Back Bay Apartments
Welcome to Back Bay Apartments! This site will let you search 100's of up-to-the-minute apartments & condos absolutely free! The apartment listings will include photos, actual addresses, square footage information, and more. These are all real up-to-the-minute listings, and there is no bait-and-switch! This site is linked to a system where literally all of the largest real estate agencies in Downtown Boston post listings to, and all of the listings should be up-to-the-minute.
You will receive a nightly email if any rentals & condos in your criteria come onto the market. The system will include new construction luxury buildings, Back Bay condos for rent, unfurnished & furnished apartments, Back Bay brownstones, Back Bay real estate, lofts, and more. This system is linked to the largest property database in the Boston area and provides free access to view the listings.
We have listings in literally every single luxury apartment building in the Back Bay, as well as all of Downtown Boston. Many of the buildings are new construction such as the Mandarin Oriental, and the 360 Newbury Lofts. We have listings on every street in the Back Bay such as:
Also, leave us a note in the notes section if you need parking, or have pets, and we can adjust the system even further. Our apartment agents are on call 7 days a week, and we welcome you to the Back Bay!
History of Back Bay Brownstones
Some of the most cherished real estate in the city of Boston is found in its historic Back Bay neighborhood. For more than a century, rows of Victorian brownstones have dominated the landscape of this unforgettable section of the city, attracting buyers and renters from around the globe. Back Bay brownstones are widely regarded as being among the best remaining examples of 19th-century urban architecture and design in the U.S., and their significance cannot be overstated. At Boston City Properties, we help people buy and rent apartments, condos and single-family homes--including brownstones--every day. Like all Bostonians, we are enamored of this charming neighborhood. We love nothing more than connecting people with the real estate of their dreams. If you're not familiar with the story behind the Back Bay and its iconic brownstones, read on below to learn more.
Many people don't realize it, but Back Bay has only existed for a small part of Boston's history. Despite its relatively brief history, however, Back Bay is undoubtedly one of the best-known and most beloved neighborhoods in the city. Many view Back Bay as a microcosm of Boston itself, with its compelling mix of historic, well-preserved architecture and modern, glimmering edifices. While the neighborhood is unquestionably upscale, it is far from homogenous in that regard. Within its boundaries, you can find everything from high-end boutiques to funky, bohemian shops. From Commonwealth Avenue to the Charles River, the neighborhood manages to distill the very essence of Boston. No wonder real estate is such a hot commodity there.
History of Back Bay and its Iconic Brownstones
Whether you are thinking of buying or renting a place in the Back Bay or are just curious about this incredible neighborhood, Boston City Properties is happy to bring you up to speed. As mentioned above, the neighborhood is a lot younger than many people realize, as the land on which it sits didn't even exist until fairly recently. Every single brownstone in the neighborhood has its own unique history. As you can see, people love these brownstones, and they are rightfully proud of them. The question, however, is how did Back Bay come about? How did these brownstones get built, and how have they remained in such good shape for so long?
Up until fairly recently, Back Bay was literally that: a bay. More accurately, it was a tidal bay, which means that it grew and shrank with the tides. At low tide, most of the land beneath would be revealed, which meant, of course, that it wasn't a terribly deep bay. As one of the first major cities of the United States, Boston had already cemented its place as a huge, important city by the mid-1800s. As the manufacturing and shipbuilding sectors flourished, more and more people flocked to the burgeoning city. Before too long, it was woefully overcrowded. Unfortunately, there wasn't a whole lot of extra land available for expansion. Overcrowding was already a huge issue by the mid-19th century, and it would be some time before a viable solution would be developed.
During the 1820s, a large mill company banded decided to build a dam across the tidal bay, which stretched west of Shawmut Peninsula between Boston and Cambridge. The dam was intended to generate power for Roxbury and Boston Mill Company. Thus began the evolution of Back Bay. Around that same time, two railroad lines were built across the bay. With them in place, the tidal basin could no longer flush away debris. With the flow of the tide impeded, sewage and other hazardous, smelly waste started becoming blocked up in the bay. It didn't take long for the Back Bay to develop a very unpleasant stench. Not surprisingly, many people wanted to do something about it.
By the 1850s, residents had had enough of the cesspool that the Back Bay had become. Further, the city direly needed more land on which to build, as overcrowding had become worse still. In 1856, the commonwealth finally decided to do something. Their ambitious plan called for filling in the tidal bay and building a large neighborhood upon it. The rise of steam engine technology made their idea viable, but that doesn't mean that it would be easy. The filling of Back Bay and other sections of Boston would take several decades, and it would be longer still before the new neighborhoods started taking on their present form.
The filling project began in 1857. Gravel, land and other fill was transported to the Back Bay from Needham via steam engines. Ultimately, it took about 25 years for the filling to be complete. One of the benefits of creating new land on purpose was that city planners could map out a logical design for the neighborhood. They drew their inspiration from the streets of Paris, creating a boulevard with a public park along its median--Commonwealth Avenue--and developed a grid of streets that left plenty of space for residential lots. In fact, Back Bay was originally intended to be exclusively residential, but that plan didn't last very long.
