Where to Stay in Boston – Top 5 Areas and Best Hotels for Your Trip to Massachusetts

What do you think when you hear Boston? The Boston Tea Party, New England, the Boston Marathon, Fenway Park, the Red Sox, or the green spaces and waterfront lifestyle? Boston is a relatively small city for the USA, but it sure does pack a punch!

Being one of the founding cities of the country and the starting place of the American Revolution, Boston’s rich history and historical claims are represented by countless world-class museums and monuments, notably following the Freedom Trail. However, The city is not all about history; it is also home to some significant international sporting events and plenty of outdoor and waterfront spaces for relaxation. 

So, you’re visiting New England, Massachusetts for a vacation, and you’re trying to decide where to stay in Boston. Being a city that is nearly 400 years old, you can imagine that there are many great neighborhoods throughout the city to decide from. Each one has its own atmosphere and things to do, making them suited to different people. Lucky for you, I have narrowed down the search for you to 5 significant areas and selected the best hotels for each budget within them. 

If you are wondering what the best places to stay during your trip to Boston are, keep reading to find out!

If You’re In a Hurry

Here is a brief list of some of the best places to stay in Boston. They are located in Back Bay, which is one of the most attractive neighborhoods in Boston. Its architecture was most inspired by Parisian buildings, streets, and squares.

luxury hotel

Eliot Suite Hotel

Best luxury hotel

airbnb

Copley House

An Airbnb with amazing reviews

mid-range hotel

The Westin Copley Place

Best value for money

budget hotel

Found Hotel

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Here is a handy map of the best areas to stay in Boston that I will discuss in this article. Read on to find out more about each one and their best hotels! 

Downtown
in the center
North End & Waterfront
for relaxation
Beacon Hill
for luxury

1. Back Bay – where to stay in Boston for the first time

Back Bay is one of those neighborhoods that represent an entire city in the best way, making it the perfect place to stay in Boston for the first time. Built on the bank of the Charles River, Back Bay is home to some of the oldest and most well-preserved Victorian brownstone homes in the country and is now one of the most beautiful places in Boston to take a stroll. Newbury Street is perhaps one of the best-preserved areas for this.

FUN FACT: Back Bay is actually built on reclaimed land, which means that before its man-made creation, it was actually part of the ocean! 

For a long time, Back Bay retained its historical facades due to laws that designated it as a residential-only neighborhood and protected many historical landmarks by preventing new development. However, as time passed, Boston found a way to get the best of both worlds. As a result, we can now enjoy both traditional architecture and new buildings, squares, and streets.

If you choose Back Bay for your stay, you will be amazed at how this part of the city will allow you to breathe in the centuries of history that this city has endured.

Luxury hotel

The rich interior of this hotel will take you by surprise and make you feel like you walked into a fairytale. This historic hotel built in 1925 boasts astonishing views of the neighborhood from each room, restaurants, bars, and a top-spot sashimi bar on the site. You might never want to leave your huge comfortable bed or the marble bathrooms at this grand hotel! 

Other accommodation options in Back Bay

Mid-range

Boutique hotel in a historic building offering a continental breakfast

budget

Chic budget hotel with options for shared dormitories or private rooms

airbnb

1 bedroom suite with sweeping bay windows and space for up to 4 people

Things to do in Back Bay, Boston

  • Take a stroll down the historical Newbury Street area
  • Make new memories at the Skywalk Observatory
  • Learn about history and spirituality at the Trinity Church
  • Take unforgettable pictures at Copley Square.
  • Go park-hopping down Commonwealth Avenue
  • Run down the Charles River Esplanade
  • Enjoy the water features at Christian Science Plaza
  • Visit the Boston Public Library, Central Branch
  • Head west to Fenway Park, home to the Red Sox
  • Relax in Boston Public Garden

2. Downtown Boston – where to stay for a central location

While Downtown Boston is essentially the business and economic hub of the city, what makes Boston’s downtown neighborhood unique is its labyrinth of cobblestone streets winding their way through modern skyscrapers and glass-faced office buildings. Just because you are in the business center doesn’t mean you have to miss out on colonial architecture and revolutionary monuments. In fact, quite a few of the Freedom Trails 16 points of interest are located right here in the Downtown area. 

