The Common is the nation’s oldest public park and was established in 1634. During it’s nearly 400-year history, this 50-acre green space in downtown Boston has been the site of concerts, military training exercises, concerts, protests, outdoor recreation, picnics, and the city’s first public water system. It also sits above the nation’s first subway tunnel, which is still in use along Tremont Street between the Park and Boylston Streets T stations. There are also several historic sites within the park, including the Great Elm where hangings once took place, and the Central Burying Ground, where many British and American casualties of the Battle of Bunker Hill were laid to rest. A number of military memorials are also scattered throughout the Common.
Visitors to The Common today will find a beautiful park that’s open all year to a variety of activities. In the winter, the park is a popular site for ice skating on the frozen Frog Pond and sledding on the snowy Flagstaff Hill. Summers are filled with kids splashing on the banks of the Frog Pond, free Shakespeare plays staged in the Parkman Bandstand, concerts, recreational sports, and other activities. Year-round, a collection of street vendors and colorful characters preaching their random thoughts from a soapbox can be found near the Park Street T station entrances in the Common’s northeast corner.
The Common’s central location also makes it, and the adjacent Public Garden, the centerpiece of a variety of must-see sites. Surrounding the Common are the Massachusetts State House; Park St. Church; Old Granary Burying Ground; and the beautiful, upscale, and historic Beacon Hill neighborhood. You’ll also find the Downtown Crossing shopping district, theater district, Back Bay, and Newberry Street shopping area within a few blocks of the parks.