Feather & Flint

Back Bay: 5 Must-Visit Boston Neighborhoods, Part I

January 29, 2017 24 Comments 22 Photos

I first moved to Boston to attend college in 2008; and as it has with many others, the city sunk its claws into my heart and has never let me leave. Over the course of eight and a half years in Boston, I’ve attended three schools, lived in three neighborhoods, worked eight jobs, taken thousands of pictures, made lifelong friendships, fallen in love, and ultimately decided to settle down here for the foreseeable future.

Boston travel guide

Boston from above

There are countless reasons why Boston is such an easy city to fall in love with. There’s an influx of brilliant people from around the world to its prestigious schools, keeping the city diverse and vibrant. It’s the perfect size for wandering, and you’ll fall in love with the historic buildings and rows of brownstones. Each season has its own beauty, from the stunning fall foliage to the lively summer energy and cozy winter warmth.

Boston travel guide

Commonwealth Avenue

I believe that anyone can feel at home in Boston; and to help you find a neighborhood to explore, I’ve put together this Boston travel guide to the must-see spots in my city. This week, I’ll show you Back Bay; next, be sure to check out every other Boston travel guide, covering 4 neighborhoods: Downtown BostonBeacon Hillthe North End, and the South End!

Boston travel guide

Commonwealth Avenue

Boston Travel Guide: 5 Must-Visit Neighborhoods

Back Bay

Boston travel guide

Newbury Street

Prior to the mid-1800s, Back Bay was, in fact, a bay. Thousands of trainloads of gravel from Needham, MA were responsible for the creation of one of Boston’s most-loved neighborhoods. There are many different ways to experience Back Bay: Go shopping or grab a bite to eat on Newbury and Boylston Streets; see the Charles River from the Esplanade or the Mass Ave Bridge; experience Commonwealth Avenue and the Public Garden in every season; or gaze at the famous Victorian brownstones on Commonwealth, Beacon, and Marlborough Streets. (Keep reading my Boston travel guide to discover the most photogenic streets to wander in Back Bay & 4 other neighborhoods!)

Boston travel guide

Dartmouth Street & Marlborough Street

Boston Travel Guide: Must-See Spots in Back Bay

Boston travel guide

Christian Science Center

Christian Science Center

Stop by the reflecting pool during the day, and again at night—it’s impossible to decide which is prettier! Be sure to snap a photo of the skyscrapers’ reflections in the pool.

  • 250 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
  • Closest T stops: Hynes (Green line – all branches), Symphony or Prudential (Green line – E branch)
  • Season: Spring, summer, fall
Boston travel guide

Christian Science Center

Boston travel guide

Charles River Esplanade

Charles River Esplanade & Massachusetts Avenue Bridge

See stunning views of Boston, Cambridge, and the Charles River from the Massachusetts Avenue bridge. Next, take a mile-long stroll down the Esplanade to Longfellow Bridge, pausing halfway to sunbathe or take pictures on the docks. (This is also where Boston’s 4th of July fireworks are held!)

  • Intersection of Massachusetts Avenue & Storrow Drive, Boston, MA 02115
  • Closest T stop: Hynes (Green line – B, C & D branches), or Charles/MGH (Red line) on the opposite end
  • Season: Summer, fall
Boston travel guide

Charles River Esplanade

Boston travel guide

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library

Through the entrance on Dartmouth Street, you’ll enter the McKim Building, one of my favorite places included in my Boston travel guide. You can have lunch in the Roman-inspired open-air courtyard, or read a book upstairs in breathtaking Bates Hall.

  • Main entrance: 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116; McKim Building: Dartmouth Street
  • Closest T stop: Copley (Green line – all branches)
  • Season: All
Boston travel guide

Boston Public Library

Boston travel guide

John Hancock Tower in Copley Square

Copley Square

You can find your way to Copley Square by following the John Hancock Tower, the tallest building in New England. Have a picnic lunch or read a book on the lawn, by the fountain, or on the steps of Old South Church.

  • Intersection of Boylston Street & Dartmouth Street, Boston, MA 02116
  • Closest T stop: Copley (Green line – all branches)
  • Season: Spring, summer, fall
Boston travel guide

Copley Square

Boston travel guide

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

This was the first public botanical garden in the United States, established in 1837. Come to see the tulips in the spring, or the scenic pond in any season. It’s also famous for the swan boats and Make Way for Ducklings statues.

  • Intersection of Commonwealth Avenue & Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116
  • Closest T stop: Arlington (Green line – all branches)
  • Season: Spring, summer, fall
Boston travel guide

Boston Public Garden

Boston travel guide

Commonwealth Avenue Mall

Commonwealth Avenue Mall

This is the green space in the center of Commonwealth Avenue, and it’s the perfect place to read a book in the summer. In the winter, the trees are lit with Christmas lights, and it’s one of the best places to see on my Boston travel guide.

