Boston’s Combat Zone

In Boston, there’s an area known as the Combat Zone located in Chinatown, which was at one time legally zoned as an adult entertainment district. The Combat Zone derived its name from the port-of-call sailors who frequented Boston for hundreds of years. Later, the zone was codified and moved to Washington Street to make way for Boston’s new City Hall building.

During its heyday, in the 1980s, the area featured dozens of clubs and a nightlife that lasted well into the morning hours. Chinatown’s lifestyle was compromised due to the activity of the Combat Zone, but in recent years the Combat Zone has since declined due to a combination of community activism, development of quality Boston hotels catering to family, upscale restaurants and the advent of the Internet and home videos.

The Chinese culture in Boston, and in particular Chinatown now offers tourists an unprecedented glimpse into history, culture and character of the neighborhood. In the 1880s, the first Chinese immigrants arrived in Boston, pitched their tents and ever since have diligently worked at maintaining their culture despite the infiltration of the Combat Zone. Family, food and tradition now makes for a rich mix for tourists to explore. You’ll find Chinatown nestled between Downtown Crossing and the South End.

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