On your marks, get set… walk! That’s the way to do Boston, anyway. Unassuming, academic and full of history, this city is the ideal place to stretch your legs as it’s also very accessible, very flat, and very pretty. There’s a good mix of city lights and green spaces, and the Charles River winds serenely on its way to Massachusetts Bay offering lovely walks along the esplanade. Beware the weather – the icy wind off the Atlantic can make things pretty wet and chilly in winter – but don’t let it put you off! Fuel up on some Boston baked beans, grab your raincoat and try out one of these awesome Boston walks:
- The Freedom Trail
- Financial District to the Theater District
- The Movie Mile
- Harvard to MIT
- The Battle Green Tour
- The Emerald Necklace Trail
The Freedom Trail
Many key events of the American Revolutionary War took place in Boston, and a lot of these historical sites are now accessible to visitors. To make it easy, 16 of them are connected by the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail which runs from Boston Common to Bunker Hill. It’s marked by a red path on the ground so you can’t really get lost – but if you’re finding all the history a little disorientating then use your pass to take a Freedom Trail Foundation guided tour. It covers 11 of the 16 sites on the trail, including Massachusetts State House, the USS Constitution and the site of the Boston Massacre. Your guide – complete in 18th century costume – will share all the stories of revenge and revolution so you won’t get your dates and declarations in a tangle.
The Financial District to the Theater District
This easy walk gives you a great overview of the modern and historic side of Boston in just a couple of hours. Start at the World Trade Center bus stop and enjoy the view of the wharf and Congress Bridge before exploring the financial district. Here, as well as being able to witness Boston’s buzzing economy in motion, you’ll find the Boston Children’s Museum, the Boston Tea Party Museum, King’s Chapel and Burial Ground and the Irish Famine Memorial. Soak up the history, then go for some retail therapy at Downtown Crossing before heading towards the Theater District via Washington Street and Tremont Street. This route will take you past Chinatown, which makes a colorful diversion if you’re feeling peckish, and you’ll come out by the Shubert and Wang Theaters. From here, it’s an easy saunter to Boston Common, where you can either have a look around Emerson College Campus or just flop down on the grass and give your legs a rest.
The Movie Mile
Many of Boston’s iconic landmarks are familiar to us because we’ve seen them so often on film and television – so why not get to know them in person? Take the Boston Movie Mile Walking Tour with Go City and discover over 30 locations you may have seen in films like Ted, Good Will Hunting and The Departed, or TV shows like Ally McBeal and Cheers. You’ll take in quiet, unassuming neighborhoods, historic homes, the original Cheers pub and the bench where Robin Williams and Matt Damon shot one of their most famous scenes. Make sure your big and small screen trivia knowledge is up to date, as your guide may just quiz you along the way!
Harvard to MIT
This is a great walk that combines two of the city’s most famous institutions with a generous taste of student life in the city. North of the river in Cambridge, these two academic heavyweights are only a mile or so apart, but a slightly detoured route will also take you past Harvard Stadium (home of the New England Patriots until the 70s) and Harvard Business School. Explore Harvard Square on your own or join a guided tour, then head west over the Anderson Memorial Bridge towards the stadium. If you’re lucky, there might be a game going on, if not, it’s still worth a wander around. From there, turn down Harvard Way past the Baker Library to the Business School, and then circle back to the river and use the Western Avenue Bridge to cross back over. Turn left and walk along the river to Magazine Beach, then head east towards MIT. If you need more intellectual inspiration, you can take another guided tour, or check out the List Visual Arts Center.
The “Let it Begin Here” Battle Green Tour
Take a deep dive into American Revolutionary History with a guided tour of Lexington Battle Green, included with your Go City Boston Pass. This small area is of huge historical significance, being the place where the first shots of the war were fired. See the Old Belfry that sounded the alarm, the Buckman Tavern where nervous militiamen gathered the night before the battle, the Revolutionary War Monument, the Old Burying Ground and the Henry H. Kitson Minuteman Statue. Hear stories of how the battle unfolded, George Washington’s thoughts on the whole affair, and the meaning behind the famous “Stand your ground” inscription. You’ll also see some houses and other buildings dating from the same era, so you can really feel that you’ve traveled back in time.
The Emerald Necklace walk
A favorite among locals and visitors alike, this walk gets its name from the way it links a chain of sparkling parks and green spaces through the city. It’s a great one if you want to get away from the concrete jungle and give your legs a proper stretch – it’s around nine miles and does include some elevation, so allow up to four hours – more if you want to stop for a picnic somewhere! Start in Franklin Park – Boston’s largest, where you’ll also find the Franklin Zoo. From here, the walk takes you through the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University, Jamaica Pond, Olmsted Park and along the Riverway to Muddy River. This route also takes you past the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. Continue along the long, green space that is the Commonwealth Avenue Mall all the way to the Public Garden, then either cross the suspension bridge or take the left path past the Robin Williams Memorial Bench. Finish by exploring Boston Common and be sure to take a selfie in front of Brewer Fountain!
Step it up with Go City
You can walk pretty much anywhere in Boston! Make sure you don’t miss anything with a Go City Explorer or All-Inclusive Pass and save on dozens of attractions around the city.