Boston: A Perfect Walking City

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Posted June 10, 2013 by Rachel Leah Blumenthal in Urban Living
Rose Kennedy Greenway

Boston is a perfect walking city, whether you’re just trying to get away from your desk for a quick stroll or you’re a dedicated, pedometer-wearing, 10,000-a-day stepper. Downtown Crossing residents can avail themselves of plenty of wonderful walking routes in the vicinity, and each offers its own character—from history and nature to architecture. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, especially considering the downtown area’s abundance of cobblestones and unsteady turf.

Freedom Trail: If you’re new to the area, or even if you walked the Freedom Trail on a school field trip years ago, this is an essential overview of Bostonian history in the form of a pleasant 2.5-mile walk. It begins right in the Boston Common and ends at the USS Constitution in Charlestown. It’s easy to follow, too, as it’s marked with a red line (brick at some points, paint at others). You can stop at one or more of the 16 official historical sites along the route, if you’d like, including the Old South Meeting House, the King’s Chapel and Burying Ground, and the Old Corner Bookstore. To learn more about all the sites on the trail, try a 90-minute tour led by a costumed guide. They run daily throughout the year.

USS Constitution

The USS Constitution, stationed in Charlestown, is the final official site on Boston’s historical Freedom Trail. Photo credit to The USS Constitution’s official Facebook page

Rose Kennedy Greenway: One of the most visible successes of the Big Dig, the Greenway is a 15-acre span of linear parks, stretching from the North End to Chinatown, including Dewey Square Park at the bottom of the Financial District. It’s a little more than one mile from end to end, and it’s full of plants and trees, open green space, fountains, mobile food vendors, public art installations, and gorgeous waterfront views. Just five years old, the Greenway is vibrant and well-maintained. Wi-Fi is available throughout, giving you the perfect excuse to leave the office. Guided tours and other events are frequently offered.

Beacon Hill: Just across the Common from Downtown Crossing, Beacon Hill offers a seemingly unlimited maze of beautiful architecture, hidden gardens, and winding, narrow streets. Meander through on your own or try a photo walking tour, a 90-minute guided tour that includes tips and tricks for taking great photos of the neighborhood. If you want to get out of the sun, duck into the Boston Athenaeum, a members-only library with a striking interior. Art and architecture tours of the building are offered to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3 p.m.

Chinatown: Want to incorporate some food into your walk? Explore neighboring Chinatown through a 2.5-hour market tour that culminates in a dim sum lunch. Offered on Thursdays and Saturdays, Michele Topor’s Boston Food Tours are limited to 10 people and are held rain or shine. The walking tour includes tastings at several stops along the route (in addition to lunch), historical insights, and tips and tricks for purchasing, storing, and cooking foods found in Chinatown markets.

Public Garden: One of Boston’s most popular attractions, the Public Garden is the United States’ first public botanical garden. Designed in the Victorian style, it’s colorful, showy, and full of opportunities to wander. Keep an eye out for the exotic imported trees, the lovely tulip displays, and the stately weeping willows. When you tire of walking, be sure to take a short ride in the legendary swan boats.

Steeped in history and full of delightful architecture (and even some urban nature), Boston is the ideal walking city. Put on your sneakers and start exploring today!

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