Where to Stay in Boston: Best Areas & Hotels

Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers
Updated Sep 24, 2021
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The Freedom Trail leads past the city's main historical attractions and begins on Boston Common, in the heart of downtown. Several highly rated hotels lie right on the Freedom Trail or within a short distance of its route, making them good places to stay for sightseeing. A number of other fine hotels overlook Boston's waterfront, not far off the route of the Freedom Trail as it heads toward Old North Church and Paul Revere's House in the North End.

The waterfront extends southeast into a relatively new lodging and dining area called the Seaport, which includes both the World Trade Center and the Boston Convention Center. The cruise port is here as well, making the hotels in this neighborhood a good choice for arriving or departing cruise passengers. As this area has grown in the past few years, restaurants have moved in, including Legal Seafoods, a Boston icon with two locations here. A direct T line runs to the airport and South Station.

Several more of Boston's foremost sights are in Back Bay, which lies in the other direction from the Common, near Copley Square and beyond, along Huntington Avenue. This is where you'll find the city's three foremost cultural attractions: Symphony Hall and two major art museums.

When deciding where to stay in Boston, consider looking across the river in Cambridge, around Harvard Square, where another cluster of top attractions lie. Connected by a direct subway line to Park Street (at the Boston Common), the Harvard Square area is a good place to stay, with shopping, restaurants, and a wealth of cultural activities, but handy to downtown Boston.

Where to Stay in Boston for Sightseeing

Godfrey Hotel Boston
Photo Source: The Godfrey Hotel Boston

Because Boston's attractions and most popular things to do tend to cluster into different neighborhoods, no one place is central to all the top sights. But getting from one area to another is very easy with Boston's efficient T, the underground transit system.

Right along the famous Freedom Trail, the luxurious XV Beacon Hotel stands next to the State House on historic Beacon Hill. The boutique property is in a 1903 Beaux Arts building and boasts ultra-contemporary rooms overlooking Boston Common. The most luxe abodes here come with wonderful sunken Jacuzzi tubs and four-poster beds that appeal to couples on a romantic getaway.

A town car is on call to take guests to appointments and dinner. If you'd rather eat on property, check out Moo. It's a contemporary steakhouse, with sophisticated decor and some innovative dishes beyond top cuts of meat on its menu.

A block away, on the Freedom Trail and opposite the historic Granary Burying Ground, the trendy Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel is a luxury boutique property. Only a few steps from Boson Common, the hotel is a short walk from both the theater district and Quincy Market's shops and activities.

The Kimpton is a great choice if you are traveling with a pet. The hotel is known for being pet friendly and never charges fees. There are also no size restrictions, and unlike most hotel brands, animals other than dogs are welcome - this includes reptiles!

Also along the Freedom Trail, opposite the Old State House, Ames Boston Hotel is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. The building itself is a historic and architectural landmark, beautifully restored and re-purposed as a luxury hotel with a boutique feel.

At the other side of Boston Common, at the edge of the theater district and handy to Newbury Street shops, the moderately priced Revere Hotel Boston Common has a smart urban feel, with modern artworks and a large glass-surrounded indoor pool. Some of the rooms have balconies with cityscape views.

In the heart of the theater district, only a block from the Common and Freedom Trail, The Godfrey Hotel Boston is an outstanding example of 19th-century mercantile building that has been restored and converted into a stylish hotel. Breakfast is included in the rate.

For dinner, check out the on-site restaurant, Ruka. It serves Peruvian-Japanese fare in sophisticated environs. There is also an artsy coffee house on the grounds. It does excellent speciality coffee creations, as well as a range of pastries and sandwiches, and is open for breakfast and lunch daily.

Where to Stay in Boston for Luxury

Photo Source: Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston
Photo Source: Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston

Although Bostonians are known for their lack of ostentation and show, the city certainly doesn't lack fine luxury hotels, whether you prefer classic continental grandeur or chic contemporary style.

The undisputed grande dame of Boston luxury hotels is the Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston, a landmark of elegance since it opened in 1912. Its location doesn't get much better, overlooking beautiful Copley Square, with the stately Boston Public Library and Trinity Church as its neighbors. The interior is nothing short of sumptuous, and the service matches.

Just around the corner and with quite a different style but equally luxurious is the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. The art collection displayed in its spacious lobby, restaurant, and public rooms is spectacular, and the guest rooms are elegant with exotic touches.

With rooms overlooking the leafy Public Garden and its famous swan boats, Four Seasons Hotel Boston exudes style. The spacious lobby is decorated with magnificent floral arrangements, and the rooms are stylish and supremely comfortable. The house car for local transport is a welcome amenity.

Luxurious rooms overlook the waterfront at Boston Harbor Hotel, which is next to the Financial District and an easy walk from Quincy Market, the North End Italian neighborhood, and the New England Aquarium. The Boston Harborwalk is just outside the door, and the spa features an indoor lap pool, sauna, and steam room. In the beautifully equipped fitness center, all workout attire is provided.

Where to Stay in Boston: Mid-Range

Boston Marriott Long Wharf
Photo Source: Boston Marriott Long Wharf

Stretching from the North End Italian neighborhood to the smart new Seaport area, Boston's waterfront puts travelers close to harbor cruises, the New England Aquarium, seafood and Italian restaurants, and historic sites.

