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8 Best Boston Areas: Where to Stay & Coolest Hotels (2022)

Where to stay in Boston
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Boston, the city I once called home and in my eyes one of the most beautiful, picturesque and historical cities in America to visit. Whenever I go back, I take time to indulge in Bostonian culture and walk around the city to find the new and old attractions that I love.

Whether you’re cheering on the famous Redsox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots or eating at delicious restaurants, Boston is a city for all ages. This big town, small city vibe allows you to feel comfortable and at ease while its youthful atmosphere brings a vibrancy that is contagious. Wander the cobblestone streets of the freedom trail and see the finish line of the Boston Marathon all in one day. This city caters to everyone’s interests so a visit to Beantown will most definitely be an unforgettable experience.

Where to Stay in Boston – Locals Guide

  • 1. Best Areas to Stay in Boston for Nightlife

    Fenway

    Best Areas to Stay in Boston for Nightlife

    Why it’s great: Fenway is home to the famous Boston Red Sox as well as the oldest MLB ballpark in America, Fenway Park. This lively and boisterous area is close to many Universities, making it the perfect location to have fun and have a couple drinks throughout your stay. The never-ending bars line the street, and the loud, vibrant atmosphere makes you feel a part of the young Boston community. Be sure to go to a baseball game if the Sox are playing, it is a fantastic experience. Easily go anywhere within the city from Fenway with ease, to enjoy all of Boston.

    Keep in mind: Fenway is completely safe to bring children to see a baseball game, but it may not be suitable for families at nighttime. It will be very loud and probably filled with sports fan who will be drinking a lot. If you want to head to the Fenway area with your family, think about going during the day. However, if you are young and looking for a great time, look no further.

    Our Favorite Hotels for Nightlife

    • Luxury:

      Sat right in Kenmore Square, it’s time to get your party dress on as you’ll be close to some of the best bars in Boston. With large rooms and bold design, Hotel Commonwealth will live up to your Boston vacation. With a fabulous outdoor area, fun entrance and vibrant atmosphere, this hotel is nothing short of superb. Whether you’re staying for a girls trip or bachelor party, stay central to all the fun!

    • Mid-Range:

      Sit on the rooftop with an ice cold drink and enjoy the gorgeous city views of Boston all around you. Whether you want to go to your first ever Red Sox game or are planning a weekend in the fenway area, the Residence Inn is a lovely hotel at a great price point. Enjoy complimentary breakfast and wake up in a bright and fresh room in the heart of the city.

    • Budget:

      With a simple design and affordable rooms, save your money for the bars and great attractions when you stay at the Hilton. Just three blocks from Fenway and located in Back Bay, enjoy a clean room with great amenities while in Boston. Offering a small rooftop, relax with friends and family in this electrifying and thriving city. With classically designed rooms and spacious living, call the Hilton home for a little getaway!

  • 2. Where to Stay in Boston with Family and Kids

    The North End, Back Bay

    Where to Stay in Boston with Family and Kids

    Why it’s great: The North End, otherwise, knows as “Little Italy”, does not only have great Italian food, but is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Boston. This area has beautiful cobblestone streets, is rich in culture and close to attractions. Back Bay is pretty much in the center of Boston, making it perfect for exploring with children. Both of these locations are close to the Boston’s main attractions like the aquarium, Faneuil hall, the waterfront and lots more family friendly activities. These are great family safe areas and since you’re centrally located you can get away with walking to most places or using public transportation.

    Keep in mind: These areas can be a bit pricier, but you’re paying for location. Both the North End and Back Bay are rich in culture and easy to get between locations or attractions. If you choose this area expect it to be busy with tourists who also want to see the sites.

    Our Favorite Hotels for Families and Kids

    • Luxury:

      From luxury suites to gorgeous guest rooms, the Four Seasons is the perfect place to stay with children. With a great location, big open rooms and cozy atmosphere, you’ll most definitely feel safe and happy while away from home. Quickly stroll through the attractions of Boston and with a centralized location you’ll be within walking distance to all major sights. Kiddies will love it and adults will too.

    • Mid Range:

      With classically designed rooms yet boasting a modern twist, the Lenox offers all its guests no matter how young or old a fabulous experience to tell all their friends about! Located in the trendy neighborhood of Back Bay with delicious restaurants and quirky shops, this luxurious hotel will captivate you and your family. Easily go for a morning walk in Boston Common or finish off the day with ice cream from Newbury Street. This hotel is exceptional and appropriately priced.

