Explore Boston

Boston Celebrates National Eat Outdoors Day August 31

On August 31, grab some friends from your quarantine circle and celebrate National Eat Outdoors Day. Celebrate with a PicnicThe often-overlooked holiday is a wonderful excuse for a picnic lunch and Boston has so many green spaces to lay down a blanket for a socially distanced celebration. Here’s a list of Where Traveler’s favorite Boston picnic spots.
(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

What could be more romantic than a picnic along the waterfront? The Esplanade is a gorgeous park on the banks of the Charles River in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. It’s accessible by quaint footbridges which adds to its whimsical romantic charm. The lawns provide ample space to spread out in the sun or take refuge in the shade of the leafy trees. For a bit of nostalgia, order take out from Cheers Restaurant, of television fame, which is only a few blocks from the park. Choose from a variety of pub fare including burgers named after the famous Cheers characters.

(Courtesy Esplanade Foundation)

It might sound macabre to suggest a holiday picnic in a cemetery, but Mount Auburn Cemetery is much more than just a memorial park. It is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary, particularly popular with bird watchers. A stroll through the well-maintained grounds is much like an art walk. Many of the grave markers and monuments are meticulously designed works of art by local artists both present and past. Middle eastern bakery and cafe, Sofra is across the street from the cemetery and the perfect place to pick up provisions for a picnic. Choose from a wide variety of salads, savory flatbreads, and rich, sweet pastries. They are also offering middle eastern staples like moussaka and shakshuka on their take out menu. Sofra is currently collecting donations to support relief funds for those affected by the explosion in Bierut.

(Courtesy Mount Auburn Cemetery)

The Arnold Arboretum is maintained by Harvard University and designed to look like a natural landscape instead of a botanical garden. The air is crisp and fresh within the park, no doubt due to the 17,000 different plants growing there. The arboretum has an app to help visitors explore the grounds and it would surely aid in finding the best picnic spot. Relax under a tree with a good book from the local bookshop, Papercuts J.P., and lunch from Brassica Kitchen. They serve coffee and breakfast all day, but many lunch menu items that are not to be missed. The lobster roll with bahn mi sauce or the crispy chicken sandwich with honey and pickled green tomatoes are both local favorites.

(©American Public Gardens Association)

Christopher Columbus Park is the best waterfront location for a family picnic. The playgrounds have reopened and the new interactive art installation, Robyn Reed’s Hopscotch Board, is a colorful way to play while still remaining socially distant. The park has wifi so be sure to post photos of your picnic lunch. The famous Boston Public Market is nearby offering daily pick up services from their 35 food and artisan vendors. Create a cheese board with all the accouterments for your picnic with Curds and Co., a cheese shop specializing in New England’s finest cheeses. Or, get a hand-carved sandwich from Beantown Pastrami Company. They source all of their main ingredients from New England, steam and slow roast their meats, and use freshly made bread for all of their sandwiches.

(©Planet Q)

Renamed in 1900 after its designer, Olmsted Park is a quaint, linear park and delightful picnic spot. The southern end of the park includes Jamaica Pond which, at 68-acres, is the largest freshwater body in Boston. Spend a day relaxing on the water by renting a boat from the Jamaica Pond boathouse. A full afternoon of boating can really work up an appetite. Come prepared by stopping at The Purple Cactus beforehand. Just steps from the park, The Purple Cactus serves southwest style burritos and wraps. They even have imaginative vegetarian options like their squash and sweet corn burrito.

(Courtesy Emerald Necklace Conservancy)

The Boston Commons has been a beloved park for 350 years. The expansive green space is crisscrossed with walking paths and centuries-old trees provide shade for picnic revelers. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Boston, there are lots of local establishments nearby to grab the fixings for a picnic. Shaking Crab serves some of the most finger-licking seafood in Boston and it is right across the street. Lobster, blue crab, crawfish, clams, mussels, and shrimp are just a few of the delicious catches. Enjoy them poached in butter and covered in your choice of spices. Seafood sandwiches include classic lobster rolls, softshell crab, and fried catch po’boys.