Boston is one of the top 10 visited cities in the United States, and honestly, it’s no surprise! With a variety of tourist attractions (including the famous Fenway Park), tasty food, and famous events – this awesome city has a lot to offer.
As there is so much to see, it can be difficult choosing where to stay in Boston – especially for first-timers. Don’t worry though, I’m here to help!
This article is going to go through the best parts of Boston to stay in, the pros and cons of each neighborhood, and the best hotels that can be found in the area.
When it comes to choosing accommodation in Boston, there are lots of things you’ll need to consider. This includes nearby attractions, public transport links, dining options, and of course your budget.
As with many other cities in the United States, Boston isn’t cheap so you’ll need to keep this in mind when looking for hotels. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best places to stay in Boston for tourists!
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Table of Contents
Overview of Where to Stay in Boston
The city of Boston is the capital and most populated city in Massachusetts. It’s much smaller than many other cities in the States and covers an area of 89 square miles (232 km2). This means it’s relatively easy to get around!
The city lies on Massachusetts Bay, which heads out into the Atlantic Ocean. It lies sheltered within a basin that was largely shaped by glaciers in the last ice age.
If you’re wondering where to stay in Boston, you’ll have endless choices. The city is split up into 23 neighborhoods, and each one offers something unique for travelers.
This guide is going to dive into the 8 best parts of Boston to stay in, and why they attract so many tourists from across the world. When it comes to choosing where to stay in Boston, there are a few things you’ll need to consider.
Your budget is one of the main ones! Boston is one of the most expensive cities in the States when it comes to hotels, so you’ll need to keep this in mind. Of course, there are ways to save some dollars like choosing a more cost-effective neighborhood such as Downtown Boston.
Public transport is another factor you’ll want to think about when choosing where to stay. There are plenty of ways to get around the city including the subway, local buses, and even water taxis. Finding a hotel with great public transport links makes exploring the city so much easier!
Although Boston isn’t ‘budget-friendly’ as such, you’ll find plenty of cheap eats and free things to do in the city. If you’re wanting to keep your costs to a minimum, then try to stay in an area with plenty of low-priced food options.
If you don’t have time to go through the article right now, you can have a quick scan of this guide below. These are the best neighborhoods to stay in, in Boston, and I’m going to break down each one in this table!
|AREA||BEST FOR||RECOMMENDED HOTEL||MORE HOTELS|
|Back Bay||Luxury stays, shopping, fine dining, first-time visitors||The Lenox||More hotels in Back Bay
|Downtown||Budget-friendly, sightseeing, first-time visitors, nightlife||Harborside Inn||More hotels in Downtown
|The North End||Family-friendly, food, sightseeing, waterfront||The Courtyard Boston||More hotels in The North End
|The South End||LGBTQ+ friendly, food, culture, sightseeing||The Staypineapple||More hotels in The South End
|Fenway||Nightlife, sports, culture, food||Residence Inn by Marriott||More hotels in Fenway
|Brookline||Family-friendly, budget-friendly, sightseeing, food||Arcadian Hotel||More hotels in Brookline
|Cambridge/Harvard Square||Food, sightseeing, culture, family-friendly||Hampton Inn by Hilton||More hotels in Cambridge
|Allston/Brighton||Budget-friendly, nightlife, culture, shopping||DoubleTree Suites by Hilton||More hotels in Allston/Brighton
Best Areas to Stay in Boston
If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide on where to stay in Boston, then keep reading! Boston is an awesome city, and with so many neighborhoods to choose from – it’s no wonder first-timers can get pretty overwhelmed.
To make things easier for you, I’ve researched the best areas to stay in Boston so you don’t have to! Whether you’re looking to travel on a budget, want to test out the nightlife scene, or would prefer a luxurious stay – Boston has it all.
This guide is going to dive into each area and tell you everything you need to know. This will make it easier for you to make an informed decision! So let’s have a look at each neighborhood, and see which one is most suited to you.
1. Back Bay
Back Bay is one of Boston’s most affluent neighborhoods and is known for its shopping and fine dining. It’s also famous for its glitz and glamor and is home to some of the city’s tallest skyscrapers.
