Boston Common and Public Garden

Boston Common is a central public park in the downtown area. Established in 1634, it is the oldest city park in the US. The purpose of this park has changed several times over the years: during the mid 1600s it was used by families as a cow pasture; before the American Revolutionary War it was used as a camp by the British; and up to 1817 it was used for public hangings. Today, the Common serves as a public park for all to use for both formal and informal gatherings, including concerts, protests, games, and ice skating. Consisting of 50 acres (or 20 hectares) of land, it is bounded by the streets of Tremont, Park, Beacon, Charles and Boylston. In 1987, Boston Common was declared a US National Historic Landmark.

Adjacent to Boston Common is Public Garden, which was established in 1837 by Horace Gray as the first public botanical garden in the US. It boasts 24 acres of landscape, including 4 acres of pond which is usually the home of swans and the site for Swan Boats, a famous tourist attraction.

The garden is planted with a wide assortment of native and introduced trees; for example: weeping willows around the shore of the lagoon; and the American and European elms that line the garden’s pathways. Several statues are located throughout the Public Garden, the most notable among them is the Equestrian Statue of George Washington.