Back Bay

Sophisticated neighborhood with upscale shopping and dining

Welcome to Back Bay

Back Bay is a sophisticated Boston neighborhood with elegant historic architecture and upscale shopping and dining along Newtown Street and at Copley Square. Back Bay is a quintessential area of Boston featuring numerous major landmarks. Development of Back Bay began in the Charles River basin in 1859. Back Bay’s historic properties include distinctive rows of Victorian brownstones and grand 19th-century mansions along the Paris-inspired Commonwealth Avenue. The neighborhood also features some of Boston’s most sought-after luxury condominiums. Many of the Boston skyline’s most recognizable skyscrapers are located in Back Bay, including New England’s tallest building, the former John Hancock Tower now known as 200 Clarendon.

What to Love

  • Historic and contemporary landmarks

  • Luxury condominiums

  • Newbury Street shopping

  • Charles River Esplanade 

People & Lifestyle

Back Bay is one of Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods. Homes are just steps away from some of the city’s finest shopping and dining. There’s also outdoor recreation along the Charles River and beautiful historic architecture to explore at Copley Square. Back Bay’s historic homes and contemporary condominiums offer luxurious living spaces in one of the city’s most exciting neighborhoods.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Newbury Street is one of Boston’s premier shopping streets with eight historic blocks of designer boutiques, fashion brands, and art galleries. Retail highlights include stylish womenswear stores Joie, INTERMIX, and No Rest for Bridget and menswear specialists Alton Lane Boston and Indochino. Stephanie’s on Newbury is a favorite spot for patio dining with New England dishes, and Piattini pairs elegant Italian small plates and entrees with an excellent wine list. 

The Shops at Prudential Center Boston on Boylston Street features over 75 retailers, including brands such as Ann Taylor, Lord & Taylor, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Other retailers along Boylston Street include men’s clothing store Bonobos and a flagship Apple Store. The Four Seasons Hotel’s The Bristol restaurant and bar offers sophisticated dining breakfast through dinner. Stop by during the weekend for The Bristol’s brunch specials. 

The Copley Place shopping center on Hunting Avenue features premium fashion brands including Hugo Boss, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Chanel, Dior, Christian Louboutin, Coach, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffany & Co.

The Prudential Center features a similarly impressive lineup of retailers. Eataly Boston at The Prudential Center is an enormous Italian market, and the store sells every kind of imported Italian grocery imaginable alongside locally produced cheeses and several restaurants serving authentic Italian cooking. Unique local retailers include Trident Booksellers and Café, which offers an impressive amount of reading material to enjoy with a coffee. At Bodega, Boston’s hottest sneaker shop is hidden within what looks at first like an ordinary convenience store. 

This lively neighborhood has many unique nightlife spots. Bukowski Tavern is a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar with over 100 beers on sale. Champions at the Boston Marriott Copley Place is almost the Bukowski’s polar opposite, being illuminated with over 40 screens showing sports.

Things to Do

Copley Square is surrounded by landmarks, including 200 Clarendon and a number of significant historic buildings. Boston Public Library has a collection spanning more than 24 million items housed within a beautifully designed Italian Renaissance-style building. The 1873 Gothic Revival-style Old South Church and 1877 Romanesque Revival-style Trinity Church are two of the prettiest churches in New England. 

The Mapparium is an unusual local attraction featuring the world’s largest walk-in globe. The Mapparium was completed in the 1930s, and its frozen-in-time rendering of the world map adds to its curious appeal. The Charles River Esplanade runs for 17 miles along the banks of the Charles River. This beautiful area features multi-use trails, playgrounds, and community boat launches.

Schools

Back Bay belongs to the Boston Public School District. Highlights include:

  • Boston Architectural College, Private, Higher Education (oldest independent architecture school in the United States)

  • New England College of Optometry, Private, Higher Education (oldest optometry college in the United States)