I definitely recommend that families make at least one trip to my home state of Massachusetts and our lovely capital city of Boston. There is so much to do in Boston with kids – including museums, historic attractions, and of course, Fenway Park. It’s got so much history but is also a beautiful city with delicious restaurants, fun shops, and great museums.
If you are planning a trip to Boston, you may be wondering what neighborhoods to stay in around Boston. There are so many options depending on what you plan to do on your trip. Here are my thoughts on the best area of Boston to stay in.
I have stayed in a few hotels in Boston over the years at no cost for review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links and a purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no cost to you.
Best Area of Boston to Stay In (Best Boston Neighborhoods)
The Seaport District
The Seaport District is one of Boston’s newest neighborhoods, and so it’s constantly evolving. My son and I stayed at the Element Boston Hotel a few months ago for a complimentary stay and loved the amount of space we had in our room. Families may find more affordable accommodations in the Seaport, and as a bonus, it’s located near the Boston Children’s Museum.
Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need to take cabs to get around the rest of the city, however, since there isn’t much in the way of public transportation in the area. It’s an area that is constantly changing and there are new hotels and restaurants constantly popping up.
If you are taking a cruise out of the Flynn Cruiseport Terminal in Boston, this may be a nice place to stay before or after your cruise. While it won’t necessarily be within walking distance of your hotel, it is pretty close.
Cambridge isn’t technically Boston, but it’s located right over the Charles River. There are plenty of great restaurants and shops in the various Cambridge neighborhoods, but it’s definitely less touristy than other areas in and around Boston.
Be sure to visit Harvard University during your Boston family vacation. The Boston Museum of Science is also located right nearby. Even if you stay in Boston, not Cambridge, it’s worth visiting for a day.
It’s so close to Boston, but it’s also got such a different feel. Public transportation on the MBTA red line easily will get you from Boston to Cambridge (and back) so it’s very convenient to visit for the day.
Faneuil Hall/North End
Faneuil Hall is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Boston, although the whole area (including Quincy Market) does tend to resemble a shopping mall. Bordered by the Boston waterfront, the Financial District, and the North End (the Italian neighborhood of Boston), it can be one of the best areas to stay in around Boston.
It’s such a central location, making it very convenient. We loved our stay at the Bostonian Hotel, which is within walking distance of many Boston tourist attractions and historic sites, including the Paul Revere House and the Old North Church. In addition, public transportation is easily accessible in this area.
Also near Faneuil Hall and the North End is the Boston waterfront, where you’ll find some popular waterfront hotels like the Boston Harbor Hotel and the Marriott Long Wharf. In the summer, this can be an absolutely beautiful spot to stay in, and it’s convenient to the New England Aquarium and the ferry terminal for the Boston Harbor Islands.
Faneuil Hall is close to both Boston’s North Station and South Station, so if you are coming in by train, it will be a short ride by cab or rideshare. Guests staying in this area will probably find that they won’t need a car for most places they visit because public transportation is a good option.
Even if you aren’t staying in this neighborhood, we definitely recommend that you visit Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. They are popular, iconic parts of the city.
The Financial District
The Financial District of Boston is a small area of downtown Boston that is lively during the week and quieter on the weekends. Unless you are specifically planning to visit a business in the area, we don’t recommend staying there. While it is a nice environment, you’ll probably find that most of the cafes and shops in the area are only open during working hours, and have limited weekend hours. Other areas of the city mentioned here are more popular tourist destinations and will have more things to do while you are visiting.
The Back Bay and Copley area are located near a variety of hotels, thanks to the tourists generated by Copley Plaza, Copley Square, Hynes Convention Center, the Boston Public Library, the Boston Public Garden, and Newbury Street. This is a very popular area of the city.
It’s so convenient to public transportation, so you can easily take the T to just about anywhere you’ll want to go. It’s also located along Boylston Street, which is one of the busier roads in Boston and is where the Boston Marathon ends. If you want to be in the center of town, the Back Bay neighborhood is definitely a great option. It’s one of the best neighborhoods in Boston.
This area contains some great luxury and high-end hotels, including the Westin Copley Place, Fairmont Copley Plaza, and the Newbury Hotel. It’s a nice area to walk around and also includes many fantastic restaurants and shops. If you are taking the train, Boston’s Back Bay Station is located in this neighborhood.
The Theater District/Boston Common
Right near the Back Bay/Copley area is the Theater District and adjacent Boston Common/Boston Public Garden. Named for the number of theaters in the area, this is a great place to stay if you want easy access to the Boston Public Garden as well as all of the wonderful live theaters we have in the city.
This area is also near Tufts Medical Center and borders the Chinatown neighborhood. The area surrounding the Boston Common is home to many of the most luxurious hotels in the city, including the Four Seasons Boston and the Ritz-Carlton Boston.
We’d definitely recommend staying on this side of the neighborhood (rather than the theater district), which is also fairly close to the Massachusetts State House, part of the Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, Charles Street, and the original Cheers bar. You can walk around the area easily and can also take public transportation conveniently located in the area.
Do you have baseball fans in your family? The Fenway neighborhood, which is also located near Boston University, is located right near Fenway Park, which is right in the heart of the city. It’s also not too far from other attractions including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Northeastern University, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Wentworth University.
The Fenway/Kenmore Square area is also near the Back Bay, Newbury Street, and the new Time Out Boston Market and is located on public transportation. It’s become a popular part of the city, but isn’t quite as central as the Back Bay area.
Some families find that it’s much less expensive to stay in the local suburbs, rather than right in the city. Some options include Natick (home to the Natick Mall – the largest mall in New England), Waltham, Burlington, and Newton. Another hotspot is Somerville, MA, where you’ll be near the Legoland Discovery Center.
These towns/cities may have some public transportation options, but they are definitely less convenient than the city hotels. However, they can definitely be a great option if you are on a budget. I would definitely recommend having a car if you do stay in a suburb.
Getting to Boston For Your Vacation
Boston is a very convenient city to visit, whether you are driving, taking the train, or flying. If you do drive, you may choose to park your car at the hotel and take public transportation around as you sightsee. Parking at some of the more popular attractions can be expensive and tough to find. It’s usually easier to walk or take the T (which is not too difficult to navigate).
Planning on flying? Boston’s Logan International Airport isn’t too far from downtown Boston. While you can definitely rent a car at the airport (see prices here), you may not need one, unless you plan to drive beyond the city.
There are also three train stations in Boston. While all offer commuter rail trains to various suburbs, they all also have Amtrak service. North Station, near the Boston Garden, offers the Downeaster, which has service to Maine. South Station and Back Bay station offer the Acela and the Northeast Corridor regional, with service to major Northeast destinations including NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.
Frequently Asked Questions About Boston
It does get cold in the winter, so we recommend visiting in the spring, summer, or fall when it’s more pleasant to walk around the city.
There are lots of great fun family activities in Boston. We especially recommend visiting the Boston Children’s Museum with young children.
Absolutely, and we recommend traveling beyond our capital. Cape Cod is especially popular in the summer months.