Boston Harborwalk

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Boston Harborwalk
Under Charlestown Bridge in 2008 with TD Garden in the background.
Length47 mi (76 km)
LocationBoston, Massachusetts
TrailheadsNumerous access points
UseWalking, bicycling, inline skating
SeasonYear round
SightsBoston Harbor
HazardsFollows edges of piers, some stairs; portions of proposed route are incomplete

Boston Harborwalk is a public walkway that follows the edge of piers, wharves, beaches, and shoreline around Boston Harbor. When fully completed it will extend a distance of 47 miles (76 km) from East Boston to the Neponset River.[1]


The Harborwalk is a cooperative project of the City of Boston,[2] the Boston Planning and Development Agency,[3] the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection,[4] The Boston Harbor Association,[1] and private property developers. Since 1984, the project has established parks, walking paths, educational sites, transportation facilities, and other amenities along the harbor. Many developers of private land along the harbor have been required under the provisions of the Boston Zoning Code[2] and of Chapter 91 of Massachusetts state law[5] to set back new buildings from the water and to provide publicly accessible waterfront pathways.[6]

A map of the proposed route[7] shows that the completed Harborwalk will consist of a continuous trail from Charlestown in the north to Dorchester in the south, plus many other discontinuous trail segments. A map[8] and trail guide[9] describe the current status of the route. An interactive map[10] highlights sights along a portion of the walk in downtown Boston. As of 2016, 38 of the originally planned 47 miles (76 km) of trail have been completed.[6] Following the September 11 attacks, plans to extend the Harborwalk to the four miles of shoreline around Logan Airport were abandoned.[11] As an alternative, planners are now considering an inland route connecting the Harborwalk through the East Boston Greenway to Constitution Beach.

Connections to other trails[edit]

The Harborwalk connects with many other trails. From north to south, these include the following:

Harborwalk sign along the South Bay Harbor Trail

Public art[edit]

Bench by Judy Kensley McKie at Eastport Park

Sculptures and memorials, including some by noted artists, have been placed at many locations along the Harborwalk. Playful fish sculpture benches by Judy Kensley McKie and sculptures by Susumu Shingu and David Phillips have been created for Eastport Park, South Boston.[14] Sculptures by Tony Smith, Willem de Kooning, Luis Jimenez, Dennis Oppenheim, William G. Tucker, and Sol LeWitt are located on the University of Massachusetts Boston campus.[15] Between the Institute of Contemporary Art and the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse, a series of artworks by Ross Miller evoke moments in the history of Fan Pier.[16] "Untitled Landscape"[17] by David von Schlegell is located at Harbor Towers.

The East Boston part of the walk travels through an outdoor sculpture park, HarborArts, situated in a working industrial shipyard, the East Boston Shipyard and Marina.[18]

An interactive musical sculpture, "Charlestown Bells,"[19] by Paul Matisse (grandson of the painter Henri Matisse) is located along the walkway of the Charles River Dam. The bells were installed in 2000, but had fallen into disrepair before a 2013 restoration.[20]

Memorial sculptures found along the Harborwalk include a memorial to firefighter Robert M. Greene at Castle Island in South Boston;[21] a Korean War Memorial at Shipyard Park in the Boston Navy Yard in Charlestown;[22][23] and a United States Maritime Service memorial in the North End's Langone Park.[24]

Historical exhibitions[edit]

Rolling Bridge Park along the Boston Harborwalk, contains a permanent installation of one salvaged section of the six original rolling segments from the Old Colony Railroad Bridge, a six-track, triple-leaf, counter-weighted Scherzer rolling lift bascule drawbridge, built in 1895 over Fort Point Channel.

Along the Harborwalk are several indoor and outdoor displays of historical materials, some of which are available for view 24 hours a day. A selection from the archive of Norman B. Leventhal's collection of Maps of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay[25] is located in the lobby of the Boston Harbor Hotel.[26] In the lobby of Building 114 at the Boston Navy Yard is an exhibition of boat models, photographs and boat building tools.[27] The Maritime Museum at Battery Wharf[28] was built by the developers of the Battery Wharf Hotel[29] as "mitigation" under the state's Chapter 91 law,[5] to compensate the public for private use of waterfront land.

Notable attractions[edit]

East Boston[edit]

North of the Charles River[edit]


South Boston[edit]

The sailboat Victura, which belonged to John F Kennedy, on the Harborwalk outside the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

On Columbia Point in Dorchester[edit]

Farther south[edit]

Transportation connections[edit]

The Harborwalk is served by many MBTA bus lines.[39] Many public parking lots and garages are nearby.[40] The following subway and commuter rail stops serve the Harborwalk: Maverick Square in East Boston; North Station, Haymarket, Aquarium, and South Station in Downtown Boston; Courthouse, World Trade Center, and Silver Line Way in South Boston; and JFK/UMass and Savin Hill in Dorchester. MBTA Boat services stop at the Navy Yard in Charlestown, at Logan Airport in East Boston, and at Long Wharf and Rowes Wharf downtown.

