Boston in Bloom
What a long, cold winter this has been. If you live in or near Boston (or, let’s be honest, anywhere in the upper half of the continent), chances are that you’re really, REALLY ready for springtime weather. Now that it’s finally warming up, what better way to celebrate the change of season in Boston than with some plein air activities?
Boston Common/ Public Garden/ Swan Boats
First stop: Boston Common, the oldest public park in the country and the home of the city’s Public Garden, with its iconic Swan Boats. Comprised of 48 acres of greenspace in the heart of the city, the Common is perfect for a stroll down the paths, a picnic in the grass, or a game of Frisbee. The beautifully cultivated flowers and plants of the more formal Public Garden are stunning in the springtime. Take a ride on the elegant Swan Boats – a 130-year old tradition, having ferried famous passengers such as Shirley Temple and John F. Kennedy – to complete the experience.
Public Art Walk
The history of Boston comes alive through its numerous public art works. Officially compiled through the Public Art Walk, you’ll find all types of artistry – sculptures, mosaics, paintings, architecture – that interpret the history of the city, from its founding through present day. (You can start your tour on your stroll through Boston Common with Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ bronze bas-relief “Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment,” a Civil War monument that is considered one of the greatest examples of public art in the United States.)
Visit the Green Monster
Is there a city in the country that loves its baseball team more than Boston loves its Red Sox? (The answer, of course, is “no”… in case you were inclined to say otherwise.) Fenway Park – the oldest Major League ballpark in the county – is itself worth a visit and offers daily tours, but don’t stop there; nothing compares to enjoying a BoSox game on a warm spring night. Check the Red Sox website for tickets. You can occasionally find some a day or two before the game, or go to the box office if you’re willing to wait in line on the game day.
Chances are, you’re familiar with the Freedom Trail – perhaps you’ve already walked it and visited some of the most significant historical sites in our country, including the Old South Meeting House and the Old North Church. But were you aware that Boston also has a Women’s Heritage Trail, a Black Heritage Trail, an Irish Heritage Trail, and a Sports Trail? Take advantage of a beautiful spring day to walk the trail of your choice.
A Musical Evening
The Boston Pops, the popular-tune orchestra that became a household name under legendary conductors Arthur Fiedler and John Williams, kicks off its season on May 7th with special guest Jason Alexander. This year’s May highlights include “The Very Best of the Boston Pops,” “Cirque de la Symphonie” and “Gatsby Night.”
Museum Spring Exhibits
Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is world-renowned for its collections of American art, Chinese and Japanese art, and Impressionist art – Monet’s famous Water Lilies is there, as is Renoir’s Dance at Bougival. It also highlights several special exhibits this spring, which include a quilt exhibit, an exhibit of Latin American art, and a special exhibit featuring the “Top 30” Impressionist works as voted on by the public; in case you’re wondering, Vincent van Gogh’s “Houses at Auvers” won the top spot.
If you’re more left-brained than right-brained, then check out the Boston Museum of Science – it’s also a little more “kid friendly” than the MFA. Along with hands-on activities and fun discoveries, the Museum of Science is opening several new exhibits this May on math, the human body and whales. While you’re there, don’t miss the current show at the Charles Hayden Planetarium, “Moons: Worlds of Mystery.” And if you happen to go on a Friday and the weather is nice, stay and visit Gilliland Observatory on the roof of the Museum’s parking garage. On clear Friday nights starting in the spring (8:30pm-10pm), you can view stars, planets, the moon, and other astronomical phenomena.
I have to confess, this is my personal number-one way to really soak in the springtime vibe in Boston: an afternoon on Newbury Street. This gorgeous, historic Back Bay neighborhood is home to a unique assortment of boutiques, salons, restaurants, and of course, the flagship store of Newbury Comics. Grab an outdoor table at a café for some al fresco dining and people watching, or visit the shops – from brand-name to one-of-a-kind indie stores, with something for every taste and price range.
Finally, no Boston-in-the-spring list would be complete without mentioning one of the top destinations for visitors, Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall. They provide a wonderful outdoor shopping and dining experience as only Boston can; the structures themselves are landmarks from revolutionary times, and you’ll experience American history while enjoying the boutiques, chain stores, souvenir shops and restaurants.
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