Alcohol, Art, Date Idea, Festivals & Fairs, Food, Kid Friendly, Meetup, Music, Nightlife, Party, Performing Arts, Sports & Active Life
It was a long winter. Last spring, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was under a stay-at-home advisory and the only live event we felt comfortable promoting was to “Take a walk.” One year later, nearly 1⁄4 of the MA population has been fully vaccinated, and on April 19th the vaccine will become widely available to anyone over the age of 16 in the United States. As life finally begins to return to normal, live events are slowly returning to The Boston Calendar as well. From cherry blossom peeping on the Esplanade to biking along the Charles, rooftops & patios to beer gardens in the city, here is how to make the most of spring 2021 in and around Boston.
1) Dine outdoors
Info: Boston’s outdoor dining pilot program is back for 2021, which means most restaurants around the city are now offering a patio dining option. More specifically, we rounded up the city’s top 10 rooftops, as well as every beer garden around Boston so you don’t have to. For a curated list of 65 amazing patios, see this recent article from Boston Magazine. (Photo by @bretclancy)
2) Peep some spring blooms
Info: Boston may not have the best year-round weather, but the city does boast four perfectly defined seasons. From magnolias in the Back Bay to cherry blossoms on the Esplanade, we rounded up 10 places to see spring flowers around the city so you don't have to.
3) Shop at a local farmers market
Info: Boston-area farmers markets are back for 2021. Like last year, open-air markets are operating with guidelines in place to protect shoppers & vendors from the spread of COVID.
4) Go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on the Charles River
Info: Starting May 1st, you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards at Community Boating on the Esplanade for $32. Over in Kendall Sq, keep an eye out for Paddle Boston’s opening day.
5) Take a walk or picnic in one of Boston’s many beautiful parks
Info: April & May is a perfect time to explore Boston’s epic Emerald Necklace -- a 1,100-acre chain of parks linked by parkways and waterways connecting Boston Common, Public Garden, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, The Fens, Forsyth Park, The Riverway, Olmsted Park, Jamaica Pond, Jamaicaway, Arborway, Arnold Arboretum, and Franklin Park. Fun fact: The linear system of parks was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in NYC. Beyond that, the Boston area is home to literally hundreds of beautiful parks where you can go for a walk, run, or bike ride. If you don’t pack your own picnic, you can always grab takeout from one of Boston’s newly-opened restaurants and enjoy it in the park.
Pictured: The Boston Common in spring
6) Take a ride on the Swan Boats
Info: The Boston Public Garden's iconic Swan Boats are tentatively scheduled to return to the water for the first time in nearly 2 years on May 8th, 2021.
7) Visit the ICA, MFA, or Gardner Museum
Info: Boston’s three major museums have fully reopened with strict COVID guidelines in place. On a budget? Free night at the ICA is every Thursday, the MFA is $5 on Wednesdays after 3pm, and the Gardner is free on the first Thursday of every month.
8) See lilacs at Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Info: Enjoy the Arboretum’s lilacs over four weeks of bloom (typically late April through mid-to-late May) this spring, and while you’re at it just make sure to practice social distancing from one another (and respect the plants).
9) On Sundays head to River Bend Park on Memorial Drive
Info: Every Saturday & Sunday from April 10th until the 2nd Sunday of November, Memorial Drive will be closed to traffic between Western Avenue and Mount Auburn Street, but open for recreation.
10) Grab a beer at an outdoor beer garden
Info: We rounded up 25 beer gardens around Boston now open (or opening real soon) so you don’t have to. Enjoy.
Pictured: Cisco in Seaport
11) Take a ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands
Info: Ferry service to the Boston Harbor Islands is slated to resume in late spring 2021. Read about the most popular destination, Spectacle Island (pictured), here.
12) Go to a Sox game at Fenway
Info: Fenway Park is now open at 12% capacity for fans. Check for ticket availability on the Red Sox website here.