Not only that, staying in the Downtown neighborhood puts you right in the center of the city. With Beacon Hill and Back Bay to the west, the Theatre District and Chinatown to the south, and the waterfront area to your east, you can easily access all the city has to offer within a few minute’s drive from your door. Downtown Boston is also a great choice for budget travelers as you will generally find a broader range of lower-priced accommodation options here. 

Luxury hotel

This incredible luxury hotel perfectly blends historic elegance with clean, modern looks. Its on-site lounge, restaurant, and fitness center will cater to your every need, while the friendly staff will do everything they can to make your stay the best it can be. On top of all this, the hotel’s location is hard to beat, making it one of the best hotels in Boston! 

Other accommodation options in Downtown Boston

mid-range

Quirky, colorful hotel with a great breakfast buffet and evening wine reception as well as in-room spa services

budget

Choice of private rooms or dormitories featuring individual lockers and plenty of common areas to relax

airbnb

1 bedroom apartment flooded with sunlight and graced with great city views and all the comforts of home

Things to do in Downtown Boston

  • Go shopping at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace
  • Visit the Old State House
  • Fill your stomach at Quincy Market
  • See the Granary Burying Ground
  • Check out the Old South Meeting House
  • Snap a pic of Boston City Hall
  • Pay your respects at the Boston Massacre Site
  • Read a book at the Boston Athenaeum
  • Enjoy the Dreamland Wax Museum

3. North End Boston & Waterfront – where to stay for sea views

The area of North End can be found (you guessed it) in the northernmost part of Boston. This area extends up from the Downtown border all the way to the edge of the water. Following the coast south, you will find another area simply called Waterfront. I have grouped these two areas together since they seamlessly fit together when you meander your way between the two, and both offer a very similar atmosphere. 

North End is another of the cities oldest and prettiest neighborhoods, but this one indeed does have something for everyone. Foodies will love its Italian culture and incredible cuisine in little Italy, families can enjoy its kid-friendly attractions while history buffs have plenty to learn about from its countless monuments and historic buildings. All this with a waterfront location scattered with scenic fine dining restaurants and bars (everyone loves this part), what more could you ask for during a relaxing city escape.

Not only are there attractions for everyone but there are hotels for everyone too. Here are my top pics for each budget! 

Luxury hotel

For the true feeling of summer, make sure to book a room in this luxurious 4-star hotel with its own on-site marina! The whole hotel is nautical-themed and offers incredible views from its spacious, light-filled rooms. Make sure to choose a room with a private balcony. These are the perfect spots to watch the sunset with a glass of wine! 

Other options in North End & Waterfront

mid-range

Deluxe apartments with marble ensuite bathrooms with maid and concierge services available to guests

budget

Gorgeous modern style studio with an exposed brick wall, in the center of the Italian part of North End

airbnb

Located in a waterfront building featuring bay windows that provide sweeping views over the bay

Things to do in North End & Waterfront

  • Visit The Paul Revere House
  • See the Old North Church
  • Relax in the Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
  • Follow the Freedom Trail
  • Snap a picture of the Skinny House
  • See the art on All Saints Way
  • Find all of the historic status scattered around the area
  • Take a short walk in Copps Hill Terrace
  • Enjoy a coffee in the Italian district
  • Explore a public garden or two

4. South End – where to stay in Boston for a local experience

Nestled behind Back Bay and just a 10-minute drive from Downtown Boston lies a cozy neighborhood full of bars, restaurants, and art galleries called South End. Things move at a slow pace in the South End, which is why it is a perfect neighborhood for families or couples who want a more local experience. This artsy residential area is where you will find the young and hip crowd in Boston and has a beautiful sense of weekend calm and relaxation.

South End is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Boston. It is home to a wide variety of people coming from different social and economic backgrounds, creating a unique culture and international vibe. This neighborhood is also filled with the typical Boston Victorian-style houses and parks, but what makes this area unique is its quirky art, experimental theatres, and independent boutiques.

There is a range of different accommodation options in South End to suit all different budgets, but I have narrowed down the top 4 for you here:

Luxury hotel

Located in one of the few super modern buildings in the city, The Residence Inn focuses on minimal, stylish luxury. Their spacious rooms feature cityscape views, comfortable beds, and some even have a kitchenette! Their huge free breakfast is sure to fill you up, but don’t worry, you can work it off at their fully-equipped fitness center! 

