Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood is a vibrant and thriving community with no shortage of amenities or conveniences. Whether you enjoy finding a quiet nook in the midst of the bustling city or want to be in the center of everything, you can find exactly what your heart desires in Back Bay. Running the length of Boylston Street from Arlington Street to Mass Ave, Back Bay offers an eclectic mix of fine dining, eye-opening architecture, affluent residences, and plenty of shopping.
Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood officially consists of 0.424 square miles and has a population of 11,366. The estimated population density is somewhere around 26,819 per square mile, which well exceeds Boston’s average of 12,906 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the neighborhood is predominantly Caucasian with some Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans, as well. While the neighborhood is fairly crowded, it’s also surprisingly quiet in the evenings as lots of families call Back Bay home.
Back Bay is a pretty tall area. You’ll find lots of high-rises, as well as the iconic Trinity Church with its steeple reaching towards the heavens. There are also a number of traditional Victorian brownstones and a handful of newer apartment buildings.
Back Bay arguably has one of the most unique histories of any distinct neighborhood in Boston. A century and a half ago it was covered in water – nothing but swampland. However, as the population of the city drastically increased, so did the demand for land. City planners undertook an enormous landfill project and turned the area into what it is today.
Interestingly enough, Back Bay is the only portion of the city to be designed with a genuine street grid pattern. Furthermore, finding your way through the neighborhood is easy, as cross streets are in alphabetical order (Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, etc.).
Back Bay is located in Downtown Boston, which means you probably should avoid getting there by car. Yes, it’s possible. Will you find parking? It’s difficult but not impossible if you’re ok paying for parking at a parking house. We would recommend avoiding to drive it it’s possible and instead take advantage of the multiple other transportation options.
You can easily get to, or travel from, Back Bay using the subway, or as the Bostonian call it, the “T”. Both the orange line and the green line are located in or near the border of Back Bay. You can also catch an AmTrak train from Back Bay Station.
In addition to driving and taking the “T” you can also use the bus as a transportation option as several routes service the area. If you’re just hanging around Back Bay for the day, you should be walking. Back Bay is a great area for walking, and you won’t be sorry you did either as the neighborhood has tons of things to offer easily accessible by foot.
- Boston University
- Northeastern University
- Emerson College
- Suffolk University
- Feel like going to a bar? If so you should definitely check out Sonsie. This place is a popular bar for the late-night trendy crowd.
- Craving some food? Specifically seafood? Head to Island Creek Oyster Bar on 500 Commonwealth Avenue. The restaurant dishes up some tasty (and expansive) seafood.
- Back Bay has tons of shopping opportunities for those who want to partake in that.The neighborhood is home to some of the best shopping in all of Boston. Newbury Street is lined with unique stores and shops, while Copley Place and The Prudential Center offer a little bit of everything.
- One thing you shouldn’t miss is checking out the Boston Public Library, which is one of the most well-known features of this neighborhood. Even if you don’t intend to study, work, or read, the library is still an interesting place to visit. Many people go for the guided tours or simply to get lost in the endless labyrinth of books.
- Back Bay is home to some great views. Either take a trip to check out some breathtaking views of Boston from the Prudential Center Skywalk or head to the Boston Common, one of the more popular parks in Boston. Additionally, head for a ride on the iconic Swan Boats in the public gardens across the Boston Common when in the neighborhood.
- West Back Bay is home to one of the world’s most iconic sports stadiums – Fenway Park – and Boston’s most beloved team – the Red Sox. Being in close proximity to Fenway Park also means you’re in the shadows of the oft-discussed Citgo Sign. So head to a game while you’re here!