5 AMAZING Neighborhoods and Areas in Boston (2019)

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One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston is a cultural gem.

It has a rich history, incredible culinary scene, fun and exciting nightlife, and it’s a great sports city. For curious travellers, Boston is definitely a must-see.

But Boston can be a shockingly expensive city and finding budget accommodations can be a challenge.

That’s why we wrote this guide to where to stay in Boston, to help you find a neighbourhood that fits your interests AND your budget.

Whether you’re looking to party all night long, walk the Freedom Trail, or simply enjoy a cheap and cheerful trip, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ll share with you our best-kept secrets and Boston’s hidden gems – some of which will certainly surprise you.

Let’s get to it. Here are our recommendations for where to stay in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

 

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Boston

  • Where to stay in Boston first time – Back Bay
  • Where to stay in Boston on a budget – Downtown
  • Best area to stay in Boston for nightlife – Chinatown
  • Coolest place to stay in Boston – South End
  • Best neighbourhood in Boston for families – Jamaica Plain

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

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Back Bay
If you’re visiting Boston for the first time, there’s no better neighbourhood than Back Bay. Centrally located and well connected, Back Bay is close to everything.
Places to Visit:
  • Marvel at the world-famous, three-story stained-glass globe at The Mapparium
  • Browse the shops, bar and restaurants that line bustling Boylston Street
  • Watch the game and drink a few pints at The Pour House Bar and Grill

 

Where to Stay in Boston

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Boston.

 

Best Hostel in Boston: HI Boston

Located in Downtown Boston, the HI Boston is the best hostel in the city. It is close to restaurants, shops, bars and clubs. Public transit is nearby and it is a short walk to the city’s top landmarks. This hostel has private rooms and bathrooms, and a common room with a pool table, TV and laundry facilities.

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Best Hotel in Boston: Hyatt Regency Boston

Our pick for the best hotel is the Hyatt Regency. Located in Chinatown, this four-star hotel boasts an incredible pool, an in-house restaurant and a stylish lounge bar. It has 502 modern and spacious rooms and a relaxing sauna. The Hyatt Regency is conveniently located for exploring Boston’s best neighbourhoods.

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Boston Neighborhood Guide

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Boston

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Back Bay

  • If you’re visiting Boston for the first time, there’s no better neighbourhood than Back Bay. Centrally located and well connected, Back Bay is close to everything.
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Downtown

  • Downtown is far and away the most iconic neighbourhoods in Boston. It is home to a number of historic sites and cultural gems, including Boston Common and Boston Public Gardens.
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Chinatown

  • Chinatown is a small but vibrant neighbourhood located in central Boston. It is the fourth largest Chinatown in the United States and this neighbourhood is home to incredible restaurants and colourful shops.
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South End

  • Boston’s South End neighbourhood is one of the most overlooked and underrated areas of the city. Within South End, you’ll find some of the best restaurants and art galleries in the city and can enjoy a hip yet relaxed atmosphere.
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Jamaica Plain

  • For families with children, there’s no better neighbourhood than Jamaica Plain. A quiet and residential district south of the city centre, Jamaica Plain has charming restaurants, cute cafes and a great selection of green spaces to explore.
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Boston is a massive and sprawling city. The largest city in New England and the capital of Massachusetts, Boston has a rich history, diverse culture, an incredible food scene, and is a great town for sports fans.

For curious travellers, there’s plenty to see and do here, from exploring the Freedom Trail and dancing the night away to enjoying the stunning natural scenery and browsing the many museums.

The city of Boston stretches more than 230 square kilometres and is divided into 23 distinct neighbourhoods. Plan to explore three or four different neighbourhoods, to get a good feel for the city.

At the heart of Boston are the Downtown and Chinatown neighbourhoods. Here you’ll find famous landmarks, world-renowned restaurants, and marvellous museums. This area of the city is also home to vibrant bars, lively clubs and the city’s best nightlife.

To the south are the hip and trendy neighbourhoods of Back Bay and South End. Centrally located and impossibly cool, in these two neighbourhoods, you’ll find unique boutiques, innovative restaurants and plenty of interesting art.

South of the city is Jamaica Plain. The green heart of Boston, Jamaica Plain is home to parks and ponds, tree-lined streets and plenty of family-friendly attractions and activities.

