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Back Bay
Back Bay

Back Bay

Boston, Massachusetts

The Basics

Back Bay is one of Boston’s most affluent residential, commercial, and leisure neighborhoods. Within an easy stroll, the enclave offers visitors the chance to admire impressive 19th- and 20th-century architecture, enjoy cosmopolitan eateries, and wander avenues lined with Back Bay’s trademark Victorian-era brownstone homes. Aside from these residential streets, popular draws include Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, Boston Public Garden, and Copley Place mall.

While it’s easy to explore Back Bay independently, a tour lets you dig deeper into its sights with a guide for added insight. Time-crunched travelers can choose tours that combine Back Bay with tourist sites such as the Freedom Trail, or private tours that let them select it as one of the attractions they want to see in a day. Otherwise, discover it on a city bike tour, explore it by pedicab, or focus on its architecture and popular wine cellars on a wine tasting tour.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Boston

star-5
Great tour
Ellen_C, Aug 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
Freedom trail history was my favorite experience on the walking tour. The guide was excellent and knowledgeable.
star-5
Great Freedom Trail tour!
William_T, Aug 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
Very interesting tour - Andrew was a great tour guide! We were most interested in learning more about the specific players and the role they played in the early days of the American Revolution.
star-5
Great intro tour to Boston
John_A, Aug 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
Great introduction to Boston. Great for kids 8 and up. Takes a little over 2 hours. Slow to moderate pace you do not have to be in great shape.
star-5
Fascinating and Unique Boston Facts!
Tricia_B, Jul 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
We had such a great time learning about Boston! Our guide, Andrew, was very knowledgeable and kept us laughing with cool stories about historical figures, some familiar, but many I had never heard of as well! My favorite part was learning about many women, left out of my history book, who helped to make Boston the great city that it is!
star-5
Entertaining and Informative!
Jennifer_M, Feb 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
It was a chilly and windy February morning, but we still thoroughly enjoyed this walking tour. Our guide, Alec, was entertaining and knowledgeable. We learned a lot about the historic sites during the freedom trail portion of the tour. We loved walking through Beacon Hill and Back Bay, and found ourselves spending the afternoon there after the tour was over. We highly recommend this experience!
star-5
Not your ordinary walking tour
Patricia_D, Jul 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
Our tour guide went off parts of the traditional walking tour so we could gain even more history of Boston. He was extremely knowledgeable and had many interesting details of the places and landmarks we visited.
star-5
Educational Experience for all!
annettecowhy, Jun 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the city. It is an educational experience for all ages. Great way to learn more about our US History. I would highly recommend this tour. However, one needs to remember this is a walking tour so there is extensive walking up and down the streets.
star-5
Wealth of Knowledge
seegerfam, Jun 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
Allen did a fabulous job with our tour. He was a perfect mix of history, architecture, fun and cleverness. He also was a wealth of knowledge. We would highly recommend this walking tour.
star-5
Tour guide was very...
Carla_S, Jun 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
Tour guide was very thorough. Lots of details shared. Tour was good length. Weather was perfect. Enjoyed the tour.
star-5
Great tour
Deborah_O, Jun 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
Allen was our guide and full of facts. Tour was a combo of architecture and history. Easy walking and small enough tour to hear guide.
star-5
Best of Boston
Tish_A, May 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
Alan was exceptional in sharing the rich history of Boston. He was patient, kind and knowledgeable. The tour showed us so many wonderful highlights. We would highly recommend.
star-4
Andrew was a great guide....
Mark_J, May 2022
Walking Tour: Downtown Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square/Back Bay
Andrew was a great guide. Really enjoyed the info on everything we saw. His commentary was very entertaining
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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Back Bay will appeal to history, architecture, shopping, and culinary aficionados.
  • Most of the area is accessible to stroller and wheelchair users.
  • Book a tour to uncover particular aspects of the bay, such as its brownstones or its wine and food scene.
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How to Get There

Bounded by the Charles River to the north, Copley Place to the south, and Boston Public Park and Charlesgate Park to the east and west, Back Bay centers on Boylston Street, Newbury Street, and Copley Square. Get here by Boston’s “T” system; taking the Orange or Green subway to stops including Copley, Boylston, Prudential, and Back Bay. Heavy traffic makes driving difficult, but there are paid garages available.

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Trip ideas


When to Get There

There’s no particularly good or bad time to visit Back Bay. Summer is perfect for meandering roads such as Newbury Street, as are the evenings, when the area’s restaurants and bars come alive. Shoppers can roam Copley Place mall—typical opening hours are 10am-8pm—while sightseers can enjoy attractions such as Boston Public Library and Boston Public Garden, which are open daily.

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The Backstory on Back Bay

Just 200 years ago, Back Bay consisted of the Charles River’s tidal flats. During the 1800s, the land was reclaimed and turned into a grid of Parisian-style avenues flanked by terraced brownstone mansions. These sturdy Victorian-period houses are now considered some of the US’ best examples of 19th-century urban design.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Back Bay?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Boston?
A:
As well as visiting the Back Bay, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: