Things to Do on Charles River Esplanade in Boston

Our Map my Fitness map of Charles River Esplanade walkLabor Day weekend was gorgeous weather and we finally fulfilled one of Bill’s bucket list items! We took a stroll along the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts. Round trip was just under 4 miles and we saw so many things to do on the Charles River Esplanade! This time around we just walked and saw, but next time we might do it different. It’s only been a week and a half and we are already talking about going back. Yeah, it was that good!

Boston Museum of Science

We started our walk from the top of the Boston Museum of Science. For those of you looking for the best place to park for the Charles River Esplanade walk, we strongly suggest you park at the Boston Museum of Science! It’s easy in, easy out, easy to find, a safe spot for the car, and affordable pricing. And you can have a little fun with their free displays like Bill did…




The Charles River is beautiful and the esplanade just adds to it! Bill originally thought the walk was along the street and that as you drove by in a car, you were looking at the river. However, we were happy to learn a canal separates the street from the river. The separation makes it a lot quieter for us romantics. For the city and such a great spot, we were surprised at how few people were there. Maybe it was because it was Labor Day weekend and a lot of people left the city for the long weekend. Whatever it was, it was perfect as we meandered our way through.


There are some great landmarks, statues, and random spots to see on the Charles River esplanade:

Hatch Memorial Shell in Boston Hatch Memorial Shell. The original was built in 1928 but what stands today was built in 1941. It is home to many events including the well known 4th of July event when the Boston Pops Orchestra performs.

This famous landmark has been shown in some movies like Ted.

The area is also used for free family movie nights and concerts during the summer. And offers a great place to picnic, pass a baseball or Frisbee around, and just hang out in the summer sunshine. For a complete list of events happening at the Hatch Memorial Shell, see BostInno, a website about Boston Life.


Arthur Fiedler, Conductor of Boston Pops Orchestra in Boston, MANot too far down the path is the statue of Arthur Fiedler. He was the eighteenth conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1930. Honestly, I didn’t know who he was but really liked the statue of him on the esplanade.

Now that I am writing this though, I have learned Arthur Fiedler was responsible for more than $50 million in revenue for the Boston Pops through recordings, performances, and singles. I guess a lot of conductors used the Boston Pops as a stop over to the next thing, but it was his passion.

The statue was a lot fun, as you can see from me whispering in his ear in the picture. It looks like stacks of paper but it’s concrete.


10659298_714782521910388_5985073187506221433_nDavid Ignatius Walsh. Obvious connection is Bill’s last name. Neither of us knew who he was but to have a statue along the esplanade must mean you are important!

Once home, and writing this blog post, I found he was quite influential in this country’s political path. He was the first Irish and Catholic governor of Massachusetts in 1914. He never married and was gay. 

On his monument it says, “Non sibi sed patriae” which means “Not for self, but for fatherland.”



As we approached Mass Avenue, we decided to cross the bridge and walk back along the Cambridge side of the river. This part of the walk was just as interesting and we saw some interesting things there as well, but to be honest, the Boston side is prettier and quieter along the esplanade.


10403511_714782801910360_9190972966057560014_nHarvard Bridge (also known locally as the MIT Bridge, the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge, and the “Mass. Ave.” Bridge) has a lot going on! It’s well known because it’s the longest bridge across the Charles River.

But it’s also famous because Harry Houdini performed one of his famous escapes from it in the spring of 1908! There were 10,000 people watching him that night when he plunged in to the icy water of the Charles.

You can see the plaque on the Boston side of the bridge. Good thing Bill is so observant or we would have missed it all together. LOL, a disappearing act of the sign!


10647104_714782931910347_7741612141975671774_nThe Joining Project. I loved this! At first, I didn’t notice it. As we approached the Cambridge side, the “connection” was more prominent. Luckily, I found a tag on one of the crocheted/knitted pieces that gave the name of this project…

The Joining Project was created by a runner as a way to bring positive energy between two cities, Boston and Cambridge, during the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon brings together over 20,000 participant and over 500,000 spectators and thousands of people walk, run, bike, and drive this bridge daily.

To read more about the project, check out their Facebook page, by clicking the link above. What a great idea!


On the Cambridge side, we found more interesting spots:


MITMIT. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The mission statement for MIT says it all… and I was blown away by walking these halls!

“The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.”

Click on each of the links above to go to sections of the official website. I can’t describe it more accurately than this… it’s why it’s the #1 school. 🙂


10659346_714783328576974_4222445677727508067_nPrudential Building & 111 Huntington Avenue (R2D2 Building).

Everyone recognizes the Prudential building as the 2nd tallest building in the Boston skyline yet it’s 50th-floor observation deck, called the Skywalk Observatory, is currently the highest observation deck in New England that is open to the public. The Pru is home to a 620,000-square-foot shopping mall.

The building beside it is what caught our attention. It’s rounded top reminds people of Star Trek’s R2D2. It was constructed in 2002 and is where Apple is located. Originally it had a flat roof but the mayor said no because flat roofs are a thing of the past and “don’t make it” according to him.

MIT Yacht ClubMIT Sailing Pavilion. Built in 1935 it made history! Here is where college sailing was born! For us, we just liked the little dinghies all in a row.

They do open their doors to the public for various sailing events but as a collegiate regatta spot, they are known to host the most of any other place in the country.

Many of the USA’s Olympic sailors have come from this very spot!




The next time we walk the Charles River Esplanade, we are going to take a little more time at each sight and venture a little further down the Charles! What a fantastic day. Check out all our pictures on Facebook!


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