Whether you’re looking for urban landscapes, quaint settings, or aesthetic cafes, Boston is full of photo spots. As an avid Instagrammer and local, here are some of the coolest places to photograph in the city.
This guide is organized by neighborhood and has a free, interactive map at the end!
Table of Contents
Beacon Hill is one of Boston’s oldest (and richest) neighborhoods, featuring historic brick townhouses, narrow cobblestone streets, and gas lamps. It’s arguably the most instagrammable area in Boston.
1. Louisburg Square
This tiny square is beautiful in all seasons. The two houses at the end of the square (right before Pinckney Street), are the most inconic, with their vine-covered facades. In the late spring, those vines become wisteria blossoms, and in the winter, they look equally beautiful when dusted in snow.
2. Rouvalis Flowers
A posh neighborhood isn’t complete without a posh flower shop. Rouvalis Flowers offers gorgeous local and imported blooms, and a highly-instagrammable seasonal exterior display.
3. Sunflower Castle
This colorful house was built in 1840 and later renovated in the Queen Anne style, an English architectural style. While you can’t visit the interior, the curious purple and orange exterior is well worth stopping by.
4. Acorn Street
This street is the most photographed in Boston. The narrow cobblestone road is framed by brick buildings, gas lamps, and a good old American flag. Acorn Street is a private way, so be extra respectful of the residents, and keep your photoshoots brief. Those hoping for a professional photo session on the street actually need to obtain a permit from the Acorn Street Association.
5. Boston Athenaeum
The oldest library in Boston, the Boston Athenaeum is one of the city’s hidden gems. Inside the private library, you’ll find aesthetic white bookshelves, sculptures, those iconic green lamps, and a gorgeous view of the city skyline from the patio.
Just know that entry isn’t free, and you’ll have to pay $40 for a day pass if you’re not a member. See my guide to visiting the Boston Athenaeum for more tips and photos of the drool-worthy interior.
6. Marshall Street & Union Oyster House
This alleyway takes you back in time with its cobblestone streets and and brick storefronts (though the skyscrapers in the background are a dead giveaway that you’re still in the modern era). The Union Oyster House has a red neon sign that makes for the perfect photo, blending vintage, modern, and retro vibes all into one. On Fridays and Saturdays, there’s also an outdoor market nearby (Haymarket) with discounted produce.
7. Boston Common
Boston Common is an expanse of greenery in the heart of downtown Boston. Stroll through on your way to another part of the city, stop for a snack break at the food vendors, have a picnic in the grass, or take your kids to the playground. In the winter, there’s also ice skating on Frog Pond, which also doubles as a spray fountain in the summer.
8. Public Garden Foot Bridge
Right across from the Common, the Public Garden is full of flowers, weeping willows, and a small pond with the classic swan boat rides (which cost $4 or less, depending on your age). The bridge across the pond is a lovely spot for photos, with its baby blue lampposts and railings.
9. Tatte Bakery & Cafe
With white tile floors, mouth-watering pastries, and marble tables, Tatte Bakery (pronounced “tah-tay”) is one of Boston’s prettiest cafes. There are several locations throughout the city, and each one has the signature aesthetic.
Tatte is best-known for its pastries, but they also offer sandwiches, bowls, salads, and shakshuka. The food is veggie-friendly, but most dishes aren’t vegan friendly since they contain eggs or cheese.
10. Brattle Book Shop
Founded in 1825, The Brattle is one of the oldest and largest used bookstores in the US. Their outdoor sale lot makes for a unique photo, with shelves of books against the other-wise empty alley. Even if there’s no outdoor sale, the colorful book murals make for a lovely backdrop.
Back Bay is another affluent neighborhood in Boston that is extremely picturesque. The area is home to the classic brownstones, designer shops, and diverse restaurants.
11. Commonwealth Avenue Mall
Commonweath Avenue Mall is a stretch of greenery in the middle of the busy Boston street. The park itself is photogenic, particularly in the fall, but the houses along Commonwealth Ave are also worth admiring. In the spring, the street is lined with magnolia blossoms (this is the best spot in Boston for magnolia photos).
