200 Clarendon (John Hancock Tower)
It's hard to miss this 62-story glass-covered skyscraper while touring the Back Bay. Guided walking tours, private chauffeured tours, and even self-guided scavenger hunts should offer views of this architecturally-distinct tower. As you see the building from various angles, its parallelogram shape and blue-tinted panels create lovely reflections. Bike and pedicab tours may offer views of 200 Clarendon from more than one side and include stops at nearby sights like Fenway Park and Copley Square.
Things to know before you go
- The once-popular observatory deck atop the tower is now closed to the public, but may be booked for private events.
- The Blue Glass Café is located on the first floor; it's a fitting stop for a no-frills snack.
- See more of the East Coast in less time with a multi-city tour; some tours include stops in Boston, New York, and Washington DC.
How to get there
200 Clarendon is just a short walk from the Back Bay transit station, which is well connected to public transit lines that can get you across Boston and beyond. Amtrak trains, commuter rail trains, and MBTA subway trains stop here. To reach 200 Clarendon via public transit from within Boson, plan to use the MBTA orange line, or hop on the 30 or 170 buses. The tower is three blocks away, on St. James Avenue.
When to get there
Though you can admire 200 Clarendon night or day, a daytime visit is best to enjoy the spectacle of its reflective glass exterior, and pair a visit to the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church. If you're planning to enjoy a snack at the café, you can avoid the crowds by skipping the lunch rush, and stopping by mid-morning or late afternoon.
Visiting the Mary Baker Eddy Library
Just about a 10-minute walk from 200 Clarendon and across Christian Science Plaza, you can find the Mary Baker Eddy Library, a charming library and museum named for one of Boston's most important 19th-century thinkers. The main draw here is the Mapparium, a multi-story glass globe that you can walk through. Since photography isn't allowed, you need to actually visit this singular attraction to admire the craftsmanship and check out the light show.
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