Not bad.
With the third fewest fast-food chains per capita in the country, according to Movoto.com, the town is no stranger to quality food. And why would you need McDonald’s with the hundreds of classy restaurants, bars, and cafes within walking distance? Indulge in fresh pasta, premium meats, and seasonal produce at Ribelle. Grab a hanger steak with mushrooms and goat cheese at the Barcelona Wine Bar. Or sample craft beers and award-winning macaroni and cheese at the The Publick House. With almost every cuisine under the sun, Brookline has a restaurant for every taste and style.
Located at the crossing of Beacon Street and Harvard Street, Coolidge Corner is considered a cultural epicenter. Along with Brookline Village, it is the area’s primary retail district. Dozens of popular coffee shops, an independent bookstore, small boutiques, and ethnic cuisine line the streets. It is home to the Coolidge Corner Theatre—a restored 1930s movie palace featuring first run art house films—and The S.S. Pierce Building, a Tudor-style historical site. A popular weekly farmer’s market is also hosted on Thursdays from June through October.
The Country Club.
In 1882, Brookline became the site of the first private club in the United States with a focus on outdoor activities. The original club offered horseback-riding, among other things, and, in 1893, grew to include a golf course. Today, the ultra-exclusive sports club is famous for golf. In fact, it was one of the five clubs that formed what is now the United States Golf Association. It has hosted the U.S. Open three times and the Ryder Cup Matches once. The beautiful facilities have formal and informal dining areas with a full wine cellar and function halls.
The well-to-do town has no shortage of theaters and galleries. From high-end to avant-garde, the streets are scattered with art for every preference. Brookline Village, however, is the place to visit for trendy and unique pieces. Explore Elissa Barr Calligraphy & Design, the Art Alternative Gallery, Feet of Clay Pottery, and more. If you’re in the mood for a show, check out the Puppet Showplace Theatre, which offers a different family-friendly show each week.