The Boston Back-Bay trek 2, a 1.5 miles self-guided tour to visit the luxury boutiques of Newbury St, take a coffee at the Taj, see the French Cultural Center and stroll along Commonwealth Ave, will take you about 1:30 hours to complete if strolling and taking photos.

You will be in one of the most upscale parts of the city although it was won over marshes in the 19th century. Its layout with parallels and shaded trees has been inspired by the renovation of Paris made by Haussmann.

Highlights: Trinity Church, Hancock Tower, 500 Boylston St Building, Covenant Church, Naga Gallery, Taj Hotel, Commonwealth Avenue, French Cultural Center

A & B:  Like in the Back Bay 1 trek, your itinerary begins at Copley Square; instead of entering the library, cross the square; first to see the Hare and the Turtle sculptures on the left side of Trinity Church; then, if you feel like it, to take a ticket to visit this Romanesque-style episcopal church. It’s on the list of the 10 most architecturally important buildings in the US. It’s also listed as a historic monument; and it’s richly decorated with murals and stained-glass windows.

It reflects itself in the Hancock tower whose modern, minimalist structure, is composed of blue glass panels. Since the 1970’s, this tower is the tallest one  in the city; its Observatory has been closed since the 09/11 attacks in NYC, though.

C: At 500 Boylston St, go inside the building. There are shopping arcades there, but above all, if you turn left, Calvin Shoe Shine: it’s one of the few still active; further on and on the first floor, a winter garden; an oasis of calm with its fountain and its tables in the middle of a superb marble patio.

D & E: Find an exit to Boylston St.; continue to Berkeley St.; take it on your left toward  Newbury St. On your way, you’ll see a square building in the middle of a small square. It was a MIT building when MIT was in Boston. Then the Natural History Museum; it’s now a contemporary furniture store. Enter it even if only to admire its interior architecture.

Nearly across the street on Newbury St., the Covenant Church has been decorated by Tiffany’s. Next to it, the Naga gallery, specialized in New England contemporary art, is also worth a detour.

There are many other contemporary art galleries on Newbury St. when you go toward  Boston’s public garden; you’ll have the opportunity to visit them as well as it is where you go now. If the big Haute Couture names attract you, you’ll find their showrooms in this part of the street too.

At the end, on the left and in front of the public garden, the bar at the Taj: it will offer you relaxation and luxury while having a drink and contemplating the traffic on Arlington St.

Built in 1927, this 4-star hotel has the charm of classic, cozy, opulent hotels of this era; it also has a geographical location of choice.

G & H: Next, follow Arlington St. to Commonwealth Ave; take the central alley, tree-lined and adorned with life size sculptures. It’s part of the Emerald Necklace, a series of green spaces that connects various parks and parts of the city.

At Berkeley St, turn right to Marlborough St.; for an overview of France, find its cultural center at #53. You can consult its books and newspapers,  and visit its exhibition hall for free.

Then resume your walk to admire the classical brick houses of the neighborhood, and their tiny gardens often meticulously kept.

Your goal is to reach Copley Square; no route is preferred as each street brings you small discoveries; let your fancy guide you here.

Once back at Copley Square and if you want to walk more, take the Back Bay 1 trek and keep exploring this part of town.

Good to know: you will find restrooms in every building you enter; places to sit too. There are many restaurants options on Boylston St and Newbury St.

Metro: Copley Square (beginning and end)

Tips for the scout: they are welcome, see suggestions at the bottom of the page. Thanks in advance for your contribution!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *