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Ask any longtime resident, and they’ll tell you the one word that embodies Roxbury: Community. In the 1600s, “Rocksberry”—named for its rocky soil—was highly attractive to colonists thanks to its abundant natural resources. Later, the neighborhood became known for its Irish population, large Latvian community, as well its Jewish community near the Grove Hall area. The neighborhood’s black community began to develop in the early 1900s, and by the mid-20th century, it had become the epicenter of Boston’s black culture. Nubian Square (formerly Dudley Square) served as its hub, and soon, movie theaters, hotels, and department stores were built there.

If you speak to people who grew up in Roxbury, their love for the neighborhood is palpable. Current and former residents say they felt it was an immense privilege to grow up there. They look back on the days when you could hit up Funky Fresh Records or listen to WILD radio before checking out a neighborhood talent show. They recall music producer Maurice Starr (who discovered Roxbury’s own New Edition, as well as New Kids on the Block) rolling up in his drop-top Mercedes-Benz and handing out dollars to the neighborhood children. Residents have the same level of pride for their thriving arts and music community (don’t miss the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists) as they did for “Shakey,” a local man known for hanging around the neighborhood. (He’s since been immortalized on t-shirts that read “I grew up in Roxbury” on the back.)

But like all neighborhoods, things have changed in Roxbury reflecting the culture and trends of modern Boston. The city gives green lights to out-of-town developers to build mid- and high-rise luxury condo buildings that have an effect of increasing property values. Though it shares a border with Jamaica Plain and the South End, residents feel that Roxbury’s amenities pale in comparison, whether it’s food delivery or liquor licenses.  The local bus station at Dudley Square underwent a restoration and modernization several years back to improve transit times.  The MBTA bus system serves all areas of Roxbury from Grove Hall to Fort Hill, the buses run frequently and can connect to a subway station (Ruggles Station Orange Line or Fields Corner Red Line) in usually 5-10 minutes. 

Roxbury is proud to host Boston’s premier zoo and park: Franklin Park Zoo & Golf.  Located in the beautiful neighborhood of Grove Hall; Franklin Park Zoo is home to incredible animals from around the globe. Visitors can stand face-to-face with the Zoo’s seven western lowland gorillas at one of five glass viewing stations in the state-of-the-art indoor exhibit. Also, be sure to also visit the African lions in the Kalahari Kingdom, the tigers in the Tiger Tales exhibit, the Masai giraffe, the Grevy’s zebra on the Giraffe Savannah and the many other remarkable species that call the Zoo home. During the summer months, enjoy Butterfly Landing and Aussie Aviary.

While there’s been significant spillover of college students from Mission Hill and the Fenway in recent years, Roxbury has become increasingly popular with young professionals and families who are attracted to the neighborhood’s diversity, exquisite array of architectural history, and price tags slightly less painful than in other areas of the city. Roxbury is filled with lush community gardens, bustling green spaces like Malcolm X Park, where summer basketball tournaments are veritable family reunions, and Highland Park, with its landmark Fort Hill Tower surrounded by weeping willow trees. While many fear that gentrification will eliminate the very charm and diversity that Roxbury is known for, newer residents say that, hands down, they’ve never lived anywhere friendlier.

Grove Hall

At the intersection of Blue Hill Avenue, Washington and Warren Streets, Grove Hall links Dorchester and Roxbury. Residents have been attracted to the area because of its proximity to Franklin Park. Grove Hall’s residential and commercial growth increased in 1870 after Dorchester was annexed to Boston, and became the heart of one of the city’s busiest commercial streets.

After several changes in the ethnicity of its residents and businesses, the new Grove Hall is a diverse community. Grove Hall Main Streets’ aim is to make Blue Hill Avenue Boston’s “International Avenue of Color.” Through City reinvestment, the neighborhood is again a vibrant commercial center. The Grove Hall Mecca Mall offers a variety of shopping opportunities.

Dining & Foods

Try one of the local eateries in Grove Hall and enjoy dishes that include barbecue, Caribbean, and good home cooking.


By MBTA: Orange Line to Ruggles Station, and take the #28, 23 or 19 bus to Grove Hall. Or, Red Line to Ashmont Station take the #23 bus to Grove Hall.

By Car: From I-93, take the Columbia Road exit. Follow Columbia Road, bearing to the left at the 2nd full set of lights. Continue straight to the intersection of Blue Hill Avenue. The entrance to Franklin Park will be in front of you – this is the beginning of the Grove Hall Main Streets District. Turn right on Blue Hill Avenue. At the second light you will be in Grove Hall.

Sights to See

Franklin Park

Boston’s historic Franklin Park, long considered the “crown jewel” of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace Park System draws over 500,000 visitors annually. It hosts events such as the annual West Indian Carnival, the Puerto Rican Festival, and the Kite Festival in May. Within the park is Franklin Park Zoo, home to more than 1,100 individual animals, representing 220 species; and the William Devine Golf Course, the city’s oldest public golf course.Paul Dudley MarkerThe Dudley Marker was one of nine such markers that measured the distance to Boston in colonial times.Prince Hall Masonic LodgeFounded in 1787 by Prince Hall, it was the first African Lodge of Masons in the United States. Prince Hall is one of the few lodges that still possess its original Royal Charter.

Public Transit Options

The Roxbury Crossing stop on the Orange Line, plus the Jackson Square and Ruggles stops just beyond the neighborhood’s boundaries

The Fields Corner stop on the Red Line is located in the opposite direction for those living near the southern boundary

Dudley Square on the Silver Line

The Uphams Corner and Newmarket stops on the Commuter Rail

Grocery Stores

Tropical Foods

450 Melnea Cass Blvd.

Stop & Shop

460 Blue Hill Ave.


330 MLK Jr. Blvd.

Daily Table

2201 Washington St.

Nubian Square photo via Wikimedia/Creative Commons


Who says Boston’s dining scene is confined to downtown? Dudley Café is always bustling, whether it’s with live jazz or a group of people knitting. Grab a steak and cheese at Ugi’s or Joe’s—everyone has an opinion on which is better—or a cold cut sub at Ideal’s. Residents and outsiders alike go crazy for food at Merengue, while their sister restaurant Dona Habana is becoming quite the hotspot. Slade’s and Fort Hill Bar and Grille are very popular, as is Darryl’s for brunch just outside the neighborhood in the South End. And you’ll always know summer is around the corner when you spot the Slushie Lady.

Did You Know?

If you were asked to guess the number of famous faces from Roxbury, we’d suggest aiming high. It was the birthplace of James Michael Curley, the controversial four-term mayor of Boston and one-term governor of Massachusetts, as well as basketball star Shabazz Napier, who was shooting three-pointers at the Roxbury YMCA at the age of 6. Orange is the New Black star Diana Guerrero wrote about growing up in the Roxbury/Jamaica Plain area (and the deportation of her parents) in her book In the Country We Love: My Family Divided. But perhaps the most famous son of Roxbury is Bobby Brown, who rose to fame with the ’80s R&B group New Edition. His former bandmates went on to form Bell Biv Devoe, known for hits like “Poison” and “Gangsta,” not to mention an excellent appearance on The Fresh Prince 

If you are interested in purchasing a property in Roxbury please click here to make an inquiry.

If you are interested in renting a property in Roxbury please click here to make an inquiry.