Still not sure where to stay in Boston? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

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5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Boston

Now, let’s take a look in more detail at the five best neighbourhoods to stay in Boston. Each is a little different from the last so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.

 

1. Back Bay – Best Place to Stay in Boston for First-Timers

If you’re visiting Boston for the first time, there’s no better neighbourhood than Back Bay. Centrally located and well connected, Back Bay is close to everything.

It is within walking distance of Boston’s most famous landmarks and is also where you’ll find incredible shopping and delicious restaurants.

Some of Back Bay’s most iconic landmarks include the Boston Public Library, Prudential Centre, and the John Hancock Tower. Enjoy incredible views and a taste of Boston’s history in Back Bay.

Shoppers rejoice! The Back Bay neighbourhood is packed with independent shops and unique boutiques. Within this downtown district, you’ll find everything from high-end designers to high street fashions.

No matter your style or budget, there’s something for everyone in Back Bay.

Back Bay, Boston

 

Things to See and Do in Back Bay

– Visit the exquisite and iconic Boston Public Library.

– Take a stroll along Newbury Street to explore the unique boutiques and local independent shops.

– Marvel at the world-famous, three-story stained-glass globe at The Mapparium.

– Take a stroll through Copley Square.

– Climb up to the Skywalk Observatory and enjoy 360-degree, unparalleled views out over Boston.

– Browse the shops, bar and restaurants that line bustling Boylston Street.

– Enjoy a few drinks and bowl a few frames at Kings.

– Watch the game and drink a few pints at The Pour House Bar and Grill.

– Dine on delicious French dishes at Mistral.

 

Best Budget Accommodations in Back Bay: 463 Beacon Street Guest House

For budget accommodations in Back Bay, look no further than this Beacon Street Guest House. Located at the heart of the neighbourhood, this charming guesthouse is close to noteworthy Boston attractions.

It has free wifi and a swimming pool, as well as luggage storage on offer.

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Best Hotel in Back Bay: Boston Common Hotel Copley Square

Enjoy luxurious amenities at a reasonable price at Boston Common Hotel. Located in Back Bay, this hotel is a convenient base for exploring the city. It has a gym, free wifi and spacious rooms.

This hotel is also close to restaurants, shops, landmarks and more. Breakfast is also available.

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Best Hotel in Back Bay: Boston Park Plaza

Modern and elegant, Boston Park Plaza is our pick for where to stay in Back Bay. It is located at the heart of the neighbourhood and is surrounded by eateries, lounge bars, shops and museums.

Each room is outfitted with contemporary fixtures to ensure a fantastic stay.

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2. Downtown – Best Place to Stay in Boston on a Budget

Downtown is far and away the most iconic neighbourhoods in Boston. It is home to a number of historic sites and cultural gems, including Boston Common and Boston Public Gardens.

For budget backpackers and cost-conscious travellers, Downtown Boston is your best bet for affordable accommodations. Within this central district, you’ll find a selection of inexpensive hotels, guesthouses and apartments.

Downtown is also home to HI Boston, our pick for the best hostel in the city. Here you can enjoy all the very best of Boston without breaking the bank.

Downtown Boston is also home to a handful of historic and charming outdoor markets. Browse the stalls and shop for fresh fruit and colourful flowers at these iconic Boston spots.

Downtown, Boston

 

Things to See and Do in Downtown

– Explore the Freedom Trail, a four-kilometre path through Downtown Boston that passes 16 historically significant places.

– Pack a picnic and enjoy a relaxing day in lush and expansive Boston Public Garden.

– Visit the New England Holocaust Memorial.

– Take a stroll through the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

– Walk along the Boston Harbor.

– Enjoy Boston Common, a large heritage park in Downtown Boston.

– Shop for deals at Haymarket, Boston’s oldest outdoor market.

– Browse hundreds of stalls and shops at the indoor/outdoor Quincy Market.

– Play pool and drink pints at the Beantown Pub.

– Enjoy great drinks and live performances at The Point bar.

 

Best Hostel in Downtown: HI Boston

Located in central Downtown Boston, the HI Boston is close to restaurants, shops, bars and clubs. Public transit is nearby and it is a short walk to the city’s top landmarks.

This hostel has private rooms and bathrooms, and a common room with pool table, TV and laundry facilities. It has free wifi and complimentary breakfast.

