By Amie Fedora
The Downtown / North End section of Boston's oft-visited Harborwalk is a great place to spend an afternoon. You can see frisky seals at the New England Aquarium, lifesaving equipment at the Coast Guard station, and interesting architecture at the Boston Harbor Hotel.
Although the Harborwalk is a perfect place to get some dramatic skyline shots, it's also perfect for close-ups. It's a good walk for people of all ages. It's great to be along the water for an entire afternoon, yet still be in the heart of the city. The entire walk is clearly marked with blue Harborwalk signs; some sections have nicely laid-out wooden walkways.
I began my walk at one end of Hanover Street by crossing to the other side of Commercial Street. Here, the Coast Guard station building is rather nondescript, but the huge Coast Guard vessels docked behind the building are impressive.
Head south to Battery Wharf, which has the newest section of the Harborwalk.
Here you'll find high-end locations such as Sensing Restaurant, the Fairmont Hotel, and private residences. If you're there in spring or summer, you'll also find great detail photo-ops of bright, colorful flowers.
At Central Wharf you'll find the New England Aquarium, where you can get some architectural photos (and maybe stop to see the seals in action). There's always something of interest here, from bustling crowds of tourists to vendors selling souvenirs.
After passing by other marinas at Burroughs Wharf, Commercial Wharf, and India Wharf, I came upon Lewis Wharf. Here, you can take a break on a bench, or take advantage of the binoculars stationed nearby.
Along Long Wharf is the Boston Waterboat Marina, just steps from the Marriott Hotel. I was intrigued by all of the colorful buoys strung about! A little-known fact: You'll find harbor-related art in the 2nd floor lobby of the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.
Finally, I came across Rowes Wharf and the Boston Harbor Hotel. Some great views here - interesting architecture and some very impressive boats (including private boats, commuter boats, and harbor cruise boats).
The end of the Downtown Harborwalk brings you conveniently close to the Northern Avenue bridge. If you cross it, you'll find yourself at the Barking Crab, which is a great way to reward yourself after all that walking. The route I took was a little more than a mile, but it will feel longer if you take the time and opportunity to find interesting photos.