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Top 10 Places to Visit in Newton, MA

This spring, take a mini "staycation" to relax! These top 10 places in Newton are perfect for exploring with your family and friends. So play tourist for the day and make a day revisiting these familiar places, or exploring new locations in your City. Either way, these sights in Newton are a must see this season.

  1. The Newton History Museum at the Jackson Homestead

    jackson homestead

    The Newton History Museum at the Jackson Homestead is a local history museum dedicated to the city's early development. According to its website, Historic Newton encourages "inquiry about and exploration of the history of Newton, Massachusetts within the context of the wider American story." Historic Newton oversees the Jackson Homestead, the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, and Newton's Historic Burying Ground. The Jackson Homestead house is best known as being a stop on the Underground Railroad. Built in 1809 as a farmhouse designed in a federal style, it is now a museum filled with painting, costumes, photographs, manuscripts, maps, and historical artifacts. For more information, click here. And for a list for the current exhibits, click here.

    Location & Directions

    527 Washington Street,

    Newton, MA 02458

    (617) 796-1450

    For driving directions, click here.

    Public transportation: Buses 57, 504, 553, 554, 556, 558 all stop within a walking distance of the museum. Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail Newtonville stop within walking distance.

    Visiting Hours

    Tuesday-Friday: 11am- 5 pm

    Saturday-Sunday: 12pm- 5 pm

    Closed Mondays and major holidays

  2. The Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds

    durant-kenrick house

    The Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds was built in 1732 and is one of only a few pre-Revolutionary houses remaining in Newton. It has been maintained in near original condition, with period furniture and other collections. The house is surrounded by specimen trees that were planted by William Kenrick himself, one of the first horticulturists in the country.  For more information, click here.

    Location & Directions

    286 Waverly Avenue

    Newton, MA 02458

    (617) 641-9142

    For driving directions, click here.

    Public transportation: Buses 52, 57, 504, 553, 554, 556, and 558 all stop within a 12-minut walk.

    Visiting Hours

    Wednesday-Friday: 11am- 5pm

    Saturday-Sunday: 12pm- 5pm

    Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and major holidays

  3. Crystal Lake

    Crystal Lake is a 33-acre natural lake located in Newton Centre. Its shores, although mostly lined by private homes, host two small parks, a designated swimming area, and a bathhouse. In the colonial era, it was originally called Wiswall's Pond, and then became known as Baptist Pond because it was used for baptisms by the Newton Center Baptist Church. In the 19th century the lake was used for ice harvesting and was renamed to Crystal Lake to make the water sound more appealing to customers. Crystal Lake is now a part of Newton's Parks and Recreation Department's Community Preservation Program.

    People come here to swim, fish, boat, and ice skate in the winter. Shoreline paths and sidewalks allow for peaceful walks around three sides of the lake. For more information on Crystal Lake, click here. And or more information on the Newton Conservator's work at Crystal Lake, click here.

    Location & Directions

    Lake Avenue

    Newton Highlands, MA 02461

    (617) 796-1500

    For driving directions, click here.

    Public transportation: From the green line, 0.4 mile walk from Newton Center, or 0.2 mile walk from the Newton Highlands Station.

  4. Heartbreak Hill

    Heartbreak Hill is an ascent over 0.4 miles between the 20 and 21 mile marks of the Boston Maration. It is the the last of the four Newton hills, which begin at the 16-mile mark. Though Heartbreak Hill itself only rises 88 feet vertically, according to sugarloafmarathon.com, it "is positioned at a point on a marathon course where muscle glycogen stores are likely depleted-- a phenomenon referred to by marathoners as 'hitting the wall'." Heartbreak Hill got its name in 1936, when defending champion John A. "Johnny" Kelley overtook Elison "Tarzan" Brown, giving him a consolatory pat on the shoulder as he passed. This gesture provided the renewed vigor for Brown to push further, and he went on to win, thereby it was said to break Kellys heart.

    With the Boston Marathon bombings still fresh in our memory and our hearts, visiting this stretch that was run and seeing the Prudential from the top of the hill may bring a sense of peaceful remembrance for those who suffered and for those who rallied during that sad time.

    Location & Directions

    Heartbreak Hill begins at the bottom where Grant Avenue crosses Commonwealth Avenue and ends at the peak of where Hammon Street, Wachusetts and Woodchester meet and cross Commonwealth Avenue.

    For directions, click here

  5. Echo Bridge

    Echo Bridge is a notable 19th century masonry arch bride spanning the Charles River between Needham to Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts. The bridge carries the Sudbury Aqueduct and foot traffic and is located at the Hemlock Gorge Reservation. It was constructed from 1875-1877, and at the time it was the second longest masonry arch in the country. It received its name because of the striking echos one hears under the main arch of the bridge. Its acoustical properties even allow for a whisper to be answered several time over. In 1980, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1981 it was named an American Water Landmark.

    From the bridge you can view some of the old mill buildings, but most of the gorge remains naturally overgrown. It has two viewing locations, the pedestrian walk on the top of the bridge and the platform underneath where visitors can hear echoes. You can see white water, a waterfall, and the hemlock-lined gorge. So check out this beautiful bridge and see for yourself how well your echo is heard. For more information, click here.

    Location & Directions

    Spans the Charles River between Needham and Newton. It is just off Route 9 where it crosses Route 128.

    For driving directions, click here.