If you’re a keen shopper, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to treat yourself. Newbury Street, Marlborough Street, and Boylston Street are some of the best places to shop with plenty of boutique stores. This part of Boston also has plenty of things to do, so you won’t be bored during your time here.
Some of the most popular attractions in this area include the Boston Public Library, the Skywalk Observatory, and the Mapparium. You also don’t want to miss out on a visit to Copley Market which is situated within Copley Square!
Another great thing about this area is the public transport. There is a subway station and bus lines so traveling around the city is simple. If you fancy a walk, it will take you around 15 minutes to get to Downtown Boston.
You also won’t run out of places to eat, as there is an endless sea of restaurants and cafes situated in this area.
Just a quick heads up – If you want to visit the city on a budget, this isn’t the neighborhood you want to stay in. However, it’s one of the best locations to stay in Boston if you’re looking for a luxury stay!
Pros and cons of staying in Back Bay
- Great for shopping & fine-dining
- Less than a 15-minute walk to Downtown Boston
- Parking can be difficult at times – so something to consider if you’re hiring a car
The best places to stay in Back Bay
LUXURY – The Eliot Suite Hotel
This historic hotel is simply beautiful, and each room is elegantly decorated. You’ll even get your own private marble bathroom! There is also an on-site restaurant that features a Japanese sushi bar, and guests also have free access to Boston Sports Club and the business center at the hotel.
MID-RANGE – The Lenox
The Lenox Hotel is a boutique hotel that’s situated close to popular tourist attractions including John Hancock Tower, Newbury Street, and Fenway Park Baseball Stadium. With a state-of-the-art gym, luxury rooms, and three restaurants on-site, this hotel is a great option. There is also 24-hour room service and personalized concierge services available.
BUDGET – Courtyard Boston Copley Square
This hotel is situated in the heart of Boston and is only 650 yards (594m) from Newbury Street and Copley Place Mall. There is free wifi, a fitness center, and a hot breakfast available for guests, although that’s not the best part! The Courtyard Boston also has a 24-hour Market Cafe on-site that serves light meals and beverages.
If you’re wondering where to stay in Boston, and are visiting the city for the first time then Downtown is a great option. This is because it’s a brilliant area for sightseeing, with plenty of sites and tourist attractions nearby.
Downtown is home to the Freedom Trail which is a 2.5-mile (4 km) trail that connects 16 historic sites. This is a must-do even if you have only one day in Boston and includes the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Old State House, and the Boston Common.
There are also plenty of other attractions nearby including Quincy Market, Rose Kennedy Greenway, and the Downtown Crossing.
You also don’t want to miss out on visiting Haymarket – Boston’s oldest outdoor market. When it comes to dining options, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Some of the most popular choices include Yvonne’s, Bostonia Public House, and RUKA.
There are also plenty of quirky bars situated in this part of the city. If you decide to stay here, make sure you head to the Beantown Pub, the Point Boston, and the Bell in Hand Tavern.
This area of Boston is one of the most walkable neighborhoods, but there is still plenty of public transport around. You can easily take the subway or bus to other parts of the city!
Downtown is without a doubt one of the best places to stay in Boston for tourists. It’s also one of the most budget-friendly neighborhoods in the city, so if you’re looking to save some cash – this is where you need to stay!
Pros and cons of staying in Downtown
- Plenty of historic sites and tourist attractions
- Traffic can get pretty bad in the area
- Parking is also difficult – however, this isn’t an issue if you don’t plan to hire a car
The best places to stay in Downtown
LUXURY – Boston Harbor Hotel
This waterfront hotel is situated at Rowes Wharf and overlooks Boston Harbor. It offers plenty of facilities for guests and awesome city-view rooms. The Boston Harbor Hotel is also home to the Rowes Wharf Sea Grill & Bar which serves up tasty seafood and offers stunning views of the harbor.
MID-RANGE – The Godfrey Hotel
The Godfrey Hotel is situated only 200 yards (182m) from the Freedom Trail and the Boston Common Park is just a 3-minute walk away. As well as its spacious and elegant rooms, this hotel also has an array of facilities on offer including an on-site restaurant, lounge area, and a fitness center.
BUDGET – Harborside Inn
Harborside Inn is situated in Boston’s waterfront district and is only 300 yards from the harbor. The Freedom Trail also starts 150 yards from the hotel, so this accommodation is in a great location! There is a restaurant on-site that serves light American cuisine, and car rentals are also available.
