(Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Boston Parks & Recreation Department is a multi-faceted resource for the residents of the City of Boston. The main office is centrally located on Massachusetts Avenue for easy access for the public. They offer a myriad of athletic and other outdoor programs for the enjoyment of all residents, both youth and adults. Special event and athletic league permitting is also done by this city-wide department. This department is a great resource for just taking a walk around the city park, participating in a favorite sport league or planning the outdoor wedding of a lifetime.

Boston Parks & Recreation Department
1010 Massachusetts Ave., 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 635-4505
Permitting For Athletic Programs

Many activities within the Boston Parks & Recreation Department require special permitting. They include sports games like baseball, cricket, softball, rugby and soccer, as well as other special events held throughout the city’s parks. Over one million Boston residents participate in a variety of activities permitted by the department every year. For athletics, there is a Feb. 1 deadline, and the official athletic season starts on April 1. Athletic permits are prioritized according to the following: Boston youth leagues have first priority followed by resident adult leagues, and then all other requests are considered. There are different hourly fees for resident and non-resident requests for lighted fields. Requests can be submitted in writing or by calling the Permitting Unit directly at (617) 961-3050.

Wedding Special Event Permit

The city’s lovely parks and public gardens are a perfect setting for small weddings from April 1 through Dec. 1. Although the areas are all open to the public, a Boston Parks & Recreation Department Special Events permit is required for the event. The department requires that the allowed 50 wedding participants practice park commission rules, environmental protection and sound management during the event. The goal the department is to not inhibit or impact the general public’s use and enjoyment of the park during an event. A resident permit is $50 and a non-resident pays $100 for each one-hour event, which can be held Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. or weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Some of the popular venues include: The Public Garden in the Back Bay, Jamaica Pond Bandstand in Jamaica Plain and the Kelleher Rose Garden in the Back Bay Fens. Call the Director of Permitting at (617) 635-4874 to apply.

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Golf Courses 

There are two wonderful 18-hole golf courses under the jurisdiction of the Boston Parks & Recreation Department — George Wright Golf Course in Hyde Park and William J. Devine Golf Course in Franklin Park, which are enjoyed by both residents and non-residents. George Wright Golf Course is open seven days a week from April 1 through Nov. 30. William J. Devine Golf Course, part of the historic Emerald Necklace, is the second oldest public course in the U.S. and is open year-round, weather permitting.

Youth Recreation Programs

There are free youth athletic programs, clinics and camps offered by the Parks & Recreation Department. Activities include golf lessons, tennis lessons, baseball, soccer, softball and hockey leagues, Mayor’s Cup tournaments and more. Recreation programs are offered at various neighborhood city parks and some local community centers. There are also summer camps run by the department for the city’s youth to attend and enjoy.

The Emerald Necklace

Boston’s Emerald Necklace is a chain of nine public parks run by the Parks & Recreation Department, which are connected by parkways and waters throughout the city. This lovely nature-inspired group of public parks covers 1,100 acres and includes Boston Common, Boston Public Garden, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Back Bay Fens, The Riverway, Olmsted Park, Jamaica Pond, Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park. The Emerald Necklace green spaces offer magnificent artistry using trees, plants, earth and water and are a tribute to the finest of urban planning by the designer, Frederick Law Olmsted. There is an Emerald Necklace Visitor and Volunteer Center in the Back Bay Fens that serves as a meeting point for citywide service projects.

Related: Boston’s Best Parks For Kids

Nancy is a native Bostonian. She enjoys the sights, sounds and tastes of Boston while exploring the city by day or night. Nancy is also a school nurse at an independent middle/high school. Her work can be found on a variety of websites, including Examiner.com.