    • Budget:

      This bright and modern Courtyard is perfect for families wanting a weekend away exploring Boston. With great priced rooms and suites, this hotel is great for those on a Budget but still looking for a good time. With a restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, no details goes unnoticed. This is walking distance from TD garden so any families going to games will love its near perfect location and convenience!

  • 3. Where to Stay in Downtown Boston

    Back Bay, Seaport

    Where to Stay in Downtown Boston

    Why it’s great: Seaport has come a long way in the last few years and now has some of the best restaurants, cocktail bars and breweries in Boston. It even has some of the best water views in the whole city. You can’t get any more downtown than Back bay. It has the most beautiful old buildings, is filled with history and has a plethora of attractions like the Boston Library, Public Garden, excellent shopping and much more. Easily stay in downtown and discover all the areas of Boston.

    Keep in mind: These areas are definitely pricey, but they’re so beautiful and perfectly located. Since they have such an ideal location with sites and fantastic restaurants, they will be very busy. Tourists and locals will constantly be coming to these areas as they offer so much.

    Our Favorite Hotels Downtown

    • Luxury:

      If you want to pop into Downtown Boston with ease, or you’re looking for a tremendous experience, the Four Seasons can give that to you and more. Offering guests a gym and indoor pool, keep up with your fitness while you’re away or relax in the lush and bright Public Garden that is just a stone’s throw away. With a simple yet elegant design, feel the instant stresses of normal life roll off your back and enjoy a vacation in Boston at the Four Seasons.

    • Mid Range:

      This snazzy and sophisticated hotel is a hit among the younger crowd and those looking for a bit of pizzazz. While the rooms remain modern and sleek the dining and reception rooms offer glamor and intrigue. With an unbelievable location Downtown, easily get to Boston Commons, Newbury Street or the Boston Opera House in no time and in style.

    • Budget:

      Stay in a building filled with loads of history and curiosity! Loews Boston was once home to the Boston police headquarters and now sits as a spacious and urban hotel. Centrally located between three of Boston’s great neighborhoods, the South End, Back Bay and Theater District easily see all of Boston quickly. Offering classic New England charm in all the rooms, stay for a week or weekend and feel a part of local Boston life.

  • 4. Budget Areas to Stay in Boston that are Safe

    Brighton/Allston

    Budget Areas to Stay in Boston that are Safe

    Why it’s great: Brighton/Allston have some of the cheapest places to stay for budget travelers, where you’ll get great value and comfort for an incredible price. This neighborhood has a huge student population living here, so it has fun bars, cheaper restaurants and younger atmosphere. So, if you’re young and traveling on a budget this is a perfect for you. When you stay in Brighton/Allston you will feel less like a tourist and more like a local Bostonian.

    Keep in mind: Allston and Brighton are places where a lot of college students live. It can be loud, a bit dirty and more grungy. If you are a solo traveler or younger budget traveler this area is great, however I would not suggest to families stay here. It’s also further out from downtown Boston, so you absolutely have to use a car or rely heavily on public transport.

    Our Favorite Budget Hotels

    • Budget #1:

      Traveling on a budget can be very affordable in Boston especially if you stay in Allston or Brighton. The AC Hotel is perfect for young travelers wanting to see the city and look for a bit of fun around some college campuses. The rooms are clean, sleek and offer great amenities, while there is nothing that sets this hotel apart from the rest, it’s affordable and offers great rooms and service.

    • Budget #2:

      While there are a few hostels in Boston to choose from, HI Boston is best on the list for price, location and rooms. Choose between staying in a shared dorm or book a private room where you receive a bit more privacy. With an entertaining common room and close proximity to the Boston Common and other fun attractions like Faneuil Hall and the Freedom trail, this is perfect for budget travelers who want to explore this exciting city.

  • 5. Best Locations to Stay in Boston for Sightseeing

    Beacon Hill, Seaport, North End

    Best Locations to Stay in Boston for Sightseeing

    Why it’s great: Boston is a fantastic sightseeing city. Beacon Hill and North End are just stunning neighborhoods, filled with history and culture. It’s a bustling area, which still seems quaint and is easily walkable. Start your day relaxing in the commons, then head over to the freedom trail and finish in the North End for a delicious meal. I must say Beacon Hill is one of my favorite areas in Boston, mainly for its historic buildings, cobblestones streets and picturesque lifestyle, it is an absolute must-see location.

