Circle the City

Connecting Parks, Neighborhoods and Healthy Living in Boston

What is Circle The City?
Boston’s Circle The City is an open-streets initiative connecting people to parks. Featuring free activities for all ages that promote healthy, active urban living, Circle The City will draw people out of their homes and cars and onto safe, car-free streets to walk, bike, roll, play and celebrate some of our greatest urban resources—our parks.

Circle The City was recently selected by the White House Council on Environmental Quality as a 2012 Urban Signature Project of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative. Demonstrating an innovative model connecting conservation and recreation, Circle The City will serve as a national leader for exemplifying healthy living in the city and improved accessibility to urban green spaces.

OPEN STREETS on the AVENUE of the ARTS: July 14, 2013, 11am-4pm

Walking, Biking, Dancing and Play take over Boston Streets with Circle The City, Boston’s Open Streets, Open Parks project - Join this celebration of our city!

Huntington Avenue, outbound side only, between Belvidere Street and Brigham Circle. See MAP.

For DRAFT PROGRAM LIST, map and schedule see here: http://www.emeraldnecklace.org/circle-the-city-july-14/

Read our letter to neighbors for more details on July 14th traffic impacts

Enjoy a temporary transformation of 1.5 miles of Huntington Ave into a ‘paved park’. Featuring FREE, fun programming for everyone, including:
•Yoga with OMBE Integrative Health Center!
•A Climbing Wall and Cross-Fit with REI !
•Art making with the MFA , and Still Running: An Art Marathon for Boston for Boston!
•Soccer clinics with The Boston Breakers and New England Revolution!
•Kids Activities for all ages, including the Fruits and Veggies wheel and Twister with Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness!
•Orange Line Photo Booth with LivableStreets Alliance!
•Live music performances by the BSO’s Symphony Hall Stompers, Boston Conservatory, Brite Lite Brite, and the Jamaica Plain Honk Band!
•A tour of the Ave of the Arts with Boston By Foot and Walk Boston!
•Drumming on the street with SoulWorks Coaching!
•FREE BIKES and A Bike Rodeo with Boston Bikes!
•A Demonstration cycletrack and pop-up cafe with the Boston Cyclists Union!
•Bike Tours with Rozzie Bikes and MassBike!
•Zumba and Salsa Y Control dance classes, and performances by OnStage Dance Company and the South End ShowStopperz Dance Team!
•Recycling station and a carbon challenge with Greenovate Boston!
•Science on the Street with the Cambridge Science Festival and Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center!
•Test out Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s BostonGreenMapApp!

CTC is a collaborative project of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness, LivableStreets Alliance, Boston Park Advocates, and the City of Boston.

Why Open Streets?
In crowded cities around the U.S. and the world, open streets initiatives are drawing people out of the homes and cars and onto miles of safe, car-free streets to celebrate active urban living in our most public space. These events are about community building and highlighting healthy activities for all ages from walking to biking to dancing in the streets.


The goals of Circle The City focus on encouraging healthy engagement with our parks by all residents of Boston, and include:

  1. Improving neighborhood accessibility to parks and open space.

  2. Gathering the community for free activities and performances on safe, car-free streets.

  3. Increasing the involvement of youth in our parks through summer employment programs and regularly scheduled activities for children.

Circle The City is a unique opportunity to safely enjoy the streets and explore new neighborhoods and parks. We are currently partnering with dozens of Boston groups to coordinate activities along the route, so there is sure to be something for everyone!

When and Where will Circle The City happen?
Circle The City events in Summer 2013 happen on two dates, as follows. Details and locations are still being developed. Check back soon for confirmed locations and routes!


  • Announcing Circle The City 2013! Open Streets returns to Boston with two new and exciting locations on signature corridors of our city:July 14th, 11am-4pm: Circle The City and the Fenway Alliance present: Open Streets on the Avenue of the Arts. Circle The City joins The Fenway Alliance for Open Streets on Huntington Avenue. The festival will be moving between Belvidere Street and Brigham Circle on the outbound side of Huntington, connecting to the Back Bay Fens and the Southwest Corridor and featuring many of the institutions along the way.September 29th, 11am-4pm: Circle The City presents: Open Streets on Blue Hill Avenue. Circle The City and the Sustainability Guild highlight Blue Hill Avenue neighborhoods, organizations and community greening projects with a car-free corridor connecting Franklin Park to Dudley Common at Dudley Street.We are currently engaged in community discussions around the details for CTC 2013. Please check back often for updates on activities, performances and community partners.


What activities can I expect at Circle The City?
Circle The City will have a festival-like atmosphere featuring safe, car-free public space to walk, bike, roll and dance. Circle The City activities will include live performances, outdoor fitness, dance and yoga classes, Farmer’s Markets, bike clinics, children’s activities, culinary demonstrations, roller skating, hula hooping, and countless other opportunities to have fun on the streets and in the parks.

How much will it cost?
Circle The City is free to all participants. Some will enjoy the route by strolling, skating, cycling, or just people-watching. Others will participate in free group events such as yoga, aerobics, dance, health checks, farmer’s markets and other activities. These group events will be spaced out along the route. More information on these activities and more to come—please check back!

Who can participate? Do I have to sign-up?
Boston residents of all ages, families, local businesses, and visitors are all invited to join the fun. Come one come all. No registration required.

How will Circle The City impact city traffic?
Circle The City will be held on Sundays from 11am-4pm, and will be planned to ensure that people have alternative routes to drive around the neighborhoods. Our dates have been researched to account for conflicts with other large Boston events.

Additionally, the routes will be ‘soft closures’ with cross traffic allowed at a limited number of points along the route and auto access for residents and businesses located within the closed route. This type of closure has worked very well in other cities around the world. Traffic will be monitored so that any traffic impacts can be measured.

For information about detours and traffic impacts, please check back as we continue to develop our routes.

Who will benefit?
Circle The City offers free and fun space for physical activity and community gathering to all residents and visitors to Boston, and creates improved accessibility to parks and open space.

Local businesses will also benefit from increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic along commercial corridors. The events provide a model of how cities can provide healthy, environmentally friendly outdoor activities for their residents.

How can I get involved?
We need your support! We are currently seeking volunteers that will help with outreach in advance and with logistics on the day of the Circle The City events. If you are interested in being part of this event, please email Jessica Parsons, Circle The City Project Manager at jessica@emeraldnecklace.org.