Spring in Boston arrives a bit later compared to the rest of the U.S, despite its astrological arrival in March. Sometimes it’s not until mid-April that cheery daffodils herald the warmer weather.
But once these beautiful signs of spring finally arrive, it’s cause for celebration!
I counted no less than nineteen well-tended gardens, festivals, and tours in Boston that are a prelude to our celebrate the short but gorgeous growing season.
It’s a brief but well-orchestrated show of gardens worth catching.
If you’re planning a trip for spring in Boston, you’ll want to get a few of the 19 eye-catching gardens and events below on your itinerary.
CONTENTS — In this article, you will learn what you need to know about the swoon-worthy places you’ll enjoy when it’s spring in Boston, including:
- Spring Weather in Boston
- Boston’s Spring Bloom Times
- 19 Best Places for Spring Flowers in Boston
- 1. Utopia Horticultural and Epicurean Festival
- 2. Commonwealth Avenue Magnolias
- 3. Commonwealth Ave. Mall
- 4. Lilac Sunday at Arnold Arboretum
- 5. Boston Public Gardens
- 6. Copley Plaza
- 7. Cherry Trees at The Charles River Esplanade
- 8. Art in Bloom at the MFA
- 9. Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill
- 10. James P. Kelliher Rose Garden
- 11. Fenway Victory Gardens
- 12. Harvard Museum of Natural Art
- 13. Southwest Corridor Park in Back Bay
- 14. Cambridge Center Roof Garden
- 15. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- 16. Rose Kennedy Greenway
- 17. Mount Auburn Cemetery
- 18. Lars Anderson Park
- 19. Additional Boston Locations
- Other Gardens Near Boston
- Final Thoughts
- Next Steps
Boston Weather in Spring – What to Expect
In Spring, Boston weather vacillates between misty and atmosspheric (which makes the colors pop!) to days with breaks of warm bright sunshine and spring showers.
So, you’ll want to dress for the season with layers and rain gear, just in case it’s raining.
With luck, you’ll be blessed with the blue sky days that make spring in Boston a magical experience!
The good news is, you’ll find plenty of spring things to do during spring in Boston, from museums, fun events, historic attractions, fine dining, and more. That way, should the clouds happen to roll in, you can take shelter in any number of great places until the weather cooperates.
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Boston Spring Bloom Times
Spring in Boston is a short season. In fact, it’s easy to miss spring altogether. It’s thinly sandwiched between cold New England winters and what can be hot, humid summers.
That’s what makes the fleeting spring experience even more magical.
When it’s spring in Boston, your travels will be synched with the blooms of lovely spring flowers. You’ll be arriving just as cheery flowers rise from their winter nap!
You can usually find tulips and daffodils blooming in early April along Commonwealth Avenue in Back Bay. And, vibrant tulips emerge somewhere around mid-April in Boston’s Public Garden.
You’ll also see fluffy cherry trees in April along the Esplanade.
But my favorites are the gorgeous saucer and star magnolias along Marlborough and Commonwealth streets in late March to mid-April.
As Spring winds down in late May, the Rhododendrons begin blooming in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.
So, as you can imagine, this amazing city is made all the more colorful by flowers when it’s spring in Boston.
19 Best Places to See Spring Flowers in Boston
Specifically, here is when and where to see the best spring blooms throughout the Bay State and beyond.
1. Utopia Horticultural and Epicurean Festival
When: Early March
Where: South Boston Waterfront at the Flynn (Black Falcon) Cruiseport Terminal (1 Black Falcon Avenue, Boston MA)
Utopia Seaport is a new event in Boston that replaces the former annual Boston Flower & Garden Show. It gives plant lovers an early spring flower fix – sometimes before it’s officially spring.
At this immersive garden display, you’ll enjoy lush gardens and floral displays, food demonstrations and samples, and an expansive artisans marketplace.
It’s a great way to kick off spring in Boston!
2. Commonwealth Avenue Magnolias
When: Late March, mid-April
Where: Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA
This magnificent display of magnolias, dogwoods, and spring gardens bloom alongside the historic brownstone townhomes on Commonwealth Avenue. The gardens flank both sides of the street, and the “shady” side blooms a bit later to extend the experience.
If you’re arriving by car, you might be tempted to pull over on Commonwealth for a moment to take a picture. (Double parking in Boston is a thing.)
