The first sign of warm weather in Boston is when the locals start flocking to the Charles River.
There are so many beautiful outdoor spots in our city. But the river seems to be everyone’s favorite. Which is totally understandable. After all, it has everything you could ask for and more. The stunning views of the skyline, places to relax, running trails, event venues, and dining spots keep Bostonians and tourists coming back time and time again.
So whether you’re a regular along the river or you’ve never been at all, here are ten ways and reasons to spend some more time “down by the banks of the river Charles.”
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is in Boston, runners will always find a reason to hit the Charles River trails. It’s definitely one of the best running spots around. There are paved and single-track trails that go for miles, so you won’t have to stop for traffic. Plus there’s a variety of routes to take. Runners can do an out-and-back or use one of the many bridges that cross the river for a loop. Either way, you are guaranteed stunning views of the city and a great workout.
Pack lunch and a blanket for a picnic on the banks of the Charles. The Boston and Cambridge sides offer multiple picnic spots. So don’t be surprised to find couples, families, and friends snacking and soaking up the sun when the weather is nice. And with all the open markets and specialty shops in Boston, it won’t be difficult to find the right goodies for your river picnic. Just make sure you have enough because you probably will want to hang out there most of the day.
If you’re looking to kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard, the Charles River should be your go-to in Boston. The Charles River Canoe & Kayak Company is your one-stop shop for rentals, schools, and guided tours. They make it easy to hit the water for an afternoon adventure. Paddling along the Charles is a great way to explore the river in style and get some exercise at the same time.
Think you know the Charles River? Think again. You’ve got to get out on the water with an experienced guide. These tours launch from multiple spots around the city, including the waterfront, the Science Museum, and Back Bay. They’re a fun and informative way to see the city and splash through the Charles River at the same time. Between the legendary ConDucktors and the comprehensive sightseeing tour, you’re in for one heck of a good time.
The banks of the Charles is the perfect place to play pick-up or practice your favorite sport. With miles of green space, you and your friends can play just about any sport along the river. Rally your friends for a game of soccer (Magazine Beach), football, baseball (Teddy Ebersol’s field), or lacrosse. But don’t be surprised to encounter folks enjoying unique activities like tightrope walking, Ultimate Frisbee, martial arts, or fencing along the water. See that? No matter what your interest, the Charles River is the place to do it.
This popular attraction sits at one end of the Charles River and will keep you occupied for hours. Boston’s Museum of Science has everything including rotating exhibits, hands-on activities, IMAX films, and science courses. And once you’ve done all the exploring that you can – although it’s never really enough – you can have lunch in the museum’s cafeteria while enjoying a unique view of the Charles!
Forget about a gym membership, the Charles River offers a workout with a view. There are multiple spots along the river that include pull-up bars, benches, abdominal stations, and even cardio machines. And, thanks to the Charles River crew, they are all very well-maintained. You can bring your own weights or stick to bodyweight exercises. Either way, these spots offer a great place to get your workout in and your sweat on.
Located on the Esplanade, the Hatch Shell should be your go-to spot for Charles River events. Throughout the year, this is Boston’s haven for concerts, festivals, charity walks and runs, dance classes, and, of course, movie Fridays. With the river on one side and the city on the other, it is really no surprise that the Hatch Shell is a popular event locale. Just be sure you arrive early to get a prime spot on the grass.
With the paved paths that line the Charles River, it is no wonder that fans of biking, rollerblading, roller skiing, and skateboarding flock to it. Used for commuting, getting exercise, and sightseeing, the Charles River is a great spot for people on wheels. Avoid the hectic experience of weaving through Boston traffic by frequenting one of the beautiful riverside trails..
Rowing is kind of a big deal in Boston. Need proof? The river is a popular destination for collegiate rowing teams. It’s also the site of the Head of the Charles Regatta (a competition between the world’s best crew teams). And there’s almost always a group program or team practicing on the water. Whether you are joining in for an early morning workout or watching the competition unfold before your eyes, rowing is a staple on the Charles River. Consider checking out Community Rowing to get started, they will have you rowing like a pro in no time.
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