Cambridge, Massachusetts may be best known as home to the renowned Harvard University, but the city also offers an incredible quality of life to those who live here. Residents enjoy a lively culinary scene, exciting and varied entertainment, a burgeoning start-up culture, and a generous amount of green space. In fact, Cambridge has over 80 parks within its seven square miles. While it’s amazing for such an urban area to make room for so much nature, it can also be daunting after you buy a house in Cambridge to decide which park to visit when you want to read a book under a tree or go for a jog. Here’s what you need to know about the best parks in this city.
Taking up sixteen acres, Cambridge Common is the most famous park in town. In 1775, President – then General – George Washington was in the Common to take control of volunteer soldiers for the revolution, a brief event which is still considered a claim to fame.
The north side of the park, called Gallows Hill, features some morbid history, as it was the site of executions from the 17th century through 1755. Now, the park has a number of memorial statues honoring George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Knox, and other influential figures and events which have occurred on the lawns.
Beyond the immense history, Cambridge Common is a delightful park with plenty of paths for walking, jogging, or biking, and a fun playground for kids to enjoy. Additionally, its proximity to Harvard Yard and Harvard Square means you have easy access to a variety of shops and restaurants.
Alewife Brook Reservation
Beyond the birds, Alewife Brook Reservation features a playground, multiple sports fields, tennis courts, and Dilboy Stadium where you can catch a local football game. It’s also home to the Minuteman Bikeway, a ten-mile long trail that runs from Bedford to Alewife Station, closely following Paul Revere’s route in 1775 to alert the townspeople that, “The British are coming!” It’s a great path to take if you want to jog or bike and in the winter, sometimes you’ll even find people skiing on the bikeway.
Access to this park is just one reason why nearby homes like 16-18 Seven Pines Ave, a two-family property just over a mile away, are such great investments.
North Point Park
Only having opened in 2007, the eight-and-a-half acre North Point Park is a more recent addition to Cambridge. It’s just across from the Museum of Science, making it easily accessible for a family day out. The park features plenty of family-friendly entertainment including several playgrounds, a splash deck, and the Lynch Family Skatepark – an addition from 2015.
Fresh Pond Reservation
Fresh Pond Reservation stretches across 162 acres between Watertown and Cambridge with a two-and-a-quarter-mile path for biking and jogging surrounding the 155-acre kettle-hole Fresh Pond. The park also features two playgrounds, an ecology center, an off-leash dog park — best for big dogs since there aren’t separate spaces for different sizes — and a nine-hole golf course for visitors to practice their swing. However, the park’s true popularity comes from birdwatchers. Bald eagles, hooded mergansers, and golden-crowned kinglets are just a few of the over 149 species frequently sighted in the area.
Joan Lorentz Park
Lechmere Canal Park
Fort Washington Park
Fort Washington is the oldest surviving site from the American Revolution, built under orders from President George Washington. Now, it’s a historic site and a beautiful tract of land to sit and reflect on a quiet day.
Greene-Rose Heritage Park
Built on the land where American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow formerly lived, Longfellow Park is a two-and-a-half acre wedge of land which also previously served as George Washington’s headquarters during the American Revolution. It’s largely undeveloped in an effort to preserve the view of the Charles River but is still a beautiful swath of nature in an urban area. The key feature is the bas-relief of Longfellow along with six characters from his writings created in 1914.
New Riverside Park
Gold Star Mothers Park
Everyone needs a little time outside surrounded by peaceful nature, and homes in Cambridge offer easy access to a wide range of green spaces. Even homes in nearby Somerville or South Boston offer close proximity for a leisurely weekend trip or even post-work stroll. For a place near these spectacular parks, visit our Feature Properties for nearby listings or contact us directly to receive personalized recommendations.
*Header credit: Lechmere Canal Park, Urbnparks.com