Thanks to a collective effort between the city, the National Recreation and Park Association, the Trust for Public Land and the Urban Land Institute, all of Boston’s residents are now located within a 10-minute walk of a “high-quality” park. As such, the city is the second of only two cities that can make this claim, with San Francisco being the other.
The push to ensure high-quality parks are in place came from Mayor Marty Walsh, whose administration set aside $230 million for parks and recreation as part of the city’s Imagine Boston 2030 master plan. While acknowledging that there is work still to be done, the mayor said in a statement that the city is “working every day to make our park system the best in the world.” If you are interested in exploring these parks, here are few to get you started.
- Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University – Located at 125 Arborway, the 281-acre Arboretum is filled with plants, tree life and abundant paved pathways.
- Back Bay Fens – Featuring green space and alongside bodies of water, Back Bay Fens offers a lush environment that is nearly directly connected with the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Often referred to as simply The Fens, Back Bay Fens was established in 1879 and serves as a link in the Emerald Necklace park system.
- Boston Common – The oldest park in the country, Boston Common features a carousel, playgrounds and the Frog Pond.
- Charles River Esplanade – Boasting three playgrounds and miles of paved pathways, the Charles River Esplanade offers plenty of opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
- Fan Pier Park – Located near to the Boston Children’s Museum, Fan Pier Park offers smooth brick pathways and lovely water views.
- Jamaica Pond – Part of a larger urban greensward that includes Olmsted Park, Jamaica Pond boasts a 1.5-mile pathway that goes around the pond. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the kettle pond is the source of the Muddy River that drains into the lower Charles River
- Medal of Honor Park – Reopened last year following $1.3 million in renovations, Medal of Honor Park features a water-play area along with freshly laid pathways. The park is located at 775 E 1st
- Pope John Paul II Park – Located on Hallet Street on a former landfill, Pope John Paul II Park is best known for its excellent bird watching opportunities.
- The Public Garden – Located next to the Boston Common, The Public Garden offers 24-acres of space to explore. Also known as the Boston Public Garden, the garden is part of the Emerald Necklace system of parks.
- Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway – Opened in 2009 at 185 Kneeland Street, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is a linear park featuring plazas and fountains.
Of course, these are only a few examples of the many great parks and green spaces that Boston has to offer. With the city being so committed to ensure there is plenty of parkland available for all of its residents, you will be sure to find new green spaces around virtually every corner.