Back Bay is an officially recognized neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. Back Bay and neighboring Beacon Hill are considered Boston’s most upscale and desirable neighborhoods, with single family townhouses selling regularly for over $8,500,000 +/-. Architecturally the neighborhood is dominated by Victorian brownstone buildings in its northern, more residential portion; the southern part of the neighborhood is more commercial and is home to some of Boston’s tallest skyscrapers.


The neighborhood was named “Back Bay” because the area was, in fact, before it was filled in, literally the back bay for Boston. To the west of the Shawmut Peninsula, on the far side from Boston Harbor, a wide bay opened between Boston and Cambridge, with the Charles River entering at the west side. As with all of the New England coast, the bay was tidal, with water rising and falling several feet over the course of the day. At low water, part of the bottom of the bay was exposed. In 1814, the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation was chartered to construct a mill dam, which would also serve as a toll road connecting Boston to Watertown, bypassing Boston Neck. The dam was later buried under present day Beacon Street. The Back Bay neighborhood was created when a parcel of land was created by filling the tidewater flats of the Charles River. This massive project was begun in 1857. The filling of present day Back Bay was completed by 1882. Filling reached Kenmore Square in 1890, and finished in the Fens in 1900. The project was the largest of a number of land reclamation projects, beginning in 1820, which, over the course of time, more than doubled the size of the original Boston peninsula.

It is frequently observed that this would have been impossible under modern environmental regulations. Back Bay’s development was planned by architect Arthur Gilman with Gridley James Fox Bryant. Strict regulations produced a uniform and well-integrated architecture, consisting mostly of dignified three and four story residential brownstones. Greatly influenced by Haussmann’s renovation of Paris in the mid-to-late 19th century, the main roads of Back Bay emphasize order, with wide, parallel, tree-lined avenues and more homogenous architectural styles. Five east and west corridors run the length of the Back Bay: Beacon Street (closest to the Charles River), Marlborough Street, Commonwealth Avenue, Newbury Street, and Boylston Street. With the exception of Commonwealth Avenue, these streets are one way. These streets are named alphabetically starting at the Public Garden: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, and Hereford.


Street Map Back Bay The boundaries of the Back Bay, as defined by the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay, are the Charles River on the North; Arlington Street to Park Square on the East; Columbus Avenue to the ‘New York, New Haven, & Hartford’ right-of-way (south of Stuart Street and Copley Place), Huntington Avenue, Dalton Street, and the Massachusetts Turnpike on the South; and Charlesgate East on the West. The Back Bay Architectural District, which is much smaller, was established by state law in 1966, and is bounded by the centerlines of Back Street on the north, Embankment Road and Arlington Street on the east, Boylston Street on the south, and Charlesgate East on the west.

The residential streets of the Back Bay are some of the best preserved examples of late 19th century urban architecture in the United States. Trinity Church, the Gibson House Museum, the Boston Public Library, and the John Hancock Tower are just some of the notable examples of architecture. The Back Bay is best known for its historic real estate and shopping. Most stores are located on Newbury and Boylston Streets, with the ends closer to the Boston Public Garden traditionally more expensive. There is no shortage of upscale shopping, boutiques, art galleries, and fabulous restaurants. The Back Bay is also the home to many luxury hotels that include the TAJ, The Colonnade Hotel, Westin Copley Place, Fairmont Copley Plaza; including the largest hotel in the city, the Marriott Copley.

Brownstones are prominent in the Back Bay. A brownstone is a terrace or rowhouse in brown or red stone brick. This style of building, built mostly in the 1800s, is easy to recognize because of the distinct bowing of the buildings, the red brick, and the older streets they inhabit. They are sometimes called ‘rowhouses’ because developers often built a number of identical-looking brownstone units next to each other on the same street. Brownstone buildings are generally older than other types of housing, have beautiful architectural detailing, and are located in some of the most desirable neighborhoods of Boston. Most brownstones are between three and five stories tall.

Some of our featured Back Bay full service buildings

One Charles

One Charles features an onsite management team, maintenance staff, doorman, porter, 24-hour concierge service, 24-hour security, and secure garage parking. Located in the revitalized district between the Public Garden, Four Seasons Hotel, and Newbury Street.

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360 Newbury

360 Newbury features 24-hour concierge service, available parking, two elevators, and a wide array of unit floor plans. Each unit includes the finest finishes with a choice of three types of wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, marble bathrooms, and high (loft-like) ceilings.

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172 Beacon Street

172 Beacon Street is one hundred percent owner-occupied, built c. 1927 in the Georgian Revival style. This building features elevators both passenger and service with direct access to residences, private designated storage room, large common roof deck with elevator access, live-in superintendent, doorman assisted parking, and is professionally managed. Each unit boasts 3,240 square feet, all on one floor, with Charles River views.