    Keep in mind: Since these are the main sightseeing areas, it will be very busy with people and packed at times. If you only want to partake in the sights and attractions, then choose to visit this area but not stay here. Check to see if you can sign up for tours and attractions beforehand, in order to skip the lines and have it be less crowded. Luckily Boston is such a great walking city, that you can see all the sights when you stay in any neighborhood.

    Our Favorite Hotels for Sightseeing

    • Luxury:

      Relax on the water at the classic and breathtaking Boston Harbor hotel. Have views in all directions and watch as boats come in and out of the harbor right from your very room. With its identifiable arch and large rooms, open the windows and let in loads of natural light! Treat yourself on your Boston trip and stay at this 5 star hotel that will blow your socks off!

    • Mid-Range:

      Surrounded by cobblestone streets, bright flowers and historic landmarks, staying in Beacon Hill is the full Bostonian experience. With an intimate feeling and open windows that look out onto the lively and vibrant streets of Beacon Hill, The Whitney is truly special. Close to the Esplanade on the Charles River, feel free to wander around, enjoying stunning buildings, architecture and a drink or two!

    • Budget:

      With views of the city skyline and sitting among the hustle and bustle of Boston, the Bostonian is a great choice for those wanting to discover the city with ease. With a classic red brick exterior and modern rooms, look out onto the bright city and plan all your explorations. Walk to Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market and The Freedom Trail to see some of Boston’s famous historic sights and watch your step on the glorious and old cobblestone paths.

  • 6. Best Places to Stay in Boston for Walking without a Car

    South End, Back Bay, Downtown

    Best Places to Stay in Boston for Walking without a Car

    Why it’s great: Luckily Boston is such a great walking city, that you can see all the sights when you stay in any neighborhood. However, the South End, Back Bay and Downtown all border each other and are easy to access without a car. This area is fun, young and lively, that host incredible bars, restaurants and local shops. Easily spend the day walking through South Ends delicious restaurants or go to Back Bay and Downtown for great shopping on famous Newbury Street or at the Prudential Center. Make sure to grab a coffee and wander around Boston Common to take in the city’s most beautiful park.

    Keep in mind: These areas can get a little rowdy at night with the residents and tourists, but it’s nothing more than people having a good time with dinner and drinks. It’s simply just people enjoying the beauty of Boston, this is perfectly safe to stay with families and children. These are great locations to see Boston while avoiding public transportation and renting a car.

    Our Favorite Hotels that are Walking Accessible

    • Luxury:

      This luxurious hotel is impressive from the moment you enter through the front door! Sitting next to the Boston public library and moments away from top attractions and sights, the Fairmont Copley Plaza is an absolute dream. While rooms can be quite pricey, the service, location and design more than satisfies the price. No detail is left unnoticed and the fabric, marble and intricate architecture is something to be marveled. Easily explore Boston on foot and never look back!

    • Mid Range:

      If you’re looking for a grand experience, with marble floors, high ceilings and elegance, then the Eliot Suite is perfect for you. With a centralized location, you can quickly find yourself shopping on Newbury Street or grabbing tasty Italian food in the North End in no time! While this hotel will have you feeling like royalty, its intimate atmosphere and tasteful rooms, feels like a home away from home!

    • Budget:

      Whether you’re traveling on a budget or looking for a little bit of history mixed with fresh flair, the revolution is the South Ends trendy hotel. With open spaces, fabulous art and extremely affordable rooms this hotel is a steal. Sat in fabulous locations and within walking distance to all major Boston sites, stay in the South end surrounded by fun shops and amazing restaurants.

  • 7. Where to Stay Outside of Boston

    Cambridge, Harvard Square

    Where to Stay Outside of Boston

    Why it’s great: Home to Harvard and MIT, Cambridge has that small town feel, but feels beautifully grand. The first time I went to Cambridge was to visit Harvard Square and I was completely captivated by its historical presence and stunning architecture. Home to old streets, you can easily stroll through the Harvard campus, but make sure to stop off into the campus bookstore for a picturesque day. It’s quaint, tidy and hip scene is perfect for anyone wanting to step out of busy Boston and relax.

    Keep in mind: Although Cambridge has attractions if you want to get to Boston you do either have to drive or take public transport. There is plenty for you to do in Cambridge such as checking out the art scene, restaurants and Ivy League Schools, but I highly suggest exploring Boston for a day too. Plan which days you would like to head into Boston so you can have it scheduled and mapped out.

