There is so much history in Boston. I guess some of the few things that immediately come to mind are the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre (brings me back to some high school American history). With a very limited amount of time in Boston, I decided to check out part of the Freedom Trail.
The Freedom trail is 2.5 mile walking route that goes through downtown Boston, leading you to 16 historical sites sprinkled throughout Boston. We did not walk the full route, we started at Faneuil Hall (Quincy Market) and made our way through downtown Boston to the Boston Common. There are quite a few different tours that will take you on the Freedom Trail, but it is also an easy route to walk on your own (just remembered to follow the red-line, and keep an eye out for sites cause I think I missed a few).
Faneuil Hall – first stop after eating at Quincy Hall
Faneuil Hall is referred to as “the home of free speech” and the “Cradle of Liberty” because it hosted America’s first Town Meeting and played a vital role in revolutionary politics. source
It is located right in front of Quincy Hall, making it a perfect place to start after going shopping, eating or just hanging out and enjoying the live music outside etc. Inside Faneuil Hall is a visitors center where you can pick up everything you may need, take a bathroom break or ask for directions and get tickets to museums etc on the Freedom Trail. The second floor of Faneuil Hall is still an active Meeting Hall, and when it is not being used you can go check it out.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
1 Faneuil Hall Sq
Boston, MA 02109
Site of Boston Massacre and Old State House
I remember the words “Boston Massacre” and that it has something to do with the revolution and somehow leads to the US being independent from British rule (yes, that’s what I remember from high school American History).
Although it is called the Boston Massacre, only five people died. Its was a riot that broke out between the Redcoats (British soldiers) and Bostonians. A riot broke out and quickly turned violent with people throwing stones and snow balls and finally led to gun shots killing five people. source
Today, there is a ring of stones that marks the site and a sign that gives you a quick overview of what the Boston Massacre was. My favorite was the sketch on the sign that showed where the bodies were (but why am I only counting four?)
And at this same location you will find the Old State House. I was pretty excited to realize that we had actually exited the metro from the Old State House, and makes sense that it is the State exit. The building is stunning and almost looks like a toy building dropped into the middle of a city with all of the big modern building surrounding it. I think that’s part of the charm of Boston.
The Old State House with its distinctive cupola was once the tallest point in town and it was from this balcony where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the people of Boston. The Old State House is also a museum, if we had time I would have stepped inside for a little bit. source
Old State House (Boston’s Revolutionary Museum)
206 Washington St
Boston, MA 02109
Old South Meeting House
The Old South Meeting House is another historical building in the middle of a busy downtown area, and was the biggest building in all of colonial Boston. It was also the meeting place and somewhat the place that started the Boston Tea Party. Meetings were being held here to decide on what to do with all the tea sitting in the harbor. If it was to be unloaded it would have been heavily taxed. In the end, after a supposed signal by Samuel Adams the tea sitting in the Boston Harbor was dumped by men disguised as Mohawk Indians. source
The Old South Meeting house is now a museum, and admission is $6 for adults. I actually ended up enjoying listening to some of the tour guides outside telling the story about the Boston Tea Party.
Old South Meeting House
310 Washington St
Boston, MA 02108
Granary Burying Ground and Park Street Church
I guess we were getting distracted, but as we continued to follow the red-line we were already at the Granary Burying Ground (I don’t know how we managed to miss the Old Corner Bookstore, First Public School and Benjamin Franklin Statues, as well as Kings Chapel and Burying Ground).
The Granary Burying Ground is where some of America’s most notable citizens rest; some of these people include: John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams. It is free to visit the Granary Burying Ground, but we ended up just walking by. There are guides available for you to follow and read if you do decide to check it out.
And right next to the Granary Burying Ground is the Park Street Church. It is a beautiful brick building that is still an active church today. People were just leaving the church after mass as we walked by. With a big crowd of people outside, we decided to continue on our trail.
Park Street Church
1 Park St
Boston, MA 02108
Massachusetts State House and Boston Common
You’re actually going to walking right into the Boston Common right after Park Street Church, but we didn’t forget to walk up Park Street for a quick look at the Massachusetts State House. It’s gold dome immediately reminded me of the gold-domed Colorado State Capitol. Tours are free, but make sure you plan ahead and schedule a tour.
The Boston Common is America’s oldest public park. It has been used as a public place for people to graze livestock, a campsite for the 1000 Redcoats during the British occupation of Boston, celebrations, and public oratory and discourse. Charles Lindbergh, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pope John Paul II have drawn crowds here. source
We just wandered around the Boston Common where we found families spending the sunny Sunday afternoon at the park. There is a carousel, a frog pond (a public ice-skating rink it the winter), tennis courts, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument (commemorates the Civil War), and more.
It is also a good central location. We ended up going to the Boston Public Garden, Acorn Street, and Chinatown from the Boston Common.
Although this was a shorter section of the Freedom Trail, it covered a majority of the sites on the Freedom Trail. There are passes and tickets that you can purchase to enter all of the sites on the trail. If you have more time, I definitely recommend spending a little more time at each site (that’s what I’m going to do next time I’m in Boston).
And as you follow the the Freedom Trail route, there is so much more to see. Plenty of restaurants, shopping, and sites. We even stumbled up the New England Holocaust Memorial (more on that in my next post).