Walking through the Back Bay is a step back in time to the 19th century. Beautiful rows of Victorian brownstone homes line the neighborhood streets, perfectly preserved and now coveted among the most affluent residents of Boston. Not to mention, this district also boasts other great notable city icons, such as Newbury Street, the Boston Public Library and Copley Square.
The namesake comes from the area itself, as the land used to not exist and the Back Bay was covered by water. Before filling projects took place in the 19th century this was mostly an area for shipping. To expedite the process, a railway for nearby town Needham was constructed to bring in gravel and land to start building out the new city space. The completed project ended up doubling the Shamut Peninsula in size. When building planners came in, they used inspiration from Paris to lay out wide avenues and parallel, tree-lined streets, which was unique to the city at the time.
It’s difficult to experience everything the Back Bay has to offer in a short visit. History buffs will want to first swing through Copley Square to see the stunning Trinity Church and Boston Public Library. Overhead is the architectural feat of the John Hancock Tower covered in glass. Guests can shop nearby at the Prudential Center mall, or they can venture a few blocks up to Newbury Street – Boston’s paradise of luxurious boutiques and businesses.
As one of the most chic and popular places to hang in the city, there’s also plenty of hotels to cater to the traveling crowd so they can be in the center of it all. The best can be found centered around Copley, including the Marriott, Fairmont and Westin. The Lenox Hotel, Taj Boston and Beacon Back Bay are also options centrally located near Boston Common and Copley Square.
From the hotels are a wealth of top restaurants and bars at your fingertips. Everything from make-your-own charcuterie plates at the Salty Pig to wonderful Italian pastas at Giacomo is offered in the Back Bay. There’s also options for vegetarians at Sweetgreen and for seafood lovers at the new Ostra on Boylston Street. For a drink later into the evening, some of the top spots to imbibe include The Oak Bar at the Coley Plaza and Bukowski’s for craft beer. More than one hundred restaurants, cafes and bars are in this vibrant neighborhood.
Every spring, one of the Back Bay’s most famous events takes place – The Boston Marathon. Although the starting line is in the town of Hopkington, the grand finish is in Copley Square every year. During the same month is the annual Greek Independence Parade along Boylston Street. During Boston Pride the Back Bay hosts a massive block party featuring top DJs and entertainers. Continuing into the summer is several Fourth of July celebrations throughout Boston, such as the Pops Goes the Fourth on the Charles River, technically in the Back Bay.