In the heart of the vibrant city – along the Freedom Trail, the Parker House has hosted national literary, cultural and political leaders since 1855. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.’s, sentiment – “What famous names its record boasts!” – is still evoked by the iconic hotel’s modern conveniences, old-world style, and private-club décor.
The country’s longest continually operating hotel, the Parker House is where Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Longfellow regularly met, where Babe Ruth and Ted Williams dined. Ulysses S. Grant, FDR, JFK and Tip O’Neill hosted critical meetings here. Sarah Bernhardt, John Wilkes Booth, Judy Garland, James Dean, Yo-Yo Ma, and Ben Affleck have come here to unwind. Parker House rolls, Boston cream pie, and other culinary traditions originated in its kitchen. Ho Chi Minh and Malcolm X were employed on its staff.
Surrounded by Beacon Hill, the financial and theater districts, the Massachusetts State House, and Boston Public Garden, Renaissance Weekend’s meeting-place is a short stroll to Back Bay, Newbury Street’s fabulous shops and the Boston Common. Only 2.3 miles from Logan Airport and a cornerstone of the Freedom Trail’s historic landmarks, the Parker House is both a venue of elegant comfort and a museum of American mythology.
Afternoons are left free to savor Beantown’s countless points of interest in New England’s finest, colorful season:
- The Boston Common – America’s oldest public city park, a campsite of British troops before the Revolutionary War – as well as the bucolic Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue’s leafy, brownstone texture beckon walkers, joggers & marathoners alike.
- Faneuil Hall, Old North Church and the dozen other landmarks on Freedom Trail and minutes from Parker House make American history come alive.
- Red Sox legends haunt Fenway Park.
- Cross the Charles River to experience Harvard University, MIT, Harvard Square’s bookstores, boutiques, cafes & street music; wander around the global heart of life sciences, media & tech innovation; visit BU, BC, the magnificent Boston Library, or any of the scores of the city’s other centers of learning.
- Pubs & antique shops dot Beacon Hill’s 18th- & 19th-century cobblestone streets, lined with brick row houses.
- Arrange introductions to some of the world’s pioneering medical centers, such as Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Mass. General Hospital.
- Cultural treasures are celebrated at the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, & Symphony Hall while the Science and Children’s Museums are centers of discovery.
- Newbury Street, Quincy Market, Copley Place & Filene’s Basement are shopping meccas.
- Step back to the Sixties with a few hours at the JFK Presidential Library.
- “Old money” and “new money” meet on each corner of the financial district, where storied old banks, investment houses, and law firms are centered.
- For the Weekend’s on-your-own lunch and dinner, the North End’s authentic Italian restaurants compete with popular seafood restaurants and fine dining.
- Take the Duck Tour, a narrated historic tour in a World War I amphibious vehicle through Boston’s streets and right into the Charles River.
Complimenting Renaissance Weekend’s substance & fellowship, Boston itself is a source of discovery, memories, surprise, learning and fun for all ages.
Renaissance Weekend is comprised of hundreds of programs and shared meals in which participants with in-depth knowledge reflect off-the-record on a wide variety of current issues. (See Content) Lively discussion by all participants is encouraged, and the tone is decidedly relaxed.
Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon is set aside for recreation and exploring Boston & the surrounding area.
Participants' program assignments are based on information provided on the Participant Profiles page of their online registration, which should be completed as early as possible. Please email the Renaissance Weekend team if changes have been made to your Participant Profile after your registration is confirmed and before we distribute the Tentative Program.
In late-September, the Tentative Program and other materials will be sent to each registered party's lead participant, who is asked to share them with other members of his/her party.
Registration opens on Thursday, October 6 at 4:00 P.M. at the Omni Parker House, where participants pick up their materials and the Final Program, and check in separately with their hotel. Proctors and Moderators briefings meet between 4:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. The first program begins at 6:00 P.M. that evening at the Omni Parker House.
Early arrivals are invited to help with Registration and to notify the Renaissance Weekend staff of their availability.
The program ends by 11:00 A.M. on Monday, October 10.
Conversation over meals is an important part of the Weekend, and all guests are expected to participate in the Common Meals. Only children under three are not charged for Common Meals. Meals & Meeting Services Fees may not be reduced for late arrivals, early departures or absences from meals.
Saturday's dinner and Sunday's lunch will be on-your-own to explore the area with new friends.
Sports & Recreational Activities
Afternoons are set aside (Friday from 3:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.; Saturday from 3:00 P.M. through the evening, including dinner on your own; and Sunday from 1:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M., including lunch on your own) for participants' personal and family recreation, but participants may arrive early or extend their stay, and Renaissance Weekend room rates may be available upon request of the hotel. Be sure to take time to enjoy the many wonderful local attractions.
To explore Boston, participants may arrive early or extend their stay, and Renaissance Weekend room rates may be available upon request of the hotel. The Omni Parker House will sell out early so we advise you to confirm your reservations as soon as possible.
Participants arriving after 7:00 P.M. on Thursday or departing before 9:00 A.M. on Monday are requested to advise Renaissance Weekend staff. Omni Parker House concierge can assist with any transportation needs.
The Omni Parker House is located in the heart of Boston (60 School Street Boston, Massachusetts 02108). Boston Logan Airport (BOS) is 2.5 miles away.
Rental cars are not necessary as public transportation, taxis and ride-hailing apps are readily available. Valet parking is available at the Omni Parker House for $55/day.
To explore Boston, participants may arrive early or extend their stay, and Renaissance Weekend room rates may be available upon request of the hotel, but it is recommended that you book early to confirm availability.