But you can easily enjoy the scenery as well when you drive through: several traffic lights along Commonwealth Avenue will give you the opportunity to stop and gawk!
Better yet, park nearby if you can find a street meter, then take the time for a leisurely stroll to admire this elegant stretch of magnolias in bloom!
3. Commonwealth Ave. Mall
Where: Commonwealth Avenue Mall, 484 Commonwealth Ave, Boston MA
The Commonwealth Ave Mall is not the kind of mall you might think of for shopping. (For that, head one street over to Newbury Street or take a short walk to the Prudential Center or Copley Place.)
Actually, this mall is a much better option – if you’re a naturalist.
This greenway stretching between north and southbound traffic on Commonwealth Avenue makes up the narrowest part of Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace. The Mall was designed colonial days (1856) in the French Boulevard style.
The Commonwealth Ave. Mall is a peaceful year round sculpture park beneath shade trees maintained by the Friends of the Public Garden.
Here, you’ll find statues and memorials dotting this lovely path beneath dappled shade in spring. The 32-acre Mall connects the Boston Public Gardens to the Back Bay Fens.
It’s a handsome strip of formal grounds from Arlington St. to Hereford St., then Mass Ave. to Charlesgate East. (Fun Boston fact: The streets crossing Commonwealth Ave. go in alphabetical order.)
And, it doubles as a perfect vantage point to view both sides of Commonwealth Avenue in full spring bloom.
4. Lilac Sunday at Arnold Arboretum (Jamaica Plain & Roslindale)
When: The 2nd Sunday in May
Where: Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston MA
In the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale neighborhoods of Boston, you’ll find the most intoxicating collection of lilacs in every color. They’re at the Arnold Arboretum on Lilac Sunday.
As you stroll the sprawling acres of this picturesque park, the scent of this fragrant old-fashioned flower fills the air. It’s a wonderful experience for your eyes, too!
With a variety of paths, shade trees, water features, and seasonal plantings, you’ll enjoy the arboretum at any time of year you visit.
Each spring, the lilacs bloom extend over a five week period. But on Lilac Sunday (which sometimes falls on Mother’s Day), it’s especially delightful!
5. Boston Public Gardens
When: April & May
Where: Boston Public Gardens, 4 Charles Street, Boston MA
Did you know the Boston Public Gardens were the first public botanical garden in America?
It was established in 1837 as part of the Olmsted Emerald Necklace, a series of green spaces in the Boston area arranged in a way that resembles a necklace.
The Public Gardens are perhaps most famous for the pontoon swan boats, the bronze Make Way for Duckling statues, and the lovely 4-acre lagoon spanned by a Victorian pedestrian bridge.
It’s a lovely take at any time of year.
But during spring in Boston, the meandering paths, fountains, and statues are complemented by showy spring plantings. This includes vibrant spring bulbs, Japanese Quince, Crabapples, Japanese Kerria, Azaleas, and more!
6. Copley Square
Where: Copley Square, 560 Boylston Street, Boston MA
You’ll find Copley square at the intersection of Trinity Church, the Boston Public Gardens, and Boylston Street (Back Bay).
This small but picturesque green space is an ideal place for a break from your upscale shopping on Newbury Street or Copley Place.
The non-profit organization Friends of Copley Square maintains this pleasing plot of tranquility within the bustling backdrop of Back Bay.
Grab a bite to go from one of the local cafés and restaurants and have yourself a picnic lunch as you gaze up at Boston’s soaring Hancock Tower this spring.
You’ll find benches, terraced walkways, and shade-trees, as well as a large cascading pool here for your enjoyment.
And when it’s spring in Boston, the masses of colorful tulips and other spring plantings that adorn the square add to the appeal.
7. The Charles River Esplanade – April Cherry Trees
Where: South bank of the Charles River Basin, Boston MA
This 3-mile stretch of green space along the Charles River, known as the Charles River Esplanade, may be best-known for Arthur Fiedler’s famed 4th of July performances at the Hatch Shell.
But in spring, rows of cherry blossoms are the real fanfare.
Dozens of flowering cherry trees between the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge and the Mass. Avenue ramp puff up like pink cotton balls in April.
This walkable, cycleable path spans the riverfront from the Museum of Science and the Boston University Bridge (which locals call simply, “the BU bridge”).