Other accommodation options in South End, Boston

mid-range

Bright, colorful, European style boutique hotel with lush marble bathrooms and a great location in South Boston

budget

this is one of the top-rated budget stays in the city featuring modern design, an on-site restaurant, fitness center, and terrace

airbnb

Room in a super modern and bright loft featuring a spiral staircase and expose brick wall

Things to do in South End

5. Beacon Hill – where to stay in Boston for historic luxury

Beacon Hill is one of the oldest (and most expensive) Boston neighborhoods and is situated just a 10-minute drive northeast of Downtown. As you might expect from the name, Beacon Hill has some of the steepest streets in Boston but believe me, it’s worth it!

Its narrow cobblestone streets lined with charming dim street lamps are some of the most picturesque roads in the city. Seriously, imagine a movie set with young people in uniforms relaxing between classes or couples strolling hand in hand between the lush green trees that, is Beacon Hill. 

Fun Fact: Beacon Hill is the name that was derived from the beacon that was used to warn people about any invasions by the foreign forces in Boston’s history. 

Not only is it gorgeous, but in typical Boston fashion, it’s also home to numerous historic landmarks, including the Boston Common, which is the oldest public garden in the United States and the most extensive green space in central Boston. Here you will find numerous important monuments and museums as well as plenty of people picnicking in the sunshine.

Luxury hotel

This high-end, 5-star hotel features a sleek, bright, modern interior and countless deluxe features sprinkled throughout the property. Borrow one of their free bikes to explore the city or spend the morning working out in the on-site gym before capping off the day with a delicious cocktail at their bar. What’s more, Its prime location offers incredible views over the city! 

Other accommodation options in Beacon Hill

mid-range

4-star hotel featuring in-room spa services, gym, and plush leather finishings

budget

Cosy studio in the heart of the historic Beacon Hill with a relaxing outdoor seating area

airbnb

Cute studio at the top of Beacons Hill located right next to the oldest home in the neighborhood

Things to do in Beacon Hill, Boston

  • Enjoy the rich Beacon Hill’s history at the Museum of African American History
  • Take a stroll down the astonishing and scenic Charles Street and Acorn Street
  • Satisfy your food cravings at the Tatte Bakery and Cafe
  • Visit the Nichols House Museum
  • See Louisburg Square
  • Snap a picture of the oldest house in the neighborhood
  • Walk the freedom trail that connects 16 points of historical relevance
  • Relax in the Boston Common

Frequently asked questions about Boston

🥾  Where should I stay in Boston to walk everywhere?

Most of Boston is relatively walkable, but Downtown is the best neighborhood to choose if you want to be in the most central location. This allows you to quickly be within walking distance to any of the other districts whenever you please.

🏛️  Where should I stay in Boston for the first time?

First-time visitors to Boston should stay in Back Bay due to its historical landmarks, great location, and abundance of accommodation options. Back Bay also offers a perfect representation of the entire city in one small neighborhood. 

❌  Where should you not stay in Boston?

While most of Boson is relatively safe, it’s wise to avoid areas around Roxbury, Dorchester, Hyde Park, and Mattapan. These neighborhoods generally are not of much interest to tourists anyway, so they are easily avoided. 

💸  Where’s the best cheap place to stay in Boston?

Boston is not a particularly budget-friendly place to visit, but the Downtown neighborhood generally has the most cost-effective accommodation options, and it is located right in the heart of the city so it is a short walk to most attractions. 

Conclusion

Boston is a city full of colorful history, culture, and people. The capital of Massachusetts certainly has a lot to offer for tourists of all ages and backgrounds, but visiting Boston is especially suitable for people who are thirsty for new experiences and cultural awakenings. The extensive history that this city was built on makes Boston one of the best places to visit to discover the United States and its many geographical treasures.

As I have discussed, Boston has quite a few different neighborhoods, and each offers a unique experience for both visitors. If you haven’t already booked your accommodation, you should do so now, as you may have noticed, Boston is not the cheapest city to visit and the best deals go quickly!

If you’re still undecided, here are my top two hotel choices: 

Continuing your trip to New York? Make sure to check out my post for the best places to stay and top Airbnbs in New York City! 

Lastly, feel free to leave me a comment if you found this post interesting. I love hearing what you think and answering any other questions you might have about Boston Neighborhoods or hotels. 

Have fun on your trip, I’m sure you will have an unforgettable time in Boston.

Happy travels,
Kate 

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