Share On:

The Charles River Esplanade

Nestled along the banks of the Charles River, the Esplanade in Boston is a picturesque park that offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life. This lush, green space stretches for three miles on the Boston side of the river, providing residents and visitors with a serene environment where they can jog, bike, picnic, and enjoy the beauty of nature against the backdrop of the city skyline.


The Charles River Esplanade’s origins date back to the early 20th century, stemming from a major effort to transform the Charles River Basin. Landfill was used to create the parkland, and over the years, it has been developed and expanded to include more amenities and attractions. The Esplanade is also home to the Hatch Memorial Shell, an iconic outdoor concert venue that has hosted countless performances, including the famous Boston Pops Fourth of July concerts.


The Esplanade is more than just a park; it’s a cultural and recreational hub. It includes playgrounds, boat docks, sporting facilities, and the Hatch Shell. The park is also home to several memorials and sculptures, as well as community-focused activities ranging from yoga classes to outdoor movies. Furthermore, it offers stunning views of the Charles River and the city, making it a popular spot for photography and sightseeing.


The Charles River Esplanade is situated in the heart of Boston, stretching from the Museum of Science to the Boston University Bridge, along Storrow Drive. It is easily accessible from various parts of the city and is a stone’s throw away from the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Public Garden.


To find out more about the Charles River Esplanade, events, maps, and visitor information, the Esplanade Association’s official website is a helpful resource. It can be found at

Opening Hours

The Esplanade is a public park and is open year-round from dawn until dusk. Some facilities within the park, such as public restrooms and food vendors, may have specific operating hours, so it is advisable to check in advance if you plan on using these services.

Things to Do

There’s no shortage of activities on the Esplanade. You can enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride along the pathways; rent a kayak, sailboat, or paddleboard to experience the river firsthand; or simply relax on the docks and watch the rowers glide by. Children can play in the several playgrounds dotted throughout the park, and fitness enthusiasts can make use of the outdoor exercise equipment.

Tips For Visiting

  1. Stay Hydrated: Bring water, especially during the summer months, as you’ll find limited shade along the pathways.
  2. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen and wear a hat to protect against the sun’s rays.
  3. Respect the Environment: Keep the park clean by disposing of trash properly and staying on designated paths.
  4. Safety First: If you’re cycling or rollerblading, wear a helmet and be mindful of pedestrians.
  5. Check the Weather: New England weather can be unpredictable; dress accordingly and check the forecast before heading out.
  6. Attend an Event: Look out for free concerts, especially during the summer, for a memorable experience.
  7. Nighttime Views: Consider an evening stroll for a spectacular view of the lit-up city skyline.


The Charles River Esplanade is an urban jewel that provides a verdant retreat in the heart of Boston. With its rich history, diverse range of activities, and breathtaking views, the Esplanade remains a cherished destination for both locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re seeking recreation, relaxation, or cultural enrichment, the Esplanade offers a picturesque setting that captures the spirit of Boston’s community and its love for the outdoors.

Places to Visit