Chestnut Hill Reservation
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:Beacon Street and Chestnut Hill Avenue, Brighton, MA
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; 617-333-7404

Bathrooms: None (unless you visit the rink and pool)
Water/Snacks: None (unless you visit the rink and pool)

USGS Lexington

The reservation offers an easy 1.5-mile loop walk around its reservoir and views of a serene setting in the city.

The 1.5-mile loop around the reservoir is an enjoyable walk with kids.
Photo by: Kim Foley MacKinnon

Chestnut Hill Reservoir and pumping station pumped millions of gallons of drinking water to Boston, Brookline, and numerous other communities during its prime in the late 1800s and well into the next century. The reservoir was constructed at a time when civic pride was at a high pitch, which is why the pumping station, across Beacon Street, looks somewhat like a castle.

The station, now a museum (see Plan B below), operated until the 1970s, when Boston began getting its water from the Quabbin Reservoir. If need arises, though, Chestnut Hill is able to serve as an emergency backup source. Today, the reservation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a City of Boston Landmark.

You can take your kids for a pleasant stroll on the 1.5-mile path around the reservoir. This is also a good place for kids to bike or roller-skate. In colder months, take a wintry walk and look for signs of wildlife.

Remember: You can’t swim or ice-skate on the reservoir; head to Reilly Rink and Pool (335 Chestnut Hill Avenue), part of the reservation’s property, to enjoy those activities. Keep your dog on a leash and clean up after it.

Plan B:

The Waterworks Museum, housed in the former pumping station, was built by architect Henry Hobson Richardson, who also built Boston’s Trinity Church. Inside, all the machinery is pretty fascinating to look at for adults and kids alike. A movie and exhibit stations detail the history of the building and the era. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Visit for information.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Numerous restaurants are on Beacon Street in either direction from the reservation.


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