15+ Best Parks to Visit in Boston

Are you planning a trip to Boston and looking for some scenic outdoor spaces to explore? Or are you a local wanting to discover some hidden gems in your city? In either case, Boston has plenty of beautiful parks that are worth visiting. From historic landmarks to serene natural reserves, there’s something for everyone in this bustling city. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey to some of the best parks to visit in Boston.

Boston Common

Let’s start our tour with one of the oldest public parks in America – Boston Common. Located at the heart of the city, this 50-acre park is not only a popular spot for relaxation and recreation, but it also has a rich historical significance. Established in 1634, Boston Common has witnessed several important events in America’s history, including protests during the American Revolution and speeches by famous leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. Today, you can take a stroll on its tree-lined paths, have a picnic with your loved ones or even ice skate in the winter. The park also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, making it a lively destination for both tourists and locals alike.

The Public Garden

Located adjacent to Boston Common, the 24-acre Public Garden is another must-visit park in Boston. Established in 1837, it’s America’s first public botanical garden and home to a variety of vibrant flowers, trees, and shrubs. The park is famous for its Swan Boats – an iconic attraction that has been delighting visitors since 1877. You can also take a ride on the charming carousel or simply relax by the picturesque pond and watch the world go by. With plenty of photo opportunities, it’s no wonder that this gem is often referred to as the city’s “emerald necklace.”

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

For those seeking a more unique and immersive park experience, look no further than the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Located 25 miles off the coast of Boston, this 842-square-mile reserve is home to a diverse marine ecosystem and is known for its abundance of humpback whales. You can take a whale-watching tour, go on a kayaking adventure, or even try your hand at paddleboarding in the sanctuary’s pristine waters. With breathtaking views and incredible wildlife sightings, this park will surely be an unforgettable experience.

Rose Kennedy Greenway

Linking several parks and neighborhoods, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is a 1.5-mile linear park that runs through downtown Boston. Established in 2008, it was created as part of the Big Dig – a project that relocated an elevated highway underground to improve the city’s mobility. Today, this vibrant urban oasis features various public art installations, gardens, fountains, and even food trucks. With events like fitness classes, concerts, and festivals, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is not just a park but also a community space that brings people together.

Fenway Park

Every trip to Boston is complete with a visit to Fenway Park – America’s oldest baseball stadium and home to the beloved Boston Red Sox. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, this historic park is worth a visit for its iconic Green Monster wall and the electric atmosphere during game days. You can take guided tours to learn about the stadium’s rich history or simply attend a game and join in on the cheers and chants of passionate local fans. With numerous bars and restaurants nearby, you can also make a day out of it by exploring the vibrant Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood.

The Esplanade

Located along the picturesque Charles River, The Esplanade offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Stretching for three miles, this park is perfect for biking, jogging, picnicking, or simply taking in stunning views of the Boston skyline. You can also rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and explore the river at your own pace. The park also hosts various events throughout the year, including free concerts during the summer and an iconic Fourth of July celebration with a fireworks show.

Boston Harbor Islands

Consisting of 34 islands, Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park is a beautiful natural reserve located just a short ferry ride away from the city. Each island has its unique features and activities, ranging from hiking trails to historic forts and even campsites for overnight stays. You can also explore the wildlife on the islands, including seals, birds, and aquatic creatures. With so many diverse options, this park is perfect for nature enthusiasts looking to escape the city’s concrete jungle.

Christopher Columbus Park

Tucked away in the charming North End neighborhood, Christopher Columbus Park is a small but delightful waterfront park. With stunning views of the Boston Harbor and several benches for relaxation, it’s an ideal spot for people-watching or enjoying a quiet moment with a book. The park also hosts various free events, including outdoor movie screenings and live music performances during the summer. So, next time you’re in the North End, make sure to take a break at this hidden gem.

Copley Square

Located near some of Boston’s popular landmarks like Trinity Church and The John Hancock Tower, Copley Square is a small but beautiful park in the heart of the city. With a picturesque fountain and plenty of benches, it’s a great spot to take a break from sightseeing or enjoy a picnic lunch. You can also visit during holidays and see the park transformed with festive decorations and lights.

Mount Auburn Cemetery

Founded in 1831, Mount Auburn Cemetery is considered America’s first garden cemetery and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. This 175-acre park is not just a resting place for the deceased but also a beautiful green space with winding paths, tranquil ponds, and over 60,000 trees and plants. You can take guided tours to learn about its rich history and visit the final resting places of notable figures like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Isabella Stewart Gardner.

Arnold Arboretum

Run by Harvard University, the Arnold Arboretum is a 281-acre park that is also a living laboratory for plant conservation. With over 15,000 plants from around the world, it’s a paradise for nature enthusiasts and avid horticulturists. You can explore various themed gardens, take a guided tour, or simply stroll along the park’s winding paths and enjoy the stunning greenery in every season. With free admission, this park is not just one of the best in Boston but also a budget-friendly option for those looking to connect with nature.

Cambridge Common

Located near Harvard University, the Cambridge Common is a beautiful park with a rich history dating back to the Revolutionary War. Today, it’s a popular spot for picnics, sports activities, and even concerts during the summer. The park also features a playground for kids and plenty of benches for relaxation. With its proximity to universities and vibrant neighborhoods, this park is always buzzing with energy and offers a unique mix of history and modern amenities.

Commonwealth Avenue Mall

Stretching for two miles, the Commonwealth Avenue Mall is a picturesque tree-lined park in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. This elegant boulevard features fountains, statues, and over 1,700 elm trees that create a romantic atmosphere. With benches and pathways for strolls, it’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. During the holidays, the park is transformed into a magical winter wonderland with festive decorations and lights.

Castle Island Park

Located in South Boston, Castle Island Park is a unique combination of history and nature. The main attraction here is Fort Independence, a historic fort that played a significant role in the American Revolution and is now open for tours. You can also enjoy stunning views of the Boston Harbor and relax on the sandy beaches while watching boats pass by. With its rich history and beautiful scenery, Castle Island Park is a must-visit for all park enthusiasts.

Fort Independence

Located on Castle Island, Fort Independence is a 19th-century fort that has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. You can take a self-guided tour and learn about its history while exploring the various rooms and corridors within the fort. The rooftop also offers sweeping views of the Boston skyline and harbor, making it a popular spot for photography enthusiasts. With free admission, this historic landmark is a unique addition to the list of Boston’s best parks.

Back Bay Fens

Located near Fenway Park, Back Bay Fens is a tranquil park that offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city. Originally part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace Park system, it features beautiful gardens, ponds, and a Victorian-style rose garden. You can also explore the various sculptures and monuments within the park or take a stroll on its pathways. With its charming atmosphere and rich history, Back Bay Fens is a hidden oasis that shouldn’t be missed.

Cambridge Crossing

As Boston’s newest neighborhood, Cambridge Crossing is still a work in progress but is already making strides toward becoming a sustainable and modern green space. With plans for over 50 acres of parks, including a waterfront park along the Charles River, this area will offer plenty of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Keep an eye out for upcoming events and developments in this exciting new addition to Boston’s park scene.

Wrapping Up

From historical landmarks to urban green spaces, Boston offers a diverse range of parks for every type of traveler. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the city or an active day out in nature, these 15+ best parks to visit in Boston are sure to delight and leave you with unforgettable memories. So, pack a picnic and head out to explore these beautiful parks on your next trip to the charming city of Boston. Remember always to take care of our parks and preserve their natural beauty for generations to come.

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