The starting point of the Freedom Trail, Boston Common is the oldest park in the country. At 50 acres (20 hectares), it is the anchor for the Emerald Necklace, a system of connected parks that winds through many of Boston’s neighborhoods. The historic park was once a campground for British troops during the Revolutionary War.
Walking paths crisscross the Common’s green space, which is dotted with monuments, including the Boston Massacre Monument, the Great Elm site, and the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. In winter, ice skaters head to Frog Pond, while summer draws theater lovers for Shakespeare on the Common. The Common is a stop on walking and driving tours of the Freedom Trail and on Boston bike tours. The hop-on hop-off trolley also stops at the park.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is an on-site information kiosk with maps.
- The Common is a good spot for picnics.
- This is a family-friendly location with ballfields, a playground, a carousel, and a spray pool for kids to enjoy in the summer.
- The Common is close to other sights, such as the Central Burying Ground and the Boston Athenaeum.
How to Get There
Boston Common is on the south end of the Beacon Hill neighborhood. The MBTA subway, or the “T,” services the area with a number of stations. Bluebikes, from Boston's bike-share program, are available to rent around town. You can also take a hop-on hop-off trolley to the Common.
When to Get There
The Common hosts a number of activities throughout the year (especially in the summer). These range from free concerts to political rallies to seasonal festivals. The most popular time to visit Boston is during the summer, when the weather is warm, and in the early fall, when the trees change color.
Walking the Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is a historic walking path that takes you past many of Boston’s landmarks. The 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) trail includes 16 locations that played a pivotal part in the American Revolution, such as the sites of the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, along with Faneuil Hall and Boston Common. Opt for a guided tour if you want to learn about the city’s history as you go.