Cambridge Parkway Along the Charles

Longfellow Bridge

View from Longfellow Bridge. Photo by Elizabeth Coyle.

There are several gorgeous walking paths along the many miles of the Charles River, but I’m here to convince you to visit this one particular spot. Located just across the river from the Charles/MGH train stop, it’s convenient to get to, surprisingly quiet, and offers a variety of skyline views. “Hold on,” you may be thinking, “a river’s a river. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” Well, my friend, I’m here to change your mind.

I grew up alongside a river in Ohio and, after four years of rowing, came to know its unique sounds and currents. I knew it was invariably calmest before sunrise and choppiest after a big rainstorm. I knew what it smelled like and which docks the birds preferred. I also knew that when I moved to the Boston area, I’d have to chance to get to know a whole new river. The location I’m telling you about is just secluded enough to hear the river over the city noise, while also remaining within quick walking distance of transportation and shops.

Benches at Cambridge Parkway

Benches at Cambridge Parkway. Photo by Elizabeth Coyle.

What to Expect From Cambridge Parkway

When you get off the red line at Charles MGH, you may get a little turned around amid all the construction. The Longfellow Bridge is currently being restored, which is wonderful, but it’s created a slightly chaotic intersection for pedestrians. The path to the bridge and river walkway is curvy, and has a couple detours as well as a few inevitable moments of, “should I be walking here?” But you should. Don’t doubt yourself. Once you get to Cambridge Parkway, you’ll understand.

Don’t let the chaos deter you. My own sense of direction is fairly underdeveloped—as in, I’m pretty sure I don’t have one—but I had no problem maneuvering between the train station and the river walkway, even with the mandatory detours. It’s just like the first time you go through a drive through at a fast food restaurant; you’re not entirely sure where you’re headed, but as long as you stay straight on the path, you’ll end up where you need to be. There’s also a very conveniently placed sign that reads, “To Cambridge,” with a giant arrow. Follow that sign.

Read on to learn about the sights at Cambridge Parkway.

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