Boston in Bloom: The Best Ways to Celebrate Spring

You’ll discover plenty of things to do in Boston during the spring, as its historic parks bloom with color and its citizens heave a collective sigh of post-winter relief. Here’s how to maximize your time outside, plus what to do when the weather report is not coming up roses.

As a college student in Boston, spring always meant one thing to me: Opening Day for the Red Sox at Fenway Park. I, like many of my fellow Bostonians, take my baseball very seriously. (Go Sox!)

But even I can admit there’s so much more to the season than Fenway franks! When springtime hits in Beantown, the beautiful public gardens, parks and green spaces that dot the city beckon locals and tourists alike to walk, run, bike and explore. Here are some of my favorite ways to do just that.

Have a marathon adventure.

In a city that lives and breathes sports, the iconic Boston Marathon is an experience that can’t be beat. During the week leading up to the race — which always occurs on the third Monday in April — Boston teems with athletes from all over the world and buzzes with excitement. For me, even the simple act of spectating somewhere along the 26.2-mile course from the town of Hopkinton to Copley Square in downtown Boston can be an emotional experience.

Make waves on the Charles River.

I love to watch sports in Boston, but sometimes I prefer to partake in them myself. When I’m ready for an active adventure, I rent a paddleboard, kayak or canoe and head to the Charles River. Paddle Boston offers rentals by the hour or day at affordable rates; with the option to take a guided tour or hit the water on your own, it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon. If you land in Cambridge’s Kendall Square (where Paddle Boston has a convenient location), stop at Commonwealth, a market/restaurant with outdoor seating and a drool-worthy homemade ice cream menu.

Go for a stroll in Fort Point.

Fort Point has exploded over the past several years, with options for dining and more. Highlights include a custom experience at Drink, where the bartenders interview you before crafting your perfect cocktail, and fresh oysters at the popular Portland, Maine-based Row 34. The neighborhood, which is nestled right on the water, has public spaces where you can picnic or find your zen during a free yoga class — check the Friends of Fort Point Channel calendar for all the local offerings.

Because my husband works in Fort Point, our family often spends warm Friday evenings in the area, usually enjoying a Seaport Salt & Malt (made with locally sourced dark chocolate) from Shake Shack and wandering toward the Boston Children’s Museum. Lawn on D, located just a few blocks away in South Boston, is another unique public venue that has giant swings for adults and kids alike, a bar and occasional food trucks. From spring through fall, it’s also home to various free events, like open-air movie showings.

Make the most of a rainy day.

If the weather is acting up, take the opportunity to delve into one of the city’s numerous museums. In addition to the Children’s Museum, Fort Point is also home to the Institute of Contemporary Art. The modern, right-angled glass building is my favorite piece of architecture in the city.

Head back near Fenway to visit the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The latter, located in the eccentric Mrs. Gardner’s former home, is an art museum and the site of one of Boston’s most notorious unsolved crimes. Nearly twenty years ago, two men posing as police officers stole several priceless pieces of art. The empty frames dot the walls of the museum to this day, in accordance with the estate of Mrs. Gardner.

If the weather perks up, head back outside and take a stroll through Back Bay Fens parkland, part of Boston’s famed “Emerald Necklace” of city parks designed by Frederick Olmsted. Then return to Café G at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and treat yourself to tea and cake, the perfect way to wrap up the afternoon.

Walk the city.

Boston is a walkable city with a fascinating history, so make sure to see as much as you can by foot. Start at the 1.5 mile-long Rose Kennedy Greenway, a rooftop garden perched above a highway tunnel that stretches across Boston’s Waterfront, Chinatown, and the Financial District and North End neighborhoods. The lively destination offers public art, splash parks for kids and free events, such as concerts and plays. My daughter’s favorite attraction is the carousel that features squirrels, skunks(!), cod and other creatures native to the area.

From there, head to the lively Faneuil Marketplace and follow the famed Freedom Trail through the center of downtown Boston, taking in historic sites like the Granary Burying Ground, the final resting place of American icons like Paul Revere, John Hancock and Samuel Adams. End your walk at Boston Common, the country’s oldest park. When in full bloom, it can take anyone’s breath away — even an old local like me.

Quick Tip:

Grab a meal outside while exploring a new neighborhood. Dining al fresco anywhere in Boston offers an excellent opportunity to people-watch and enjoy the season at the same time.


Where to Stay:

Marriott Vacation Club PulseSM at Custom House, Boston

Bailey S. is a freelance writer living outside of Boston.