Back Bay

One of Boston’s most elegant areas, on the south bank of Charles River, is home to museums, historical landmarks, and luxury shopping.

Back Bay is an affluent section of Boston, full of great shopping, fine dining, and cultural institutions. It sits near Boston Common to the east and Massachusetts Institute of Technology across the river to the north.

As its name suggests, the area was once a bay, but this marshland was filled in and now it is among the city’s best turned-out neighborhoods, chock full of noble brownstones and tree-lined streets. Commonwealth Avenue (or Comm Ave, if you’re a local) was inspired by the wide boulevards of Paris.

History lovers will want to start at Copley Square, home to the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church. Both date back to the 1800s. The library is one of the most beautiful in America and was one of the first in the country to have free entry. Back Bay not only has this fine literary institution, it also has the Mary Baker Eddy Library, home to the Mapparium, a three-story globe you can walk through. Step inside the enormous sphere and test your geography skills.

Get an even broader perspective of the planet at the Skywalk Observatory, which sits at a height of 700 feet. From here, you can see for 100 miles across New England on a clear day. It’s not just about the views at the observatory, either. Explore Boston’s history through interactive exhibitions and audio tours.

Back Bay doesn’t just cherish past achievements, it’s also happy to celebrate the here and now. Forward-thinking fashion brands and designer boutiques have taken up residence along elegant Newbury Street. You’ll find local independent brands mixed in with the global luxury fashion houses, along with cocktail bars and fine dining restaurants. Bostonians flock to Back Bay to let their hair down, so expect everything from sushi counters to basement dive bars and jazz clubs hidden away down the smaller streets.

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