Wednesday, May 08, 2024 8:00a -
Tuesday, Dec 31, 2024 10:00p

Surrounding areas
Boston, MA

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Art, Outside, Photoworthy

Architecture is a significant part of Boston’s magic. As one of the oldest cities in the country, the streets seamlessly blend historic structures with contemporary skyscrapers. One morning, consider taking a stroll by some of the most beautiful buildings in Boston. It will give you a whole new appreciation for The Hub. 

by Celina Colby

1) Boston Public Library

Where: Back Bay

Info: This beloved building beautifully fuses the well-known McKim-designed historic side, complete with the famous green-lit reading room and European courtyard, with a contemporary half designed by Philip Johnson and renovated in 2016 by William Rawn Associates that caters to the modern public’s needs.

2) Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Where: Fenway

Info: Designed to imitate a Venetian palazzo, and likely inspired by the Islamic architecture of Gardner’s Middle Eastern travels, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is an urban oasis. Most notable is the central courtyard with a magnificent seasonally changing garden that also serves as the backdrop for live music during Free First Thursdays

3) Christian Science Plaza

Where: South End

Info: The 13.5-acre site that is home to the Christian Science Mother Church is largely open to the public, and walking through it feels like being transported to another country. The Mother Church is a mammoth, European-style basilica adjacent to a more brutalist sheltered walking path. A long reflecting pool mirrors the image of the Prudential Center and the splash fountain at the end of the property is a beloved summer cool off. 

4) MIT Stata Center

Where: Kendall Square

Info: Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry went all out when he designed the Ray and Maria Stata Center, where MIT students study AI and computer science. Utilizing unusual angles and a mismatch of materials, the building has an almost Cubist look about it. It’s certainly one of the most unique in Greater Boston. 

5) Trinity Church

Where: Back Bay

Info: The American Association of Architects considers Trinity Church one of the top 10 buildings in the whole country. The church was one of the first of famed architect Henry Hobson Richardson and came to serve as an example of his “Richardson Romanesque” style. Tours of the church are available ($10, with several discount options), and we recommend seeing the stained glass on the interior for a complete picture of this beautiful building. 

6) Fairmont Copley Plaza

Where: Back Bay

Info: The site of the Fairmont Copley Plaza is where the original Museum of Fine Arts stood before moving to Fenway. The luxury property opened in 1912 and was the site of many lavish parties. Though the exterior is beautiful, step inside to get the full effect of this building. The lobby is a wash of gilded walls, pristine mirrors, and crystal chandeliers all worthy of a Bridgerton Ball. 

7) Massachusetts State House

Where: Downtown

Info: It’s hard to go anywhere in Downtown Boston without the gold globe of the State House lighting your way. Designed by Charles Bulfinch in a grand Federal architectural style, the building emanates the power of the state legislature. You can book a guided tour of the State House or take a self-guided tour, both for free. 

8) 200 Clarendon Street (John Hancock Tower)

Where: Back Bay

Info: For years, the iconic John Hancock Tower (now named 200 Clarendon Street) has been the tallest structure in New England and a staple of the Boston skyline. Designed by Henry N. Cobb of I.M. Pei & Partners in 1976, it’s known for its shimmering blue, reflective windows that take on the mirror image of the sky on sunny days. 

9) Citizens Opera House

Where: Downtown

Info: Originally designed as a lavish movie theater by architect Thomas W. Lamb in the 1920s, the Boston Opera House is now the home of the Boston Ballet and the Broadway Across America touring productions. The interior transports you to another time, when theatergoers will dress in their finest to see shows under glittering chandeliers and frescoed ceilings. 

10) Boston Athenaeum

Where: Beacon Hill

Info: One of the oldest independent libraries in the United States, the Boston Athenaeum is bursting with historic architectural charm. Built in a neoclassical style by architect Edward Clarke Cabot, you’ll find many charming reading nooks and dark wood research rooms here. The 12,000-square-foot expansion and renovation (finished in 2023) adds more contemporary and community spaces to the building, as well as a highly anticipated cafe opening on June 25, 2024. 

11) South Station

Where: Downtown

Info: This historic transportation center, the second largest in New England behind Logan Airport, was built in 1899 by architects Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge. The regal exterior is the primary highlight, an expansive rounded facade with bold columns and a top clock. Inside you’ll find the standard trappings of urban life and public transportation, not to mention the fall out (literally) from the construction of luxury condos at the center of the station. 

12) Boston Custom House

Where: Financial District

Info: Architect Ammi Burnham Young designed the neoclassical Custom House that has become an icon of the financial district, however, the notable clock tower was added by Peabody and Stearns in 1913. Seeing the clock tower lit up against the night sky is a classic Boston view. 

13) Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building

Where: Roxbury

Info: This contemporary community and municipal building was built in the bones of the historic flatiron-style Ferdinand Furniture Building in Nubian Square. Renovated in 2015, it’s now home to Boston Public School offices, the Roxbury Innovation Center, a roof deck overlooking the neighborhood, and ample public space. 

14) The Saunders Castle at Park Plaza

Where: Downtown

Info: Known affectionately as “The Castle,” this royal-looking structure was originally the Armory of the First Corps of Cadets in the 1890s. It now functions as a rentable events space for weddings, public exhibitions, and other events. 

15) Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Where: Downtown

Info: This historic structure, home to Quincy Market and other attractions, has been a centerpiece of downtown Boston since 1742. In fact, it was often used as a meeting hall where revolutionaries planned strategy for succession from Britain. Now it’s a hub of restaurants and retail, but the revolutionary history is always there in the background. 

16) Boston City Hall

Where: Downtown

Info: Just kidding, I’m not blind. Although this brutalist monstrosity sometimes makes me wish I was.

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05/08/2024 08:00:00 12/31/2024 22:00:00 America/New_York The 16 Most Beautiful Buildings in Boston <p>Architecture is a significant part of Boston’s magic. As one of the oldest cities in the country, the streets seamlessly blend historic structures with contemporary skyscrapers. One morning, con... Boston, Boston, MA false MM/DD/YYYY

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