Here are 10 of the best places to read a book around Boston, according to readers
Grand and quaint, the Boston Public Library’s Central Branch in Copley Square is right in the heart of our readers’ hearts. With plenty of cafes and tea rooms, a large reading room, art galleries and a sunny courtyard, there is sure to be a place to read to suit all tastes.
700 Boylston Street, Boston. Open Monday to Thursday. 9am-8pm, Fri.-Sat. 9am-5pm and Sun. 11am-5pm bpl.org.
2. Boston University Campus
Spanning approximately 375 acres in suburban Boston, this sprawling campus has countless nooks and crannies to snuggle up inside and out. Readers specifically mention the nearby Chestnut Hill Reservoir, with benches scattered along a path surrounding the water.
Boston College: 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill. Hours vary. bc.edu
Chestnut Hill Reservoir: 355 Chestnut Hill Ave., Brighton. Open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. mass.gov
3. Charles River Esplanade
A classic Boston picnic spot, the Esplanade is a great place to stop and leaf through a few books in the Goodreads queue. Bring a blanket to sit on the grass or hold on to a bench facing the Charles River. In the summer, you can also sample IPAs from the pop-up Night Shift Owl’s Nest beer garden.
Charles River, Esplanade, Boston. Open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. esplanade.org
4. Brookline Reservoir
Lush and tree-lined, this park in the heart of Brookline offers plenty of reading spots and spectacular views, no matter the season. “You can see the traffic, but it feels a million miles away,” one reader reported. Come alone for a serene afternoon under a row of Sargent cherry trees, or pack a picnic and bring some friends. Don’t be afraid to bring a bottle of water or lemonade – the park has newly equipped restrooms for visitors.
674 Boylston Street, Brookline. Open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. brooklinema.gov
5. The Rose Kennedy Greenway
Winding through downtown Boston, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is outfitted with countless seating options: benches, swings, and wide stretches of grass perfect for some literary recreation. Adorned with a variety of sculptures, murals, and occasional cultural events and activities, this series of parks delights.
Atlantic Avenue, Boston. Open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. rosekennedygreenway.org
6. Institute of Contemporary Art
Although the interior of the ICA is not to be overlooked, the picturesque surroundings of the museum are also worth exploring. Perched on one of Seaport’s many shorelines, it’s the perfect place to soak up the sun in your face and feel the wind in your hair. Readers specifically recommend the shaded steps behind the museum that overlook the ocean, but there’s no shortage of perches.
25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston. Open Tuesday to Wednesday. and Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thu.-Fri. 10am-9pm icaboston.org
7. Boston Athenaeum
Located in the mysterious local 10½ Beacon St. downtown, this curated library specializing in local history, fine art, and literature also features plenty of art galleries and ornate architectural views. Arches, floor-to-ceiling windows, and balconies abound, with a 5th-floor terrace that overlooks Granary Burying Ground.
10½ Beacon Street, Boston. Open Monday to Thursday. 9am-8pm and Fri.-Sat. 9am-5pm bostonathenaeum.org
8. Boston University Beach
Although devoid of sand, this grassy hill overlooking Storrow Drive is nonetheless the perfect place for a beach read, with the sound of cars rushing by easily to be confused with the waves crashing on the shore. With a handful of benches and a view of the Charles River, the green space, once a parking lot, has provided generations of BU students with a place to relax and unwind while reading for school or for college. Hobbies.
270 Bay State Road, Boston. Open 24/7. bu.edu
9. Custom House Block
This building on Long Wharf dates back to 1848 and stands as a relic of Boston’s heyday as a landmark for domestic and international maritime commerce. These days, the wharf offers quiet benches and panoramic views of Boston’s ferries and the Seaport district in the distance. Visitors can grab a pastry and read with the wind in their hair. Just be sure to keep your snacks safe from sneaky seagulls.
66 Long Wharf, Boston.
10. Norman B. Leventhal Park
Nestled in the heart of the financial district, this small square offers a welcome touch of greenery among the towering glass buildings that surround it. Benches line curved brick-lined paths offering both sun and shade, and a nearby fountain provides soothing white noise. Grab a coffee and pastry at the nearby Sip Cafe and sit under the vine-covered trellis to read in peace.
130 Congress Street, Boston. Open from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. normanbleventhalpark.org
Here is the full list of the best places to read in Greater Boston:
- Boston Public Library
- Boston University Campus
- Chestnut Hill Reservoir
- Charles River Esplanade
- The Brookline Reservoir
- The Rose Kennedy Greenway
- Through a window in the comfiest seat in the house
- Nantasket Beach
- At home.
- The Institute of Contemporary Art
- Boston Athenaeum
- customs dock
- Norman B. Leventhal Park
- The emerald necklace
- Fort Independence at Castle Island
- My bathtub
- The Boston Common
- North Point Park
- Prospect Hill Park
- BU Beach
- The public Garden