Steeped in history and elegance, the 338-room Fairmont Copley Plaza has welcomed guests—including many presidents—since 1912. It’s in the central Back Bay neighborhood, within a few blocks from shop-lined Newbury Street, tony Beacon Hill, and the Freedom Trail. In other words, the hotel makes an ideal base for strolling and shopping your way through Boston, with your Fairmont Visa Signature Card in tow. And you can expect a warm welcome from resident black labs Carly and Catie Copley.
Steps from the Fairmont awaits Boston’s exclusive indoor shopping center, Copley Place—appealing any time of year and especially in inclement weather. There are two floors counting 65 shops, including designer names like Tiffany & Co., Jimmy Choo, Dior, Burberry, and Emporio Armani. It’s anchored by sophisticated department store Neiman Marcus. Take a break from browsing to indulge in some of Boston’s best fish and chowda at Legal Seafoods.
Newbury Street puts the concept of stodgy Boston fashion to rest. The most famous street in the world of New England fashion offers one-of-a-kind boutiques, world-famous designer shops, and art galleries and novelty spots like Newbury Comics, a Boston institution. Rub shoulders with foreign students, Boston Brahmins, and local fashionistas. Then grab a seat at one of the many outdoor cafes and enjoy the people watching on the trendiest street in town.
You’ll find the tried-and-true brands among the 40-plus retail chains at the Prudential Center, among them, Ann Taylor, Free People, and preppy staple Vineyard Vines. That means it’s a one-stop indoor shopping destination for the entire family. The soon-to-open food emporium Eataly will bring all things Italian to shoppers’ palates. Visit the Skywalk Observatory, 50 stories up, for a 360-degree view of Greater Boston and beyond. And book a table at The Top of the Hub for a romantic dinner as the sun sets and the city comes alive with sparkling lights.
Among Boston’s patchwork of neighborhoods, the South End stands out for its hip vibe and energy. The streets are paved with chic boutiques, good restaurants, and vintage finds. Come here to score locally made jewelry and gift items, sustainable home goods, and menswear from Sault and Bobby From Boston—and maximize your spending by using your Fairmont Visa Signature Card. Every Sunday from May through October, the SoWa (south of Washington Street) Open Market hosts Boston-area growers as well as an indie design market and a rotating group of about 20 food trucks. On the first Friday of the summer months, the open artist’s studios encourage locals and visitors to stick around for an evening in the South End.
The cobbled streets of historic Beacon Hill are full of town homes and equally charming boutiques and restaurants. A short and scenic walk from the Fairmont Copley Plaza will bring you to the corner of the Public Garden and the head of Charles Street. The shopping experience here is more specialty boutique than along Newbury Street cousin, and the feeling is very European. Between stops in antique stores and cafés, make sure to venture off the main drag and soak up the neighborhood’s sense of history along the way.