3. North End
The North End is the oldest neighborhood in Boston and is commonly referred to as ‘Little Italy’ (although most people in the city don’t use this term). In the 19th century, a lot of Italian immigrants decided to settle here, so now it’s naturally home to the best Italian food in the city.
As you walk along the cobbled streets you’ll find plenty of Italian restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, so allow your senses to take in all of the delicious smells and sights! This neighborhood is situated on the waterfront, so you can take a stroll along the harbor front if you’re looking to take it easy and enjoy the views.
This part of Boston also has plenty of popular sites to visit including the Paul Revere House, Old North Church, and the Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park. The North End is one of the best parts of Boston to stay in – especially if you’re traveling as a family.
Although the narrow alleyways are often packed with tourists, the nightlife scene here isn’t as big as Downtown Boston so it’s great if you’re traveling with little ones.
There are also lots of child-friendly attractions nearby, and if your kids are fussy eaters you have an endless amount of pizza and pasta choices! You’ll also find plenty of ice cream parlors, that sell delicious gelato.
Pros and cons of staying in the North End
- Incredible Italian food
- Very close to Downtown Boston
- Limited hotel options
- A fair amount of litter often lines the street
The Best places to stay in the North End
LUXURY – Boston Yacht Haven
Boston Yacht Haven is one of the more unique places to stay in the city, as it has an on-site marina. Every room at the hotel has a nautical theme decor, and some even have a private balcony and a sea view. A free continental breakfast is also served each morning.
MID-RANGE – Battery Wharf Hotel
The Battery Wharf Hotel is situated by Boston Harbor, and is a 10-minute walk from the New England Aquarium. The rooms are beautifully designed with plenty of space, and there is a spa, and fitness center on-site. This hotel also offers a private water taxi to the airport! Pretty cool right?
BUDGET – The Courtyard Boston
The Courtyard Boston is close to Quincy Market and is only an 8-minute walk from Old North Church. An American breakfast is available each morning, and there is a full bar available to guests. Many of the rooms also offer awesome views of Boston, and there is a fitness center on-site too.
4. South End
The South End is without a doubt one of the best foodie neighborhoods in the city. If you’re wondering where to stay in Boston and you love your food, this is the place to be.
The streets are packed with charming cafes and awesome restaurants where you can have your fill of American and international cuisine.
Some of the most popular spots include B&G Oysters, Coppa, Barcelona Wine Bar, and Mike’s City Diner. You can even go on a food tasting & history tour of South End if you’re unsure of the best spots!
However, that’s not all this neighborhood has to offer. It’s considered to be one of the ‘hippest’ areas in Boston, and with endless art galleries, open markets, and museums – it’s not hard to see why!
There are also plenty of tourist attractions to see including Harriet Tubman Square, the SoWa Open Market, and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
The South End is the best neighborhood to stay in Boston if you’re a fan of food, culture, and open spaces. There are around 30 parks in the area, so plenty of places to tire your kids or pooch out.
This part of Boston also has a strong gay community, so it’s very LGBTQ+ friendly. As if you needed yet another reason to stay here!
Pros and cons of staying in the South End
- Foodie heaven!
- LGBTQ+ friendly
- Parking in the South end can be a nightmare!
- Can be very busy
The best places to stay in the South End
LUXURY – AC Hotel by Marriott Boston Downtown
The AC Hotel is situated in a great location within the South End and is close to popular attractions like the Boston Public Garden, and the Boston Common. There are also plenty of facilities available including a restaurant, a bar, and a shared lounge area. An à la carte breakfast is available daily for guests, and there is also a sun terrace at the hotel.
MID-RANGE – The Staypineapple
The Staypineapple is a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel as its design centers around (you guessed it – pineapples!). With quirky furniture, yellow bathrobes, and cool artwork, this is a great place to stay in the South End. Each room also comes with an iPod docking station, a flat-screen TV, and a walk-in marble shower.
BUDGET – The Residence Inn
The Residence Inn has several facilities on-site including a bar and fitness center. Each room also comes with a small kitchen, which is perfect for those traveling on a budget! There is also a continental breakfast available daily at the hotel, and pets are allowed so the whole family can come along.
