"The Public Garden" Top 5 Page for this destination Massachusetts Things to Do Tip by traveldave

Massachusetts Things to Do: 204 reviews and 272 photos


The 24-acre (ten-hectare) Public Garden is the largest and most popular park in downtown Boston. It was created on land that had been formed when the Charles River mudflats were filled in the 1830s.

In 1837, Boston philanthropist Horace Gray petitioned the city to offer the land for what would be the first botanical garden in the United States. There was much political opposition to the plan because several city councilmen wanted to sell the land. However, in 1856 after much political wrangling, Gray was finally able to convince the city to agree to offer the land for a public park.

Construction on the new park began in 1859 and was completed in 1862 when the wrought-iron fence surrounding the park's perimeter was finished. There was a succession of landscape plans submitted before the city finally chose the English-style garden theme designed by George Meacham. His plan included a pond, paths winding through the trees, and a number of fountains and statues. The paths and flower beds were laid out by city engineer James Slade and forester John Galvin.

Nowadays, the park offers green lawns, landscaped flower beds, native and exotic trees, walking trails, fountains, statues, sculptures, and a pond. Since 1877, the four-acre (two-hectare) pond has been the site of the famous Swan Boats. These boats can be hired by tourists and are ornamented with a huge swan in the rear in which a tour guide sits while pedaling the boat around the pond.

The Public Garden has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.

Directions: The Public Garden is within walking distance to the west of Boston's Financial District.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Updated Aug 16, 2012
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse


traveldave Visits Here Frequently!


“"....For I must be traveling on now, 'cause there's too many places I've got to see...." (Lynyrd Skynyrd).”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 1 9 2

Have you been to Massachusetts?

  Share Your Travels