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Back Bay

Parisian boulevards and elegant brownstones conjure a truly romantic atmosphere, perfect for strolling and window shopping.

Back Bay, now one of Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods, was once a large swamp. Here gorgeous townhouses and historical sites stand alongside some of the trendiest shopping in town, as well as two of the city’s tallest towers. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon visit to this modern, chic and walkable area.

As you walk around the area, notice how the layout makes sense. In 1856, Arthur Gilman proposed a neighborhood plan based on the French model, with a flat orientation and a logically ordered street grid. Names of cross-streets are in alphabetical order. Notice the wide tree-lined boulevards inspired by Georges-Eugène Haussmann’s then-recent renovation of Paris, and a variety of beautiful stone townhouses. Back Bay’s lovely streets are perfect for strolling, stopping occasionally to admire the architecture or chat with residents. 

Explore the neighborhood by getting to know its two great walking streets. Newbury Street, once home to stables for the area’s houses, is now a shopping destination, with European-style boutiques and restaurants as well as the iconic music store, Newbury Comics. By contrast, Commonwealth Avenue is a grand boulevard in true Parisian style, lined with charming Victorian brownstones and street-side cafés. 

The diverse flavors and styles of Back Bay and downtown Boston are proudly displayed at nearby Copley Square, the neighborhood’s small but lively plaza. Take a seat and look around at a real marvel of architectural coexistence. Admire the proud Trinity Church of 1877, then see it again sumptuously reflected in the mirrored glass of the giant John Hancock Tower. The nearby Boston Public Library announces Boston as the “Athens of America” with its magnificent façade. Copley is also home to a smart fountain and a twice-weekly farmers market.

Use the subway to easily access Back Bay. After your visit, continue exploring the city’s many attractions: The Boston Public Garden, the Charles River Esplanade and the Prudential Center are all just a short walk away. Alternatively, stay in the area to sample some of the finest eating and drinking Boston has to offer.

Guide to Exploring Back Bay

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Boston Park Plaza

Boston Park Plaza

50 Park Plaza at Arlington Street, Boston
of 5, from 536 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in historic Back Bay, this hotel just completed a $100 million dollar renovation, and is 3 miles from Logan International Airport and 200 yards from the Boston Common and Public Garden. The hotel is easily accessible to Newbury Street shopping.

Back Bay Suites

Back Bay Suites

11 Hereford St., Boston
2.5 out of 5.0

Located in Back Bay, this apartment is within a 10-minute walk of Hynes Convention Center and Prudential Tower. Copley Place and Boston Public Library are also within 15 minutes.

Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston

Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston

138 Saint James Ave, Boston
of 5, from 510 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Boston's historic Back Bay, Fairmont Copley Plaza lies in the heart of the city's entertainment and shopping districts and alongside the Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, and Hancock Tower in Copley Square.

Copley Square Hotel

Copley Square Hotel

47 Huntington Ave, Boston
of 5, from 975 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Boston's fashionable and historic Back Bay is the setting for this fully renovated boutique hotel on Copley Square. Newbury Street shops are 2 blocks away, and both Boston Common and Fenway Park are within 1 mile. Hynes Convention Center is also nearby.

Loews Boston Hotel

Loews Boston Hotel

154 Berkeley Street, Boston
of 5, from 500 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located at the former Boston Police Headquarters building from the 1920s, the fully updated Loews Boston Hotel is in the Back Bay, 2 blocks from Copley Square, and 4 blocks from Boston Common and stylish Newbury Street.

Boston Common Hotel

Boston Common Hotel

40 Trinity Place, Boston
of 5, from 634 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in Boston's prestigious Back Bay neighborhood, this small hotel is 1 block from Copley Square, 3 blocks from stylish Newbury Street, and 6 blocks from Boston Common and the Public Garden.

The Midtown Hotel

The Midtown Hotel

220 Huntington Ave, Boston
of 5, from 883 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

This 159-room, 3-floor Boston hotel is 4 blocks from Prudential and Copley Place Malls. Boston Symphony Hall and Huntington Theatre are less than .3 mile away. Fenway Park and the Museum of Fine Arts are also within easy reach.

Boston Marriott Copley Place

Boston Marriott Copley Place

110 Huntington Ave, Boston
of 5, from 716 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This 38-story Boston hotel is adjacent to 2 malls and a convention center, forming 3 climate-controlled blocks of shops and restaurants; within a half-mile of major businesses.

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