The main areas where you can stay in Boston are in and around Downtown. In addition to these, there are others worth considering. Boston is an expensive city for accommodation, and especially the Downtown so it is interesting to have alternatives.
Boston, in Sufflok County (Massachusetts) is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Founded in 1630 on the Shawmut Peninsula by the so-called “Puritans” or radical splits of Calvinism, it soon became the most important colony in the so-called “New England” thanks to the activity of its port.
In the following centuries, it was the site of the most important events of the American Revolution: the Boston Massacre, the Tea Mutiny, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston.
In addition to these events, Boston is known worldwide for having founded the first American university (Hardward) in neighboring Cambridge in 1636, the first public school in 1635 (Latin School) and for having the oldest subway in the country.
Today, Boston is considered not only the old city but also the so-called Greater Boston or metropolitan area that reaches 7.5 million inhabitants, the sixth most populated region in the United States.
Both Boston and Greater Boston have one of the highest standards of living in the world, which affects prices for leisure and also for accommodation in Boston.
The best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Boston
Sleeping in Boston for less than $100 is difficult, especially in Downtown where the presence of four- and five-star hotels dominates.
To stay in Boston for affordable prices, all you have to do is move to towns like Brookline where there are bed and breakfasts for $80 or $90, or rent apartments among several people.
It is the oldest part of the city but also has the most modern buildings in the Financial District. It is perfectly connected to the rest of the city by four subway lines and is bordered on the north by the Charles River, on the west by Boston Common Park, on the south by Bay Village and on the east by Boston Bay.
In addition to being the headquarters of numerous companies, several government buildings such as the city hall or the federal government office are located in Downtown, as well as numerous tourist facilities, so there is little room for residential areas.
A first place of interest is the Science Museum, north of the neighborhood and over a large bridge that crosses the Charles River. At the end of that bridge is the TD Garden, the legendary Boston Celtics stadium.
Further south, it is also interesting to visit the new City Hall, which replaced the old one in 1968. The latter is located a few meters away and has been standing since 1713, when it was built to replace the previous city hall built in 1657.
Next to the old town hall is the exhibition Boston Massacre Site, which commemorates the attack on the American colonists by the British army. To the east is the New England Aquarium, on the edge of Boston on that side.
Precisely, following the line of the coast, one of the longest -not widest- parks of Boston is distributed: the Rose Kennedy Greenway, which surrounds the financial district. South of it, another place of interest is the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, located in a small port where the famous Tea Party took place and where, symbolically, people can throw bales overboard.
When it comes to shopping, you can get fresh produce at the Boston Public Market, or more touristy stuff at the large Faneuil Hall Marketplace, across from City Hall, where there’s also a famous market: the Quincy Market, built in the early 19th century, where street musicians gather and which still retains the architectural style of its time.
The list of restaurants is long, but one very special one is the Union Oyster House, north of Faneuil Hall, which serves typical New England dishes since 1826: fresh lobster, fish and clam chowder, the city’s star dish.
Besides this restaurant, there is a wide variety of them near St. Paul’s Cathedral, where you can also find the Orpheum Theatre. Finally, to finish the day, the most dynamic nightlife area is in front of the aquarium, with places like Coogan’s or Battery Park.
Of all the areas in the city, this is the best one to stay in Boston. It’s also the most expensive, so be prepared to scratch your pocket.
Accommodations in Downtown
Theater District & Chinatown
South of Boston Common Park, and on the western edge of Downtown are these two neighborhoods where the tourist offer is very varied. Despite its many attractions, this is a more residential area than Downtown, very well connected to the rest of the city and with somewhat lower prices to stay in Boston, although less supply.
As for the Theater District, west of Chinatown, it’s something like New York’s Broadway. Of the multitude of rooms, we must highlight the Boston Opera House, which replaced a similar one that closed in the Great Depression of 1929; the Modern Theater, acquired by Suffolk University, and the Paramount Center.
Not far from them, on Washsington Street itself, is the building where Edgar Allan Poe was born and a memorial statue of the great writer on Boylston Street and Charles.
Theater District is full of restaurants with all kinds of cuisines: German, Italian, Vietnamese and Chinese, because of the proximity of Chinatown. The district also offers nightlife, especially south of Boston Common Park, with places like Whisky Saigon or Royale.
Separated by Washington Street, Chinatown has a majestic entrance on Beach Street. In the neighborhood you can enjoy its excellent Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and Taiwanese restaurants, shop at the street stalls or buy a souvenir on Kneeland Street.
