Are you trying to decide where to stay in Boston? I’m a Boston, Massachusetts local here to help.
Boston is home to some of the best attractions in Massachusetts and there are so many areas worth exploring. It’s a city with a rich history, scenic parks, and fantastic museums.
This guide covers all the best places to stay in Boston. This way, you can pick the right area and hotel based on your travel style and reasons for visiting.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
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Best Places to Stay in Boston
Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Boston? Here are my top picks:
- 🏆 Best Overall Hotel – Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street
- 🗺️ Best Location in Downtown Boston – Courtyard Boston Downtown/North Station
- 💎 Best Luxury Hotel – XV Beacon
- 👪 Best Hotel for Families – Boston Marriott Copley Place
- 💻 Best Hotel for Business Travelers – Mandarin Oriental Boston
- 🛎️ Best Boutique Hotel – The Whitney Hotel Boston
- ⛵ Best Near Boston’s Waterfront Harbor – Boston Harbor Hotel
- 🛍️ Best Hotel for Shoppers – The Newbury Boston
- 🛏️ Best Budget-Friendly Hotel – The Revolution Hotel
- 🏨 Best Hotel with an “It Scene” – The Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Boston:
10 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Boston
Boston sits on the Shawmut Peninsula and is largely surrounded by water. The best places to stay include the neighborhoods on this peninsula, as well as some of the surrounding areas.
Each neighborhood in Boston has its own style and vibe. Boston is also a compact city that’s well-connected by public transportation. My top recommendation for where to stay in Boston is Back Bay.
Here are ten of the best Boston neighborhoods I suggest you consider when planning your visit.
Back Bay is a historical neighborhood with picturesque streets. It is one of the most fun areas in Boston and I highly recommend it for first-time visitors.
Bostonians and tourists alike spend a lot of time in Back Bay. It is well connected by subway via the Arlington Station. It is walkable to upscale shops, art galleries, bars, and cozy restaurants in the neighborhood.
The historic shopping district on Newbury Street is my favorite part of Back Bay. It provides airy eateries housed in 19th-century brownstone houses.
My top suggested hotel in this area is The Newbury Boston. It is a newly restored historic property with ultra-stylish boutique private rooms. Locals flock to its rooftop restaurant, Contessa. It offers Northern Italian dishes with a stellar view of Boston Common and the Public Garden.
Pros of Staying in the Back Bay Neighborhood:
- Plenty of upscale boutique shops
- Trendy restaurants and bars
- Quick walk to the Public Garden
Cons of Staying in the Back Bay Neighborhood:
- Street parking is tricky
📚 Back Bay Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for First-Time Visitors
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Back Bay
Cambridge is not technically part of Boston but it’s located just across the Charles River. This small city is home to charming squares and two prestigious universities–Harvard University and MIT.
These universities mixed with the area’s rich history have made Cambridge an enthralling tourist destination and a good option for where to stay in Boston. Staying in Cambridge is a great choice for those interested in academia. Cambridge caters to all interests: art, culture, science, technology, literature, and history.
The Charles Hotel is a top-rated hotel in Cambridge. It’s been a home base for academics, politicians, artists, parents, and celebrities. The Charles Hotel is part of Harvard Square, which is a particularly popular neighborhood due to its vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene (that’s on par with Boston’s!).
Pros of Staying in Cambridge Neighborhood:
- Family-friendly museums to explore
- Close proximity to Boston
- Easy to get around via biking, walking, or public transportation
Cons of Staying in Cambridge Neighborhood:
- Can get congested with tourists and locals
📚 Cambridge Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Academia & Universities
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Cambridge
The Seaport District (also called South Boston Waterfront) is a waterfront neighborhood that was once full of abandoned warehouses. Today, it’s transformed into one of the coolest neighborhoods in Boston with great views of the Boston Harbor.
You’ll find plenty of high-rise towers and tons of green space in the Seaport District. It’s buzzing with bars, tons of restaurants, and a cool mini golf spot, Puttshack.
One of the best ways to enjoy Seaport is to spend your day people-watching, enjoying harbor views, and shopping at the pop-up village. I also recommend checking out one of Boston’s best rooftop bars, Lookout Rooftop and Bar.
Yotel Boston is my top hotel recommendation for where to stay in the Seaport District. It’s in a great location and within walking distance to many family-friendly attractions including the Boston Children’s Museum (my daughter’s favorite).
Pros of Staying in Seaport District Neighborhood:
- Easy to wander around
- Tons of great shopping
- Great places for food and drink
- About a 10-minute drive to the Logan International Airport
- Accessible with MBTA Station (Silver Line)
Cons of Staying in Seaport District Neighborhood:
- Can be expensive
📚 Seaport District Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Harbor Views
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Seaport
Downtown Boston is where to stay in Boston if seeing historical attractions is your priority. Iconic historic sites such as Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Paul Revere House, and the Old State House can be found along Freedom Trail. Downtown’s Theatre District is also home to some of the most historic stages.
