Boston Common, Boston

Boston Common, Boston (must see)

Boston Common, the city's primary open space, spans fifty acres of greenery, effectively serving as a buffer between the historic and bustling Downtown area and its upscale neighbors, Beacon Hill and Back Bay. While it may not have the meticulous landscaping of the nearby Public Garden, it still offers an abundance of benches and open lawns for relaxing breaks, and it frequently transforms into a venue for concerts, events, and public gatherings.

Before John Winthrop and his fellow Puritan settlers designated Boston Common for public use, it served as pastureland for the Reverend William Braxton. Blaxton was a priest of the Church of England. In 1623, as chaplain to the Ferdinando Gorges expedition, he sailed on the ship Katherine to the settlement of Weymouth, Massachusetts. The expedition failed, and everyone returned to England in 1625. But Blaxton stayed and became the first European to settle in Boston.

Puritans from Charlestown joined Blaxton in 1630 and awarded him fifty acres. He cannily sold it back to them in 1634, and this land became known as Boston Common, the oldest city park in the United States. Soon after, it took on darker associations, functioning as a site for hangings, including those of alleged pirates, witches, and various religious dissenters. An unfortunate commoner by the name of Rachell Whall met her end here for the theft of a bonnet valued at 75¢.

In 1789, newly elected President George Washington made a memorable appearance on the Common. Over the years, renowned figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Pope John Paul II, and Mikhail Gorbachev have delivered speeches on its grounds, while Judy Garland enthralled more than 100,000 fans with her performance here in 1967. The history of this place also extends far into the past, with prehistoric Native American sites dating back up to 8,500 years found within its boundaries.

Around the park, there are several noteworthy sites to explore, including Brewer Fountain Plaza, the Boston Common Visitor Information Center, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Frog Pond, the Central Burying Ground, and the recently restored Robert Gould Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Boston. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Boston Common on Map

Sight Name: Boston Common
Sight Location: Boston, USA (See walking tours in Boston)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Boston, Massachusetts

Create Your Own Walk in Boston

Create Your Own Walk in Boston

Creating your own self-guided walk in Boston is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Boston Shopping Areas

Boston Shopping Areas

One of the top shopping destinations in the US northeast, Boston has a strong network of interesting stores, galleries and boutiques to visit along with its many high-class shops, some of which are nestled inside historical buildings. Shopping here in more than one way mirrors the city itself: an amalgamation of classic and vanguard, the handmade and the high-end, and both local and international...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

Boston's great churches are among the most precious of the city's numerous architectural jewels. What makes them special are their unique styles, elegant facades and long history.

Starting with the Old North Church, which towers in the city’s North End, this journey surely feels like taking a step back in time. Legend was made there, in the very place that Paul Revere waited for...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Beacon Hill Historic Houses Tour

Beacon Hill Historic Houses Tour

Boston’s historic neighborhood of Beacon Hill is quite a charm! One can spend hours here, admiring the elegant uniformity and restraint of the architecture; at times, perhaps, imagining people from the past in their horse-drawn carriages. Federal-style and Victorian row houses, narrow streets lit by antique gas lanterns, brick sidewalks and lavender-hued windows adorn the area, which is...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
North End Walking Tour

North End Walking Tour

The North End was the city's first neighborhood, and one that has been key to its fortunes, having become a hub of commercial, social and intellectual activity by the 1750s. Later known as Boston's Little Italy, it has been home to Italian immigrants through much of the 20th century, and still retains a certain Mediterranean flavor in its many restaurants, cafés, and specialty shops. In...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Historical Cambridge MA Walking Tour

Historical Cambridge MA Walking Tour

Once a quiet New England farming village-turned capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, today's Cambridge, MA is a university town that dazzles visitors as the home of renowned Harvard University – alma mater of many intellectuals, literary geniuses, celebrities, and wealthy and powerful. Many of America’s elite have spent some time at Harvard, and their contributions to Cambridge have...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
North End Food Tour

North End Food Tour

Boston’s North End is famous primarily for its Italian food. By far not as big as New York's Little Italy, this one-square-mile waterfront community is the oldest in the city, and is packed to the brim with a cornucopia of Italian eateries – restaurants, cafes, espresso bars, pizza and sandwich shops – lined next to each other within just a few short blocks to ensure visitors both a...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 Km or 0.5 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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