In the south there are many schools, medical centers, some hotels and the Chinese Community Center of the neighborhood. In terms of nightlife, the options are limited to restaurants and this is not a neighborhood with a great deal to sleep in Boston either.
Accommodations in Theater District
The Financial District is located within the Downtown area and is dominated by large skyscrapers that are, in fact, the main features of the city’s skyline.
Although there are still remains of the oldest Boston, such as the old city hall, the post office (built in the 19th century) and its park, or the Old South Meeting House where more than 5,000 settlers gathered to organize the Tea Booty, this is the most modern and least residential area of the city.
The number of accommodations is not very varied and is one of the most expensive areas to stay in Boston, with an average price that exceeds $200 per night.
One of the most visited buildings in the district is the Exchange Place complex, at 53 State Street. It is 155 meters high and stands out for the beauty of its blue glass walls.
Although it is mainly used for business purposes, you can go up to the Roof Deck, where there is a restaurant with a terrace and impressive views. From that spot, you can see another Boston tower: the Custom House, completed in 1910, which is 151 meters high and has a 360º viewpoint over a large clock.
The Financial District is also a great place to shop on streets like Summer and Washington Street, the southern edge of the neighborhood.
The variety of restaurants is also assured, although it can be interesting to try the local cuisine at The Bell in Hand Tavern, a place opened in 1795 by Jimmy Wilson and where, in addition to trying the local oysters, you can also buy hats or T-shirts as souvenirs.
Not far from there, to enjoy the Boston nightlife, is the Howl at the Moon, a popular concert hall that opens every day.
Financial District Hotels
This is one of the most beautiful residential areas of Boston because it retains the style of the late 18th and 19th centuries, especially between Beacon Street, almost on the banks of the Charles River, and Commonwealth Avenue. South of this, not so residential, are most of the accommodations, with prices somewhat lower than in Downtown.
To the northwest of the neighborhood you may also want to visit the Hatch Memorial Shell, a riverfront park where you can enjoy all sorts of free activities such as concerts. Back inside the neighborhood, beyond Commonwealth, are some interesting churches such as Boston Baptist Church, Covenant Church and Old South Church.
Other places of interest are the Boston Public Library building, opened in 1848, or the busy Copley Square, with a fresh produce market, Trinity Church and a statue in honor of John Singleton Copley, one of Boston’s first great painters.
As for shopping, the favorite place for visitors and locals alike is the Prudential Center, with hundreds of stores and a 360º observatory in the upper part of the complex.
In terms of restaurants, between Newbury and Boylston streets, the number is huge, both local and international. Highlights include Abe & Louie’s, for the best meats in America, or the Atlantic Fish Co, specializing in seafood. In this area you can also finish the night in places like the City Bar Back Day.
Hotels in Back Bay
Well connected to downtown Boston by the E and B subway lines, this neighborhood is known for its great cultural and academic offerings. The fact that there are 100 universities and colleges means that the supply of accommodation to stay in Boston for a few days is scarce and the neighbourhood is more residential, with a large presence of students.
In addition to the universities, the neighborhood is also famous for Fenway Gardens, a large green space where there is a botanical garden and the memorial of the Second World War. Another famous place, in front of the mentioned park, is the great Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It is also worth visiting the Legendary Headquarters of the Red Sox Baseball team.
In terms of restaurants, Brookline Avenue and Boylston have the highest density of locations, as well as shopping areas like the Target Department Store or the Landmark Center shopping and entertainment complex, where there are also some movie theaters, on both sides of Brookline.
To enjoy the Boston nightlife in this neighborhood, most of the nightclubs are concentrated in the former Red Sox Headquarters where there are discos both in front of the stadium and on its north side, and some others on Boylston St. such as Machine Nightclub.
East of Fenway – Kenmore and connected to downtown by the 93 freeway and the Orange Line subway, the district is characterized by being very residential and populated by a large number of young professionals, families and gay and lesbian population.
It is so residential, that it is not a popular area to stay in Boston since it has very few accommodations, except for a few Bed & Breakfasts in the northern area.
South End is also the district with the most parks and green spaces, including Peters Park, Blackstone Square and Franklin Square, and Ramsay Park. As for the most interesting streets, we must highlight Tremont and Columbus, avenues that still preserve in the area closest to the center the residential style of yesteryear but renovated to a more Victorian one.
A little further south, on Washington Street, is one of the most interesting buildings in the district: the Holy Cross Cathedral, the largest in New England and began construction in 1860.
