5 Best Bets for Visiting Boston's Back Bay

The Back Bay in Boston has long been one of the city's most fashionable and desirable neighborhoods. Created by landfill in the mid-1800s, the Back Bay is one of the few areas in Boston laid out in a tidy grid with street names in alphabetical order. Although known for its classic brownstones, the neighborhood is also home to the two tallest buildings in Boston, the Prudential Tower and the John Hancock Tower. There is a lot to do and see on a visit to the Back Bay, but these are your five best bets for a day of exploration:

1. Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library, which was designed by legendary architects McKim, Mead, and White, is a leading example of Beaux-Arts architecture. Although the building is grand, the Library is very welcoming to the public. Don't be surprised to see college students studying there. And don't miss a look at the interior courtyard.

2. The Gibson House Museum
Although many of the famed Back Bay brownstones remain private homes, the Gibson House Museum is open to the public, providing a fascinating glimpse at a past way of life, frozen in time by a prescient owner who somehow knew how much those of us in the 21st century would enjoy a look at a home established in the 19th century.

3. Lunch from Deluca
Take a break for lunch with the Cape Cod sandwich from Deluca's and eat it outside in the Boston Public Garden. During the summer you can watch the swan boats, but even if they aren't out yet, it is a pretty and pleasant place to rest and relax for a little while.

4. Shopping on Newbury Street
For many people, a day of shopping is the Back Bay's biggest draw. Window shop at the fancy stores along Newbury Street, where there are art galleries and designer boutiques galore. Looking for a few more stores? The shops in and around the Prudential Center offer lots of choices.

5. Dinner at La Voile
Finish your day at the Boston brasserie La Voile, where French influence and a commitment to the sea's bounty ensure a delicious meal. Whether you eat outside in good weather or enjoy the cozy dining room inside, it is a lovely way to end a Back Bay day.

Victoria Otto Franzese, a New Englander by birth, owned, operated, and wrote for a successful online travel guide for 15 years. Now, thankfully, all of her travel is purely for fun. Find out where she will be going next at @VOFranzese.