In a handy location adjacent to a subway station, Boston Marriott Long Wharf has a stair-step architecture that gives most of its spacious rooms sweeping views of Boston Harbor.

At the other end of the long Boston Harborwalk promenade and handy to the World Trade Center, the Residence Inn Boston Downtown/Seaport is steps from the Boston Children's Museum and Boston Tea Party Ships. Free breakfast and in-room kitchenettes, as well as its location close to popular kids' attractions, make this a favorite for families.

Red Sox fans will love the location of the budget-friendly Boston Hotel Buckminster, where rooms overlook Historic Fenway Park. Music fans love its location, too, close to Boston's premier live entertainment venue, House of Blues. Rooms are spacious, with kitchenettes, and parking is in the same building.

Where to Stay in Boston on a Budget

Boston Public Garden
Boston Public Garden

With a convenient location in the lively South End, near the Public Garden and an easy walk from the theater district, Staypineapple, A Delightful Hotel, South End Boston is popular with young travelers for its relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff, and small but comfortable rooms. Near Symphony Hall and Copley Square attractions, The Midtown Hotel adds a pool to its attractions and welcomes pets.

Travelers attending sport and entertainment events at TD Garden will like the Hotel Indigo Boston Garden, also close to the North End Italian neighborhood and Quincy Market. The included hot breakfast is a budget-friendly bonus.

Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge connects Harvard Square to Porter Square, both on the Red Line T with direct trains to Park Street (Boston Common). An easy walk to either square, hospitable Mary Prentiss Inn includes free parking and breakfast in its budget-friendly rates.

Right on Massachusetts Avenue next to the Porter Square subway station, Porter Square Hotel has accommodating staff and small rooms with good modern tech features. Porter Square offers good shopping and restaurant options.

Where to Stay in Boston for Couples

Gryphon House
Photo Source: Gryphon House

Lushly decorated rooms and suites at Gryphon House overlook the Charles River or a tree-lined street just off Kenmore Square. Original antique features, fireplaces, and warm hospitality make this a perfect spot for a romantic getaway, with easy access to sightseeing.

Ask for a corner room on an upper floor at The Boxer Boston, for panoramic views from the king-sized beds. This smart boutique hotel occupies a "flat-iron" building just around the corner from the TD Garden sport and entertainment venue, not far from the North End and Quincy Market.

Browse in the smart Newbury Street shops, pause in cafés, and stroll hand-in-hand down Commonwealth Avenue's tree-lined promenade, admiring the beautiful old Brahmin homes, all a few steps from the stylish Loews Boston Hotel. Smart black-and-white rooms are filled with thoughtful luxuries, and even before you step into the marble lobby, you'll notice the superb service Loews is known for.

Large windows reveal sweeping views over Boston's harbor from spacious guest rooms at the contemporary Battery Wharf Hotel, Boston Waterfront. Relax in the Exhale Spa or walk less than five minutes to the Freedom Trail or the Italian restaurants and cafés of the North End.

Where to Stay in Boston for Families

Colonnade Hotel
Photo Source: The Colonnade Hotel

Boston has so many tourist attractions that are perfect for children-the New England Aquarium, Tea Party Ships, and excellent science and children's museums among them-that Boston hotels make special efforts to welcome families. None does it better than Royal Sonesta Boston, overlooking the Charles River in Cambridge, next to the Museum of Science. The atrium-style pool is a favorite, and family packages include a two-room suite, museum tickets, and complimentary milk and cookies at bedtime.

Across the street from the Sonesta, Kimpton Marlowe Hotel doesn't have a pool, but guests are welcome to explore the Charles River and its banks with free hotel bikes and kayaks. Parents of toddlers will welcome the free child-safety kits with outlet covers, latches, and nightlights; they'll even loan your child a pet goldfish to look after.

Children are charmed by the rubber duckies in the bath and the rooftop pool at The Colonnade Hotel, opposite the Prudential Center in Back Bay. The T station just below the hotel makes getting around the city easy.

Overlooking the waterfront and only steps from the Children's Museum and Tea Party Ships, the sleek glass towers of the InterContinental Boston stand out as a landmark. Along with family-sized rooms and suites, the pet-friendly hotel has a pool.

Where to Stay in Boston for a Cool Vibe

The Verb Hotel
Photo Source: The Verb Hotel

Right across the street from the Boston Convention Center and handy to the restaurants in Boston's newest dining district, Aloft Boston Seaport led the way with Boston's first voice-command Siri system for in-room lights, alarm, and temperature settings, etc. That makes a stay more fun, and evening live acoustic concerts and the comfortable lounge area in the lobby make this hotel even more appealing. A small indoor pool opens onto a terrace in the summer for more social space.

Next door to Aloft, environmentally conscious Element Boston Seaport also offers plenty of chance to meet other guests, with a complimentary evening social hour in the spacious lobby. The buffet breakfast is also included and offers a vegetarian choice among the hot options. A pool and exceptionally well-equipped fitness room are plusses.

For a rock 'n' roll vibe, complete with a vinyl library and in-room turntables, The Verb Hotel is next to Fenway Park, a plus for Red Sox fans, as well as music lovers attending concerts at the nearby House of Blues. Boston's two major art museums are a short walk away, and walkers will enjoy the paths through the Fens. Some rooms have balconies.

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