Where To People Watch And Soak Up Local Culture In Boston
Boston is a city filled with personality. From its young student population to its diverse working class roots, the people really are what make Boston great. If you've had your fill of traditional sightseeing and simply want to rest your legs and observe the city in its true authenticity, these are some of the best spots.
Boston Common is a famous central park in downtown Boston. It's also the oldest city park in the country, dating back to 1634. The park spans 50 acres and has a botanical garden and a pond where you can enjoy the iconic experience of taking a Swan paddleboat. Visitors can also find a playground and other fun activities for kids. During the winter months, an ice skating rink is set up, and a huge Christmas tree and other decorations adorn the park.
167 Tremont Street, Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108
One of the most popular spots in Boston, Copley Square is flanked on one side by the gorgeous Trinity Church which is reflected in the neighboring John Hancock Tower, and on another by the luxurious Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. Also in the area visitors can find the Boston Public Library and the Old South Church.
Boylston & Dartmouth, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
Established as a permanent central marketplace in Boston, and gifted by the wealthy merchant Peter Faneuil, this marketplace building was constructed in 1742 and then later expanded over the following decades and centuries. The meeting hall on the upper floor of the building became famous as a place of protest against the British during the era of the Revolutionary War. It has since become a place of protest and democracy throughout American history. Today, visitors can tour the historic building as well as visit the shops and restaurants of the marketplace buildings. Grab a souvenir and a bite to eat in the food court, or join one of the many walking tours of Boston that begin in this part of town.
4 South Market Street, North End, Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Public Garden
The Boston Public Garden, dating back to 1837, was the first botanical garden in the country. It is heavily influenced by the Victorian era with seasonally flowers that change regularly. The Boston Public Garden is an iconic park in the city with its famous Swan Boats that you can use to paddle around the pond. There are flower beds that line the paths and many places to enjoy a leisurely stroll. Boston Public Garden is a relaxed and romantic setting and you'll often see weddings or wedding pictures being taken in the park.
4 Charles St., Beacon Hill, Boston, MA, 02116
The historic and central area of Harvard University, the oldest in the nation, this large green space is intermixed with University buildings, trees, and the occasional statue. The area is generally open to the public and for tours, although at times the gates may close, so plan ahead.
Harvard Yard, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Located in the central area of North End, Haymarket Square has a storied history, but now feels more like a large intersection. This area is home to the farmers market on Fridays and Saturdays where patrons can find low-cost produce.
Chardon & N Washington, North End, Boston, Massachusetts
Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
At the north end of the Waterfront district and the southern side of North End, this large park is a great place to relax, have a picnic, and enjoy the weather. Here you'll find a ship-themed playground for the kids, a rose garden, a gorgeous trellis, fountains, and some open lawn areas along with benches for lounging. If you're looking for a place to rest or relax before going on a whale watching cruise or into the aquarium, this is a convenient spot.
110 Atlantic Ave, Waterfront, Boston, Massachusetts
The Esplanade is a riverside park in the Back Bay neighborhood. It has a number of charming footbridges including Arthur Fiedler Footbridge. Within the park you'll also find the Hatch Shell
bandstand, which is where the Boston Pops Orchestra holds its annual Fourth of July celebration. There are also a number of movies and concerts in the park during the warmer months. The park is a nice place to explore with a number of nice running trails, or you could enjoy a walk beside the river. Also here is the Esplanade Playground
for kids which is quite large.
Back Bay, Boston, MA
Rose Kennedy Greenway
This stretch of interconnected parks running through Downtown Boston is a great spot for a walk, run, or even a bike ride - or for just exploring the city. Starting at the north in North End near the Haymarket T station, the connected parks and trails run south through the Waterfront and Downtown areas until they reach Chinatown Park. Along the way, visitors will find smaller parks, interactive fountains, a carousel, gardens, public restrooms, restaurants and cafes, and more. If you're wandering along the path, it's quite easy to make short detours to explore the various attractions and historical spots of Boston.
