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Trifecta Four Seasons tea
Photograph: Courtesy Trifecta/Four Seasons, One Dalton Street

The best afternoon tea in Boston

Looking for an afternoon tea service? Boston’s cup runneth over with choices.

Written by
Cheryl Fenton
Written by
Linda Laban
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Whether you’re channeling your inner Mad Hatter or you indulge your inner desire lord or lady of Bridgerton, there’s nothing quite like a proper tea service. Small finger sandwiches sitting sidecar to steaming pots of steeping leaves is perfect as the temps start to fall. After you’re done sipping, stroll around one of the best parks in Boston or visit one of the best places to see art in Boston for even more refined relaxation. If coffee is more your cup of...well, coffee, the best coffee shops in Boston are sure to satisfy. Pinkies up.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best afternoon tea in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Wine bars
  • Fenway/Kenmore

The stunning cocktail lounge in the skyscraper Four Seasons Hotel, One Dalton Street turns into Afternoon Tea every weekend. Keeping with English tradition in New England, guests can snack on eclectic tea sandwiches, freshly baked scones, unique sweets and bespoke blends of local favorite J'enway Tea Co. There’s even a new spiked tea option, with in-house mixologists artfully pairing each tea with a liqueur or spirit to elevate the flavor.

  • Restaurants
  • Tea rooms
  • Waterfront
  • price 3 of 4

This afternoon tea comes with one of the best views anywhere: Rowes Wharf Sea Grille is set on the harbor, overlooking the water. Seasonal sweet and savory offerings include the likes of vanilla bean scones and Boston Cream profiteroles. Tea selections complement the weather as well. Take it up a notch with "Tea-Tails" like the Green Tea Sparkler, which pairs green tea with peach liqueur, peach purée, and prosecco.

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  • Restaurants
  • Tea rooms

This Salem haunt for tealovers offers a High Tea on Wednesdays through Sundays. Your European-inspired experience begins with a glass of iced hibiscus tea while you peruse the extensive loose leaf tea menu. A three-tiered presentation of tea sandwiches, including cucumber, smoked salmon, and ham and brie, accompanies a steaming personal pot of your selection, along with lemon scones, French macarons, and madeleines. Want a more intimate tea party? Book the private Salon Room for four to six guests. 

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Back Bay
  • price 2 of 4

Take a pause for a peaceful afternoon tea retreat right in the heart of busy Boylston Street. The Boston Public Library’s 19th-century original building has an interior garden overlooked by its Courtyard Restaurant. Afternoon tea includes pots of fine loose-leaf teas, and the cake stand’s three tiers are delightfully laden with tiny tea sandwiches, fruit scones with thick whipped cream and lemon curd, and pretty tarts and cakes. Holiday tea is popular, requiring reservations.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • East Cambridge
  • price 2 of 4

This Hunanese restaurant in Kendall Square features a China-meets-Massachusetts tea program that includes locally blended Tea Forté teas plus Numi organic Yunnan black or jasmine green teas. Add something sweet, such as the sweetened rice cakes or the snow fungus and pear soup, and you have a truly exotic tea experience.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Back Bay
  • price 1 of 4

While this chocolate shop and café is known for its gorgeous cocoa products, fine pots of tea are given just as much attention as the superior hot chocolate. Choose from green, white, or black selections and pair with one of the pretty pastries—like the heady chocolate Harvard Square or the fragrant hazelnut-orange cake—all of which are made daily. They are the only cafe or restaurant in Massachusetts that serves celebrated French tea company Mariage Frères.

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  • Museums
  • History
  • Seaport District
  • price 2 of 4

After learning about the historic event at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, stick around for afternoon tea. You can try the actual tea blends that were thrown overboard during The Boston Tea Party. Named after Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams, the tearoom has beautiful waterside views. You don’t have to buy a museum ticket in order to enjoy tea. There’s an assortment of pastries and baked goods. Abigail’s Tea Platter includes a pot of Abigail’s blended tea and scones.

  • Restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • Back Bay
  • price 2 of 4

Few things are more delicious than a good book paired with a steaming pot of tea. Trident has both. Or perhaps you fancy picking up a real magazine to give your phone a rest? Hang out in this Back Bay bookseller’s café and choose from its excellent, extensive tea selection: treat yourself to the Iron Goddess oolong or Blueflower Earl Grey. Pair with a sandwich or something sweet, or don’t—tea is something to savor by itself sometimes.

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