    Our Favorite Hotels Outside of Boston

    • Luxury:

      While there are so many fabulous hotels to stay at within Boston, if you’re willing to cross the river into Cambridge you will be pleasantly surprised. With not only a stunning yet unbelievable library, it’s not uncommon to see many academics and politicians staying here for its great taste in books and rooms. Stay close to Harvard Square and feel free to wander through the campus within minutes from your hotel room.

    • Mid Range:

      With a quieter feel than Boston, but offering history and charisma, the Hyatt on the Charles River in Cambridge is something to tell your friends about. Having some of the best views of Boston and the city skyline, staying in Cambridge has its appeal. This newly renovated hotel offers fresh rooms and quick access to Charles. Enjoy the hotels restaurants and pop over to Boston with the metro being close to the entrance.

    • Budget:

      If you’re looking for a more boutique and unique experience, I highly suggest staying at Hotel Veritas. With a classic New England feel and intimate setting, this is a lovely place for a romantic getaway or more personal stay. With elegant and graceful touches, a stay here is not only affordable, but memorable. Easily walk around Cambridge or feel free to hop on T and get into Boston.

  • 8. Best Place to Stay for the Boston Marathon

    Back Bay (Copley Square)

    Best Place to Stay for the Boston Marathon

    Why it’s great: Did you know that the Boston Marathon is the oldest marathon in the country, beginning in Hopkinton, MA and finishing on Boylston Street, in the heart of Boston. Easily step out of one of these hotels to cheer on the runners as they cross the finish line. During the Boston Marathon expect it to be loud and boisterous as everyone is so happy and proud to be Boston Strong. City spirit will be at an all-time high with such a symbolic day so take in your surroundings and enjoy a monumental celebration.

    Keep in mind: During the Marathon it will be crazy, hectic and busy with people everywhere. I wouldn’t stay too close to the finish line if you have very young children as it may be intense and chaotic. Be prepared for big crowds the day before, during and after the main event.

    Our Favorite Hotels for the Boston Marathon

    • Luxury:

      Jump out of bed and be within feet of the finish line of the famous Boston Marathon. While this posh and extravagant hotel typically attracts the big spenders, embrace all the frills of the hotels and have yourself a fun Boston Marathon weekend at the Mandarin Orintal. With a homey feel and lively atmosphere, scream and cheer on all the runners at the end of a special event.

Where NOT to Stay in Boston

Boston in general is a very safe city, but there are a few areas that I would suggest not staying. Certain areas of Dorchester and Roxbury can be sketchy and a little dodgy. However, they are also a little further out from central Boston and can have a more limited schedule with the T Station (Boston’s Public Transport). I would suggest keeping your wits about you at night in general if you go to these areas alone or other parts of Boston. If you are looking to stay at places outside of Boston that are little cheaper then head to Allston/Brighton or Brookline. They’re safe, cheaper and excellent little neighborhoods.

What to Bring to Boston

Boston is quite a stylish city but depending on the time of year you go you want to be prepared for the weather. Since Boston is a walking city, its essential that you bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes. You’ll probably be on your feet all day exploring, so good shoes and a stylish big bag is key. With the changing weather I think it’s best to always have an umbrella and light jacket/jean jacket with you just in case.

  • 1. Stylish Day Bag

    The most important thing to bring is a bag that is big enough to hold all your belongings in for a long day of exploring. This stylish day bag is great to put in essential day trip items like an umbrella, phone, wallet and camera. Feel prepared and look good all at the same time.

  • 2. Travel Umbrella

    Boston’s weather is normally pretty dependable; however, you can never be too cautious when it comes to rain. This umbrella fits two people comfortably under it and can be put away in a bag or back backpack. It’s sturdy, reliable and is perfect for any bad weather days that might come your way.

  • 3. Jean Jacket

    When I say that everyone wears jean jackets in Boston, I’m not lying. Not only is it a cute jacket to throw on top of your outfit, its also practical. Summertime nights and fall days can sometime be a bit chilly, so it’s not a bad idea to bring something to keep you warm. A jean jacket is easy to carry, can fit in your bag and it’s the perfect addition to an outfit.

  • 4. Converse Sneakers

    These are comfortable stylish and perfect for walking around the city all day. In order to pack lightly make sure you bring shoes that will match all your outfits and are worn in. No matter the season these converses are perfect to be worn in Boston and you will be looking like a local Bostonian in no time.

