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The landscape of Back Bay was inspired by Paris; browsing shop-lined Newbury Street, dining at sidewalk cafés, and strolling along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall all channel the City of Lights. Originally the site of a true bay, early city planners filled in hundreds of acres of tidal flats to create this unique residential district, which has represented elegant living in Boston since the turn of the last century.

Image by Michael Browning


Image by Alice Donovan Rouse


It's labyrinthine structure is a joy to get lost in; be sure to visit the cloistered courtyard, and join a free tour covering the library’s art and architecture.


Newbury Street has long been home to Boston’s most upscale shops. Its couturiers are clustered at the east end by the entrance to the Public Garden. Further west, galleries and independent boutiques thrive alongside sidewalk cafés.

Image by Liubov Ilchuk
Image by Michael Browning
Image by Josephine Baran


With walkable avenues and ample green space, the Back Bay is ideal for the active set. Often seen jogging or setting up a game of croquet on the Esplanade along the Charles River, its residents promote a sense of leisured playfulness.

For a start, you can go on a Swan Boat ride around the park's tranquil lagoon, toss bread crumbs to the resident swans and mallards, pose for selfies by thousands of brightly colored tulips each spring, and gaze at some of the city's most colorful foliage each fall.

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