Yelp Wordmap Shows “Tourists” Right Where You Think They’d Be

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And that red blob on Beacon Street between Charles and Arlington is, you guessed it: Cheers.

Yelp, the ubiquitous service and venue review platform, yesterday unveiled Yelp Wordmap, a quirky tool that displays the density of popular (polarizing?) adjectives on city maps by their frequency of use within reviews. Boston is one of 14 cities to be included in Wordmap’s launch (sister site We Love DC can dig into their map too). Visitors and locals alike can draw some quick conclusions on neighborhood characteristics.

The search terms are tailored to each of the 14 cities, though the Yelp blog does not describe how words were chosen. Unique to Boston is a mapping for “chowder,” though we miss out on New York’s “kosher” and London’s “curry.” Meanwhile, terms such as “hipster,” “bacon,” “tourist” and “yuppie” show up in many cities.

The terms “PBR” and “hipster” have a strong correlation, particularly north of the river. Even with our Shite Sixteen dive bar competition in mind, I’d forgotten how many dives serving cheap PBR were in the Financial District, like Biddy Early’s and JJ Foley’s.


On to food distinctions that show the prevalence of Asian restaurants along the college corridor of Commonwealth Avenue and the major Cambridge squares. In short, “noodles” are much more widespread than “pasta.” You have to go to the North End for the latter, or the weird spot northwest of Davis Square. I’m guessing that is solely due to the presence of Dave’s Fresh Pasta, which alone has 454 reviews. What I’d really like to know is, where do you go for stir fry noodles if you live in the North End? I suppose you have to walk all the way to Chinatown.


Most surprising is that “pricey” and “cheap” appear in almost exactly the same geographies with the same density.* Apparently one man’s Gilded Truffle is another man’s Krusty Burger. More likely, it’s just that these are just oft-used descriptions in Yelp reviews across the board, and we’re simply looking at neighborhoods that attract lots of reviews overall.

*An exception, unsurprisingly, is a blobby, costly “T” running up through the South End on Clarendon Street and crossed by the Newbury and Boylston corridors.


We’re big fans of maps in these parts, whether they’re alternate visions for the T and commuter line, “true” place names, or where to find high ground when sea levels rise due to climate change. Check out the Yelp Wordmap for yourself; you don’t have to take my word for it.