Boston Public Garden

#8 in Best Things To Do in Boston
Boston Public Garden picture1 of 4
Boston Public Garden2 of 4
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Key Info

4 Charles St.

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.4

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Though the Boston Public Garden sits right next to Boston Common, the two are actually quite different. The public garden is newer (established in 1837) and holds the distinction of being America's first public botanical garden. Flowers and trees are beautifully organized and kept in quality condition throughout. You can see the colorful arrangements and exotic trees from the 4-acre pond in the center of the garden before taking in the lagoon by Swan Boat. Additionally, the park houses two of Boston's most iconic statues: "Make Way for Ducklings" (a bronze sculpture of a duck and her eight ducklings) and the George Washington Statue (which shows America's first president riding on a horse). 

Visitors looking to relax after sightseeing will enjoy Boston Public Garden. Recent travelers said you'll find plenty of shade beneath the park's trees, which comes in handy on hot summer days. Plus, you'll likely spot some ducks and geese swimming around the Public Garden's lagoon. And if you have a few dollars, past visitors recommended taking a 15-minute ride on a Swan Boat. The large paddle boats cost $4 to ride (or $2.50 for kids ages 2 to 15); travelers with Go Boston Cards ride for free. Swan Boats are available between mid-April and mid-September. 

You'll find the Boston Public Garden surrounded by the city's Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Chinatown-Leather District and downtown neighborhoods. The park sits next to the original Cheers restaurant that inspired the famous TV show. To get to the Public Garden, visitors can take the Green Line to the Arlington "T" station. Several bus stops are also located within walking distance. An underground parking garage is offered on-site (fees start at $12 for up to an hour of parking), as well as metered street parking. The Public Garden is free to visit and is open 24 hours a day, but bring cash if you plan on riding on a Swan Boat. Additional facilities, such as restrooms and cafes, are not available in the park. For more information about the Boston Public Garden, visit the City of Boston's website.

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Faneuil Hall Marketplace1 of 26
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum2 of 26
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Four buildings – Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market – constitute Faneuil Hall Marketplace, with the oldest being Faneuil Hall. Built in 1742 and now located on the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall has had a long and important history in Massachusetts politics. Samuel Adams once stood here to push for resistance against the British, and abolitionists and suffragists have stood on their soapboxes here. In fact, this is where Jonathan Mayhew famously challenged the Sugar Act of 1764 by proclaiming, "no taxation without representation." Since Mayhew's declaration, the marketplace has expanded to include more than 100 shops and restaurants. 

Some former visitors caution that the items sold at Faneuil Hall Marketplace are a bit overpriced. However, if you're looking to kill some time or snap some great photos, consider strolling through the market's halls. You'll also find various cuisines served in Quincy Market if you're in need of a quick bite. Keep in mind that this market gets crowded quickly (especially on weekends and in the summer), so it's best to visit during a weekday if you don't want to encounter hordes of people. 

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