Back Bay is Boston’s quintessential historic neighborhood and as a result, is one of Boston’s biggest tourist destinations. Streets are lined with mature trees, elegant brownstones and splendidly decorated flower boxes that hang from windowsills. Brick sidewalks and boutique stores add to this neighborhood’s charm, with Newbury Street offering some of Boston’s most popular designer brands. Newbury Street, Boylston Street and Commonwealth Avenue run parallel to each other, but collectively, draw local and international visitors alike for their combination of retailers, salons and fine-dining restaurants.
High-end hotels and office towers fuel Back Bay’s daytime population. Boston Park Plaza Hotel and the Mandarin are among the most iconic hotels, and the world-famous John Hancock and Prudential Tower can be seen from miles away. The Hynes Convention Center is located directly next to the Prudential Tower and attracts numerous meetings and conferences given its unique location in the heart of the city.
The Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, the Public Garden and the banks of the Charles River are some of Back Bay’s most popular attractions. Not to be outdone is the Boston Marathon Finish Line located on Boylston Street, which has taken on new significance in recent years.
Back Bay is one of the few neighborhoods in the city that seems to run in a grid-like manner, with intersecting streets laid out in alphabetical order (Arlington, Berkley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, etc.). Perhaps this is because it is one of Boston’s newer neighborhoods; founded only in the mid-1800s after the “bay” was intentionally filled to add an additional 450 acres to city limits. It remains one of the most highly sought after neighborhoods in the city to this day.