John F. Fitzgerald Expressway, Waterfront, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110
Located about 5 miles from downtown Boston, Revere Beach is about 3 miles long. The beach is popular, in part, because it can be reached on the MBTA Blue Line. The beach hosts a number of events including a sand sculpting competition.
320 Revere Beach Boulevard, Revere, Massachusetts, 02151
Post Office Square
Located in the heart of Boston's Financial District, this public square makes for a nice spot to relax, enjoy a coffee or a picnic, and take in the sights of downtown Boston.
Congress & Milk, Downtown, Boston, Massachusetts
Paul Revere Mall
Also known as the Boston Prado
, Paul Revere Mall features a large statue of, you guessed it, Paul Revere. Also along this stretch of pedestrian-only cobblestones are plaques along the walls that feature other notable and important people from Boston's and America's history such as Benjamin Franklin. The plaza runs between Old North Church and St. Stephen's Church.
North End, Boston, Massachusetts
Long Wharf, home of the New England Aquarium and a variety of shops and restaurants, is located just to the east of Downtown and North End. In addition to the aquarium, visitors can find the Marriott hotel, Christopher Columbus park, whale watching cruises, trolley tours, and more. This is also a good spot to start your journey along either the Harborwalk along the water or the Rose Kennedy Greenway if you want to explore North End or go down to Chinatown. To get here, take the T to the "Aquarium" station.
296 State Street, Waterfront, Boston, Massachusetts
The Boston Harborwalk is a nearly complete project designed to connect the waterfront walkways along the harbor. Currently, visitors can enjoy over 43 miles of walkways along the harbor, much of which runs along the main Waterfront and North End areas of central Boston near many of the city's top attractions. Along the trail, visitors can find public restrooms along with restaurants, cafes, shops, tourist attractions, marinas and wharfs, ferry terminals, and more. While it's quite easy to run and jog along the trails, bikes are only allowed along specific sections which have less pedestrian traffic. Bikes are allowed on the section from the Neponset River Greenway to Castle Island State Park. See the website and map for more details if you're looking to bike.
North End, Boston, Massachusetts
The recently revitalized Fan Pier is located just to the southeast of North End and Downtown Boston. Here, visitors can find a number of fun activities as well as shopping and restaurants. Home to the Boston Children's Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Boston Tea Party Museum, this area is worth exploring, especially if you're looking for a good meal. A park on the north end has nice views of central Boston and a quiet setting, while the large playground at Martin's Park by the Children's Museum is a fun spot for the kids.
50 Seaport Blvd, Seaport District, South Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
Commonwealth Avenue Mall
Stretching west from the famous Boston Common, Commonwealth Avenue is home to a wide and beautiful tree-lined median for eight blocks. This public park and garden area is home to a number of monuments, statues, and public spaces where visitors can relax, have a picnic, or explore the history of Boston. While you're here, peruse the statues of Alexander Hamilton, Leif Eriksson, and Samuel Eliot Morison among others, as well as the Women's Memorial and the Firefighters' Memorial. Also, admire the historic homes on either side of the avenue while you're here.
Commonwealth Avenue, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Fashion Week
Boston Fashion Week is an annual event that celebrates luxury fashion with shows and events that bring local and international designers together.
Downtown Crossing, Boston, Massachusetts
Boston City Hall Plaza
Located adjacent to City Hall, this large, open space was opened in 1962 as part of the new building's inauguration. Boston's locals frequently gather here for some of the city's biggest events and festivals, including the Boston GreenFest, Boston Techjam, Puerto Rican Festival of Massachusetts and Boston Cycling Celebration. It was here that the Boston Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins paraded to their respective championship parades for nearly 20 years also.
1 City Hall Square, Boston, Massachusetts
Back Bay Fens
Where Back Bay merges into Fenway, this large green space has a variety of interesting things to do and see. In addition to walking and biking trails, visitors can explore the rose garden and World War II memorial. Also here is an area of community gardens, a playground for the kids, and ball fields.
73 Park Dr, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $4 to $498. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $138. A few of the best options are below.
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