It’s a new year, and even though the days are gradually getting longer, gearing up to head outside doesn’t always seem like the most exciting idea. Especially when there’s a cold drizzly mist and there’s no epic snowstorm in the forecast. A new study from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki claims that “physical activity is thought to be the key mediating factor in the health benefits of green spaces when availability or active use of green space are considered.”  Luckily Arlington has much to offer when it comes to walking and hiking, and exploring!

The Rail-Trail Hall of Fame Minuteman Bikeway travels from one end of Arlington to the other, and connects the nearby towns of Bedford, Lexington, and Cambridge. All 3 business districts can be visited from the bikeway, whether you’re walking or biking, it’s a great way to explore the town, at any time of year. The Alewife Brook Greenway is another biking and walking path that ties into the Minuteman Bikeway. The Greenway connects with routes to Davis Square in Somerville, Harvard Square and Fresh Pond in Cambridge, and Belmont. Go for a run, a walk, ride your own bike or rent one from one of the six Bluebike stations located in Arlington.

Arlington is also home to a number of beautiful parks and green spaces. The view of the Boston skyline from Robbins Farm Park is spectacular. On a clear morning, you can head up to the top of the hill to watch the sun come up over Boston. It’s stunningly beautiful, and you’ll always have company; it’s a popular spot for photographers and early morning walkers and runners. When it snows, there are a couple great hills for sledding at that park. 

Magnolia Park is home to some of Arlington’s sports fields, as well as a basketball court and a dog park. You can also head over to Spy Pond, which has a new playground, as well as scenic paths along the water. Spy Pond is a coveted spot for watching the sunset. Menotomy Rocks Park is a 35 acre hilly woodland park that’s perfect for a walk or family hike, any time of the year. It’s a great place for dogs as well. In the winter it can be a popular spot for sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating. But be careful!

Also, located in Arlington Heights, the Arlington Reservoir has long been a destination for local residents and visitors. It’s a popular swimming hole in the summer, but during the rest of the year, people can enjoy the beach with dogs, and hike on the 1.2 mile loop around the water, which connects to the Great Meadow Trail, well-known for walking and hiking, cross country skiing and wildlife observation during any season.

There is no shortage of trails in the surrounding Arlington area. You can also check out Whipple Hill, Turkey Hill, Arlington’s Great Meadows, McLennan Park, and the Middlesex Fells. Spending time outdoors is essential for health and well-being. It can be difficult to establish new patterns, but you can start small. Even 15 minutes outdoors can boost your mood and energy. Read more tips on safety and motivation. Be safe and have fun!

Just over the border from Cambridge, East Arlington/Capitol Square is a lively, bustling neighborhood and home to the historic Capitol Theater, independently owned retailers, and excellent eateries.

The Minuteman Bikeway is just 1/4 mile away making East Arlington the perfect refueling stop for cyclists before heading to Harvard Square or Lexington/Concord.

Here are just a few of East Arlington’s highlights.

The shops of the Capitol Square block offer books, gifts, floral, home decor, baked goods, and more! This block is anchored by the Capitol Theatre. Since 1925, this movie palace has delighted visitors with old-world charm and the most up-to-date movies.

Before seeing a movie at the Capitol, grab a drink or a bite to eat from the scratch kitchen at Town Tavern, directly across the street from the theatre. The Tavern also offers live music so check their schedule.

Looking for some exercise? Pick up a Bluebike at either Linkwood St. or Grafton St. and ride to Arlington Center, Arlington Heights, Lexington, and beyond!