Head to the heart of Boston’s upscale Back Bay neighborhood to Copley Square. This small green space surrounded by architectural treasures, some of which date back more than a century, is the perfect place to take a break. In the warmer months, mingle with local families and office workers cooling off by the impressive Copley Square Fountain. Or, time your visit with the bi-weekly farmers’ market, which draws hundreds of foodies.
Originally called Arts Square, the park was renamed in 1883 after the painter John Singleton Copley. The area’s must-see buildings include the Old South Church built in 1873 and Trinity Church built in 1877. Trinity Church is renowned for its Romanesque Revival architecture. Look for the unique exterior staircase on the Boylston Street side of the church and the extensive murals inside.
The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel stands on the former site of the Museum of Fine Arts. Step inside this Beaux Arts-styled gem and marvel at the gilded entrance hall known as Peacock Alley. Be sure to check out Boston Public Library, the first free-lending library in America. Built in 1895, this Italian Renaissance-style beauty features fabulous murals, vaulted ceilings, and a peaceful courtyard and fountain.
A newer addition to Copley Square is the imposing John Hancock Tower. Strikingly modern, the contemporary architecture of the tower sits in stark contrast to its surroundings. This is the tallest building in Boston at 60 stories, and offers some spectacular views. (For another bird’s-eye view of Boston, head instead to Prudential Tower at 800 Boylston Street.)
In nearby Copley Place, it’s easy to spend a few hours browsing the more than 70 stores in Boston’s most popular upscale mall. Copley Square is also the finishing point for the famous Boston Marathon, held annually on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday in April.
Copley Square is located in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, and there’s a major subway stop there. Parking can be hard to find, so it’s best to come by subway or bus.