A guide to Boston’s parks and green spaces

To travel

It is not difficult to find nature around the city.

Boston Common, America’s oldest public park. Craig F. Walker / Globe Staff

Visitors looking for green space in Boston have many options.

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The city’s parks and green spaces provide opportunities to relax, picnic, hike, and enjoy free shows, public art, and historic sites.

“Public parks like Castle Island and the Neponset River Greenway are important green spaces within the city of Boston, providing residents with essential outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Jim Montgomery, commissioner of the Department of Conservation and recreation, in an email. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our state park system has provided immense benefits to residents of Massachusetts, and the Baker-Polito administration continues to invest in these natural resources so that residents of every Commonwealth community have equitable access to parks and open spaces. ”

Onward, discover 12 Boston parks and green spaces to visit.

The 281-acre Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University at Jamaica Plain, founded in 1872, is part of the historic Emerald Necklace and is home to over 15,000 plants. Visitors can explore the park on their own or take advantage of guided tours and other events.

America’s oldest public park, founded in 1634, is located in the heart of the city and measures nearly 50 acres. The park offers free sculptures and memorials Shakespeare on the Common, rides and events all year round at Frog pond. The park also marks the start of Boston’s Freedom trail.

Visitors can board a ferry and travel to one of the Boston Harbor Islands to hike, bike, swim, camp, and explore. Spectacle Island offers miles of walking trails and panoramic views of Boston Harbor, while Georges Island is home to the Civil War Fort Warren. Consult a calendar of events.

OK, so it’s not a castle. And it is not an island. This 22-acre park south of Boston was an island at one point, but land reclamation projects have since joined it with the mainland. The lush green park is popular with joggers and dog walkers, and is home to the 19th-century Fort Independence, a National Historic Landmark.

The 64-acre Charles River Esplanade, named one of America’s 10 Best River Walks in America by USA Today earlier this year, offers miles of paved trails for runners and cyclists along the Charles River and playgrounds. for kids. The Hatch Memorial Shell is an outdoor performance stage that hosts movie and music nights and the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular every Fourth of July.

This 4 ½ acre park near Boston Harbor offers beautiful flowers, a picturesque trellis, ocean views, a playground, and plenty of space to relax and people-watch. Free outdoor movies are shown throughout the summer.

The Rose Kennedy Greenway offers many distractions to visitors, including seven bodies of water. – Todd Mazer

With the east and west sides of Commonwealth Avenue flanking it on either side, Commr. Ave. Mall, as it is affectionately known, is a favorite dog walking area for local residents. It is also another link in the emerald necklace, joining the public garden to the marshes.

The historic Emerald Necklace is a 1,100 acre chain of urban parks which connects more than a dozen city districts stretching from Back Bay to Dorchester. It was created by Frederick Law Olmsted, the founder of American landscape architecture. Visitors can explore the parks on their own or take a guided bike tour or educational walk. here is a Emerald Necklace Card.

This 8.2 mile waterfront trail connects a series of parks in the communities of Dorchester, Hyde Park, Mattapan and Milton. Greenway parks and reserves include Dorchester Shores Preserve, Neponset Park, Neponset River Preserve, Pope John Paul II Park, and Senator Joseph Finnegan Park.

Directly across from Boston Common is the 24-acre Public Garden, where visitors will find flowers, statues and the famous Swan Boats. Near the entrance to Charles Street and Beacon Street is the tribute to Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way For Ducklings” children’s book: a set of nine bronze ducks by artist Nancy Schön. The famous ducks are often disguised and included in special celebrations.

Bird lovers will love this park in the Fenway: it was designed to attract populations of migrating birds and features bird-inspired information and artwork. Under the trellis you will find a brick walkway marked with the names of bird species. An artistic fence called “The Birds of the Fenway” was created by artist John Tagiuri. Visitors also enjoy a series of free summer concerts.

This 1 ½ mile long stretch stretching from the North End to Chinatown offers a series of grassy parks and fountains as well as a public art venue. Visitors can patronize food trucks, a farmer’s market, relax in beer and wine gardens, and ride the one-of-a-kind Greenway Carousel, featuring hand-carved figures inspired by Boston Harbor. here is a interactive map.

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