Future development[edit]

New segments continue to be added to the walk as development occurs along the edge of the harbor. A 2012 report prepared for The Boston Harbor Association concluded that approximately 60% of the total possible length of the Harborwalk has been completed.[41]

In 2019, construction was completed on a residential building[42] on the site of the former Anthony's Pier 4 Restaurant in South Boston.[43] The Harborwalk extends around the new building.[44]

The St. Regis residences,[45] a development proposal on a site adjacent to Pier 4, was opposed by an environmental group that argued that the proposal's accommodation of the Harborwalk was inadequate.[46] Construction began in 2019.[47]

In October 2018, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a comprehensive climate change adaptation proposal to protect the Boston Harbor coastline from flooding.[48] In February 2022, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced an $8.2 million project to construct a 0.7-mile shared-use path from Tenean Beach on the Neponset River Reservation to Morrissey Boulevard and that will connect the Lower Neponset River Trail with the Harborwalk via Morrissey (including a 670-foot boardwalk in the salt marshes near the National Grid gas tank) that will be included in the $9.5 billion in federal funds the state government received under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.[49][50]

Image gallery (from North to South)[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Boston HarborWalk". The Boston Harbor Association. Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Article 41A - HarborPark District". Zoning Code. City of Boston. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Harborwalk". Boston Planning and Development Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Chapter 91 Public-Access Showcase - Boston HarborWalk". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Chapter 91, The Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Harborwalk". Boston Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Harborwalk map". Boston Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Boston HarborWalk Map" (PDF). Bostons New Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Boston Harborwalk". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Boston: Harborwalk". Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Getting to Know Every Inch of the Boston Harborwalk". The Boston Harbor Association. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Walk to the Sea". Walk to the Sea. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
  13. ^ "Quincy RiverWalk". Neponset River Watershed Association. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Eastport Park Public Art" (PDF). Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  15. ^ "University of Massachusetts Boston - Arts on the Point". Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  16. ^ "Ross Miller Studio". Retrieved 2016-03-26.
  17. ^ "Untitled Landscape". Boston Art Commission. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  18. ^ a b "International HarborArts Outdoor Gallery at Boston Harbor Shipyard". Boston Art Commission. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  19. ^ "Charlestown Bells". Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  20. ^ Baker, Billy (8 October 2013). "Artist Paul Matisse, community save Charlestown Bells". Boston Globe. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Boston Fire Historical Society". Archived from the original on 2014-12-13. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
  22. ^ [1] Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Massachusetts Korean War Memorial". Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  24. ^ "Merchant Marine Memorial". Retrieved 2015-05-05.
  25. ^ "Maps of the New England Coast at the Boston Harbor Hotel". Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  26. ^ "Boston Harbor Hotel". Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  27. ^ Iannarone, Kate. "Waterfront Neighborhood Highlight: Charlestown". The Boston Harbor Association. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  28. ^ Kenney, Michael. "Pulling maritime history together". Boston Globe. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  29. ^ "Battery Wharf Hotel". Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  30. ^ "Piers Park III". The Trustees of Reservations. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  31. ^ "Site developer designation for Piers Park III". The Trustees of Reservations. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  32. ^ "ICA Watershed". Institute of Contemporary Art. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  33. ^ "Waterfront Map" (PDF). Massport. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  34. ^ "Friends of Christopher Columbus Park". Friends of Christopher Columbus Park. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  35. ^ "Fort Point Pier". Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  36. ^ "Fan Pier Boston Master Site Plan". The Fallon Company. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  37. ^ "Tours".
  38. ^ "Innovation and Design Building".
  39. ^ "Bus Schedules and Maps". MBTA. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  40. ^ "Boston Parking Finder". Best Parking. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  41. ^ Masone, Danielle. "Piecing Together the Boston Harborwalk" (PDF). Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  42. ^ "Pier 4". Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  43. ^ Logan, Tim (29 March 2016). "Anthony's Pier 4 will fall to wrecking ball". Boston Globe. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  44. ^ Logan, Tim (13 December 2019). "Trying to dish up a friendlier waterfront park". Boston Globe. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  45. ^ "St. Regis Residences". Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  46. ^ Chesto, Jon (10 August 2016). "Environmental group takes on proposed Seaport tower". Boston Globe. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  47. ^ "The St. Regis Residences". BLDUP. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  48. ^ Gellerman, Bruce (October 17, 2018). "Walsh Outlines Plan To Protect Boston Harbor From Flooding". WBUR. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  49. ^ "Baker-Polito Administration Outlines Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding Plans for Massachusetts". February 3, 2022. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  50. ^ Dumcius, Gintautus (February 13, 2022). "Fed infrastructure dollars flowing for projects in Dot". Dorchester Reporter. Retrieved February 13, 2022.

External links[edit]