Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway is two-mile strip of parks in the heart of the city with a simple message: come and rest, enjoy the scenery, and play.
It’s quite a contrast from the Greenway’s predecessor. The string of parks follows a strip of land that was uglified by the elevated lanes of I-95 for decades, until the Big Dig started in the 1990s, ultimately removing the highway to an underground tunnel.
The highway and the Big Dig were both messy and traumatic, and the Greenway, today, strives to achieve the opposite effect.
The Greenway connects seven existing or newly created parks in an easy-to-traverse sequence from North End Park at Haymarket and Hanover Street to the southern end at Chinatown.
Along the route, Greenway walkers pass the dock to depart for Boston Harbor Islands, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, the New England Aquarium, Long Wharf, Harborwalk, Chinatown, the Freedom Trail, and the Tea Party Ships & Museum.
On the Greenway itself: the gloriousGreenway Carousel, where kids can ride a fanciful lobster, cod, skunk, fox and traditional horses; seven gorgeous fountains or water features, including the Rings Fountain; several wonderful gardens; theTrillium Garden, an open-air beer garden; and lots of grassy places to sit, picnic and lounge.
Every summer brings new outdoor sculptures, a farmers market at Dewey Square (Tuesdays and Thursdays); an artisans’ market (Saturdays and alternate Sundays); theBoston Calling Block Party in Dewey Square Park (Thursdays, 5-8 p.m.).
Food trucks show up weekdays at lunchtime, and yoga, Zumba, and other fitness classes are offered frequently.
Visitors can enjoy concerts by Berklee College of Music; outdoor movies; open-air yoga, Zumba, the Downeast Back Porch on the Greenway, evenings of family music, food, activities, and cider on tap. Also, tons ofspecial events.
Take a guided horticulture tour, or download a self-guided scavenger hunt for kids.
This is a public park with activities of city workers and dwellers happening all around, but a few rules are maintained: the Greenway is open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily; dogs are welcome, on leash. To keep pedestrians safe, the Greenway prohibits biking, skating, skateboarding, and Segways.