It’s no wonder Beantown made the list: One of its nicknames, after all, is the Walking City. It’s home to America’s oldest public park, a riverfront pedestrian-and-bike path, and the Freedom Trail, a brick-lined route through the city that leads to 16 historical sites.
Best Walk: Charles River Esplanade
Whether you’re running, walking, or biking, the century-old Charles River Esplanade is an athlete’s dream, says Brendan Kearney, development and communications manager for the nonprofit organization WalkBoston. To experience the best parts of the waterfront walkway, begin your stroll on the west end of the Longfellow Bridge, at First Street and Broad Canal Walk. Climb the stairs and cross the bridge. When the sidewalk ends, turn right to cross under the bridge, then turn right again onto the Charles River Esplanade. Follow the esplanade west to the river and around a loop, then head south with the water to your right. Travel south around the Hatch Memorial Shell and across a small island. Take the ramp to Massachusetts Avenue, and turn right to cross the Harvard Bridge back over the river. Once across the bridge, turn right onto the Memorial Drive waterfront pedestrian path and follow this northeast, back to and under the Longfellow Bridge, to finish your 3.2-mile loop. To access the map, click here.
Alternate Walk: The Freedom Trail
If you’re more interested in Boston’s rich colonial history, follow the red-brick Freedom Trail through the city. For a 3.5-mile walk, start at the USS Constitution Museum in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Head north to Baxter Road and turn left on First Avenue, then right onto the Freedom Trail. Follow the trail past Winthrop Square to Bunker Hill Monument Park, with its memorial to Revolutionary War soldiers who died in the famous battle. Back at Winthrop Square, head southwest on Winthrop Street and turn left on Warren Street, then right on Park Street. After meandering through the City Square, turn left on Washington Street and head over the Charles River on the Charleston Bridge. At the foot of the bridge, turn left on Commercial Street, then right on Hull Street. Pass by the Old North Church and through the Paul Revere Mall, then turn right on Hanover Street. Make a left on Prince Street, a right on Garden Court Street, a right on Richmond Street, and a left back onto Hanover Street. Turn right on Cross Street, then turn left at Salem Street into North End Park. Head southwest through the park and turn right, back onto Hanover Street, then bear left onto Marshall Street. Turn left on Union Street and travel south along Union Street Park. After the park, follow the Freedom Trail left and then right, past Merchants Row, then right again to Congress Street. Turn left on Congress Street, right on State Street, and left on Washington Street to the Irish Famine Memorial. Turn right on School Street and left on Tremont Street, then turn right into Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park. After exploring the park, end your walk at the Visitors Center at 139 Tremont Street.
Walk this way to a playful Walking City mix kicked off by some airwave-ruling local talent.