Beacon Hill is one of the premier and most well known neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts, covering approximately one square mile, and home to about 10,000 people. It is a wealthy neighborhood of Federal-style rowhouses, with some of the highest property values in the United States. It is known for its narrow streets, brick sidewalks, and gas-lit streets as well as quaint shopping and upscale dining. Beacon Hill is a National Historic District, filled with working gas lamps, ancient elms, brick sidewalks and 19th-century row houses protected by architectural restrictions that govern such details as the color of the doors.
Beacon Hill was named for the location of a former beacon atop the highest point in central Boston, once located just behind the current site of the Massachusetts State House.
Beacon Hill is located just north of the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden. Beacon Hill is bounded by Beacon Street, Bowdoin Street, Cambridge Street and Storrow Drive. It is known for its beautiful doors and door surrounds, brass door knockers, decorative iron work, brick sidewalks, perpetually-burning gas lights, flowering pear trees, window boxes, and hidden gardens. Its architecture, mostly brick row houses, includes the Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian periods, as well as early 20th-century colonial revival homes and tenements. There is a level section of the neighborhood west of Charles Street, which is on landfill, and is commonly referred to as the "Flat of the Hill."
Charles and Cambridge Streets are Beacon Hill's commercial streets. Charles Street is known for 40 antique shops, home decorating shops, delectable food shops and several good restaurants. Cambridge Street offers good restaurants, as well as two gas stations and a supermarket, now undergoing construction in Charles River Plaza. Both streets offer many unique neighborhood service shops, including one of the few independent pharmacies - Gary Drug - left in America. Cambridge Street is also the home of the venerable Massachusetts General Hospital.
Beacon Hill is often mentioned by the local news media to refer to state government or the legislature. This is because the Massachusetts State House, with it's huge gold dome, is in a prominent location at the top of the hill.