Boston Harborwalk Walking Tour
Boston’s harbor walk is a great way to spend the day, mixing in the many wharves along the waterfront and the attractions that are near them. This is a great walk to explore Boston’s maritime history.
To begin this walk, take the T to North Station. When you exit the station, take a right on Causeway Street.
North Station on Green Line (TD Garden)
Seaport World Trade Center
Great views from the different Wharves
New England Aquarium, Boat Tours from Long Wharf, Imax Theatre at Rowes Wharf
This walk focuses on the Boston Harbor.
|Food and Drink|
Aragosta Bar and Bistro
|Culture and Musems|
The Courthouse, Institute of Contemporary Art
|Parks and Greenspaces|
Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
|When to do|
Best April to November
Yes - On Leash
Route Description for Boston Harborwalk
When you exit the station, take a right on Causeway Street and walk past Portal Park. Just before Causeway Street merges into Commercial Street, there will be a path to the left that will lead you to a green space near the water. Follow this path through Prince Street Park as it takes you past ball fields and an ice-skating rink. While walking along this path, you will have excellent views of Charlestown and the USS Constitution, so taking time to snap pictures is a must.
Follow the path around as it merges with Commercial Street and continue straight until you can turn left at Battery Wharf. From here, you’ll be able to follow the Harborwalk path to the right around the wharf. Battery Wharf is a site for luxury living, retail, and dining so if you have time, stop somewhere for a snack and a view!
Continue along the Harborwalk path. Following it as it takes you back onto Commercial Street for a quick jog before taking you back along the water. You’ll stroll through Pilot House Park and past Boston Sailing Center before following the path around to Atlantic Avenue, which will lead you straight to the Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.
Before exploring the park, if you find yourself needing some food, try Joe’s American Bar and Grill Waterfront. The seafood at Joe’s is obviously great because it’s Boston, but the burgers might be even better. After filling your stomach, take a walk through the park and enjoy the greenery. The Rose Kennedy Rose Garden is especially worth visiting, but what really makes this park special is the view. From the park you have the perfect vantage point for some of the best harbor pictures.
From the Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, continue along the Harborwalk path until you are facing the Boston Marriot Long Wharf. If you turn to the right, you’ll be able to buy tickets to Boston tours such as the Ghosts and Graveyards tour, but if you turn to the left, you’ll be strolling down Long Wharf.
Construction on Long Wharf began in 1710 and the wharf was originally half a mile long. Long Wharf was adjacent to Faneuil Hall, allowing merchants to dock and distribute goods in the same place. The wharf was the focal point of the harbor and a bustling business area. Today, Long Wharf has been shortened, primarily due to landfill. The wharf is a dock for many ferries and sightseeing boats.
If you didn’t stop for food at Joe’s American Bar and Grill and you are a fan of seafood, it’s worth stopping in for a bite to eat at Legal Sea Foods. As you come around the other side of Long Wharf, the restaurant will be right in front of you. If you haven’t had a lobster roll yet while in Boston, now is probably the time.
From Legal Sea Foods, continue along the Harborwalk path to the left and you’ll reach stop number four – the New England Aquarium. The aquarium opened in 1969. It houses a four-story Giant Ocean Tank, which simulates a Caribbean coral reef environment. More than a thousand animals live in the Giant Ocean Tank, but the star of the show is a green sea turtle named Myrtle, who has called the New England Aquarium home since 1970. Admission to the aquarium is $26.95 and it is open every day.
Follow the Harborwalk path around the aquarium and the IMAX theater, then continue on the path until you reach Rowes Wharf, another site of luxury living, dining, and retail. In 1666, a protective battery was located at this site, but the modern Rowes Wharf was built in 1987. Today, the wharf is a ferry stop, home to many great restaurants if you need to stop for a bite, and Rowes Wharf hosts movies and concerts on a floating pavilion in the summer.
Continue along the Harborwalk path until you reach Atlantic Avenue and then take a left. Next, take a left on Seaport Blvd and cross the bridge. You’ll be able to get some great harbor pictures from the bridge, so be sure to take time to enjoy the view. Once across the bridge, take a left on Sleeper Street followed by a left on Northern Avenue toward the path through Fan Pier Park and by the Courthouse Docks.
The John Joseph Moakley Courthouse will be to your left as you enter the park. The courthouse is a federal courthouse named after Massachusetts Congressman Joe Moakley. The building was completed in 1999 and houses two courtrooms for the Court of Appeals and 25 courtrooms for the District Court. Enjoy the scenery as you stroll through Fan Pier Park beside the courthouse and snap pictures of Rowes Wharf and the Aquarium from this side of the harbor.
Follow the Harborwalk path through Fan Pier Park and around the harbor and it will lead you straight to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Originally founded in 1936 as the Boston Museum of Modern Art, the museum moved to its home in the Seaport District in 2006. Overlooking the harbor, the building itself looks like a work of art, so snap a couple of pictures before going inside. The ICA exhibits work by emerging and Boston-based artists in particular, however the permanent collection includes work from many diverse contemporary artists. Admission to the museum is $15 and it is open every day except for Monday.
After exploring the collection at the ICA, exit the building on to Harbor Shore Drive. Then take a left on Northern Ave followed by a right onto Pier Four Blvd, then turn left on Seaport Blvd. This will lead you to the final stop on this walk – the Seaport World Trade Center.
The Seaport World Trade Center and Hotel opened in the Seaport District in 1998 and is home to many events and businesses. If you happen to plan your trip during the Boston Christmas Festival or the Boston Spring Festival, it’s worth stopping inside the event space to check out what’s going on. Otherwise, there are a variety of restaurants in this area that are all excellent. If you need a bite to eat or a drink, we recommend trying the Harpoon Brewery or No Name Restaurant.
If you make your way back to Congress Street walking toward the Financial District, you’ll be able to find the World Trade Center T Station by turning left onto World Trade Center Avenue. Otherwise, you could continue exploring Boston by walking across the Congress Street Bridge into the Financial District and Downtown. Or, you could catch a cab in the Seaport District easily and go to another part of the city.
Even if you don’t want to take the time or spend the money on exploring the New England Aquarium, walk up to the building and check out the harbor seal exhibit. It can be seen from outside the aquarium for free.
The ICA offers free admission on Thursdays after 5:00 PM, the last Saturday of every month except December, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.
The ICA also has a performance space, so you could plan the walk to be able to watch a performance at the end.
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