  • 5. Packing Cubes

    This set of packing cubes comes with 1x small, 2x medium and 2x large cubes for easy organization and storing on your trip to Boston. They’re extremely durable and are incredibly convenient when packing electronics, clothes and toiletries separately. Pack smartly and find items easily on your Boston get away.

  • 6. Lipstick-Sized Charger

    If you plan on using your phone or other electronics devices while away, I highly suggest bringing this lipstick sized charger. Travel Boston all day without the worry of losing battery life and enjoy exploring. This portable charger is small and can fit into your bag or pocket perfectly.

  • 7. Neck Wallet

    A neck wallet is the perfect accessory to use when you are visiting all the tourist attractions in Boston. Keep credit cards, cash, phone or personal documents safe when you wear this Neck Wallet. Generally, Boston is very safe, but avoid the worry of pickpockets and enjoy your day stress free when you bring this on your trip.

  • 8. Travel Insurance

    If Boston is more than 100 miles away from your home, consider a travel insurance plan for your trip. We all know that trips don’t always go according to plan, so it’s better to be prepared in case of breakdowns, theft, illness, or accidents. We use TravelInsurance.com to compare plans from all of the top companies to find the best one for our family and travel plans.

  • 9. VPN

    Considering all of the public wifi networks you connect to while traveling, it’s always a good idea to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).  As the name suggests, a VPN creates a private network so you can safely connect to public wifi without risking your digital information, like passwords or credit card numbers, getting hacked. It’s happened to us before, but since we started using NordVPN we haven’t had any more problems with hackers.

FAQs about Boston Travel

  • 1. When to Visit Boston

    Personally, the best time of year to visit Boston is the Summer and Fall. Although the city will be warm in the summer, everything will open and bustling. Eat outside, walk by the Charles and experience Boston at it’s best. If you’re looking for less crowds, cooler weather and fall colors then September and October are stunning too.

  • 2. What to Do in Boston

    Boston is filled with really fun attractions and historically sites for all ages. Make sure to go on the Freedom Trail Walking Tour, then head to Faneuil Hall for a quick lunch and wander. The Boston Aquarium and Harbor are great to take children to and walk around if you have a free afternoon. Lastly make sure to visit Boston Common and shop on Newbury Street, you will also be able to see the classic brownstone buildings. For more ideas on what to do in Boston check out Get Your Guide Boston.

  • 3. Our Favorite Restaurants in Boston

    Boston or as others call in “Beantown”, has some fantastic restaurants for all ages and all prices. If you’re looking for budget restaurants, bartaco is a great Mexican restaurant with delicious tacos and cheap margaritas. If you’re looking for something on the run and want many options, head over to Faneuil Hall.

    Great mid-range restaurants such as Beehive and Coppa have an unbelievable atmosphere and are great for people looking to splurge, but still keep it affordable.
    One of my favorite foodie splurges is the incredible Mamma Maria, which has great Italian food and is set in old row houses, for a special evening this is my restaurant of choice.

  • 4. What to Wear in Boston

    Boston is quite a stylish city, but it’s also laidback and casual. If you plan on coming in the summer denim shorts, converse, a simple t-shirt and big bag is perfect for daily activities. Night-time can be a bit dressier, so here you could wear platform sandals, dresses and men can wear button downs and shorts. Just make sure you have comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.

  • 5. Fun Seasonal Events in Boston

    You can’t go to Boston without going to a legendary Red Sox game, check the schedule and see if your trip coincides with a game, it will be unforgettable. If you get the chance Boston Marathon is really fun event to attend as well as Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but be prepared for loud, drunk college kids. Lastly, Harpoon Fest hosted by Harpoon Brewery is a blast, this is suitable for adult but not families.

  • 6. Local Knowledge of Boston

    A few of my favorite things to do is just take in the beauty of Boston, since it is actually very clean and a historical treasure. I love grabbing a coffee and sandwich from Tatte and going to sit in Boston Common or get lost in the North End or Beacon Hill. It’s also lovely to walk along the Charles River where you can rent paddle boards or kayaks and have an afternoon on the water.

    Lastly the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has one of the most peaceful and relaxing courtyards and gardens in all of Boston, this museum is fully worth the trip.

    Suggested Websites for that Location

    • Rental Car suggestion (rentalcar.com)
    • Hotel Site Suggestion (Booking.com)
    • Attractions (Get Your Guide)
    • Flight Booking ( Kayak.com)