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Boston public art: The 6 best places to find it downtown

These spots—including Boston Common and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall—are all close together

Boston brims with public art in so many mediums. Where best to find it? These six downtown spots host an array of works—and the locations are not too far from one another.


Boston Common/Public Garden

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↑ America’s oldest public park and its famed botanical neighbor contain multitudes of both high-profile and not-so-prominent public art, including the famed Make Way for Ducklings statues, the Sailor and Soldiers Monument, and the 54th Massachusetts memorial.

Rose Kennedy Greenway

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↑ The 1.5-mile linear park invariably hosts some of the city’s most current public art, including three separate temporary installations this summer.

Visitors will also find permanent features such as the Greenway Carousel and the Ring Fountain.

Copley Square

A wide-open civic square in downtown Boston. People are on the grass of the square, and there is a lot of activity in general. Shutterstock

↑ The famed plaza—which itself is named for an artist, the painter John Singleton Copley—hosts everything from painted power boxes to bronze and marble statues to (literally) monumental architecture in the form of the Richardsonian Romanesque Trinity Church and the Beaux Arts-Renaissance Revival main building of the Boston Public Library.

Commonwealth Avenue Mall

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↑ The 32-acre expanse shooting through Back Bay feels like a grand Parisian boulevard, and that’s intentional—it was designed as such in the 19th century.

Memorials and statues dot the 1.3-mile run, which ends on its eastern terminus at the Public Garden.

Faneuil Hall area

The front of a squat, triangular-roofed building with a bronze statue of man with folded arms outside. Shutterstock

↑ Faneuil Hall itself is a work of public art. Its bones date from the 1760s; and Charles Bulfinch, America’s first really noted architect, designed its federal-style expansion at the start of the 19th century.

Begin your public art hunt at the famous Anne Whitney statue of Samuel Adams out front, and then work your way back and around the Faneuil area to see any number of other markers, murals, and statues.

Charles River Esplanade

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↑ The state park on the Charles River’s south bank includes a goodly number of steel, granite, and bronze statuary; and is an excellent vantage, especially in warm weather, from which to behold the Boston skyline.

And, in 2017, the esplanade unveiled its first-ever piece of commissioned art, a colorful mural depicting the expanse’s hustle and bustle.