  • Commonwealth Avenue, between Arlington Street & Massachusetts Avenue
  • Closest T stop: Hynes at one end (Green line – B, C & D branches), Copley in the middle (Green line – all branches), Arlington at the other end (Green line – all branches)
  • Season: All
Boston travel guide

Commonwealth Avenue

Boston travel guide

Clarendon Street

Boston Travel Guide: Back Bay Streets to Wander

Beacon Street
Boylston Street
Commonwealth Avenue
Marlborough Street
Newbury Street

Boston travel guide

Newbury Street

Boston travel guide

Dig Inn

Boston Travel Guide: Back Bay Restaurants to Try

Atlantic Fish Company

  • 761 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116
  • Closest T stop: Copley (Green line – all branches)
  • Meal: Dinner

Cafeteria

  • 279 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
  • Closest T stop: Hynes (Green line – B, C & D branches)
  • Meal: Dinner

Dig Inn

  • 557 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116
  • Closest T stop: Copley (Green line – all branches)
  • Meal: Breakfast or lunch

Douzo

  • 131 Dartmouth Street, Boston, MA 02116
  • Closest T stop: Copley (Green line – all branches), Back Bay (Orange line)
  • Meal: Lunch or dinner

JP Licks

  • 352 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115
  • Closest T stop: Hynes (Green line – B, C & D branches)
  • Meal: Dessert

Pavement

  • 1096 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215
  • Closest T stop: Hynes (Green line – B, C & D branches)
  • Meal: Breakfast, lunch, or coffee

Trident

  • 338 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115
  • Closest T stop: Hynes (Green line – B, C & D branches)
  • Meal: Breakfast or lunch
Boston travel guide

Dig Inn

Boston travel guide

Berkeley Street & Newbury Street

Liked this post? Be sure to check out the 4 other parts of my Boston travel guide: Downtown BostonBeacon Hillthe North End, and the South End!

Boston travel guide

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24 Comments

  1. Reply

    Molly Ho

    January 30, 2017

    It sounds like you have a lot of wonderful experiences and memories of Boston! I love all the photos and recommended places to visit, especially loving the vibe of Dig Inn. Looks like my kind of place.

    • Reply

      Robin

      January 30, 2017

      It’s such a cute place–and the food is just as good! Very California, so I can see why it would catch your eye 😉

  2. Reply

    Rose

    January 30, 2017

    Your photos of Boston on Instagram always make me want to visit! Thanks for the great travel guide!

    • Reply

      Robin

      January 30, 2017

      Thank you so much, Rose–hope you get the chance to use it someday! Boston is a great city 🙂

  3. Reply

    Divya@ Eat Teach Blog

    January 30, 2017

    I have actually never been to Boston. I almost moved there! But then I got into a school in LA and I wasn’t ready to spread my wings and be so far from my family. I hope to visit someday! These places look beautiful!

    • Reply

      Robin

      January 30, 2017

      Oh my gosh, what a coincidence! I moved here for college and didn’t even think about Boston once–I was just so set on getting into school that the city was not even a factor. But then over 8 years later, I’m still here because I loved it so much! Hope you get a chance to visit someday!

  4. Reply

    Holly

    January 30, 2017

    It’s been a few years since I’ve been in Boston but reading all of your great suggestions makes me want to visit again. Thanks for this great list!

    • Reply

      Robin

      January 30, 2017

      The city honestly changes so much every year–it gets better and better. Definitely come back, there’s so much to see!

  5. Reply

    Ellie

    January 30, 2017

    Oh my gosh I visited Boston with you parents when I was 7 and I remember loving it! I saw The Lion King there before any of my classmates back in the UK on I was pretty happy lol! Commonwealth Avenue is so beautiful and Beacon Hill and the brownstones. I can’t wait to visit again.

    Ellie
    http://Www.scotchandstilettos.com

    • Reply

      Robin

      January 31, 2017

      Those are two of my favorite streets to take hundreds of photos on, no matter the season! Hope you make it back someday!

  6. Reply

    candy

    January 31, 2017

    Boston seems to have managed to have the best of the old and the new come together and makes it work. One place I hope to visit soon.

    • Reply

      Robin

      January 31, 2017

      That’s exactly what I love about it! It’s about the closest as you can get to Europe in that way 🙂

  7. Reply

    RuthAnn Rafiq

    January 31, 2017

    What a beautiful photographic tour of this city! I’ve never been but now I really want to go!

    • Reply

      Robin

      January 31, 2017

      Thank you, that’s so nice of you to say! Definitely put it on your list!

  8. Reply

    Leighann

    January 31, 2017

    I love this! I’m a New Englander and I miss it!

    • Reply

      Robin

      January 31, 2017

      Thank you!! Glad I did it justice 🙂

  9. Reply

    Kristin

    January 31, 2017

    I have heard that Boston is lovely but I have never been! Your pictures make it look like what I’ve heard is true. It sounds cool!

    • Reply

      Robin

      January 31, 2017

      Thank you so much! It really is a lovely city – and it’s one that you just have to experience for yourself, because it’s hard to explain what a great vibe it has.

  10. Reply

    Kyle Studstill

    January 31, 2017

    That library shot is great—I used to go all the time to the main library reading room here in NYC but it has been closed for renovation for so long, and I didn’t know Boston had a beautiful one too until now!

    http://www.patientexplorers.com

    • Reply

      Robin

      February 1, 2017

      Thank you, Kyle! I’ve been to the NYPL too – just as stunning as Boston’s! I love how both libraries have so much more than you’d expect – so many rooms to discover, with so much history!

  11. Reply

    Kristine-Bites of Flavor

    February 1, 2017

    What a great post!! I’ve been dying to go to Boston and your pictures make me want to go sooner rather than later.

    • Reply

      Robin

      February 2, 2017

      Thanks so much, Kristine – I’m so happy to hear that! Absolutely put it on the top of your list!

  12. Reply

    Abbey

    February 2, 2017

    Boston looks beautiful! I’d love to visit the library someday! 🙂

    • Reply

      Robin

      February 2, 2017

      It’s such a lovely place, I hope you get to see it someday! (And I didn’t even show the courtyard – it’s amazing!)

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