Ask any seasoned traveler what is the best way to explore an interesting city, and the answer is always the same: on foot. Walking shows you things you would otherwise miss, and it is never inconvenient to explore some local oddity, to stand and stare, or to slip into a local bar. Of course, some cities are more pleasant than others to walk in—one that comes near the top of the list is Boston.
Choose Your Angle
There are so many good routes to explore Boston, that your only problem will be deciding which to follow. The best way is to choose a theme and make that your priority. You could, for instance, have routes with an emphasis on:
- Historical associations
- Architectural highlights
- Art Installations
- Peace and quiet
Most walks are available as both self-guided and group hikes.
The most famous walk in Boston is the Freedom Trail. This 2.5-mile walk takes in sixteen historical sites of special relevance to the history of Boston and the United States. It includes churches and museums as well as public buildings, so you can easily spend a whole day on it.
Other heritage trails look at specific aspects of Boston’s history in the city center. You could, for instance, follow a Women’s, Black, or Irish Heritage Trail. Each will introduce you to aspects of the city that you would otherwise never know.
In Boston, you are never very far from water. The Boston Harborwalk is not yet complete, but the existing sections promise a treat. As the harbor areas are redeveloped, it is city policy to make a continuous walking route along the water’s edge from East Boston to Dorchester. The section around North End already has amazing views.
On each side of the Charles River is a green reservation, stretching for some 20 miles. The Esplanade is a three-mile section on the Boston side, including such highlights as the Museum of Science. The Cambridge side runs close to the Harvard University Campus and the MIT, offering beautiful views of the skyline. The Boston Marriott Cambridge hotel makes an excellent base for discovering this exciting part of the city.
There are many, many trails through the Massachusetts countryside, including Wachusett Mountain Reservation with its all-round views, but you can enjoy remarkable peace and greenery without going further than the Emerald Necklace. Designed over 100 years ago by a far-sighted architect, it forms a ring of parks over seven miles long creating a green zone between Boston and its suburbs. Any one of the parks is worth a visit and the whole trail is a delight.
Enjoy Boston at its Best
There are many ways to enjoy Boston, and to know the city well you would need a lifetime. But the visitor wanting to get under the skin of the place as quickly as possible cannot go far wrong by putting on the walking shoes and taking to the pavement.