10 Best Picnic Spots in Boston For a Perfect Day Out

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.

People sit on blankets atop green grass under a tree, enjoying a picnic in Boston
With its numerous green spaces, Boston is full of great picnic spots. Photo credit: Steve McFarland

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!

Boston Common

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.

Wide shot of Boston Common, people walk on the side walk, some people are laying in the grass, skyscrapers in the background
Located in the heart of the city, Boston common is an excellent spot for a picnic. Photo credit: Peter Miller

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.

close up of a person holding a cannoli covered in chocolate chips
Cannoli from Modern Pastry in Boston is an excellent picnic treat. Photo credit: Garrett Ziegler

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.

A white and red swan bost floats in the water with green trees all around
Imagine it: you’re enjoying a lovely picnic while watching the swan boats go by in Boston Public Garden. Photo credit: Patrick Franzis

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.

Grab some clam chowder and a lobster roll from Saltie Girl or arguably the best Mexican food in Boston at Lolita. You will be picnicking like a local in no time!

Lots of people line the bank of the Charles River sitting on blankets and enjoying a great July 4th picnic spot in Boston
Charles River Esplanade is the local’s go-to picnic spot in Boston. Photo credit: Leslee_atFlickr

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.

children play in water fountains and families sit in the grass of the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston
Hang with locals at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. Photo credit: Todd Van Hoosear

Arnold Arboretum

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.

A park bench among vibrant red and orange trees in autum
Love fall foliage? Consider the Arnold Arboretum THE autumn picnic spot in Boston. Photo credit: Bill Ilott

Castle Island

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.

wide shot of Caste Island Park in Boston. A stone castle in the background with people picnicking on the lawn in front of it
Picnic by a castle? In Boston? We’re in! Photo credit: Robert Linsdell

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.

The Boston skyline towers in the background from the view of Fan Pier Park.
Feast your eyes on the Boston skyline when you enjoy a picnic at Fan Pier Park. Photo credit: Bogdan Tapu

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!

People sit on a green lawn with the Hatch Shell in Boston in the background
Definitely see what events are on at the Hatch Shell when you visit Boston. Photo credit: Lorianne DiSabato

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!

Golden sunlight casts shadows of trees over a green lawn covered in red leaves
Relax with Harvard students at Cambridge Common. Photo credit: sushiesque

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.