From Downtown Crossing to the Massachusetts State House, these common Boston destinations are so overrated. Instead, beat the tourist crowds and visit these hidden gems recommended by a local Bostonian. Save yourself some time and money as these are all free to enjoy and easily accessible via the MBTA.
The Berlin Wall
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German government has donated a handful of segments of the wall to different cities throughout the world. Lucky for us, Boston has two of them. One is in the JFK Library, but if you are not fond of the idea of paying the hefty admissions ticket of $10, the second location might be more appealing. The public garden, free to enjoy, offers a brief glance at history that left the world quaking.
How to get there: 1 Education Street, Cambridge, 02141
MBTA: Green line at Science Park Station
Often looked down upon as a taboo form of art, the urban “Graffiti Alley” is nestled between a bar and a retail space in Central Square. When walking through this alley, it definitely turns heads. Nicknamed “Kaleidoscope Alley,” transparent colored glass from above refracts light that displays on the pavement below, complementing the wall graffiti of local artists.
How to get there: The intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Pearl Street
MBTA: Red line at Central Station
One cannot fully appreciate the beauty of something unless they step back and admire the masterpiece. At Piers Park, you can view our ravishing city from across the Boston Harbor. Stand on fresh grass as you gaze at our city that gently dips into the horizon, causing a slight reflection. The sight is unlike any other.
How to get there: 95 Marginal Street, Boston, MA 02128
MBTA: Blue line at Maverick Station
Resembling a Disney castle, this tower rests upon a hill in the middle of Roxbury -- a place you would least expect to find it. Hidden amidst thick foliage, the park itself is a hidden gem, perfect for sitting and enjoying a nice book. It is so hidden, in fact, that it is not even listed on Google Maps. Satisfy your inner child and visit this medieval-styled architecture.
Where: From the intersection of Columbus Ave. and Cedar St., turn up the hill at Fort Ave.
MBTA: Orange line at Roxbury Crossing Station
Norman B. Leventhal Park
Within the Financial District is a relatively small park that provides a tranquil setting enjoyed by young teens and corporate professionals alike. This quaint setting is perfect to soak in the rays or stop and smell the roses. It provides a nice escape, while still in the proximity of the bijou shops nearby.
Where: 50 Federal Street, Boston, MA 02110
MBTA: Orange or red line at Downtown Crossing Station
This hidden gem is often overshadowed by its more extravagant counterparts such as the Boston Public Library in Copley. Resembling a Harry Potter platform with 10½ numbering on the bright red welcoming doors, the inside of the library is magnificent. The architecture mirrors that of a chateau, with grand pillars and bookshelves that reach two stories high. Although a large portion of the library is available to the public, other wings remain only accessible to paying members. This experience definitely provides insight on how the more affluent class lives.
Where: 10 ½ Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108
MBTA: Orange or red line at Downtown Crossing Station
Quietly hidden from street view lies an oasis above the concrete jungle. This rooftop garden sits nearly five stories high, offering views of the bustling city below for a great escape from the stress that accompanies the city life. At such an elevated height, this garden gives an unobstructed view of the the scenic skyline while basking in the flora of the garden.
Where: 90 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02142. The garden is on the top floor of the parking garage.
MBTA: Red line at Kendall/MIT Station
Skinniest House in New England
Built out of spite by a brother who wished to block his sibling’s view, the ‘Skinny House’ is narrow yet has a grand presence. Settled between two brick colonial style houses, this pale green house is sure to stand out. Along the Freedom Trail, it marks a historical pinpoint on the colonial setting that once engulfed this city.
Where: 44 Hull Street, Boston, MA 02113
MBTA: Green line or orange line at North Station
Kelleher Rose Garden
Those fond of the intrinsic beauty of nature will surely enjoy this hidden gem. This garden is the epitome of sweet desire, which explains why many newlyweds choose to join in matrimony amidst the fragrant aroma of the budding roses. Despite many paying a hefty price tag to hold this as their wedding venue, it is free to visit for passersby.
Where: 73 Park Street, Boston, MA 02215
MBTA: Green line at Northeastern Station
Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine
Come for the statue; stay for the view. The journey itself is half the fun as you trek up some stairs nestled between thick foliage from the trees along the side. As you walk up, the roar of an airplane’s turbine signify its departure or arrival, adding excitement. Up at the Shrine, a 180 degree view lays atop the hill as the treat for your journey including the Logan International Airport and the view of Boston. As I look upon the airport below, it makes me ponder what else lies out there, beyond this city we call home.
Where: 120-150 Orient Ave., Boston, MA 02128
MBTA: Blue line at Orient Heights Station