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Best Hotel in Downtown: Temple Place Suites by Short Term Rentals Boston

Enjoy a comfortable and relaxing stay in Boston at Temple Place Suites. Whether your trip is one weekend or two weeks long, each of these 41 apartments will make you feel at home.

They are outfitted with a range of essential amenities. This property is centrally located and close to major tourist attractions.

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Best Hotel in Downtown: Found Hotel Boston Common

With spotless rooms and a great location Found Hotel Boston Common is an ideal base for your time in the city. It is situated just 10-minutes from the subway and is close to eateries, bars, shops and famous landmarks.

This hotel has free wifi, luggage storage and a delicious on-site restaurant.

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3. Chinatown – Best Place to Stay in Boston for Nightlife

Chinatown is a small but vibrant neighbourhood located in central Boston. It is the fourth largest Chinatown in the United States and this neighbourhood is home to incredible restaurants and colourful shops.

Here you can tease your taste buds and excite your senses just by walking down the street.

This downtown neighbourhood is also where you’ll find the best nightlife in Boston. Home to the Theatre District, Chinatown is home to the best bars, pubs, clubs and dance floors in the city.

Whether you’re looking for a cool jazz bar or a thriving discotheque, a relaxing pub or a wild night out, there’s something for every style and budget here in Chinatown.

Chinatown, Boston

 

Things to See and Do in Chinatown

– Excite your sense at Shabu-Zen, where you can enjoy authentic Asian “Hot-Pot” cuisine.

– Eat delicious dumplings at Gourmet Dumpling House.

– Sample a myriad of dishes and delicacies at Winsor Dim Sum Café.

– Dance the night away at Bijou, an 1882 former theatre that is now a sleek late-night club.

– Spend a night drinking and dancing at Guilt, a chic and stylish nightclub.

– Visit Royale, the biggest nightclub in New England.

– Sip and sample a vast selection of cocktails at The Ghost Walks bar.

– Explore the bustling and vibrant Theatre District section of Chinatown.

– Enjoy bright lights and the city’s best DJs at Tunnel, Boston’s hottest underground nightclub.

 

Best Hostel in Chinatown: HI Boston

A short walk away in Downtown Boston, the HI Boston is the closest hostel to Chinatown. It boasts a central location and there are plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants nearby.

This hostel has a comfortable common room, spacious rooms, and a myriad of on-site amenities. Guests can also enjoy a free breakfast.

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Best Hotel in Chinatown: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston – Downtown

The DoubleTree by Hilton is a comfortable and luxurious hotel in Chinatown. It has a restaurant, bar and a fitness centre. The rooms are clean, spacious and outfitted with modern amenities, including flat-screen TVs.

A short walk from Boston Commons, this hotel is close to restaurants, bar, shops and clubs.

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Best Hotel in Chinatown: Hyatt Regency Boston

The Hyatt Regency Boston is our top choice for where to stay in Chinatown. This four-star hotel boasts an incredible pool, an in-house restaurant and a stylish lounge bar.

It has 502 modern and spacious rooms and a relaxing sauna. The Hyatt Regency is conveniently located for exploring the Chinatown, Downtown and Back Bay neighbourhoods.

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4. South End – Coolest Neighborhood in Boston

Boston’s South End neighbourhood is one of the most overlooked and underrated areas of the city. Within South End, you’ll find some of the best restaurants and art galleries in the city and can enjoy a hip yet relaxed atmosphere.

South End is home to beautiful brownstones and unique boutiques. It is an incredibly diverse neighbourhood and is a haven for artistic types and culture vultures. There is a myriad of art galleries and museums, local shops and open markets to explore and experience.

South End is also a paradise for foodies. Its charming tree-lined streets are packed with innovative eateries and quaint cafes that serve dishes and delicacies from around the world.

South End, Boston

photo credits: Flickr

 

Things to See and Do in South End

– Visit the vibrant SoWa Art + Design District and browse a variety of artist studios, art galleries, independent boutiques, showrooms and restaurants.

– Explore Harriet Tubman House.

– See more than 10,000 original vintage posters from around the world at the International Poster Gallery.

– Browse the shops, stalls, food trucks and breweries at SoWa Open Market, the largest local market in Boston.

– Take in a performance at the Boston Center for the Arts.