The area of Downtown Crossing is dotted with department stores and trendy restaurants. Yvonne’s is one of my favorites. It’s a fantastic restaurant hidden behind a faux hair salon and it offers a truly memorable dining experience.
Stay at the Hyatt Centric Faneuil Hall for a true taste of Boston’s flavor and culture. It is strategically placed just off of State Street. This hotel is just a short walk from the buzz of Downtown Crossing’s restaurants, shopping, and theatre district. It’s also close to historic buildings like Quincy Marketplace.
Pros of Staying in Downtown:
- Prime location
- Close to many attractions
- Rich in cultural experiences
- Easy to get around with public transportation
- Best area in Boston for nightlife
- About a 10-minute drive from Logan Airport
Cons of Staying in Downtown:
- Heavy traffic congestion
- Street parking is difficult
📚 Downtown Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Historical Attractions
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Downtown Boston
South End is a stylish neighborhood in Boston. It is one of my favorite areas in the city because it is super walkable and offers great restaurants and parks.
South End is often recognized as Boston’s best neighborhood for foodies. Acclaimed Boston restaurants such as the Greek restaurant, Kava Neo-Taverna, are continuously packed.
South End is ideal for small kids thanks to its adorable playgrounds. My daughter and I love to explore the neighborhood’s parks, hidden gardens, and tiny bakeries.
Stay at the Revolution Hotel located in the heart of South End. It’s a great home base for travelers because the hotel offers a variety of room types for different budgets.
Pros of Staying in South End:
- Tons of highly acclaimed restaurants
- Easy to get around on foot
- Pockets of parks, playgrounds, and hidden gems
Cons of Staying in South End:
- There are no MBTA train stops in the South End
- Can be difficult to find street parking
📚 South End Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Foodies & Families
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in the South End
Back Bay Fens
Back Bay Fens is located within the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood. This is hands down the best place to stay in Boston if you’re a Red Sox fan or visiting for a concert.
Walk down Landsdowne Street for a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park or a concert at MGM Music Hall or Citizens House of Blues. You can also enjoy the sports bars and restaurants that surround Fenway Park.
Conveniently located adjacent to Fenway Park is the Verb Hotel. This hotel is a cool place to stay in Boston for music lovers. It houses an extensive vinyl library for guests to use exclusively. Try the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant, Hojoko, a lively Japanese izakaya serving amazing drinks. Their pork and shrimp potstickers are a must!
Two of Boston’s most famous museums are within walking distance from Back Bay Fens: the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Pros of Staying in Back Bay Fens:
- Features community gardens, river walks, and athletic fields
- Home of the Boston Red Sox
- Great music venues
- Easy to get around on foot
- Lots of restaurants, shops, and bars
Cons of Staying in Back Bay Fens:
- Highest-density neighborhood in Boston
- Very congested during rush hour
📚 Back Bay Fens Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Boston Red Sox Fans & Concerts
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Back Bay Fens
Beacon Hill is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods to stay in Boston. It is full of picturesque streets with cobblestone alleyways, gas street lamps, and bay-view windows.
Beacon Hill is the perfect place for wandering and enjoying long strolls on your trip to Boston. Don’t miss beautiful Acorn Street while exploring Beacon Hill, it’s the most photographed street in all of Boston!
The Massachusetts State House is another notable place to visit. It’s just across the street from Boston Common and can be easily spotted by its gold dome.
The Liberty Hotel is a great choice for where to stay in Boston if you’re considering the Beacon Hill neighborhood. The Liberty Hotel was formerly the old Charles Street Jail.
Today, it’s a unique luxury boutique hotel and the perfect example of the Boston magic that happens when the old meets the new. Be sure to check out the Liberty Hotel’s three restaurants: Alibi, Clink, and Scampo.
👉 Local Tip: Learn more about Beacon Hill by taking a free walking tour down the Black Heritage Trail. This trail guides you through the lives of African Americans of Beacon Hill during the 19th century.
Pros of Staying in Beacon Hill:
- Rich in history
- Three MBTA subway lines run through Beacon Hill (Green, Red, and Blue)
- Close to Massachusetts General Hospital
- Easy to navigate on foot
- Relatively safe
Cons of Staying in Beacon Hill:
- Cramped streets
- Difficult to find parking
📚 Beacon Hill Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Picturesque Streets
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Beacon Hill
Somerville is a nearby city that feels like an extension of Boston. Somerville is just north of the city. It’s a great choice for where to stay in Boston if you enjoy off-beat culture and an eclectic atmosphere.
Somerville’s Davis Square has become one of Boston’s best dining neighborhoods and is a popular area to explore. Here, you can enjoy food ranging from Mexican feasts and family-style Tibetan dishes to fall-off-the-bone BBQ.
Book a stay in the Row Hotel at Assembly Row. The location can’t be beat. Here you will find shops, new restaurants, and an MBTA stop on the Orange Line.
