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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

A world-renowned private collection of art and cultural treasures awaits at this small yet lavish museum.

Step inside this Venetian-styled mansion and share in the vision of one of America’s most passionate art collectors. The Isabella Gardner Museum houses an impressive collection of paintings, furniture, textiles and photographs. Allow at least two hours to take the journey across the ages of art, from ancient Rome to contemporary times. Enjoy masterpieces by famous artists, including a portrait of Gardner by John Singer Sargent. Other artists exhibited include Matisse, Botticelli, Degas, Rembrandt and Titian.

The museum is a tribute to Isabella Stewart Gardner, one of the best-known women in Boston society at the turn of the 20th century. A philanthropist, art collector and patron of the arts, Gardner established the museum in 1903. The building is as much a part of the attraction as the art inside. Its design was inspired by the opulent 15th-century palaces of Venice. In 2012, a modern wing was completed to house the museum’s ever-expanding collection, as well as classrooms for performance and educational programs.

Gardner spent years arranging her collection into themed rooms such as the Yellow Room, the Spanish Cloister and the Little Salon. Most rooms look out upon the central courtyard, offering tranquil views of  trees and seasonal flowering plants. In 1990, the museum fell victim to one of the greatest art heists in history. Look for the empty picture frames in some of the rooms, left hanging in the hope that one day the masterpieces will be returned. 

Pull up a chair at Café G and sample dishes from historical recipes dreamt up by Gardner. The museum’s gift store is well stocked with souvenirs and original crafts.

Check out the museum concert program, which features performances by local and visiting artists and ensembles. The museum also runs symposiums and horticultural tours and classes.

The Isabella Gardner Museum is in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood. The museum is open Wednesday through Monday, and closed for some holidays. Admission is a small fee, and free for anyone named Isabella.

Guide to Exploring around Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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Lodging Near Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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The Colonnade Hotel Back Bay

The Colonnade Hotel Back Bay

120 Huntington Avenue, Boston
of 5, from 1,881 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This 285-room Boston hotel is next to Copley Place shopping, 1 block from the Hynes Convention Center, 4 blocks from the Theater District, and 1 mile from Fenway Park.

The Verb Hotel

The Verb Hotel

1271 Boylston St, Boston
of 5, from 1,699 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

The Red Sox's Fenway Park is right across the street from this hotel in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood.

Hotel Commonwealth

Hotel Commonwealth

500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston
of 5, from 1,712 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Offering complimentary wireless Internet access throughout, this Boston hotel is located above the Kenmore Square subway station, 2 blocks from Fenway Park, and 3 blocks from Newbury Street shops.

The Midtown Hotel

The Midtown Hotel

220 Huntington Ave, Boston
of 5, from 2,075 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

This 159-room, 3-floor Boston hotel is 4 blocks from Prudential and Copley Place Malls. Boston Symphony Hall and Huntington Theatre are less than .3 mile away. Fenway Park and the Museum of Fine Arts are also within easy reach.

Boston Park Plaza

Boston Park Plaza

50 Park Plaza at Arlington Street, Boston
of 5, from 2,045 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in historic Back Bay, this hotel just completed a $100 million dollar renovation, and is 3 miles from Logan International Airport and 200 yards from the Boston Common and Public Garden. The hotel is easily accessible to Newbury Street shopping.

Boston Marriott Copley Place

Boston Marriott Copley Place

110 Huntington Ave, Boston
of 5, from 1,908 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This 38-story Boston hotel is adjacent to 2 malls and a convention center, forming 3 climate-controlled blocks of shops and restaurants; within a half-mile of major businesses.

Sheraton Boston Hotel

Sheraton Boston Hotel

39 Dalton St, Boston
of 5, from 3,444 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This hotel in Boston's historic Back Bay provides indoor access to the Hynes Convention Center, the Prudential Center, Copley Place malls, numerous shops and restaurants, as well as a subway station.

Boston Omni Parker House Hotel

Boston Omni Parker House Hotel

60 School St, Boston
of 5, from 4,508 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located on Freedom Trail in downtown Boston, this hotel is 3 blocks from Quincy Market, 2 from the State House and Boston Common, and adjacent to the Financial District. The hotel is 10 minutes from Logan International Airport by car and 20 minutes by train for only USD 2 each way.