So, you’ve probably all heard of the Red Sox, right? Of course, you have! The Red Sox are Boston’s famous baseball team, and their stadium Fenway Park is situated within this neighborhood. This makes it the best location to stay in Boston if you’re a sports fan!
During your time here you should try to fit in a baseball game, or at least go on a guided tour of Fenway Park. Some of the city’s best sports bars are also located in this area – primarily along Lansdowne Street, and Yawkey Way. This is another experience you’ll want to fit in!
Although the Red Sox make this area famous, Fenway has so much more to offer. Nearby you’ll find Kenmore Square – which is why you’ll hear this neighborhood often referred to as the Fenway/Kenmore area.
Fenway is also famous for its delicious cuisine, as an array of restaurants and cafes line the streets. Some of the most popular choices include Yard House, Tasty Burger, and Sweet Cheeks Q.
Aside from its famous sports bars, Fenway also has a pretty lively night scene. If you’re looking to paint the town red as they say, then this is one of the best areas to stay in Boston.
Pros and cons of staying in Fenway
- Home to Fenway Park!
- Good for nightlife
- One of the liveliest areas in the city, so may not be suitable for families with young children
- The highest-density neighborhood in Boston so gets very busy
The best places to stay in the Fenway
LUXURY – Boston Hotel Commonwealth
The Boston Hotel Commonwealth is located less than 250 yards (228 m) from Fenway Park so is perfect for sports fans! This hotel is the definition of luxury with in-room spa services available, a fine-dining restaurant on-site, a bar, and the Island Creek Oyster Bar which serves fresh seafood.
MID-RANGE – Sonder at Pierce Boston
Sonder at Pierce Boston is also situated close to Fenway Park, and Hynes Convention Center. Each studio or suite is fitted with a bathroom, a private kitchen, and a dining area. This is perfect if you’re looking to save a bit of cash, and spend it on a baseball game instead!
BUDGET – Residence Inn by Marriott
The Residence Inn by Marriott is located within walking distance of Fenway Park, and there is a free daily breakfast available for guests. There is also a fitness center, indoor rooftop pool, and bar on-site. Another bonus of this hotel is that the rooms come with a fully equipped kitchen, which includes a stove, microwave, and refrigerator.
Brookline is technically its own town but is located within the Boston Metropolitan area. It has a small-town residential feel rather than the craziness of Boston and is one of the quietest areas to stay when visiting the city. This makes it one of the best areas to stay in Boston for families with small children.
There are also plenty of food options nearby, as Brookline has an array of restaurants, cafes, and shops. Some of the most popular places to eat include the Daily Catch Brookline, Prairie Fire, FuGaKyu, and Zaftigs Delicatessen.
You also don’t need to worry about getting into the city center, as there is a subway station situated nearby. If you’re traveling on a budget, you may want to check this neighborhood out. Often accommodation prices are much cheaper in Brookline – although the choice is a lot more limited.
Brookline also has plenty of its own attractions to visit including the birth home of President John F. Kennedy, Larz Anderson Park, and the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site. There is also a theater located here which shows some new releases, documentaries, and animations.
If you’re wondering where to stay when visiting Boston, and you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle then Brookline is the place.
Pros and cons of staying in Brookline
- Easy journey on the subway into Boston city center
- Limited choice of accommodation
- Not located in the actual city
The best places to stay in Brookline
LUXURY – Homewood Suites by Hilton
Homewood Suites by Hilton is in a great location to access Boston city center, as it’s only 500 yards (457 m) from the Brookline subway station. There is a bar on-site, and guests also have access to the fitness center and swimming pool. Each room also comes with a private kitchenette!
MID-RANGE – Arcadian Hotel
The Arcadian Hotel offers a continental or buffet breakfast and has plenty of bars and restaurants nearby. Each room is kitted out with a desk, flat-screen TV, and a wardrobe so there is plenty of space for you to kick back and relax after a day’s exploring.
BUDGET – Hilton Garden Inn
The Hilton Garden Inn has plenty of facilities available for guests including an on-site restaurant, a bar, and an indoor pool. Guests also have access to the fitness center, and an American breakfast is available daily at the hotel. Each room comes with a flat-screen TV, a microwave, and a refrigerator.