It is precisely in the surroundings of the cathedral that the largest number of shops and restaurants are located, highlighting international cuisine (Spanish, Hindu or Italian restaurants) and local cuisine such as The Elephant Walk South End, on Washington Street.
To go out at night, however, there are several places further south, on Massachusetts Avenue, such as Wally’s Café Jazz Club.
Accommodations in South End
Saying North End is like saying little Italy, a very touristy neighborhood but at the same time very residential and with hardly any accommodations. If you choose to sleep in Boston an alternative you can consider to the shortage of hotels in the area are the apartments.
Located just north of Downtown, has several temples as the St. Stephen Church or the Old Town Church, built in 1723. Both are located in Paul Revere Mall Park where you can also visit the statue of the same name in honor of one of the heroes of the War of Independence.
To the north of this place, you should also visit one of the oldest cemeteries in Boston: Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, built in 1659. A last place of interest is the original house where the aforementioned Paul Devere lived and which can be visited.
But what makes North End stand out is the large number of Italian restaurants and shops. As for restaurants, we must highlight the Aqua Pazza, the Aria Trattoria or the Mamma Maria.
Of the many shops, we must highlight the bakeries and pastry shops where you can buy Italian products such as Bova’s Bakery, founded in 1926, and Mike’s Pastry, which has been operating since 1946.
North End Hotels
Separated from the rest of the city by Highway 93, this waterfront district, full of piers, has its tourist area to the north, where most of the accommodation is also located. The southern area, on the other hand, is much more residential.
In the northern area, right in front of the museum and the Boston Tea Party boat, there’s a children’s museum, and not far away, in the northeast, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and a little further south, the famous Harpoon Brevery brewery that has large tables to accommodate hundreds of customers.
But of all the places in South Boston that Southies are most proud of is the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, a gigantic 10-acre center where everything from concerts to world-class political and economic gatherings take place.
In the southern area, the coast and beaches such as M Street, a couple of miles long and with fine white sand, stand out. Also not to be missed is the famous Castle Island, home to Fort Independence, built by the first settlers. The area is located in a large park where there are also two beaches overlooking Pleasure Bay.
Besides the Harpoon Brevery, in South Boston there are other restaurants of interest on Broadway Street such as the Stats Bar & Grille or Lincoln Tavern. This street is part of the official circuit for the celebration of St. Patricks Day, which runs entirely through this district. Broadway Street is also the most recommended street for some shopping, especially for souvenirs.
Accommodations in South Boston
Totally residential and very beautiful, it barely has any accommodation. So as an option to stay in Boston it is not one of the best.
On the East side there are large government buildings such as the Massachusetts Government Office, the State Public Library and the municipal courts.
In addition to these buildings, on School Street, on the edge of Downtown, the first school in America was built, called the Latin School, now moved to 78 Louis Pasteur Avenue. Nearby is the statue of Benjamin Franklin and the Old Corner Bookstore in Readers’ Park.
In addition to elegant 19th century houses, Beacon Hill also has places of cultural interest such as the Museum of African American History or the Center for Jewish Culture. As for shopping, the most popular street is Charles, where small boutiques of cosmetics and clothes predominate, as well as numerous restaurants such as Panificio Bistro & Bakery or The Hungry.
Finally, you should not miss Cheers, opposite Boston Public Garden. And not because it’s an imitation of the brewery from the popular American series, but because in 1980, when the producers were looking for a place to take inspiration, they did so in this particular one, which opened in 1969.
Beacon Hill Hotels
It is the second oldest neighborhood in Boston, founded in 1628 and on the north bank of the Charles River. It is an entirely residential area and is connected to Downtown by the Charlestown Bridge.
Like the rest of coastal Boston, Charlestown has numerous docks and harbor activity. On one of these docks is the USS Constitution Museum, a place to learn about the country’s naval history since the early colonizations.
Also, this area is home to the Boston Naval Society and Boston National Historical Park. A little further inland is the Bunker Hill Museum and its monument in honor of the fallen in the Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the toughest battles between the British and the American Independence Party.
To the west of this area, on Main Street, travelers can find a number of restaurants such as Legal Oysteria (corner of City Square), in this case, specializing in local food of both fish and seafood and meat.
Finally, the city has several guided itineraries, including the Freedom Trail, which runs through 16 historically important places in the city on a four-mile route.
This route can be done with guides or on your own, since from the beginning (precisely on Bunker Hill in Charlestown) until the end at the Government Office, there are signs even on the ground so you don’t get lost.
Accommodations in Charlestown