Best Neighborhoods in Boston to Relax and Unwind
Boston may not be the first locale that comes to mind when you think of relaxing places to move (Hawaii is probably at top of your list), but Beantown was ranked among the top five most relaxed cities in America by Forbes! Whether you have the winter blues or can’t get over a recent Red Sox loss, you’ll want to head to one of the best neighborhoods in Boston for unwinding. No matter the season, there are plenty of places you can go in this sprawling metropolis to gain a little perspective and peace of mind.
This Boston neighborhood is home to the Public Gardens, which have offered the city’s famous Swan Boat tours for more than 130 years. For a blissful 15 minutes, you will glide on a paddleboat cruise through the Gardens’ lagoon. The boats are one-of-a-kind–the only ones in the world! So when you’re feeling extra stressed, leave your Boston apartment and take a breather atop a swan in Back Bay.
One of the best places to relax in Boston, the Emerald Necklace is also one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Located in West Fens, this historic park system stretches all the way from Back Bay to Dorchester. The Emerald Necklace not only has tons of green space to stroll through, but also sailing, fishing and a field of daisies.
If you’ve always coveted Belle’s library in “Beauty and the Beast,” then the Boston Athenaeum may just be your sanctuary. The space has more than 600,00 books and an impressive collection of art, sculptures, manuscripts and maps. This Downtown masterpiece is one of the oldest independent libraries in the U.S. Although the public is only allowed to access the first floor and galleries (it’s a members-only institution), you can take an docent-led tour on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Another gorgeous Boston fixture, the Institute of Contemporary Art is located in the Waterfront neighborhood. The building juts over Boston Harbor, providing breathtaking views. Grab a bench in Founders Gallery so you can gaze across the serene waters, or grab a bite to eat at the Water Cafe during the summer. If art isn’t your thing, just take a relaxing stroll along the waterfront to clear your mind.
Boston Harbor Islands
Have you ever thought about stargazing for a little relaxation? The best place in the city to see those twinkling lights is the Boston Harbor Islands. This is an overnight trip, so you’ll have to pack a bag and a tent, but it’s well worth it! You can go camping on Lovells, Peddocks, Grape and Bumpkin islands. Be forewarned: This will only be a relaxing experience if you want to get closer to nature–there’s no electricity or on-site showers.
If you’ve been wanting to go on a gondola ride but don’t have the funds to take a weekend trip to Italy, Gondola di Venezia in Cambridge is your next best bet. Both relaxing and incredibly romantic, these gondola tours down the Charles River feature complimentary gift baskets and a personal serenade from a musician–just like in Venice!