This tour meanders along the water, starting at Boston’s newest and most cutting-edge museum to the very edge of the historic North End, and makes great use of Boston’s Harborwalk.
Start this tour by checking out the (1) Institute of Contemporary Art at 100 Northern Avenue. The view of the harbor from the mediatheque (the section cantilevered to the edge of the water) is worth the admission alone. Afterward, join the Harborwalk as it winds along the waterfront to the left of the ICA (as you are facing the water). Along the interim path (a new and nicer one will be constructed as part of the condominium development slated for the space between the ICA and the Henry Cobb-designed (2) Moakley Courthouse, there are interpretive displays and signs recounting the history of the Fan Pier area (where the courthouse is situated) and Boston Harbor.
Follow the path along the waterfront until it reaches Northern Avenue and the (3) Old Northern Avenue Bridge. One of the few remaining steel truss swing drawbridges in the world, the old Northern Avenue Bridge is now pedestrian-only. Walk across the old Northern Avenue Bridge. On the other side of the bridge, walk down the set of stairs of your right hand side to rejoin the Harborwalk.
As you work you way north toward the North End and Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, you will skirt a number of piers and wharves. This area used to be the center and heart of Boston’s thriving sea-trade. The first wharf you pass is (4) Rowes Wharf. At (5) India Wharf, check out the David von Schlegell piece entitled, “Untitled Landscape.” Further along past the India Wharf is (6) Central Wharf, where the New England Aquarium sits. Continue around the back of the aquarium on the Harborwalk path until you come to the end of (7) Long Wharf. Stop to enjoy the view through the free binoculars and hunt for the pink compass rose set into the floor. Continue around Long Wharf to Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, where you can rest and relax or continue on to the North End.
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