There is a 6-acre park and playground to enjoy along Mystic River. There is also an AMC Theater, and a LEGO Discovery Center, which is a hit with young families. My daughter and I enjoy spending some of our days here.
Pros of Staying in Somerville:
- Close to downtown Boston via car or public transportation
- Trendy restaurants and bars
- Innovative community
Cons of Staying in Somerville:
- Traffic in and around Somerville can get busy
📚 Somerville Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for an Eclectic Atmosphere
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Somerville
Copley Square is one of Boston’s central meeting grounds and a great area to stay within the Back Bay neighborhood. It is located right on Boylston Street, where the Boston Marathon Finish Line can be found. The street is lined with busy shops, bars, and restaurants.
Copley Square’s fountain and lawn are great places to unwind and people-watch. There is a pool, flower beds, and benches for relaxation. There’s also a farmers market that takes place on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The architecture in Copley Square is captivating and steeped in history. The square is anchored by Trinity Church and the very modern John Hancock building. These buildings make a beautiful contrast in Boston’s skyline.
This square is home to the Boston Public Library, the country’s first municipal library. It is framed by the very elegant Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. This hotel has been a luxury downtown landmark in Boston since its doors opened in 1912.
Pros of Staying in Copley Square:
- Close to the shopping district of Newbury Street
- Full of Boston history and institutions
- Easy to navigate by foot
- Accessible by the MBTA Copley Square Station on the Green Line
- About a 15-minute drive from the Boston Logan Airport
Cons of Staying in Copley Square:
- Traffic in and around Boylston Street can be very busy
- A lot of foot traffic with locals and tourists
📚 Copley Square Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Boston History
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Copley Square
🎟️ Top Attractions – Old South Church, Boston Public Library, View Boston, John Hancock Tower, Prudential Center, Trinity Church, Boston Duck Tours, Copley Square, Symphony Hall, Boston Marathon Finish Line
North End is a wonderful neighborhood for history and culture. It is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Boston. I think the historic buildings make it one of the prettiest, too.
North End is adjacent to historic sites like Quincy Market and Old North Church. It is Boston’s traditional Italian neighborhood. You will find plenty of Italian markets, restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. My favorite stop for a cappuccino and biscotti is Cafe Vittoria.
Stay at the Boston Yacht Haven Hotel. It is a beautiful waterfront hotel on the Boston Harbor. The hotel is a short walk from endless restaurants, shopping, bars, and attractions.
Pros of Staying in North End:
- Kid-friendly neighborhood
- Accessible via public transportation on the Orange Line, Blue Line, or Green Line
- Near the North Station for commuter rail lines and intercity service
Cons of Staying in North End:
- Heavy tourist area
- Street parking is quite difficult
📚 North End Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for History & Culture
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in North End
Tips for Staying in Boston
Budget for Your Trip
I recommend doing some budgeting in advance for your trip. Boston isn’t the cheapest place to visit, so it’s smart to plan ahead. My local tip is to check museum ticket prices to see which nights have complimentary admission or discounted tickets.
Book Accommodations Far in Advance
Hotels can book up very quickly in Boston. Especially during the spring, summer, and fall. Save yourself the hassle by booking your hotel as soon as you can.
Make Dining Reservations and Purchase Tickets in Advance
Getting a table at a trendy restaurant can be hard to come by in Boston. Many restaurants require a reservation at least a week in advance. Some museums and attractions require timed tickets, too. Plan and book as far ahead as possible.
Stay Near an MBTA Station
Boston is well-connected via public transportation. Consider staying near a T station if you plan on hopping from area to area. Staying near a station will simplify getting around in Boston.
Be Mindful of What Time of Year You Visit
Spring and fall are the best time to visit Boston. The temperatures are comfortable and the foliage is changing or the flowers are blooming. Summers can get hot and humid, but there are fun events across the city. Winters are brutal, cold, and snowy. However, winter is the slowest season to stay in Boston so there are cheaper hotel rates.
FAQs About Where to Stay in Boston
What are the best areas to stay in Boston for first-timers?
The best area to stay in Boston for first-timers is Back Bay. It is conveniently located in central Boston and within walking distance of beautiful parks, shopping, dining, and nightlife.
What are safe areas to stay in Boston?
Is it better to stay in Back Bay or Downtown Boston?
It is better to stay in Back Bay. It is close to downtown yet further from tourists and crowds. From here, you can easily walk or take the MBTA to quickly reach downtown.
Where is the best place to stay in Boston without a car?
The best place to stay in Boston without a car is Back Bay. It has a central location with plenty of shopping and dining. It is also a safe neighborhood with great public transportation.
Where is the most lively area in Boston?
The most lively area in Boston is Downtown Boston. It’s vibrant and offers some of the best nightlife due to the college student population.
Thanks for reading this guide on where to stay in Boston! It’s a compact city, but there is so much to see and do. Check out our guide to day trips from Boston for more ideas on places in the area.
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