WATERFRONT AREAS

1. The Esplanade

Google Map

Provided the Charles River Basin has not frozen over, collegiate rowing crews, canoeists, small sailboats, and the occasional coast guard patrol all share the waters off the Esplanade. Find a bench facing the water and take in the scene.

TopTen

Sailing boats on the Esplanade

2. Castle Island Reservation

prac_info 2010 Day Blvd, South Boston • 617 727 5290

Google Map

Connected to the mainland via an earthen causeway and crowned by the c.1851 Fort Independence, Castle Island is New England’s oldest continually fortified site (see Pleasure Bay). Aside from exploring the fort’s bunkers and tunnels (in season), visitors enjoy fine panoramic views of Boston Harbor.

3. Constitution Beach

prac_info Bennington St, East Boston

Google Map

Views of Downtown don’t get much better than those from this tastefully revitalized beach and park area in East Boston. A clean beach, picnic areas, and lifeguards make this a favorite with families.

4. Long Wharf

Google Map

Long Wharf has been indispensable to Boston’s merchant industry for over 300 years. Given the wharf’s deep frontage and proximity to waterfront warehouses, the biggest ships of their day could dock here. Today, ferry services and cruise vessels depart from here, creating a spirited dock scene, and there’s excellent waterside dining at a branch of the restaurant Legal Sea Foods.

5. Fish Pier

Google Map

By 1926 – 12 years after its construction – the Greco-Roman style Commonwealth Pier (aka Fish Pier) had become the world’s busiest and largest fish market. The day’s catch is still brought to the early morning market here. Sample some of it in hearty chowders at the legendary No Name Restaurant.

6. Fort Point Channel

Google Map

Fort Point has lured artists to the neighborhood with affordable studio space in old warehouse buildings. Open studios in May and October offer a peek inside and a chance to bag a bargain on artwork. Where artists go, gentrification is sure to follow: the neighborhood now boasts the $300-million Federal Courthouse and trendy cafés and restaurants.

TopTen

Boats on the Fort Point Channel

7. Christopher Columbus Park

Google Map

Featuring an Italian marble sculpture of the seafaring colonizer, Christopher Columbus Park is among the North End’s best-kept secrets. Vine-encrusted arches, manicured gardens, and sweeping harbor and skyline views make this a place to linger.

8. Rowes Wharf

Google Map

Framed by the colossal atrium of the Boston Harbor Hotel, Rowes Wharf is a popular docking spot for the high-end harbor cruise outfits and is a luxurious contrast to the city’s grittier, saltier working docks. The hotel sponsors free concerts and film screenings on summer evenings.

TopTen

Swanky Rowes Wharf

9. Puopolo Park

Google Map

North End’s Puopolo Park boasts supreme frontage on the harbor, looking out toward Charlestown. On warm days, the neighborhood’s old guard enjoys a game of bocce (bowls). Nearby, kids play baseball or splash around in the outdoor pool.

10. Charles River Locks and Dam

Google Map

This dam controls water levels in the basin below and maintains separation of the river from the harbor. A series of locks permits boats to pass from one body of water to the other.

TOP 10 VIEWS

1. Weeks Footbridge

A prime spectator spot during the Head of the Charles Regatta.

TopTen

Weeks Footbridge

2. Longfellow Bridge

The entire Charles River Basin becomes your oyster on the “T” between Kendall and Charles/MGH stops.

3. Bunker Hill Monument

Climb to the capstone to see all of Charlestown, Cambridge, and Boston laid out before you (see Bunker Hill Monument).

4. Spirit of Boston Cruises

prac_info World Trade Center • 866 310 2469

Admire the city from the water as you enjoy brunch, lunch, drinks, or dinner.

5. Charlestown Bridge

This bridge offers splendid harbor and Downtown vistas.

6. John J. Moakley Courthouse Park

This beautiful waterfront park has fine views of the towering Financial District.

7. Hyatt Regency Cambridge

prac_info 575 Memorial Drive, Cambridge • 617 492 1234

Gaze across the river from the seasonal patio at Zephyr on the Charles.

8. Prudential Skywalk

Jaw-dropping panoramic views from a 50th-floor observatory (see Prudential Skywalk).

9. Dorchester Heights Monument

prac_info 15 State S

The park around this commemorative spire offers broad views of the harbor.

10. Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor

prac_info 101 Harborside Drive, East Boston • 617 568 1234

The Hyatt’s Harborside Grill and Patio boasts panoramic Boston views.

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