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Boston Common
147 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111

Founded in 1634, the Boston Common bears the distinction of being the oldest park in America -- making it a longtimeMore and excellent neighbor to Beacon Hill. The jumping off point for the Freedom Trail, the Common is host to everything from full-scale Shakespeare productions to Ultimate Frisbee and impromptu snowball fights. Its a fixture of life in Boston and Beacon Hill residents benefit from their close proximity to the nearly 50 acres of green space. While the Common has a rich history filled with revolution, political protest and a whole lot of cattle grazing (up until 1830), most of today's Beacon Hill residents enjoy the Common as a great place to take a blanket and relax in the sun or else grab some ice skates for a spin around Frog Pond in the winter.

City parks officials recently announced plans to remake the "Pink Palace" -- a now-defunct men's restroom near the Common tennis courts -- into a high-end restaurant.  This park really has seen everything. 

The Common is bordered by Beacon Hill to its north and the Boston Public Garden to its west, which was created 200 years after the founding of the Common. Together with the Public Garden, the Common makes up nearly 75 acres of green space in the heart of downtown Boston. 

Boston Common Frog Pond Foundation
84 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108

In July and August the Boston Common Frog Pond is transformed into a wading pool and water fountain. The pool is openMore daily from 11 a.m. to 6p.m. 

From November to mid-March, the Frog Pond becomes a skating rink. Admission is $4 for those 14 and older. Adult skates can be rented for $8 a pair and children's skates can be rented for $5 a pair. Lockers are available for $1. Season passes are also available, and the skating rink can be rented out for birthday parties and other events. 

The Carousel on the Common operates April through October and tickets are $3 a ride. It's open daily from 11am to 9pm. The Lily Pad Café serves up food to hungry swimmers or skaters from 11am to 6pm daily.

The Skating Club of Boston operates and manages the Frog Pond Skating Rink.

Boston Public Garden
51 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108

Like its neighbor the Boston Common, the Public Garden is known for breaking historical ground. When it was createdMore in 1837, it was credited as America's first public botanical garden. Because it's right next the the Common, the two are often indistinguishable and most tourists and even some residents don't realize they are visiting two different parks.

Together with the Common, the Public Garden makes up nearly 75 acres of green space in the heart of downtown Boston. Most tourists flock to the Garden for a spin around the pond in the famous Swan Boats, in operation since 1877. The boats welcome riders between April and September every year. But the Public Garden's charms are much more varied and deep than the Swan Boats -- the impeccable landscaping and peaceful, timeless atmosphere provides Beacon Hill residents with a year-round urban oasis. But for $2.75 a pop, a Swan Boat ride could be a worthwhile 15-minute reprieve even for native Bostonians. 

Saturdays, especially during the summer, are exceptionally busy at the Garden -- and watch out for ubiquitous newlyweds and their snap-happy wedding photographers ignoring signs not to walk on the grass! 

No cycling or rollerblading and definitely no walking on the grass!

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