Though it might be December, it’s never too cold to layer up, put some pep in your step, and explore Franklin Park. One of Boston’s coolest free spots to catch up with friends or to take a date or a dog (or both), a walk in the park, and a walk to the park, are as good for your head as they are for your heart. If you take the Orange Line to Stony Brook and walk ten to fifteen minutes, you’ll be warmed up by the time you hit the park’s abandoned bear cages.
Built in 1912 as part of the Franklin Park Zoo, the cages still stand, dilapidated witnesses to a century of Boston’s history. Keep moving and you’ll find the “tunnel of love” on the other side of White Stadium—watch your feet, there’s usually a used condom or two on the ground. On the other side are the Overlook ruins, with their staircases to nowhere and corners of stone buildings from another time.
Through the woods is Schoolmaster Hill, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s old homestead, marked by a stone terrace overlooking meadowland and the Blue Hills. With a fresh coat of snow on the ground, it’s one of the most serene spots to think, talk, or just be.
So if you’re broke and burned out on the city, don’t sweat the cold: see what you can find in Franklin Park, always just a walk away.