The Whitney Guide to Back Bay

Just south of Beacon Hill, impressive Back Bay Boston features Victorian brownstones, chic boutiques, and waterfront pleasures — all in the center of the city. In the historic neighborhood, build to evoke Paris on North American soil, you’ll find high-end shopping on Newbury Street, upscale dining, and world-famous architecture. When it comes to sought-after sophistication, Back Bay rises above the rest.

Things to See

Take in the views from The Esplanade, Boston’s favorite riverside promenade that edges the Charles River. In Copley Square, see the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church, built in 1872 in Romanesque style. Behind it rises the large, contemporary John Hancock tower — aptly named after the US founding father who’s large, conspicuous signature on the Declaration of Independence became famous.

Things to Do

Go for a walk down Commonwealth Avenue, designed with a verdant median that leads to the Boston Public Gardens. Head to The Hatch Shell, Boston’s biggest outdoor concert and movie venue, located near The Esplanade. Summer festivals often happen in this beloved open-air attraction.

Food & Drink

Take a seat on a patio at one of Back Bay’s preferred dining destinations. The neighborhood’s mix of cafes, steakhouses, tapas bars, and trendy lounges offer something for everyone, from brunching to evening snacking. Saltie Girl (281 Dartmouth St.), a Barcelona-inspired seafood bar, is a Whitney-recommended spot for oysters. Japanese restaurant Uni (307A Commonwealth Ave.) lets you can cook your own wagyu beef on a tableside hot rock. At Bistro du Midi (272 Boylston St.), an upscale French restaurant, you can dine upstairs overlooking the Boston Public Garden.


Newbury Street in Back Bay is one of Boston’s favorite shopping destinations. Work your way from Armani to Burberry to Chanel — continuing all the way down the alphabet of luxury shopping. For familiar indoor shopping, head to The Prudential Center for more than 70 high-end retailers, like Club Monaco, Lacoste, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Ready to explore Back Bay Boston?

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