Not only will you enjoy the subtle scent of cherry blossoms here, but you’ll have great views of Boston and Cambridge as you traverse the esplanade. Bring your camera!
8. Art in Bloom MFA
When: Late April
Where: The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA
This annual festival at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts speaks especially to those who love both flowers and art.
The interpretive Art in Bloom event takes place each spring in Boston, and it’s a great way to inspire your own creativity while appreciating fine art in Boston.
Here’s what you can expect.
Boston area garden clubs create exquisite flower arrangements inspired by famous works of art on display in the museum.
You’ll see the colors, textures, composition, and tones of timeless masterpieces artfully reflected in stunning and creative tributes to art through flower design.
It’s a uniquely artistic way to design flower arrangements that you might even try at home!
9. Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill
Where: 70 Charles Street, Boston MA (Corner of Charles St. and Mt. Vernon St.)
What could be better than a day exploring secret gardens in Boston?
In the spring, you’ll have the opportunity to do just that.
Each May, residents welcome guests to their exquisite private gardens within the exclusive Beacon Hill neighborhood, rain or shine.
Hosted by the Beacon Hill Garden Club, the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Annual Tour navigates through 10-12 private gardens each year in May. This allows you to tour garden spaces otherwise off-limits to the public.
Along the way, you’ll also be able to admire several “ribbon gardens” on view (though not toured), which are cultivated by non-members.
To round out the day, you can optionally pre-order a catered box lunch, and enjoy complimentary coffee and tea at King’s Chapel Parish House.
For the most immersive experience, consider signing up for the exclusive Annual Spring Soirée, too.
This event takes place the evening before the HIdden Gardens tour at the King’s Chapel Parish House Garden. It includes cocktails and bites, as well as a special tour of three gardens nearby.
10. James P. Kelleher Rose Garden
When: Beginning in late May
Where: Backbay Fens, 73 Park Drive, Boston MA
This small, charming garden with a variety of rose bushes, statues, a fountain, and arched trellises is hidden in the Back Bay Fens. The James P. Kelleher Rose Garden is also part of the Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace.
While this outdoor park is not huge, it is filled with almost 1,500 roses of about 200 different rose varieties of roses!
Stroll along the stone dust pathways to imbibe the heady scent, or take a seat on one of the benches, where you can admire the gardens, cherubs, and water fountain.
The garden is open daily beginning in May to October.
But the best time to coordinate your visit with rose bloom times would be late May and early June. For peak bloom time, your best bet is the first week in June.
11. Fenway Victory Gardens
When: Year Round
Where: Fenway Victory Gardens, 1200 Boylston Street, Boston MA
The Fenway Victory Gardens are the only remaining continuously-operating World War II Victory Gardens in the United States.
This bountiful green space within Frederick Law Olmsted’s famed Emerald Necklace has been operating since 1942, when victory gardens were commonplace throughout the country.
Now, local gardeners tend to more than 500 individual garden plots on the Fenway Victory Gardens’ 7.5 acres. The harvests range from vegetables, fruit, herbs and medicinal plants to showy perennials and flowers.
To claim a plot, you must be a Boston resident and volunteer – but visitors are most welcome to stroll the property.
When you visit the Fenway Victory Gardens, you’ll discover peaceful meandering paths and public spaces. And during spring in Boston, the spring, look for cheerful spring flowers and cool-weather crops.
The park is open from dusk to dawn and there is no fee for admission.
It’s a great place to enjoy the beauty and the history in this City of Boston public park.
Related: Love Boston sports, like the Red Sox and Patriots? Discover the closest hotel to Gillette Stadium.
12. Glass Flowers at Harvard University (Cambridge)
When: Permanent exhibit
Where: The Harvard Museum of History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA
Just outside of Boston in Cambridge MA, you’ll find one of the Harvard University’s most famous treasures: the “Glass Flowers.”
More formally, this internationally acclaimed exhibit is the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants.
This unique collection of over 4,300 glass models represents about 800 plant species. Created in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the dazzling display is the handiwork of a father and son team of Czech glass artisans, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka.
The exhibit has been at Harvard since 1893 – and it’s popularity is no wonder. It’s hard to discern the glass flowers from their live counterparts!