12. Boston Public Library
The BPL is one of the best free things to do in Boston. Walk up the lavish marble staircase and admire the famous reading room (yes, the one with the green lamps and arched stone ceiling). The courtyard is also a lovely photo spot, and during non-Covid times, you can sit down for a very instagrammable (and expensive) afternoon tea in the courtyard tea room.
13. Cafe Susu
Cafe Susu has a small but stunning interior, featuring retro furniture and intricate wallpaper. It’s kind of an oddity since it’s located in the Suitsupply suit store! You can even watch the tailors in the backroom as they alter the suits brought into the store.
Sit at the bar, or grab a table with your friends (you may have to compete with the local students who often come here to study). The drinks are a bit on the pricier end at ~$5 and up, but they’re quite unique (think lavender lattes).
Cambridge is technically another city, but you have to leave Boston to get the best views of the skyline. And, some of these photo spots are too lovely to not mention.
14. MIT Sailing Pavilion
My absolute favorite view in Boston is right along the Charles River, on the MIT side. You’ll get an unparalleled view of the city skyline at sunset, and bonus points if you can capture some sailboats in your shot.
If you’re especially into skyline photography, you’ll also want to check out my guide to the best Boston skyline views.
15. Longfellow Bridge
With its tall stone columns, this bridge stands out from the others on the Charles River. The Red Line actually runs across Longfellow Bridge, and the view from the window is one of my favorite parts of crossing over between Cambridge and Boston.
If movement photography isn’t your thing, you can also stroll across the bridge and take your time to get the perfect shot.
16. Harvard Yard
The main quad at the prestigious Harvard University has beautiful historic buildings and tree canopies. It’s a fantastic photo spot year-round, but is especially charming during fall foliage season in Boston.
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The Fenway/Symphony/Northeastern area is home to some of the best museums in the city.
Step into a three-story, stained glass globe created in 1935. Tours last 20 minutes long and cost $4-6. While inside the globe, it’s fun to pick out the differences between the modern map and the Mapparium (things have changed a lot since then!). You unfortunately can’t take photos inside the globe, but there is a photo background out in the lobby that you can use. It’s not ideal, but the Mapparium is still worth a visit.
18. Christian Science Fountain Plaza
Right next to the Mapparium/Christian Science Center is a long fountain that makes for fun portraits or impressive reflection shots. The area is particularly lovely in the evening, when the orb-like lamps are lit.
19. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
This museum is easily one of the most instagrammable places in Boston, with its lush green courtyard. The architecture of the building was inspired by 15th-century Venetian palaces, featuring open balconies and archways overlooking the courtyard on each floor.
The museum was founded in 1903 by Isabella Gardner, who had collected more than 7,500 paintings, sculptures, pieces of furniture, and other objects. The museum has a homey feel, with the art being displayed in furnished rooms.
Seaport is an up-and-coming, modern neighborhood in Boston with trendy shops, upscale dining, and stunning views of the Boston Harbor.
20. Fan Pier Park
You won’t want to miss this nighttime view of the city skyline. Fan Pier Park is right along the Boston Harbor and has several benches where you can watch the city lights twinkle across the water.
There’s a one-story pavilion roof as well where you can capture shots from a different angle (it’s free and open until 10pm, and looks more like a viewing platform).
Brookline is another city in its own right, and it’s known for being residential, safe, and quaint. Here are the final photo spots I recommend, and they’re especially convenient if you’re stopping by Boston University.
21. Boston University Bridge
The light blue metal bridge frames the Boston skyline perfectly. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a runner or biker in your shot. There’s a walkway on both side of the bridge, so you can also grab a few photos of the skyline and Charles River without the bridge.
22. Life Alive Cafe
Life Alive is a vegetarian cafe with several locations across the city. The original location is in Cambridge, but the interior of the one in Brookline is especially Instagram-worthy.
Because it’s right next to Boston University, this Life Alive is often frequented by students, and it’s a comfortable workspace.
Here’s the map I promised of all these spots! Keep in mind that the two restaurants mentioned (Tatte and Life Alive) have several locations, so you should do a Google search to find the one nearest you, and take a look at the reviews to see if the interior is photo-worthy.
Have more photo spot suggestions? Let us know in the comments!
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