We are lucky in Boston to have so many amazing green spaces to choose from, whether right in the city or quite nearby. One of my favorite places to get a dose of greenery is the Charles River Esplanade. In between Storrow Drive and the Charles River, the Esplanade extends for 3 miles between the Museum of Science and the Boston University Bridge and is connected to Beacon Hill, the Back Bay, and the West End by a series of footbridges. Huge crowds gather on the Esplanade on July Fourth for the fireworks and Boston Pops concert, but there are lots of reasons to spend time on the Esplanade all summer long. Here are a few of Boston’s coolest things to do on the riverbanks.
Catch a Show at the Hatch Shell
The Hatch Shell hosts free live concerts and movie screenings each week. The Landmark Orchestra will kick off their summer season on July 16 with a performance of Carmina Burana, continuing with a fresh concert each Wednesday evening through August 27. The WBZ Free Friday Flicks movie nights focus on family-friendly films like Despicable Me 2, The Goonies, and Frozen. Check out the full schedule of Hatch Shell events.
Work Up a Sweat
The Esplanade’s fields, bike paths, and tennis courts welcome athletes of all ages, and an exercise course stocked with outdoor gym equipment makes it easy to design your own fitness plan. For a more organized workout, check out the free group exercise classes available all summer long, including yoga, Zumba, and tai chi. Kids have plenty of space to burn off extra energy, too: the Esplanade’s three playgrounds include a state-of-the-art playspace that opened in 2011.
Get Out on the Water
Don’t forget that the Esplanade is a gateway to the river itself. Summer is the perfect time to explore the waterway, and Community Boating makes learning to sail easy and accessible. A fixture on the Esplanade since 1941, Common Boating offers sailing memberships for adults and kids, as well as one-day sailboat and kayak rentals.
Plan a Picnic
Beacon Hill Bistro on Charles Street will pack up a picnic for you with one hour’s notice, including a rustic basket and blanket to borrow. Across the footbridge in Beacon Hill, Savenor’s Market would also be a good place to stock up on a few picnic essentials. Now, where to take your meal? I’d recommend my favorite place on the Esplanade: the docks that extend into the water along the shore. They are an amazing place to rest, catch a cool breeze on a hot day, and let the world pass by—especially while enjoying a cold treat from nearby J.P. Licks. Check out our favorite Boston picnic spots for more suggestions.
Photo by Laura Chassaigne