13. Southwest Corridor Park in Back Bay
When: Year round
Where: 38 New Heath St., Boston MA
If you enjoy a peaceful stroll, take this enjoyable walk through Back Bay’s Southwest Corridor Park.
It’s a green way that is just over 4 miles long if you stay on the main walking path. The Southwest Corridor Park connects Boston’s South End, Back Bay, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain.
In fact, you can follow it all the way from Back Bay to Forest Hills.
Along the way, you’ll find:
- Basketball and tennis courts
- Spray pools
- Street hockey rinks
- Walking Trails
And of course, you’ll see beautiful flowers and trees in spring bloom!
This welcomed community space was created after opposition to the mass razing of homes and hundreds of acres to build part of Interstate Route 95 and the Southwest Expressway in the 1960s.
While the highway project was successfully rerouted after public outcry, the demolition “mess” remained for many years.
Finally, the Southwest Corridor Park project began in the late 70s and the final stretch was completed in 1990.
Now, it’s a well-loved multi-use space open from dawn to dusk for all to enjoy!
14. Cambridge Center Roof Garden (Cambridge)
When: Year Round
Where: 4 Cambridge Center, 325 Main St., Cambridge, MA (Kendall Square)
Who would have even guessed a secret garden grows on top of a Cambridge parking garage?
Well, it does!
You can access the Cambridge Center Roof Garden (Urban Park “UP” Roof Garden) year round from sunrise to 11PM.
Simply hop on the elevator in the Kendall Center Green Garage (90 Broadway) and press “R.” Or, ascend the street level stairwell on Main Street.
Not only will you get a birds eye view, but the space hosts a rooftop yoga series, acoustic lunchtime concerts, cooking demos, sunset movies, pickle ball, and other public events on high.
15. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
When: Year round
Where: 25 Evans Way, Boston MA
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is always a good take. The museum is home to a significant collection of European, Asian, and American Art.
It’s also the scene of the famous 1990 art heist in which 13 works valued at over $500 million were stolen. They’ve yet to be recovered!
But if you’re looking for spring blooms here, head over to the courtyard.
This ever-blooming space features orchids, hanging nasturtiums, and other spring blossoms during spring in Boston. Throughout the year, you’ll find equally enchanting garden scenes in the courtyard.
The Isabella Steward Gardner Museum’s stunning courtyard design is inspired by Venetian architecture. In fact, this space may make you feel like you’ve been transported to a faraway land, surrounded by exotic blooms!
And if you want to take home a souvenir of your visit, choose from a selection of fine botanical prints in the museum gift shop.
16. Rose Kennedy Greenway
When: Year round, closes at 11pm
Where: 185 Kneeland Street, Boston MA
The Rose Fitzerald Kennedy Greenway is spread out through many of Boston’s downtown neighborhoods, including Chinatown, the Financial District, the waterfront, and the North End.
It features more than one mile of beautifully landscaped gardens, promenades, plazas, fountains, and art. Many are accented by incredible lighting systems!
The 17-acre greenway offers a great collection of modern parks within a short walking distance, including:
- Armenian Heritage Park (Atlantic Ave and Mercantile St.)
- Dewey Square Park (Congress, Summer, and Atlantic Ave.)
- Fort Point Channel Parks (Oliver, Congress, and Atlantic Ave.)
- North End Parks with Carolyn Lynch Garden (New Sudbury and North St.)
- Uncle Frank & Auntie Kay Chin Park (Surface Rd. and Beach St.)
- Wharf District Parks with Greenway Carousel, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove, Harbor Islands Pavillion (Atlantic Ave. and High St.)
Created as part of Boston’s “Big Dig” in 2008, this common-use land is a welcome replacement to the former elevated Central Artery (part of the JFK Expressway).
In some parts of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, you can still see remnants of the “Highway in the Sky,” an eyesore which divided the North End and waterfront from downtown Boston for many years.
To see traces of the past, look for green steel I-beams at Congress St. where it crosses Purchase St. and Atlantic Ave, and also on the Greenway at Clinton Street.
And then you can better appreciate the improved use of this space!
17. Mount Auburn Cemetery (Cambridge)
When: Year round
Where: 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge MA
You might not think of garden gazing in a cemetery – but at the Mount Auburn Cemetery, it’s commonplace. Over 200,000 people visit each year!
While some visit Mount Auburn to remember loved ones and notable burial sites, the cemetery’s incredible landscape attracts many others.
