Boston Common

Park in Beacon Hill & Boston Common

Image by Vividrange Five Hundred Pixels

The Boston Common has served many purposes over the years, including as a campground for British troops during the Revolutionary War and as green grass for cattle grazing until the 1830s. Although there is still a grazing ordinance on the books, the Common today serves picnickers, sunbathers and people-watchers. In winter, the Frog Pond attracts ice-skaters, while summer draws theater lovers for Shakespeare on the Common. This is also the starting point for the Freedom Trail.

The Common is the country’s oldest public park. If you have any doubt, refer to the Blaxton Plaque, emblazoned with the words of the treaty between Governor Winthrop and William Blaxton, who sold the land for £30 in 1634.

The on-site information kiosk is a great source of information, maps and tour guides. Otherwise, wander freely about this 50-acre green, crisscrossed with walking paths and dotted with monuments. Bostonians hustle to and from the nearby T (subway) stations; others stroll leisurely, enjoying the fresh air or engaging in any number of Common activities, from free concerts to playground shenanigans to seasonal festivities.