Omni’s Parker House has hosted historic gatherings and eminent guests since 1855: from Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne & Longfellow’s weekly lunches and JFK’s marriage proposal to Jackie, to Sarah Bernhardt, Babe Ruth, James Dean & Ben Affleck’s downtimes. In the heart of downtown’s landmarks, 2.3 miles from Logan Airport, the iconic hotel fronts the Freedom Trail at the foot of Beacon Hill, steps from Boston Common, Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall – a short ride to cultural treasures as well as leading centers of learning, healthcare and entrepreneurship. (Secure Renaissance's special group rates.)
Camp Renaissance, Teens & College Students
Camp Renaissance is an active program tailored for children ages 3-12 — typically includes presentations by fascinating adult participants, hands-on experiments, indoor and outdoor games, nature walks, musical performances, story-telling, and arts-&-crafts projects. These activities are supervised by the Camp Renaissance Counselors, with involvement from adult Renaissance participants whose experiences are of interest to young people. Camp Renaissance runs concurrently with the adult program and does not provide full-time child care.
Young people are welcome at all functions. Most teens and college students participate in the Weekend's scheduled program. In addition, they often have designated gathering places, assigned programs, and their own activities and discussions. Teens and college students are usually placed on panels related to their interests, as indicated on their Participant Profile.
College students integrate themselves into the scheduled program. Many form strong bonds and even lifetime friendships during evening social events and programs planned specifically for them.
Parents are expected to oversee their sons' and daughters’ comings and goings throughout the Weekend. Renaissance Institute and Renaissance Weekend, and its staff, assume no liability regarding children or teens.
There is no organized program or child care provided for children under the age of three. Younger children are welcome at Camp Renaissance programs when accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult. Participants should make arrangements for babysitters at least three weeks prior to arrival at the Weekend by phoning the Omni Parker House Concierge for assistance. To maximize their enjoyment of the program, families with very young children are encouraged to bring a baby-sitter or au pair. Although there is no Registration Fee for babysitters/au pairs, they must register for meals at the children's rate, attend solely for child care, and, if practical, may assist periodically with Camp Renaissance. Baby-sitters/au pairs are free to attend programs and panel discussions designed specifically for Camp Renaissance participants.
Camp & Teens Programs are organized at all New Year's and most of the other Weekends. On the rare occasions when there are few registrants in these age groups at the smaller Weekends, no such specific programs may be organized; and such young people, as always, are welcome at all sessions. Confirmation of Camp and Teens Programs, available ten weeks before any Weekend, may be secured through info@RenWkd.org.
Boston temperatures in early October can range from the 50's to the mid-60's. Check weather reports shortly in advance of the Weekend.
Dress is informal, resort casual, during the Weekend. Jeans are acceptable for day-time programs.
*For cancellations related to COVID-19: If you test positive for COVID-19 anytime within 30 days prior to the event, we ask that you provide medical documentation and/or test results in order to qualify for a full refund of your fees. Should Renaissance Weekend cancel the Weekend, all attendees will be provided a full refund of their fees. In all other situations, our standard cancellation (provided below) applies.*
All Registration and Meals & Meeting Services Fees will be refunded — less a $250/party processing fee — for cancellations received by Renaissance Weekend in writing via e-mail, fax, or mail, sixty days in advance of the first night of the Weekend. No refund is available for cancellations communicated less than fourteen days in advance. Cancellations received in the intervening period are eligible for 50% refunds. For a one-time transfer of fees, however, payments can be applied towards any of the three immediately following Renaissance Weekends, subject to a $100/party transfer fee, if space remains and such notice is received. No refund is available after a payment has been transferred and applied to a new Weekend.
Meals & Meeting Services Fees may not be reduced for absences from meals.
Lodging cancellations are handled directly by your hotel subject to its specific policies. Be sure also to advise Renaissance Weekend of cancellation.
As Renaissance Weekends resume – and celebrate their 40th anniversary – ensuring all participants' safety while fostering the gatherings' spirit is our foremost objective. The Renaissance team, and our host venues, have sought authoritative counsel on infection precautions, required strict standards for the meeting-places, and adopted specific policies and protocols to address public-health concerns and ensure all participants' well-being.
This plan reflects consultations with Renaissance Weekend attendees who are public health authorities, who will continue to advise us. Closer to each Weekend’s start, such experts' recommendations, the virus' resurgence or mutations, local conditions, or legislation may prompt adjustment of the guidelines.
Vaccination will be required. No exceptions will be permitted. A self-administered COVID-19 test will be required on-site prior to your registration (additionally, we recommend testing prior to travel). Each participant will sign a liability waiver at registration (it will be the same waiver you agreed to when you completed online registration for the Weekend). Indoor masking and reduced capacity in Boston may be required.
Our principal meeting-places will deploy special disinfection procedures and other protective measures. We expect program and meeting-room designations will be altered to allow more space for physical distancing. Changes in public health or local conditions may prompt changes.
To an even greater degree than before, participants' understanding, flexibility, and regard for each other will be instrumental to their individual experiences and the gathering's success. If the organizers are not comfortable with public health conditions or the adequacy of safety precautions reasonably in advance of the event, Renaissance Weekend will be cancelled, and registrants will have the options of transferring payment to a future Weekend or receiving a full refund.
Meander the Freedom Trail, Boston Common, leafy Commonwealth Avenue, the storied financial district and markets; Linger at Newbury Street boutiques, Old North Church, Beacon Hill pubs, Fenway Park, the North End's Italian restaurants; Savor the bucolic Public Garden; Peruse diverse galleries & countless bookstores.
Children ages 3-12 years can immerse themselves in hands-on experiments, indoor and outdoor games, nature walks, musical performances, story-telling, arts-&-crafts projects, and presentations by fascinating adult participants who are major authorities in their fields.