It’s a place where you’ll discover magnificent trees, a lively wildlife population (including birds and other creatures), and lovely art and architecture.
Spring at Mount Auburn Cemetery is especially colorful, featuring blooms of:
- Flowering dogwoods
- and more!
When you visit, you can even take a guided tour or sign up for educational programs.
This 175-acre arboretum and wildlife sanctuary/burial grounds founded by Harvard botanist Jacob Bigelow and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society is a peaceful space designed for both the living and the dead.
And while you can’t bring your lunch or eat on the picturesque premises, you’ll find plenty of great dining options in the area to extend your experience.
18. Larz Anderson Park (Brookline)
The idyllic setting of Larz Anderson Park, featuring more than 61 acres of expansive lawn, slopes, woods, waterscapes, and playing fields, was once the Larz Anderson Estate. In 1951, the main property was bequeathed to the town for public recreation and charitable purposes.
And indeed, it is used toward that end!
Located in Brookline (part of Greater Boston), not only will you enjoy the quietude and beauty here in spring, but you can also enjoy sweeping views of the Boston skyline.
It’s a great green space for walking and cycling, picnicking, or just gazing at the placid pond.
Larz Anderson Park is the largest park in Brookline, and it’s perfectly landscaped and maintained.
Car enthusiasts and others will love a visit to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum ($12pp) on the property. It’s the oldest automobile collection in the US. There, you can have a look at vintage vehicles of the day, like a horse-drawn carriage, sleigh, and old-fashioned motorcars.
History buffs will also appreciate the one-room school house from colonial times on the property.
19. Other Beautiful Locations | Spring in Boston
By now, you’ve got the idea that Boston loves its green spaces. In addition to those above, here are more must-see gardens and other green spaces in Boston to enjoy the spring beauty.
- The Fens
- The Riverway
- Jamaica Pond
- Franklin Park
- Olmsted Park
Places Near Boston to See Beautiful Blooms
The spring beauty in Massachusetts isn’t limited only to Boston. While you’re visiting, check out these botanical spots that make great day trips or an overnight in the Bay State and nearby Rhode Island.
- Berkshire Botanical Garden – Stockbridge, MA
- Blithewold Mansion – Bristol, RI
- Garden in the Woods – Framingham, MA
- Golden Hour Tulips Farm – Berkley, MA
- Heritage Museums & Gardens – Sandwich, MA
- Long Hill – Beverly, MA
- Nantucket Daffodil Festival – Nantucket, MA
- Newport Daffodil Days – Newport, RI
- Spohr Gardens – Falmouth, MA
- Roger Williams Park Botanical Gardens – Providence, RI
- The Botanic Garden of Smith College – Northampton, MA
- The Elms Bank – Wellesley, MA
- Tower Hill Botanical Garden – Worcester, MA
- Wellesley College Botanic Gardens – Wellesley, MA
Final Thoughts | Spring in Boston
I consider Boston to be home and it’s one of my favorite cities in the world.
It’s an easy place to love at any time of year. But if it’s spring in Boston, watch for this fleeting but incredible show of Boston in bloom!
To learn about other amazing botanical gardens around the world, read these articles next:
- World Botanical Gardens: 35+ Beautiful Gardens That Will Inspire
- 3 Spectacular Botanical Gardens I Love at The Huntington Museum
- 9 Most Beautiful Peruvian Plants and Striking Flowers in Peru
- Fields of Lavender: Seafoam Lavender Garden in River John | Nova Scotia
- Best Virtual Garden Tours in the World
Look to these articles for help planning your trip to Boston:
- Need an Easy Packing Checklist for Spring in New England? [Free Printable]
- Old North Church: How to Maximize Your Visit to Boston’s Historic Landmark
- Boston to Salem Day Trip: 13 Thrilling Attractions Beyond Halloween
- Where to Stay in Salem MA? Our Top Pick is the Hawthorne Hotel [Review]
- Boston vs NYC: Which World-Famous City Has the Better Boutique Hotels?
- Best Haunted Houses in Boston for Halloween Fun
- 9 Gorgeous New England Road Trips You’ll Want to Take This Year
- Can You Guess Where You’ll Find the Best Wineries in New England?
- Culture Trip: The Best Art Museums in New England
- The Best Towns of Cape Cod to Explore When You Visit
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