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180 Beacon Street

180 Beacon Street is situated in a premier Back Bay location. This full service building provides on-site professional management, 24-7 concierge, doorman and valet garage parking services.

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416 Marlborough Street

416 Marlborough Street, historically known as “The Marlborough”, is located on the tree lined corner of Marlborough Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Units feature central A/C, laundry hook-up, and large bay windows. This building features a common roof deck with exceptional Boston views, deeded parking located in the Somerset Garage, , a common fitness room, seven day concierge, pet friendly, and is professionally managed.

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The Barnes Mansion

The Barnes Mansion was built in the early 1900’s and was totally renovated and gut-rehabbed in 1997. This building features beautiful period detail, on-site superintendent, is professionally managed, a large common room, and a unique common courtyard

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The Belvedere

The Belvedere offers high end living with only 61 units on eight residential floors. This building features a fully staffed, in-house, gourmet kitchen, dining room, conference center, underground garage parking, and twenty four hour doorman and concierge. There is enclosed access to the Prudential Center and retail arcade, as well as a Shaw’s Supermarket and the MBTA (the “T”) subway station.

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Four Seasons Place

Four Seasons Place is a full service luxury condominium development overlooking the Public Garden, Boston Common, and Beacon Hill. These units have complete access to all of the five-star amenities that the Four Seasons Hotel has to offer, including: Room Service, Fitness Center, Hotel Spa, Large Lap Swimming Pool overlooking The Public Garden, and Valet Parking Service.

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Heritage on the Garden

Heritage on the Garden consists of 84 sophisticated residences overlooking the Public Garden and Boston skyline located at the corner of Arlington and Boylston Streets. Luxury amenities include valet garage parking, 24 hour concierge, doorman, extra storage, central air and heat.

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Le Jardin

Le Jardin is a classical revival six-story building that was built circa 1911 by Peabody and Stearns and was known as the Garden Building. This building was converted into 8 luxury condominiums in 2001 and features 24 hour concierge and doorman services provided by Tillingers, a heated enclosed brick auto courtyard with valet assistance, and is professionally managed. This corner building with three exposures for maximum air, light and views offers two garage parking spaces for each residence of 3,700 square feet.

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The Somerset

The Somerset, a former luxury hotel has been converted into a 115 unit condominium building. With all the charm of a turn of the century hotel, with amenities of modern day, this full service building features a private pool, beautifully landscaped courtyard, on-site professional management, concierge, extra storage, common laundry room and a sauna.

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The Carillon

The Carillon is located at 183-185 Massachusetts Avenue. This nine story, 31 unit residential building provides 2,000 square feet of first floor retail space and below ground parking. Amenities include self parking garage, open plan granite & stainless kitchens, marble & chrome baths, hardwood floors, bay windows, W/D hook ups, individually controlled unit heat/AC, gas cooking, individual unit storage, internet connection, and a common roof deck with some private decks.

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The Charlesgate

The Charlesgate building, formerly known as The Charlesgate Hotel, features an enchanting turn of the century ornate tiled lobby, two elevators, on site superintendent, a wonderful spacious landscaped courtyard, and stunning city views of the Boston Skyline and Charles River from the common roof deck.

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The Meads

The Meads features thirteen one-of-a-kind homes featuring grand entertaining spaces with roaring fires, soaring ceilings, private gardens and garage parking. State-of-the-art kitchens with climate controlled wine storage, spa baths with steam showers and custom designed walk-in closets are only a few of the amenities that define a return to gracious living in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

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The Prince

The Prince, formally a historic Back Bay school house, is now the home to 36 condominiums. These spacious residences feature both South and West exposures. Amenities include concierge, two elevators, deeded parking, and two common roof decks with stunning Back Bay views and direct elevator access.

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Trinity Place

Trinity Place is a full-service, luxury condominium building with 24-hour concierge service, valet parking, and evening room service from the award-winning restaurant, Sorellina. Built in 1999, this 100-unit property is located between the Boston Public Library and Copley Place.

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Zero Marlborough

Zero Marlborough, overlooking the historic Public Garden, defines the elegance of one of Boston’s finest neighborhoods. This magnificent landmark building has been transformed into a collection of 13 residences, offering a boutique lifestyle including concierge level services, valet parking, and a fitness center.

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The Vendome

The Vendome is located at the intersection of Commonwealth and Dartmouth Avenues, just two blocks from Copley Square. This historic building features 24 hour security & concierge services, onsite superintendent, professional management, common laundry, and is pet friendly.

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