Boston's spiritual heart may remain in the city?s 17th-century port, Quincy Market, where the city's early-American charm is well preserved, but Beantown has updated remarkably for the 21st century, leading the country in progressive marriage reforms and becoming a top LGBT destination.
The women's club scene in Boston is also growing and changing. More and more bars and clubs are adding "girl-friendly" nights to their weekly events. Pick up
, the local gay newspapers, or visit
for locating the top women's events in Boston.
Lay of the Land
Like Greenwich Village or the Castro on a smaller scale, the local gayborhood, the
, has a visible concentration of gay residents and merchants, mostly within the rectangle formed by Columbus and Massachusetts avenues, and Clarendon and Tremont streets.
Jamaica Plain, a section of Boston south of downtown, is noted for its large lesbian population as well as its selection of funky restaurants and shops. Cambridge in particular, just ten minutes from downtown Boston, has many nightlife and retail opportunities popular with women. And Somerville, one town north of Cambridge, is also drawing lesbians as well as gay men to the area, especially in the Davis Square neighborhood.
Boston does venerable luxury better than any: The first Ritz-Carlton, still operating, was a Bostonian invention -- but don't be surprised to find your antique-laden suite fully wireless and tech-savvy!
The Back Bay's
Newbury Guest House
(261 Newbury St; 617-437-7666 or 800-437-7668; $125+) is the most upscale of the gay-marketed properties, offering 32 rooms in a complex of three graceful townhouses located on Boston's most walkable street, all with private bath and Victorian furnishings. The breakfast area consists of a dozen tables for two, so visitors seeking a more typically social breakfast environment may wish to stay elsewhere.
A landmark since 1855 and America's longest continuously operating hotel, the
Omni Parker House
(60 School Street; 617-227-8600; $225+) has recently reasserted its dominance of Old Boston luxury with a $30 million renovation.
XV Beacon Street Hotel
(15 Beacon St; 617-670-1500; $350+) is a state-of-the-art, 61-room, European-style boutique hotel. High-tech and beyond luxurious, we love the complimentary in-town chauffeured Mercedes sedan service.
463 Beacon Street
(463 Beacon St; 617-536-1302; $79+) is a comfortable budget option, featuring kitchenettes in all 20 rooms and apartments. Housekeeping, towels, and supplies are provided on request, and nightly, weekly, and monthly rates are available.