Upscale shopping and vibrant nightlife, set against Boston’s trademark historic charm.
The landscape of Back Bay was inspired by Paris; browsing shop-lined Newbury Street, dining at sidewalk cafés, and strolling along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall all channel the City of Lights. Originally the site of a true bay, early city planners filled in hundreds of acres of tidal flats to create this unique residential district, which has represented elegant living in Boston since the turn of the last century.
Situated within the heart of Boston alongside the Charles River, many of the city’s best shops and restaurants are clustered in this picturesque neighborhood. With an urban plan that mirrors Paris, Back Bay emanates a similarly sophisticated sensibility.
Cosmopolitan and polished.
Newbury Street has long been home to Boston’s most upscale shops. Its couturiers are clustered at the east end by the entrance to the Public Garden, led by haute local jeweler Shreve, Crump & Low. Further west, galleries and independent boutiques thrive alongside sidewalk cafés.
With walkable avenues and ample green space, the Back Bay is ideal for the active set. Often seen jogging or setting up a game of croquet on the Esplanade along the Charles River, its residents promote a sense of leisured playfulness.
Trendy restaurants, artisanal brews, hipster beards, and contemporary-cool urban flavor.
Back Bay is a blend of city-dwellers: CEOs, established professionals, and graduate students live side-by-side. The central location draws top doctors, lawyers, and other professionals to nest in brick townhouses, many of which have been converted into condominiums. Several of the brownstones retain their original owners, remaining in the hands of original Boston families who bought them in the Victorian era. Other buildings house graduate students studying at the nearby music conservatory or architectural college.
WHAT TO EXPECT
A sophisticated urban center with a residential feel.
The cluster of restaurants, shops, and cultural institutions centered in the Back Bay speak to its prime position within the city. Yet the area maintains a residential feel, with apartments perched amid Newbury Street boutiques. Back Bay residents have the city at their fingertips, from morning strolls past the willow-draped ponds of the Public Garden to evenings of outdoor dinners on Newbury Street and performances at Symphony Hall.
This urban hub isn’t known for its schools, family parks, or wide open spaces..
The Back Bay has several popular bars and restaurants, so music and conversations can often carry through the city streets at night. Weekends can bring high foot-traffic along Newbury Street and the Prudential shopping district, when the rest of the city gravitates towards the Back Bay in pursuit of the latest fashions.
Condominiums carved out of historic mansions and row houses abut stately single family townhomes along grand tree-lined streets and the Charles River.
Stately Back Bay is a lovely, yet expensive mixture of condominiums, single families, and rental apartments, with the rare co-op thrown in. Many buildings have elevators, but it’s not uncommon to have a fifth floor walk up to a prime home. Concierge and on-site superintendents are more common here than other parts of the city, but are still fairly unusual.
YOU'LL FALL IN LOVE WITH
Chic shopping on Newbury Street and verdant strolls through the Public Garden.
Back Bay’s tree-lined boulevards, boutique windows, and sidewalk cafés imbue the neighborhood with residential charm. As swan-shaped boats paddle slowly through the parks, residents are likely to sit and read on benches along poplar-lined boulevards, nodding hellos to dog-walking neighbors as they pass. Many of the homes have elegant carved oak doors, with manicured plots that lead up to them. Back Bay is also home to the historic Old South Church, a landmark example of Italian Gothic architecture that rests on the border of Copley Square.