The neighborhood got its name because the area was once a wide release in the 19th century, literally the "Back Bay" in Boston. To the west of the Shawmut Peninsula, across the bay from Boston, a wide bay opened between Boston and Cambridge, with the Charles River to enter at the west. As with the entire New England coast, the bay was tidal, with water rising and falling several feet throughout the day.
Culturally speaking, the Back Bay is known for being the home of the rich and upper middle class. It is best known for its expensive housing and shopping areas. Most stores are located in Newbury and Boylston Street, with the ends closer to the Boston Public Garden traditionally more expensive. Back Bay is full of luxury hotels including the Copley Plaza hotel, the Colonnade Hotel, The Westin Copley Place, Fairmont Copley Plaza, and the largest hotel in the city, the Boston Marriott Copley Place. The Mandarin Oriental, Boston, opened its doors in October 2008 with a house in the arcade area, and a number of luxury designer boutiques and restaurants.
The Copley Square area is near the railway terminal of Back Bay, and is the link between the east of a system of hotels and shopping malls connected by a set of glass pedestrian overpasses.
Copley Place Mall great includes the first Neiman Marcus opened in the New England area. The system of overpasses extends over half a mile from the Prudential Center and the shops that surround it. The 52-story Prudential Tower, thought a marvel in 1964, is considered by some ugly. However, the Prudential Skywalk observatory offers wonderful views of Back Bay, Boston and its environs. The John Hancock Tower which raises 60 floors and is the tallest building in Boston is a few blocks away. She recently completed nearby skyscrapers are 111 Huntington Ave (36 floors, completed in 2002) and Clarendon (32 floors, completed in 2009).
The residential streets of Back Bay are some of the best preserved examples of 19th century urban architecture in the U.S. Copley Square, surrounded by Clarendon, Boylston, Dartmouth, and St. James streets, includes Trinity Church, Boston Public Library, the John Hancock Tower, and other fine examples of architecture. The "Back Bay Historic District" was included on the National Register of Historic Places on 14 August 1973. The Prudential Center has awarded the Urban Land Institute Award for Best Mixed-use goods in 2006.
The monumental building, for the first time in the square was the Museum of Fine Arts building. Initiated in 1870 and opened in 1876, with much of its collection taken from the Ateneo Art Gallery in Boston. The construction of Gothic Revival red was demolished and rebuilt as the Copley Plaza Hotel still exists today.
If you are looking for fine shopping and upper scale dining venues this neighborhood has a lot to offer.