13) Dine al fresco in the North End
Info: With the City of Boston’s outdoor dining program extended through 2021, dining in the North End has never been better with tables and chairs lining the neighborhood's most famous streets. Enjoy a glass of wine under the T̶u̶s̶c̶a̶n̶ Hanover sun.
14) Head up to the roof for some drinks & bites
Info: We rounded up 13 rooftops in & around Boston where you can grab a drink and food so you don’t have to. Enjoy.
Pictured: Envoy rooftop
15) Get a workout in outside
Info: The November Project’s Destination Deck workout series has returned to its in-person format every Monday at 6:30am. Expect plenty of outdoor workout series to be announced as summer approaches, but in the meantime you can enjoy outdoor yoga in the Remnant Brewery beer garden ($10), pop-up outdoor yoga at The Street Chestnut Hill (free), or yoga in the plaza overlooking Fenway park at Bower Boston ($15).
16) Take in some street art
Info: Boston is home to dozens of incredible murals. Luckily, findmasa.com has put together a comprehensive list of said murals. You can also find a list of public art around Boston via this WBUR article from 2016. Create your own art walk and make a day out of it this spring.
17) Catch a sunset at one of Boston’s most Instagrammable spots
Info: There are so many great spots to catch a sunset around Boston, but to narrow it down, here are five famous spots where you can capture a fire Boston sunset using just your phone: 1) Seaport steps; 2) Boston Public Garden; 3) Pleasant Street Charlestown (pictured); 4) The Longfellow Bridge; 5) The Esplanade
18) Go for a hike at Middlesex Fells or Blue Hills
Info: Only seven miles north of Boston, Middlesex Fells Reservation features 10 trails you can hike right now (some over 6-miles long). Over at the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, MA, there are 125 miles of trails that will take you over hills, through marshes, across meadows, and more.
Pictured: The Boston skyline from Blue Hills
19) Check out the Brattle Bookshop’s outdoor bookshop
Info: The Brattle Bookshop is one of America's oldest antiquarian bookshops, and their outside sale lot is one of the most unique places to shop for books in the country (not to mention very Instagrammable).
20) Bike, rollerblade, run, or walk the Charles River Bike Path
Info: Did you know that the Charles River Reservation full bike loop is 27 miles long and goes all the way to Waltham and back? While busy roads parallel the trail on both sides of the river, most of the route has trees and green space along the way.
21) Traverse the The Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
Info: Looking for a bike ride with some history? The Minuteman Bikeway is a 10-mile paved multi-use rail trail running from Cambridge, MA to Bedford, MA. See a map of “America's Revolutionary Rail Trail” here.
22) Adventure around Massachusetts on the MBTA Commuter Rail
Info: Take advantage of $10 Commuter Rail Weekends and explore Massachusetts. The Commuter Rail’s “Mass by Train” website is worth checking out when planning your next Commuter Rail adventure. For example, visit Salem and Newburyport for the day via the “North Shore Saturday” journey. And don’t forget the beautiful beaches that await you via the Commuter Rail. Manchester-by-the-Sea’s Singer Beach is only a .5-mile walk from the Manchester MBTA stop.
23) Go to a local beach
Info: You don’t have to venture too far outside of Boston to have a beach day. After all, Boston is a port city. Here are 7 beaches within a 10-mile radius of Downtown Boston:
• M & L Street Beaches (2.6 miles from DWTN Boston)
• Pleasure Bay Beach (2.9 miles from DWTN Boston)
• Carson Beach (3.3 miles from DWTN Boston)
• Constitution Beach (5.7 miles from DWTN Boston)
• Wollaston Beach (7.9 miles from DWTN Boston)
• Revere Beach (8.5 miles from DWTN Boston)
• Yirrell Beach (9.6 miles from DWTN Boston)
Pictured: Revere Beach
24) Finish your cereal and go outside
Info: You've spent an infinity years not being born yet (& what feels like an infinity years in quarantine) & you will spend another infinity years being dead. Finish your cereal & go outside.
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