  6. Norumbega Park

    Norumbega Park is a 13-acre park on the Charles River that is a popular jogging and dog-walking sight, with hills, meadows, woods, and access to the river. It used to be a recreation area with an amusement part "Auburndale-on-the-Charles". The Park, which closed on Labor Day 1963 used to offer canoeing and pedal boating, a theater, gardens, restaurants and food vendors, a penny arcade, picnic areas, a zoo and amusement rides. It opened in June 1897 in an attempt to increase patronage and revenues on the trolley line running between Boston and Auburndale and attracted hundreds of thousands of patrons each season. But the popularity declined after WWII and eventually closed in 1963.

    Today Norumbega Park is a part of the Newton Conservators. It has trails that wind through a beautiful meadow, steep pine and hemlock-covered riverbanks, and a wooded knoll opening to a scenic view of the Charles. Although most of the relics from the former Norumbega amusement park have been destroyed, the band organ from the carousel was restored in 2011 and is played again today for the enjoyment of the public. For more information, click here.

    Location & Directions

    Commonwealth Avenue

    Newton, MA 02466

    (617) 796-1500

    For driving directions, click here.

    Public transportation: 0.5 mile walk from Auburndale Commuter Rail station

  7. Chestnut Hill Reservoir

    The Chestnut Hill Reservoir is a popular park with the residents of Newton, Brookline, and the Brighton section of Boston. It was created in 1870 on existing marshes and meadowlands to supplement Boston's water needs. Although it was taken offline in 1978, as it was no longer needed for regular water supply distribution, the Reservoir is maintained in emergency backdrop status. It is recognized today on the National Register of Historic Places. For more history on the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, click here.

    Today you can drive along the north side of the reservoir, on the Chestnut Hill Driveway, which is a popular pleasure drive location. It offers beautiful views of the water and surrounding grounds. It is also a great place for a run or job, about 1.5 miles around. And if you're not in the mood to exercise, it is great for just strolling along the banks. For more information, click here.

    Location & Directions

    400 Chestnut Hill Avenue

    Brookline, MA 02445

    (617) 333-7404

    For driving directions, click here.

    Public transportation: Take the Green line "C" branch to Cleveland Circle, walk east on Beacon Street to Chestnut Hill Avenue

  8. Bullough's Pond

    Bullough's Pond is a 9-mile old millpond transformed into a landscape feature that was created in 1647 by John Spring. The mill on the pond was from the eighteenth century, but it was burned and destroyed in 1886. In the nineteenth century, it was a site of a commercial ice business. It was featured in a scene from the film, "The Women" starring Annette Bening and Meg Ryan. For more history, click here.It is now a part of the Newton Conservators. A Common spot for bird watching, fishing and winter ice-skating, Bullough's Pond offers citizens a place to retreat. Walking around the lake or just sitting on a bench and watching the ducks, this pond provides the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For more information, click here.

    Location & Directions

    Bulloughs Pond

    Newton, MA 02460

    For driving directions, click here

    Public transportation: Route 59 bus to Walnut Street.

  9. Hammond Pond Reservation

    Hammond Pond Reservation is a wooded reservation with a large, scenic pond located in the Chestnut Hill section of Newton. It is a natural forest with wooded trails and large geographical formations which are popular for rock climbing. For more information, click here.

    Open year-round, dawn to dusk, Hammond Pond Reservation features fishing, hiking trails, and rock climbing that are popular with both residents of Newtons and locals to the Boston area. There are beautiful areas to walk and job, as well as places to study nature and geology. The pond and its adjoining marshes and woodlands provide valuable habitats for a diversity of wildlife, aquatic species, and native plants.

    For rock climbing, the steep, fingery routes in the alcove highlight the bouldering. The top-roing is most popular at the main face by the pond. For more information on what to bring and where to climb, click here.

    Location & Directions

    Hammond Pond Parkway

    Newton, MA 02467

    (617) 333-7404

    For driving directions, click here

    Public transportation: Green line "D" line to Chestnut Hills Station

  10. Charles River Canoe and Kayak

    Charles River Canoe & Kayak is an ideal location for an outing! Located at the "Lakes District" of the Charles, this area has more tan 100 years of canoeing history. The rental center is located in a historic boathouse adjacent to the site of the former Norumbega Amusement Park and Totem Pole Ballroom.

    There is a scenic 6-mile stretch of flat water between Newton Lower Falls Dam and the Moody Street Dam, abundant with wildlife along the river, including herons, otters, turtles, cormorants, muskrats, ducks, geese, and swans. Upstream of the boathouse, the river is narrow and tree-lined, passing the Leo J . Martin Golf Course. Downstream of the boathouse, the river is wider and tree-lined, passing the historic Waltham Watch Factory.

    The Auburndale Park is located 1.5 miles downstream and offers a sand beach, playground, ball fields, and picnic area. Farther down the river, Forest Grove Park offers a sand beach and informal walking trails. For more information, click here.

    Location & Directions

    2401 Commonwealth Avenue

    Newton, MA 02466

    (617) 965-5110

    For driving directions, click here.

    Public transportation: From MBTA Green Line "D" to Riverside station, approximately 1.2 miles away. From MBTA Commuter Rail's Worcester/Framingham line to Auburndale station, approximately 0.5 miles away.

If these sights have interested you in exploring more and moving to Newton, check out these listings from Castles Unlimited.

 

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