Search for a place or activity

Top Parks and Gardens in Boston

Boston is home to some of the top gardens and parks in the country.

A Boston park in the fall
Hi, I'm Sarah!

Sarah is an experienced copywriter specialising in travel, finance, and IT. Born and raised in Sri Lanka and India, and with stints living in the UAE and Oman, her love of South Asia and Arabia has seen her add travel writing to her record of copywriting for cross-sector global brands. Sarah has a BA Hons in History from Reading University and lives in East Sussex with her partner. When not working, she enjoys scuba diving, wild swimming, and woodland walks with her rescue Jack Russell, Charlie.

Boston plays host to a wide range of green spaces and parks, from waterfront gardens filled with attractions and art to leafy oases that provide a peaceful refuge from the city’s hustle and bustle. Read on for our picks of the top parks and gardens in the Massachusetts capital.

Boston Common

People walk about Boston Common in the heart of the city in Boston.
Boston Common in the springtime.Photo credit: Roaman Babakin / Shutterstock

Founded in 1634, 50-acre (20-hectare) Boston Common is the US’s oldest park and Boston’s main green space. Originally used for pasture and public executions, it’s now an expanse of grass, tree-lined paths, fields, and recreational spaces. Jump out here on a hop-on-hop-off-trolley tour, or chart its revolutionary history on a self-guided, private, or group walk along Boston’s Freedom Trail, the tourist walkway that crisscrosses its lawns.

Boston Public Garden

A swan boat takes visitors along the water at Boston Public Garden in Boston, MA.
Swan boats in Boston Public Garden.Photo credit: Noyan Yalcin / Shutterstock

Across the street from Boston Common, Boston Public Garden is a more formal affair, with manicured flower beds, statuary, a pond, and nine bronze ducks—a tribute to the beloved children’s book Make Way for Ducklings, set in the park. Call here on a hop-on-hop-off-trolley circuit, ride a “swan” boat on its waters, or zip around its pathways with ease on a pedicab tour.

Rose Kennedy Greenway

Yellow art at Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston.
Art in Rose Kennedy Greenway.Photo credit: EvegeniiAnd / Shutterstock

Laid out in 2008, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is a string of parks extending from Boston’s Chinatown to the North End. The lawns hold plenty of attractions—including a carousel, art exhibitions, and food trucks—so there’s always plenty going on. Explore on a bike tour or rent a bike to roam as you wish.

Charles River Esplanade

Kayakers enjoy the river at Charles River Esplanade in Boston.
Charles River Esplanade at the beginning of fall.Photo credit: Dan Lewis / Shutterstock

Hemming the Charles River, this 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) park is a peaceful getaway that boasts a jogging path, lawns, playgrounds, and panoramic river views. Bike tours are perfect for exploring and especially scenic in spring, when the cherry trees bloom, and fall, when brightly colored foliage takes center stage.

Emerald Necklace

Winter at Emerald Necklace Park in the heart of Boston.
Winter in the park in Boston.Photo credit: Adam Gladstone / Shutterstock

This 7-mile (11-kilometer) ribbon of parks between Boston and Brookline includes beauties such as the Arnold Arboretum—home to 15,000 trees—and Jamaica Pond, a wooded park framing a large pond. All come into their own in fall, when their trees are a vision of ochre and red. Kick through the leaves on a stroll, or join a bike tour to take in the autumnal colors.

Christopher Columbus Park

Early springtime in the gardens at Christopher Columbus Park.
A sunny day in Christopher Columbus Park.Photo credit: Gagliardi Photography / Shutterstock

This waterfront gem crowns Boston’s North End neighborhood and is one of the city’s prettiest spots. Graced by a rose garden and trellis-covered walkway, it commands open views of Boston Harbor. Rent a bike to ride along the waterside, or visit as part of a hop-on-hop-off-trolley tour.

Find things to do in Boston

1 / 3

Keep reading

1 / 5
Do more with Viator
One site, 300,000+ travel experiences you'll remember—direct to your inbox.
Stay in the know