Springfield, Massachusetts, population 152,000, is a city that is divided into seventeen different neighborhoods. It serves as the center of western Massachusetts, and is considered its transportation hub. It is often mentioned as the twin city to Hartford, Connecticut as they are physically close, and share a major highway.
Two predominant focal points in downtown Springfield are Court Square and Museum Quadrangle. Court Square consists of Symphony Hall and City Hall as well as the architecturally ornate Hall of Justice. The impressive Museum Quadrangle houses the Springfield Library & Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Springfield Science Museum, and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum among others.
Basketball originated in Springfield, and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is housed within its borders. The facility allows visitors to shoot hoops and learn the history of the sport. In southwest Springfield, Forest Park, with 800 acres of lawns, gardens and trails, is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. It is complete with swimming pools, tennis courts, horse trails and a zoo with over 200 animals.
Springfield is located in western Massachusetts along the banks of the Connecticut River, several miles north of the Connecticut border. Just north of Springfield is the city of Chicopee and Springfield is the southern end of the area in the state known as the Pioneer Valley, which includes Northampton, South Hadley and Amherst.