20 Best Things to Do Near Boston Common

Boston Common is a historic urban park in the heart of downtown Boston. First established in 1634, it is the oldest public park in the United States and has served as a gathering place for locals and tourists alike for centuries. However, while many people are familiar with the iconic Swan Boats and statues of famous figures such as George Washington, there are plenty of other unique things to do near Boston Common that often go unnoticed.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of these hidden gems and lesser-known things to do near Boston Common that will add an extra dose of charm and excitement to your visit to one of Boston’s most beloved landmarks.

Exploring the Freedom Trail

One of the most popular activities in Boston is walking the Freedom Trail. This 2.5-mile red-brick path will take you through some of the city’s most historic sites, including Boston Common. As you walk along the trail, you’ll learn about pivotal events that shaped American history and see important landmarks such as the Massachusetts State House.

Ice Skating or Splashing in Frog Pond

Located right on Boston Common, the Frog Pond offers a variety of seasonal activities. In the winter, Boston Common turns into a wonderland with its ice-skating rink known as Frog Pond. This is the perfect spot to lace up your skates and glide across the ice while enjoying stunning views of the city. In the summer, you can cool off at Frog Pond’s spray pool, which is a popular spot for families with young children.

Enjoying the Fall Foliage on the Common

Boston Common is also a beautiful place to visit during the fall season. The trees turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, making for stunning photo opportunities. Take a leisurely walk around the Common and soak in the autumnal colors while enjoying the crisp fall air.

Visiting the Garden of Flags on Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, Boston Common is transformed into a beautiful display of patriotism and remembrance. Every year on Memorial Day, the Garden of Flags is displayed on Boston Common to honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. Military. Over 37,000 American flags are placed on the ground, each representing a Massachusetts service member who has given their life for our country.

Taking a Ride on a Swan Boat

For a romantic and nostalgic experience, take a ride on one of Boston’s iconic swan boats. These paddle boats have been gliding around the Public Garden lagoon for over 140 years and are a beloved tradition for both locals and visitors alike. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Riding on the Boston Common Carousel

For a fun and whimsical activity, head over to the Boston Common Carousel. This charming merry-go-round features hand-carved animals and is a hit with kids of all ages. Take a spin on this classic attraction while taking in the beautiful views of downtown Boston.

Visiting the Public Garden

Adjacent to Boston Common is the equally lovely Public Garden. This meticulously maintained park features stunning flower gardens, a picturesque pond with swan boats, and charming statues and fountains. Take a stroll through this tranquil oasis and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Checking Out the Monuments & Memorials

As one of America’s oldest public parks, Boston Common is rich in history and filled with monuments and memorials. From the Founders Memorial to the Central Burying Ground, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the city’s past while exploring this iconic park.

Watching Shakespeare on the Common

During the summer months, Boston Common hosts free performances of Shakespeare plays. Grab a blanket and picnic basket and settle in for an evening of outdoor theater under the stars. This is a popular event for both locals and tourists, so make sure to arrive early to secure a good spot.

Visiting the Central Burying Ground

Located on Boston Common, the Central Burying Ground dates back to 1756 and is the final resting place of many notable historical figures. This cemetery is home to over 1,200 graves, including some notable figures such as Charles Sprague, Gilbert Stuart, Stephen Higginson, William Billings, and John Baptiste Julien. Take a guided tour or wander through the cemetery on your own to discover some fascinating stories and interesting gravestones.

Giving Respect at Granary Burying Ground

Another notable cemetery near Boston Common is the Granary Burying Ground. Dating back to 1660, this burial ground is a popular tourist attraction and the final resting place for figures such as John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams. Pay your respects and learn more about the country’s notable people.

Admiring the Massachusetts State House

Located right across from Boston Common is the Massachusetts State House, a beautiful example of Federal-style architecture. This golden-domed building is one of Boston’s most famous landmarks and serves as the seat of government for the state. You can even take a free tour inside to learn about the history and architecture of the State House.

Seeing The Embrace

One of the most photographed sculptures in Boston, located near the corner of Boylston and Charles Streets, you’ll find a beautiful sculpture called “The Embrace.” This iconic piece represents the everlasting love between two people and serves as a popular spot for photo ops.

Spending Some Time at Citizens Bank Opera House

Formerly known as the Wang Theatre, this historic building is home to a variety of performances, from Broadway shows to concerts and more. For some evening entertainment, head to the Citizens Bank Opera House located right across from Boston Common. This stunning theater hosts a variety of performances, including Broadway shows, concerts, and ballets.

Attend a Concert or Event

Throughout the year, Boston Common hosts various concerts and events that are free for the public to attend. From outdoor movie screenings to live music performances, there’s always something happening at this vibrant park. Be sure to check the calendar of events and plan your visit accordingly to experience some of the city’s best cultural offerings.

Exploring the Irish Heritage Trail

Boston has a strong connection to Irish heritage, and you can learn all about it by walking along the Irish Heritage Trail. This self-guided tour features 20 different stops throughout the city, including landmarks near Boston Common, such as The Great Hunger Memorial and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Seeing the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial

Located on Boston Common is a powerful memorial dedicated to Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, one of the first African-American regiments in the Civil War. This sculpture serves as a moving tribute to their bravery and sacrifice.

Sampling Local Cuisine at Boston Public Market

For a taste of local flavors, head over to Boston Public Market, located just steps away from Boston Common. This indoor market offers a variety of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and other artisanal products from local vendors. Grab a bite to eat and support small businesses while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere.

Taking a Stroll Down Charles Street

Located on the edge of Boston Common, Charles Street is a picturesque street lined with charming boutiques, cafes, and historic buildings. Take a stroll through this quaint neighborhood and soak in all the sights and sounds. And make sure to stop by the iconic Cheers bar, just a few blocks away.

Relax and Unwind

After all that sightseeing, sometimes all you need is some time to relax and recharge. Boston Common offers plenty of green space for a leisurely picnic or a peaceful walk. You can also rent a swan boat and paddle around the park’s famous pond or take a break at one of the many benches scattered throughout the park.

Wrapping Up

Boston Common is more than just a park; it’s a cultural hub full of history, entertainment, and relaxation. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a local looking for something new to do, this charming neighborhood has got you covered. From exploring the park, itself to discovering nearby attractions and landmarks, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant and historic area. So, next time you’re in Boston, make sure to stop by and experience all the amazing things to do near Boston Common.

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