Celebrate sundown from Boston Harbor to Boston Common
Boston is one of those towns that comes alive after sundown, and its position on Boston Harbor means that Beantown sunsets can be truly dazzling. But iffy weather and crowds can make it challenging to find a spot where you can be guaranteed a great view of the nightly event. Here's what you need to know.
Winter is probably the trickiest time to enjoy the sunset in Boston. For one thing, it happens as early as around 4:10 p.m. during December, although it shifts to past 5:30 by late winter. Winters are also cold and snowy in Boston, and that eliminates some of the views and some of the outdoor viewing spots that are available at other times of the year.
During those cold Boston winters, your best bet for spotting a beautiful sunset is to visit the Top of the Hub, the restaurant-lounge at the top of the Prudential Building in Back Bay. You can enjoy 360-degree views from a comfortable indoor location while enjoying drinks at the bar. The restaurant is for patrons only, though, so you can't see the sunset without buying something, and the dress code is business casual.
Once the clocks jump forward in early spring, the sun sets in Boston starting at around 6:45. By May, the event happens at 8, or a little after.
The weather can be hit-or-miss during spring. It's possible to have snow one week and balmy breezes the next, and rain or snow can come on quickly in Boston. If you're planning ahead, you may prefer to watch the setting sun from an indoor location, like the Top of the Hub or the Harborside Lounge at the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor. But, if the day is warm and clear, head to Piers Park in East Boston. It faces west across the harbor, so it's probably the best spot in the city to see the sun slip behind the skyline. Bring a picnic, but leave Fido at home. No dogs are allowed.
After a long and cold winter, the people of Boston love to be outside. Summer sunsets happen as late as 8:25 in late June. By late August, though, sundown is closer to 7 than 8, so try to get into position early.
Warm summer evenings are a great time to head out on the water. Take a sunset boat tour of Boston Harbor, or drive out of the city and head down to Wollaston Beach in Quincy. It's only a few miles outside Boston and offers gorgeous waterside sunset views. And a Piers Park summer evening can be lovely, too.
Autumn is probably the most beautiful season in Boston, but it can get chilly as night falls. In early September, sunset happens a little after 7. By Thanksgiving, Daylight Saving Time means the sun sets at around 4:15.
Piers Park is still a good option for seeing the action during autumn. Peters Hill, in the Arnold Arboretum in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood, also offers beautiful views, and it's especially scenic when the leaves have changed colors. The arboretum is free and open every day, but it closes at sunset, so plan to get going as soon as the sun drops out of the sky.