7. Cambridge/Harvard Square
Cambridge is technically a different city but is only separated from Boston by the Charles River. Although it’s a quiet area, there is so much to do here! Cambridge is one of the most culturally diverse areas surrounding the city, and you’ll find a variety of activities to keep you busy.
You can choose to visit the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Museum of Science, or simply relax and enjoy the views of the Charles River. There is also a great arts scene within this area, where you’ll find plenty of live music to keep you entertained.
Within Cambridge, you’ll find Harvard Square which has plenty to offer for tourists. Here you’ll find a fun bar scene, a wide variety of restaurants, and plenty of theater productions to choose from.
During your time in Harvard Square, you can also take a look at Harvard University, visit the Harvard Art Museum, or wander around the Harvard Museum of Natural History. If you’re looking for a hip area outside the city, then Cambridge is one of the best locations to stay in Boston.
Not only does it offer culture, lots of outdoor space, and plenty of restaurants – but it’s also a great neighborhood to escape the city’s lively atmosphere. The public transport links to get into Boston city center are great too!
Pros and cons of staying in Cambridge/Harvard Square
- Great public transport links
- Very culturally diverse
- Traffic can get very busy
- Parking can be a nightmare, so consider this if you plan on hiring a car
The best places to stay in Cambridge/Harvard Square
Kimpton Marlowe is the definition of luxury with unrivaled services and amenities. They offer in-room yoga programs, 24-hour room service, valet parking, and an on-site restaurant. They also offer several free rentals including kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and bicycles. If that’s not enough, this hotel also has a free evening wine hour!
MID-RANGE – Royal Sonesta Boston
The Royal Sonesta overlooks the Charles River and offers spectacular views of Boston’s skyline. Not only is it minutes away from some of the city’s popular attractions, but there are also plenty of facilities on-site. This includes a swimming pool, fitness center, a restaurant, and a coffee shop.
The Hampton Inn by Hilton is just a 7-minute walk from Boston Common. The city center and Boston City Hall are also just a 9-minute train ride away so this hotel is in a great location to explore the city. There is a fitness area on-site, and each room comes with a desk and flat-screen TV.
If you’re wondering where to stay in Boston and you’re traveling on a budget then Allston or Brighton are great choices. Although both are technically different neighborhoods, I’ve grouped them together on this list because they’re only a 5-minute drive apart.
Both are known for their large student populations, which means you won’t find a lot of tourists here. This is because the area is home to Boston College and Boston University.
Allston and Brighton are two of the ‘cool’ neighborhoods in Boston and are known for their cheap nightlife options and variety of bars. There are also plenty of awesome dining options to sink your teeth into!
If you’re heading to Allston then make sure you check out Lulu’s Allston, Shabu-Zen, and Garlic ‘n Lemons. When it comes to Brighton, some of the popular dining options include Stockyard Restaurant, Tasca Restaurant, and Devlin’s Bistro & Bar.
If you’re looking to head away from the crowd of tourists, then Allston and Brighton are two of the best neighborhoods to stay in, in Boston.
However, as the area caters to students it can be pretty lively at night, so may not be the best part of Boston to stay in if you have small children.
Pros and cons of staying in Allston/Brighton
- Cheap nightlife
- Limited choice of accommodation
- Lively in the evening, so may not be the best choice for families with young children
The best places to stay in Allston/Brighton
The AC Hotel by Marriott is a great choice if you’re looking for a luxury stay in this area. There are several facilities available on-site including a fitness center, a bar, and a shared lounge. Buffet and à la carte breakfast options are also available each morning, and there is private parking at the hotel which is great if you’re planning to hire a car.
MID-RANGE – Studio Allston Hotel Boston
The Studio Allston is situated along the Charles River near Harvard University. Some of the rooms even come with a river view! With a quirky design, ample facilities, and complimentary parking on-site this hotel has everything you could need when heading to Boston.
The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton is just a 5-minute drive from Harvard University and a 10-minute drive from MIT. This hotel has plenty of facilities to offer including a swimming pool, on-site dining, a rooftop terrace, and a Jazz club. They also offer a shuttle service to Harvard Square and Boston city center.
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