If there is one thing to know about Bostonians, it is that we know how to picnic. Boston is well known for its stunning green spaces and waterfront parks that make any picnic feel straight out of a movie.
One of the most iconic characteristics of picnic spots in Boston is that there is no wrong place to sit down and eat some food. You will see people sitting and eating just about everywhere you can imagine: on sidewalks, steps, patches of grass…in a city with so much incredible food, a picnic can occur anywhere to locals! But in this article, we will show you how to picnic in Boston like a pro.
Beautiful parks and delicious food are a match made in heaven, and Boston certainly delivers in both departments! Read on for the 10 best picnic spots in Boston so that you know the perfect place to munch in style.
Expert’s Tip: Going on a picnic is one of many great things to do when you visit Boston in summer!
The United States’ first public park, The Boston Common makes for a lovely, charming picnic. The Common is spread out over 50 acres right in the heart of downtown Boston and conveniently close to picnic-perfect food. There’s nothing better than a meal amongst lush green grass and shade-giving trees that make up the Boston Common.
Our takeout recommendations are gourmet sandwiches from Parish Cafe or fresh organic salads from Life Alive. Whatever your goodies of choice may be, we guarantee they will taste even better picnic-style.
Christopher Columbus Park
Christopher Columbus Park (Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02110) is about as picturesque as parks can be, making it a prime picnic spot in Boston. Located right on the Boston harbor, you can watch the sailboats mosey on by and the water glisten beneath the sun.
We recommend strolling through the North End and grabbing a pizza from Regina’s and cannoli from Modern Pastry and indulging beneath the trees of Christopher Columbus Park. Face away from the harbor and see city views featuring the Marriott Boston Customs House clock tower.
Boston Public Garden
The Boston Public Garden (4 Charles St, Boston, MA 02116) is the United States’ first botanical garden and it certainly lives up to its title. Find a spot facing the Frog Pond to lay out a picnic blanket amongst the seasonally blooming botanicals and weeping willows.
Listen to the music of street performers fill the air while the Swan Boats float by. You can’t go wrong with a light picnic featuring a cup of coffee and delicious pastries from Thinking Cup or hearty burritos to fuel your day from Boloco.
Charles River Esplanade
The lively Charles River Esplanade is Boston’s iconic riverside park. The Esplanade stretches over three miles alongside the Charles River making it perfect for walks or biking. Local picnickers have found the best spot for relaxing to be between Beacon Hill and Back Bay, offering views of the city skyline and stunning sunsets.
Rose Kennedy Greenway
The Rose Kennedy Greenway cuts through downtown Boston for 1.5 miles providing both tourists and locals a place to rest and rejuvenate. There’s always something new to see and experience at The Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Known for its permanent and temporary works of contemporary art and one-of-a-kind food trucks, The Rose Kennedy Greenway is truly a balm for the soul. Check out the food truck schedule to plan your perfect picnic in Boston.
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University was established in 1872 as a collection of plants for botanical research. Known as a “museum of trees,” the 265-acre Arboretum is an incredibly beautiful place to celebrate nature and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is free to the public and is open seven days a week from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
The Jamaica Plain neighborhood is home to many exceptional eateries. We love to stop by El Oriental De Cuba for arguably the best authentic Cuban food in Boston.
Located just 15 minutes outside of the city, Castle Island is a breezy peninsula located in South Boston. Offering both a sandy beach for sunbathing and green grass for a picnic, you can get the best of both worlds on a relaxing day at Castle Island. If you’re interested in history, the island features Fort Independence known as the “oldest fortified military site in British North America” which dates back to the 1630s.
Pack a lunch with you before heading out to the tip of the peninsula, or head over to Sullivan’s located just steps from Fort Independence for some inexpensive New England seafood.
Fan Pier Park
Fan Pier Park is located right along the Boston HarborWalk in the Seaport district offering what we think is the best skyline view of Boston. With plenty of picnic tables, benches, and grassy seating areas along the waterfront, Fan Pier Park is a favorite of locals on their lunch break and tourists alike.
If you find yourself craving something sweet, head to Tatte Bakery and Cafe for a wide selection of desserts from tiramisu to cheesecake. For a classic Boston lobster roll, The Barking Crab is right around the corner!
After your picnic, continue to stroll along Boston’s waterfront walkway, the HarborWalk for scenic ocean views.
DCR Hatch Memorial Shell
The Hatch Shell (47 David G Mugar Way, Boston, MA 02108) is an outdoor event venue that works to connect the community through live music, movie nights, and celebrations of art. Located on the Charles River Esplanade, the Hatch Shell features a large grassy area perfect for a picnic.
Stop by the Hatch Shell to see what events are on to plan a lively picnic. Secure some gourmet pizza from Figs (42 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114) to eat along the river!
Cambridge Common Park
The Cambridge Common is a 16-acre park located right outside of Harvard Square. This park holds a rich history having been established in 1630, and was an important place of gathering throughout the Civil War.
Today, the park includes various monuments to highlight its role in history in addition to vast grassy spaces, biking trails, and a large playground. Conveniently located by Harvard University, this is a popular park for picnics for both students and tourists.
There are plenty of delicious food spots in Harvard Square to make for a top-notch picnic. We love Harvest for New England-inspired, seasonally crafted eats and L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolate for a little something sweet!
That’s our list of the 10 best picnic spots in Boston. To truly embrace the Boston experience, a picnic within the iconic green spaces is a must-do when visiting the city. Ground yourself like a local with a grassy, blue-skied picnic and memorable meal–this will surely be a highlight of your trip.
Sofi Lenzi is a Freelance Writer born and raised right outside of Boston which is how she justifies her high standards for cannolis and pizza! Sofi loves nothing more than enjoying the beautiful parks of her city with an iced coffee in hand. She loves sharing with others how to make the most of their Boston experience. You can visit her website here.