Rose Kennedy Rose Garden – Boston, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura
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Boston, Massachusetts

Rose Kennedy Rose Garden

An easy-to-miss garden in Boston's North End honors the mother of JFK and others who lost children in WWII. 

A rose garden in June is an indulgence of sight and scent, a beautiful retreat in which only the bees work while human visitors can breathe deeply and relax. A rose garden that’s near the ocean is that much better. The Rose Kennedy Rose Garden is such a place, but it’s mostly only known to the residents of Boston’s North End.

The garden is located in the middle of Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, a spot of shady green in the North End and easy to miss. Traffic whizzes by on Atlantic Avenue. Pedestrians along the water skirt the park and never see the gorgeous flowers growing inside. In June, it’s well worth a change of route, or an entire trip, to see this beautiful addition to Boston’s green spaces. 

This secluded space honors America’s Gold Star Mothers as well as Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, mother of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. American Gold Star Mothers is a veterans’ service organization that provides support for mothers who lost sons or daughters in World War II. Mrs. Kennedy became a Gold Star Mother on August 12, 1944, the day her oldest son Joseph Patrick (Joe Jr.) Kennedy was lost in action when his airplane exploded over the English Channel.

The rose garden is enclosed by a granite and wrought-iron fence with gates on the north and south ends. Roses are plentiful; the garden contains many varieties of the flower with different sizes, scents, and colors. They grow in profusion around, over and through the fence as well as in the borders and in the garden’s central bed. Just wander in and take your time smelling the roses.

Know Before You Go

To reach the garden, you can take the MBTA’s Blue Line to the Aquarium Station, then walk north along the linear park that is the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park is located just past the Long Wharf Marriott hotel. Or get off the Orange Line and Green Lines at Haymarket and walk south until you come to Atlantic Avenue. Cross the street and you’ll be in the park. The Rose Kennedy Rose Garden is just to the left of the fountain.

If you’re driving, you can park in one of the numerous private lots along Atlantic Avenue or in the Government Center Garage.