Boston’s gray skies may not make it a mecca for sun worshippers, but not everything has to be about burning hot, melanoma-inducing death rays. Sometimes we forget that the sun is capable of a gentler light for the more sensitive, ukulele-strumming types out there. And while Boston is a prime place for sunrises (as the city largely faces east, toward the sea), the thought of getting out of bed before the birds have started chirping is less than appetizing, so we’ll stick to sunsets for now. Whether you’re a thoughtful poet, a songwriter seeking inspiration, or someone simply looking to add a little more color to your life, here are Boston’s best vantage points to pay homage to this majestic circadian event.
Perched at a hair-raising 700ft., the Skywalk Observatory in Back Bay propels you to unobstructed 360-degree views of the city. The floor-to-ceiling windows guarantee celestial visions of the sky in all its radiance. All of Boston is laid at your feet; as the sun slowly sinks into the horizon, watch the city darken and the lights slowly flicker on. For those of you craving a cocktail and some live jazz for the show, head up two flights for a high-end meal at Top of the Hub. Tickets for the Skywalk Observatory range from $13-$15 dollars.
Boston Harbor Islands
Boston’s colonial architecture is gosh-darn pretty, but can it really compete with the soft, surreal reds and oranges created by a sunset? Leave the wonders of mankind behind and hop on a ferry to the Boston Harbor Island, where you can feel free to contemplate the sunset without hearing a car honk. On Spectacle Island you can head over to Summer Shack to enjoy New England clambakes. Just be sure to remember to catch the last ferry back to the city—man can only handle so much nature at a time. Ferries run from May-Oct and cost $15.
For those of us overstimulated by our fast-paced world or with undiagnosed attention deficit disorder, gazing at the sunset may be too static of an activity. Not to worry, though—put on some running shoes or pull out that bike for a jaunt along the Charles River. Run west, starting from Mass. Ave. bridge, and watch the sky transform as you pant, sweat, and experience zen-like epiphanies about the meaning of life.
Corey Hill Outlook on Summit Ave., Brookline
When city planners designed New York City, they dynamited millions of cubic yards of earth, leveling hills left and right and probably cackling with power as they did so. Lucky for Bostonians, city planners here took a different approach, kicked back, and let the peak on Summit Ave. remain. Pack a picnic basket and scale this sizable hill to admire the great views of the city, and, of course, the sunset.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Although this waterfront art museum faces northeast, the glass walls and spectacular views across the water create a great set up for the interplaying colors of a sunset. If nature’s show isn’t thought provoking enough for your complex mind, meander through the provocative exhibitions at the ICA; go on Thursdays after 5pm for free admission.