Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Mount Auburn Cemetery

This peaceful Massachusetts graveyard was one of the first "garden-style" cemeteries in America. 

Founded in 1831, Mount Auburn Cemetery stands in stark contrast to the surrounding Colonial-era graveyards like Granary and Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in Boston. 

Envisioned as a garden cemetery, tombs, graves, and monuments are positioned around winding paths carved through lush and secluded forestry. The graveyard stands as an American interpretation of the romantic ideals to be had in the design of Père Lachaise in Paris or Abney Park in London.  A fair portion of the cemetery grounds actually fall within Watertown, though the distinctive Egyptian-style gates serving as the entrance are located in Cambridge.  Easily within walking distance of the cacophony of Harvard Square, Mt. Auburn affords a surprising sanctuary.  City noise swiftly fades to nothing, though several winding hills will afford visitors panoramic views of Boston.

A complete walk-through of the property takes around two hours, though curious visitors could very easily add several more hours of exploration to find such famous graves as those of B.F. Skinner and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  The cemetery, a site protected by the NPS, also serves an arboretum, a bird sanctuary, and a safe habitat for wildlife. 

In the winter, a host of paw-prints are likely to be found pressed into the snow at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery, speaking to the quiet isolation that can be found among the silent graves.