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Back Bay in Boston

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Back Bay, Boston

Back Bay – One of the most expensive residential areas in Boston

Out of all the posh areas of the US, there is one that stands out in terms of history, culture and affluence – the Back Bay area of Boston. It is almost impossible to visit the city and not experience the richness, metaphorical and otherwise, of this famed area.

If ‘shopping’ is your sin, then you will love the Bay. The strip begins with Massachusetts Avenue with a string of downmarket shops like Urban Outfitters. As you move eastward alongside the strip, you will get to see more high-class shops like Banana Republic and Lucky Jeans. The strip ends on Arlington Street where you can shop at luxury stores, such as Cartier and Chanel.

The Back Bay area is also one of the most expensive residential areas of the city. The north of Newbury is an affluent section of this neighborhood. Commonwealth Avenue, Beacon and Marlborough streets house some of the most desirable residential properties around the city. It is impossible to visit Boston and not be charmed by the glamor of this upmarket and trendy place.

Victorian brownstones with warm front stoops and well-tended small gardens will take your breath away. Even though most of the buildings have been carved down to apartments, there are still quite a few single-family houses. The area also houses the best eateries of the city. You can dream of a new house while chilling on a Pinot at Stephanie’s on Newbury.  Sure, the price list will cause your jaw to drop, but then, dreams cost a little.

What’s more, you can also spot celebrities strolling around the area! That’s right; Back Bay is Boston’s very own Beverly Hills. The architectural wonder of the area, Trinity Church, has been “deservedly regarded as one of the finest buildings in America”.

Back Bay Location Map

Facts about Back Bay

  • It was a late 19th century filling project that actually transformed the Bay into the present day posh neighbourhood. Before this, it was actually a tidal bay with a marshy bed. 1857-1888 saw the undertaking of a massive project to fill this marshy bay. The Project concluded in 1900.
  • The plan of Back Bay was heavily influenced by the Renovation of Paris by Haussmann. This is why the Bay unlike other Boston locales, features rows of parallel wide tree-lined avenues.
  • The Boston Public Library is one of the most revered buildings in the area. It is regarded as the better-half of Trinity Church and was designed according to Beaux-Arts architecture by McKim, Mead and White.
  • Just across the street from Boston Public Library, you will get to see the beautiful Old South Church, which was designed in true Venetian Gothic fashion.
  • The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel on Copley Square was actually the Museum of Fine Arts which was shut down in 1909.

Where is Back Bay ?

The Back Bay is bordered on the north by the Charles River, to the south by South End. To the east, lies the Public Garden, another of Boston’s famous landmarks. To the west of the Bay lies Fenway-Kenmore. While the area between Commonwealth Avenue and Charles River consists mostly of residential houses, Newbury Street houses shopping centres.

The Bay is easily accessible from all sides. However it is a bad idea to drive, as Newbury Street, Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston are frequently congested. You can however take the Orange Line subway from the Back Bay station, at the border of South End. You will also get 10 and 39 buses here. The Green Line subway will take you to stops like Arlington, Copley, Hynes Convention Centre and Prudential.
Several buses service the area; however the No. 1 bus is the most useful to tourists as it connects the Bay with Harvard Square and Central Square in Cambridge. The Back Bay station is also served by the MBTA commuter rail and Amtrak trains.

Best time to visit Back Bay

The Back Bay witnesses a hot summer with a temperature of 80 degrees and extreme humidity. Winters are cold with temperatures falling to the low 20s. Fall and Spring have the most pleasant weather.

People from different places visit it all year round, so prices do not change much, except during peak months. Autumn sees vibrant colours while Spring notes the commencement of the Boston Marathon. Summer however sees the most tourists with a plethora of outdoor activities while winter brings on the cultural activities. April to June and September to October are generally considered the best times for tourists.

More about Back Bay

Nearby Attractions : Prudential Centre, John Hancock Tower, 111 Huntington Avenue, Arlington Street Church.


Published On: Monday, October 7th, 2013