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Common and Uncommon Boston Common Attractions

Boston Common, Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Common, Boston, Massachusetts.

by Eric J. Hurwitz. Article updated on Dec. 31, 2016.

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The following article includes excerpts from my book, Massachusetts Town Greens (Globe Pequot, May 2016), on the Boston Common

The Boston Common is the hub of Massachusetts town greens and the oldest park in the country, dating back to 1634. This fifty-acre park, in the heart of the city, possesses a remarkable history, as it has been used for many purposes throughout the years, including cattle grazing, amusements, entertainment, and, of course, the location where British troops were stationed on the Boston Common before the American Revolution and deployed from this land to face resistance at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775.

Declared a US Historic National Landmark in 1987, the Boston Common extends far beyond its core location bounded by Tremont, Park, Beacon, Charles, and Boylston Streets. The Emerald Necklace, a seven-mile network of connected parks spanning the city’s neighborhoods, offers twelve hundred acres of wonderful green space, including Franklin Park, the Arnold Arboretum and Jamaica Pond in Jamaica Plain, Olmsted Park, the Riverway, Back Bay Fens, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall and Boston Public Garden, according to the Emerald Necklace Conservancy website. The,
 Boston Public Garden is located at the Boston Common and was the first public garden in the United States. Initially a space for the Victorians to display their love for gardening, the Boston Public Garden today features more than eigthy species of plants and is home to the legendary Swan Boats of Boston. Perhaps the most beloved Boston Common attraction, the Swan Boats of Boston scenic summer rides on pedal boats featuring inanimate swans. The Swan Boats have been a staple in Boston since 1877.

Swan Boats of Boston is a popular Boston tourist destination
Swan Boats of Boston.

Notable attractions on the main Boston Common land feature the Alexander Hamilton statue,  9/11 memorial, George Washington statue, Make Way for Ducklings statue, Central Burying Ground (final resting place for Revolutionary War soldiers and many more), Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument, Shaw Memorial, and Brewer Fountain.

The Boston Frog Pond is another wonderful Boston Common attraction featuring an idyllic location for public ice skating in the winter and a wading pool in the summer (the Tadpole playground and a carousel are nearby).

Boston Common pond, Boston, Massachusetts
Pond at Boston Common.

Notable events include... the lighting of the Boston Common Christmas Tree, and fireworks during Boston’s First Night celebration on New Year’s Eve. Boston Common is also the starting Point of the historic Boston Freedom Trail!

Want to learn more about the Boston Common and other historic, beautiful town and city commons in Massachusetts? Purchase a copy of
Massachusetts Town Greens (Globe Pequot, May 2016), written by Eric Hurwitz, publisher of

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Best Diners In New England Kindle bookMassachusetts Town Greens Book

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