A 3 miles trek, 2 hours or more depending on what you decide to do, mostly outside except if you visit some museums, to explore a part of Boston that is far from the beaten path.

You’ll walk on the south of Mass Ave, amid a great concentration of universities, museums, and parks, to reach the famous Fenway Park that has been hosting the Red Sox baseball team for more than 100 years (details and photos under the map)

Highlights: Northeastern University, Emmanuel College, Simmons College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School, Museum of Fine Art, Fenway Park, Back Bay Fens, and optional, Fenway Garden Society and James Kelleher Rose Garden.

A: Once out of Symphony T. station, go past Symphony Hall to find St Stephen St on your left, a tree-lined street with four-storey red brick apartments, many of them reserved for Northeastern University student, or used as University annexes.

B: At Opera Pl, turn left, go through Huntington Ave, and take a passage on the right of Kentzman Quadrangle to further explore the campus of Northeastern University.

It hosts more than 25,000 students and is therefore a city in the city, with colorful benches and chairs, innumerable bicycles, cafes, and sculptures. The atmosphere is young, modern, urban.

C: At the Centennial Common, you’ll see some of them training to walk on a wire, others playing ball or socializing on lawns.

Cross this square to go to the West Village Quadran, another university housing complex, and exit on Rugles St. You are now in front of an imposing Greek Orthodox Cathedral – which can sometimes be visited, and the Wenthworth Institute of Technology, another university with approximately 4500 students.

Turn right to reach Huntington Ave. The Museum of Fine Arts will be in front of you, and if you decide to visit it, your trek will likely stop here because it is the 4th largest museum of the USA with 450 000 artworks to be discovered.

If you continue straight ahead, you will reach another large Boston museum, the Isabella Steward Gardner. It houses the private collection of this patroness of the arts, and is also famous for its interior garden and architecture inspired by a Venetian palace. Its visit will require at least two hours of your time.

 

D: Otherwise, take Huntington Ave on your left and go to the Massachusetts College of Art and Design on your right. Once you reach a small park on your right, enter the building to explore 2 contemporary art galleries. If you have taken the wrong door, take a walk into the building, a kind of labyrinth connecting 6 buildings of different eras and styles, and ask for your way, or find a plan. You may even find the other 6 galleries of this school.

Once out, take Longwood Ave to Pasteur Ave on your right. This time, you are in front of two medical universities, Harvard Medical School on one side and the Mass College of Pharmacy and Health Science on the other, with students in white coats working behind windows facing the street.

E: On Pasteur Ave, before arriving on Fenway, you will see Simmons College on your right, a modernist building for a traditionally liberal education. You can compare it with the most classical and Catholic Emmanuel College a little further on your left and on Fenway, both universities having for a long time hosted only women.

Thousands of students living in this part of Boston often run on the Fens, a circular park created around ancient marshes transformed into ponds lined with reeds. Join them to immerse yourself in nature, or stay in town on the Fenway Ave sidewalks.

F: In both cases, at Brookline Ave, take the bridge on your right and head for a beautiful art-deco building, the Landmark Center. Built by Sears to house a merchandise distribution center until 1988, it has nearly been demolished several times, but is now listed as a historic monument, like its namesake in Minneapolis. That said, you can only visit it if you have something to do in the stores or the parking area it houses.

Stay on Brookline Ave until Fullerton St on your right, then Van Ness St on your left. You will see that the neighborhood is developing rapidly, and is home to many restaurants.

G: Once at Yawkey Way, you are in front of Fenway Park, the Boston baseball temple. Yawkey Way then Brookline Ave and Lansdowne St will allow you to go around, admire its architecture, buy souvenirs and tickets to visit the interior if you wish. If you find yourself in the midst of a Red Sox fans crowd, your progress will slow down ,but the atmosphere will be assured. Finally, a bar along Lansdowne St will offer you the opportunity to see the interior of the park in exchange for a drink.

H: At the end of Lansdowne St, turn left and follow Ipswitch St. You will be along Highway 90 for a few meters, but you’ll have a nice view of the Boston Back Bay skyscrapers in the distance.

When you find a path on your right, take it and you’ll go back to the Fens at the Muddy River location, with its ducks, geese, walkers, and joggers.

You can also decide to go and see the Fenway Garden Society, an area of small gardens enclosed with fences, each with its own character depending of its owner, then turn left on  Agassiz Road to go back to the trail indicated on the map. It’ll add a few hundred yards to your walk but the garden are an unexpected sight in the city. If you want to walk even more, keep on Park Drive instead of turning on Agassiz Road, and find the James Kelleher Rose Garden a bit further on your left. From there, follow the Emerald Necklace until you reach Fenway behind the Museum of Fine Arts. Follow it on your left until you go back again to the trail indicated on the map.

I: Next, take Westland Ave on your left to reach Mass Ave and your starting point, or stroll randomly through the adjacent streets.

Once at Symphony, you have the option to take the South End trek if you want to continue your exploration of the city.

Good to know: You won’t find many restrooms on your way unless you enter museums or universities. Same for places to sit. As for the food,  most options are near Symphony Hall or Fenway  Park.

T.stop: Symphony (start and end)

 

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