Located two miles from Logan Airport in the heart of Boston, Back Bay is Boston's most well-heeled neighborhood, with the highest per capita income in the city. (Venues in Back Bay are similarly svelte.) The area begins at Newbury Street, Boston's chicest shopping district and encompasses the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center and its "city-within-a-city" now being marketed as "3-2-1 Connect," built in 1988 but recently given a $21-million makeover.
If, with the 2004 addition of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC), the Hynes was beginning to feel a bit like last year's beauty queen, its multi-million-dollar facelift has changed all that. The Hynes has had a new technology, decor and security overhaul including the addition of brand-new digital equipment and enhanced cell phone coverage (no dead zones). New carpeting, lighting, window treatments and electrical and water systems are now green-friendly and energy efficient and the 3-2-1 focus has enhanced the Center's restaurant and shopping options (3-2-1 means 3 hotels, 2 shopping destinations and 1 convention center).
The three hotels referred to are the Marriott, the Sheraton and the Westin, which are all connected to the center through covered walkways and are minutes away from the Center's 176,480 square feet of meeting space. Beyond the Hynes, hotel venues in Back Bay include the Fairmont (23,000 square feet of meeting space), The Four Seasons (21,948 square feet of meeting space) and the Boston Park Plaza (65,000 square feet of meeting space), holding court in high and historic style.
Special event venues nearby include the Boston Public Library McKim building, built in 1895 and considered one of the grandest public buildings in the U.S. The Library, through its association with A Catered Affair, can host up to 600 banqueters in Renaissance-style gilded rooms that have inspired generations of Bostonians. Elsewhere are the 1,100-seat John Hancock Hall at the Back Bay Events Center, and Top of the Hub, an iconic Boston restaurant at the top of the equally iconic Prudential Center (which has more than 11,000 square feet of private meeting space with the best seat in the house for views of the city and beyond). The Hub restaurant itself can seat from 15 to 60 guests, and the 360-degree wraparound Skywalk observatory can host 600 guests for sit-down affairs and up to 1,000 for cocktail parties.
At the fringe of Back Bay is Boston Common, the oldest public park in the U.S and its adjacent Boston Public Garden. The Garden is home to Boston's famous swan boat rides, which can be rented at special group rates for more than 20. Nearby is the Robert Gould Memorial to the Commander and Soldiers of the 54th Union Regiment, the all-black unit featured in the film Glory. Within walking distance of the monument are the African Meeting House and Abiel Smith School on Beacon Hill, which can host small groups of private meetings in rooms where Frederick Douglass recruited the legendary African American 54th regimental troops and where William Lloyd Garrison launched the New England Anti-Slavery Society.
View the Boston event venue directory to see all venues in the Boston area.