The dual jewels of the Emerald Necklace, the city’s historic park system, perfectly reflect the vision of venerated landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Public Garden is America's first botanical garden and a Paris park in miniature, with pathways designed for promenading, formal flower beds and a petite lagoon fringed with weeping willows and crossed by a wrought-iron bridge. The waterfowl-shaped Swan Boats, introduced in 1877, are adored by children as well as adults and attract long lines the moment they reopen in April. In the summer, the garden is clogged with both tourists and locals enjoying the sun, the ducks and the street performers.
Across Beacon Street is the Boston Common; long ago a dangerous locale, now a lunchtime hangout for students, families and downtown office workers. Depending on the season, you can ice-skate on the Frog Pond, play softball or tennis, or simply lounge with a book on one of the grassy knolls, the majestic State House behind you. A designated dog area attracts Brahmins from nearby Beacon Hill with their well-behaved purebreds. Bring a picnic and take advantage of the open café seating and free Wi-Fi.