Not all of Boston's "secret" parks are really a secret, nor are they necessarily hidden.
It's just that in a city with so many famous attractions, they're easily overlooked.
Should you take time from your Boston trip to visit these lesser-known parks?
If you're in Boston for the first time, by all means give priority to Boston's famous parks.
But if you can carve out a few extra minutes, or if you've been to Boston before and want to visit a few places off the usual tourist track, check out Boston's secret parks.
Here's our guide to the best hidden park and garden treasures!
Lush flowers blooming almost year-round, a cascading fountain, and a curved arbor with classical columns and plenty of comfortable benches make Ramler Park a garden paradise only a few blocks from Fenway Park. Hard to believe that a parking lot once occupied this space!
You'll find Ramler Park tucked away on Peterborough Street between Park Drive and Kilmarnock Street. Even if you have only a few moments to spare, stop by and enjoy this city oasis.
Almost hidden behind Old North Church in Boston's North End, the shady brick-walled plaza forming Paul Revere Mall - locally called The Prado - contains a dashing statue of Paul Revere on horseback by sculptor Cyrus Dallin.
Equally interesting, though, are the bronze tables with stories about famous North End citizens lining the walls surrounding the space.
With brick paving, plenty of wide benches for seating, a large fountain, and stately trees, Paul Revere Mall is the quintessential urban park - the perfect place to enjoy a carryout cappuccino and cannoli from one of the nearby North End bakeries. Look for it on Hanover Street, near Clark Street.
Commonwealth Avenue Mall is the tree-filled park filling the center of Back Bay's mansion-lined main boulevard between Arlington Street and Charlesgate.
Laid out in the 1860s to imitate grand Parisian boulevards, Comm Ave Mall (as locals call it) offers beauty during all seasons.
Take a break from shopping on nearby Newbury Street and join other strollers, taking time to admire its eclectic collection of statues, including an Argentinian president, war heroes, firefighters, Abigail Adams and other famous American women, a former Boston mayor, and, incongruously, Leif Erikson.
Measuring almost 5 miles long and the width of the 12-lane highway that neighborhood protesters ensured was NOT built in Boston's South End, the Southwest Corridor Park is truly a "People's Park."
Access the Southwest Corridor across from the Back Bay Train Station on Dartmouth Street, and admire the gorgeous community gardens, flanked by stately South End brownstones and Back Bay office towers.
Want to see 500 gardens all in one spot?
Boston's Fenway Victory Gardens, located not much more than a block from Fenway Park, date back to World War II when local residents grew vegetables in small plots to combat food shortages.
Today, local gardeners still maintain the living room-size plots, but in most cases, flowers and ornamentals outnumber veggies.
Each plot reflects its caretaker's interests and aesthetic vision - and with 500 gardens, there's a lot to see!
You'll find the Victory Gardens at the northern tip of the Back Bay Fens, the large swath of park land stretching across much of the Fenway neighborhood. Enter from Boylston Street.
And of course, while you're in the neighborhood, catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park!
Despite being one of Boston's loveliest gardens, Kelleher Rose Garden, also located in Back Bay Fens, is known mostly to local rose enthusiasts.
Once the roses start blooming in May, you can almost find the garden just by following the scent.
In June when every plant in the garden seems to be in full bloom, there's no lovelier spot in the city, and the roses continue to flower throughout the summer and fall up until frost.
Kelleher Rose Garden is in the section of the Fens next to Park Drive between Queensberry and Jersey Streets.
Behind a double row of linden trees along Huntington Avenue and across from Prudential Center, Christian Science Plaza offers one the city's loveliest urban gardens: a vast reflecting pond, splash fountains where kids cool off on hot summer days, and massive planters overflowing with flowering plants.
You're surrounded by skyscrapers - but after just a few minutes here, you'll feel like you're in a private, almost-hidden garden.
Ask most Bostonians where to find Carmen Park, and you'll get a blank look.
That's because the New England Holocaust Memorial dominates the landscape around it, including the sliver of land it occupies, named in honor of William Carmen to honor his vision and leadership in creating the Memorial.
If you step back, though, you'll see how the park's trees, grass, and paths surround the Memorial with growth, hope, and the eternal promise of the changing seasons. Try to envision the Memorial without the surrounding landscape of Carmen Park, and you'll see how it gives life to this haunting space.
With grassy slopes, views of the Harbor Islands, and a promenade perfect for walking, Castle Island offers cooling breezes on hot summer days, a large children's playground, and great views of fireworks over the harbor on July 4th and New Year's Eve.
For the perfect summer afternoon, splash in the water along Pleasure Island Beach (watch out for jellyfish) and stop by Sully's for a hot dog.
Almost hidden behind the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on (where else?) D Street, Lawn on D is an adult playground with glow-in-the-dark swings, comfy chairs for lounging, and rotating schedules for lawn games, art displays, and live music on warm summer nights under the Pavilion.
From spring through fall, there's almost always something fun going on. Check Lawn on D's website for events
Beacon Hill, one of Boston's most historic neighborhoods, contains many treasures but none more charming than the almost-secret "pocket" parks you may stumble upon if you explore this leafy neighborhood by foot.
These are quiet spots, carved out of empty spaces with walls "borrowed" from adjacent buildings, comfortable benches, and a few shade-tolerant plants and vines.
Here's where you can find two of the loveliest:
- Phillips Street Park - On Phillips Street between Garden and Anderson Streets, and across the street from Vilna Shul
- Temple Street Park - On Temple Street (behind the Massachusetts State House) between Coolidge Avenue and Derne Street
From historic Boston Common on the Freedom Trail to the Esplanade where the July 4th Boston Pops concert and fireworks take place each summer, Boston's legendary parks provide numerous recreational opportunities, host major events and celebrations, and offer you lots of fun things to see and do throughout the year.
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