By the early 1900s, most of the original lots in Back Bay had been developed. Most of the fascinating landmarks that we know and love today were built during the 1870s and 1880s, so the neighborhood was already bustling. The filling of the Back Bay was just one of many similar projects around the city. Since 1630, the land area of Boston has more than tripled, and it is mostly thanks to these filling projects. As skyscraper design and engineering became more sophisticated, high-density high-rise towers rose to prominence, and this helped to ease overcrowding significantly too. Interestingly enough, some of the most notable skyscrapers in the city--from a historical perspective, at least--are found right in Back Bay.
Landmarks of Back Bay
Without question, the most famous and beloved landmarks of Back Bay are its gorgeous Victorian brownstones. Why were these buildings favored over others? For one thing, the people who came up with the plan for Back Bay included setback requirements and other restrictions in the zoning laws. This meant that only certain types of buildings would work, and brownstones were among them. Quickly, three- and four-story brownstones were built along most streets in the neighborhood. In 1966, the Massachusetts legislature created the Back Bay Architectural Commission, which regulates exterior changes to brownstones and other buildings in the neighborhood. This move is credited with ensuring that the neighborhood's historic ambiance would remain unchanged. Today, the vast majority of Back Bay brownstones remain residential. However, most of the brownstones along Newbury Street now house commercial businesses. The upper levels of some of these brownstones are apartments or condos.
Of course, the brownstones aren't Back Bay's only claim to fame. The neighborhood is awash in incredible architecture. So much so, in fact, that Back Bay is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Some of the most famous buildings are located at Copley Square, but many others are scattered around the neighborhood. Some especially prominent examples include:
• Trinity Church - Construction was completed in 1877
•Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel - Construction was completed in 1912
•Boston Public Library - Gorgeous Beaux-Arts architecture. Construction was completed in 1892
•Old South Church - A beautiful example of Venetian Gothic architecture, construction of this church was completed in 1875.
•Gibson House - Finished in 1860, Gibson House is now a historic house museum and is considered one of the best local examples of Italian Renaissance style.
• Prudential Tower - Built in 1964, Prudential Tower is the eighth tallest building in Boston.
• John Hancock Tower - Designed by I.M. Pei and completed in 1972, John Hancock Tower is the tallest skyscraper in New England.
Fun Facts About Back Bay
Even people who were born and raised in Boston are often unaware of some of the more interesting tidbits about Back Bay. For example, did you know that Newbury Street was once completely lined with stables? Today, of course, it is the busiest commercial corridor in this part of Boston.
The original campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, was located in Back Bay.
The Boston Public Garden, which is located at one end of Commonwealth Avenue, is where you will find the famous Swan Boats. The boats continue to be one of the main attractions in this bustling neighborhood, where you will also find the Back Bay Fens, which is part of the Emerald Necklace; the Berklee College of Music; the Boston Conservatory; the Boston Public Library and many other landmarks.
Back Bay Today
Today, it is practically impossible to envision how Back Bay looked before the filling project happened. Old photographs of the area still exist, but they reveal a Back Bay that looks nothing like the neighborhood that we know and love today.
These days, Back Bay is considered to be one of the most exclusive and beautiful neighborhoods in Boston. It is where you will find some of the priciest real estate including, of course, those iconic brownstones. The streets that run between Commonwealth Avenue and the Charles River remain almost completely residential. Housing includes single-family homes, condos and apartments. The neighborhood's skyscrapers create a dramatic backdrop. Located as they are along the turnpike, they allow plenty of space for the smaller structures that have helped to make this neighborhood so lovely.
The best shopping can be found along Newbury Street, which is crowded with shoppers most of the time. When it comes to dining and drinking, Boylston Street is where it is at. This bustling street really comes alive after dark, when its bars and restaurants really kick into action. Commercial properties line one side of Boylston, and landmarks like Copley Square and the Prudential Tower run along the other.
The neighborhood also continues to be ground zero for some of the most incredible examples of modern architecture in the country. However, green space is prevalent too. The broad median of Commonwealth Avenue serves as a sprawling public park. Mature shade trees line most of the streets in the neighborhood, lending it a park-like feel. Back Bay Fens, part of the city's incredible Emerald Necklace, is located here too. Then there's the Boston Public Garden and its beautiful grounds, sculptures and swan boats. Wherever you go in Back Bay, you are never too far from green, open spaces where you can enjoy quality outdoor time.
Buying or Renting in Back Bay
Not surprisingly, Back Bay's real estate market is fast paced and extremely competitive. That's true pretty much always, but it's especially true these days, as the city undergoes a major seller's market. Like elsewhere in Boston, prices for homes and condos continue to rise dramatically in Back Bay. The instant a property is listed, people line up to make offers. Bidding wars are par for the course. Needless to say, it's crucial to have help when trying to find real estate in this vibrant neighborhood.
If you are interested in buying or renting a place in the Back Bay, Boston City Properties can help. The best place to start is our searchable database of constantly updated real estate listings. Gain access right away by signing up using a simple form. Use the search feature to narrow your search based on your requirements. In no time, you will have a list of promising options to explore.
Later, when you're ready to check out properties in person, we'll connect you with an experienced Back Bay real estate agent who can assist you. They will work with you on negotiating a great deal and provide priceless guidance every step of the way. Until then, sign up to search our listings to see what is available. At any given moment, there are several great properties up for grabs in Back Bay. The trick is jumping on them quickly, as they don't last long. For more information, contact Boston City Properties today.