Charles River Dam Boston

Image by Cris Concepcion

Charles River Dam – The Musical Locks

Boston and Cambridge are cities separated by water, and we tend to use that river as a figurative and literal border. Residents north of the river tend to hang out in Cambridge and Somerville and rarely visit Jamaica Plain. Those south of the river stay in the Back Bay or Allston and rarely visit their friends in Somerville. Crossing the river is challenging, at least mentally, if not physically.

If I’m in downtown Boston and looking to walk or bike from the city to Cambridge or Charlestown the obvious places to cross are at Washington St or the Museum of Science, both of which are horrible if one isn’t in a car. Instead, I’ll make a small detour and cross at what some of us call The Musical Locks. It’s a set of locks that separate the Charles from Boston harbor, and there’s a set of bells set up by the railings that anyone can play. I ride my bike through the locks everyday on my way to work, and I will watch joggers run by, hitting the bells in time with their stride and it sounds like an ephemeral symphony. 

At night, North Point Park, the Cambridge side of the locks glows in the shadow of the Zakim and is lit up like the future. On a bike, I feel like I am riding light cycles in Tron, and a quiet ride over water feels a little more like an adventure.

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Details about this spot



Beverly Street, Boston

Opening Times

24 hours daily (occasionally closed for fish migration)


Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)