– Sip incredible wine and eat delicious Spanish food at Barcelona.

– Enjoy fresh and delicious oysters and seafood at B&G Oysters.

– Dine on innovative Italian fare at Coppa.

– Kickstart your day with an incredible breakfast at Mike’s City Diner.

 

Best Budget Accommodations in South End: Concord Square by Short Term Rentals Boston

For budget-conscious travellers, there’s no better place to stay in South End than Concord Square. It is composed of 16 spacious rooms, perfect for short or long stays. On-site, you’ll find laundry facilities and guests can enjoy free wifi.

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Best Hotel in South End: Encore Bed and Breakfast

Encore Bed and Breakfast is a stylish and rustic hotel. This three-star property is close to South End’s best restaurants as well as shops, bars and green spaces. It has comfortable and modern rooms, spacious bathrooms, and an incredible breakfast is available to guests.

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Best Hotel in South End: Staypineapple at the Alise Boston

The Staypineapple is located at the heart of the South End neighbourhood. There are eateries, shops, landmarks and public transit within walking distance.

It boasts an on-site restaurant, stylish and spacious rooms, and luxurious amenities. All of these reasons and more are why it’s our pick for where to stay in South End.

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5. Jamaica Plain – Best Place to Stay in Boston for Families

For families with children, there’s no better neighbourhood than Jamaica Plain. A quiet and residential district south of the city centre, Jamaica Plain has charming restaurants, cute cafes and a great selection of green spaces to explore.

Jamaica Plain’s most famous attraction is the expansive and incredible Arnold Arboretum. Covering more than 280 acres of land, this gorgeous urban forest is an oasis for families looking for a breath of fresh air. Here your little ones can run, jump, laugh and play while you enjoy the stunning landscape.

When you’re ready for a bite to eat, head to Centre or South Street where you can choose from a great selection of eco-friendly and delicious local restaurants.

Jamaica Plain, Boston

photo credits: Flickr

 

Things to See and Do in Jamaica Plain

– Pack a picnic and enjoy a restful day at Arnold Arboretum, a 281 acres urban green space.

– Go for a walk around the water or rent rowboats at Jamaica Pond.

– See gorillas, zebras, giraffes, tigers and more at Franklin Park Zoo.

– Dine on Irish-American fare at Doyle’s Café.

– Tease your taste buds at Chilacates a colourful and fun taqueria

– Enjoy good food and a warm welcome at The Haven.

– Try incredibly delicious food and seafood at J.P. Seafood Café.

– Browse the shops, cafes, and restaurant on Washington, Centre and South Streets.

– Shop for new-to-you fashions at 40 South Street.

– Grab a cone of amazing ice cream at J.P. Licks.

 

Best Budget Accommodations in Jamaica Plain: Maple Guest House

Located in leafy and relaxed Jamaica Plain, the Maple Guest House is your best bet for budget accommodations in the area. It has charming rooms, free wifi, a terrace and air conditioning.

Guests can also enjoy a delicious breakfast of continental and American options. It is a short drive to the city centre and Fenway Park.

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Best Hotel in Jamaica Plain: Global Luxury Suites at Longwood Medical Area

Make Global Luxury Suites your home away from home in Boston. Each of the 16 apartments has comfortable rooms and a range of essential amenities. On-site guests can also enjoy a swimming pool and free wifi.

This property is a short walk from museums and galleries, restaurants, parks, and the subway.

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Best Hotel in Jamaica Plain: Bluebird Suites at Mission Hill

Bright and spacious, Bluebird Suites is our pick for where to stay in Jamaica Plain. This apartment has comfortable rooms, a stylish seating area, a fully equipped kitchen and a private bathroom.

Conveniently located for exploring Boston, this property is close to restaurants, parks, shops and landmarks.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Boston

Boston is a city with so much to offer travellers. From the Freedom Trail where you can visit the city’s most iconic sights to high-end boutiques and innovative restaurants, there’s something for everyone on every budget in Boston.

To give you a quick recap, Downtown is our choice for the best neighbourhood if you’re travelling on a budget. It’s home to our favourite hostel, the HI Boston, which is centrally located and well-equipped.

Our pick for the best hotel is the Hyatt Regency Boston. Modern and luxurious, this Chinatown hotel is well-situated and is within walking distance of bars, clubs, and Boston’s top landmarks.

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

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