Just as the name suggests, the 2.5-mile (four-kilometer) Freedom Trail walking tour follows the United States’ journey to freedom from Great Britain. It covers 16 of the city’s most important landmarks, including one of the most popular points of interest in the city, Faneuil Hall.
Follow the red brick trail from the Visitor Information Center at Boston Common to see the Massachusetts State House, Granary Burying Grounds and the site of the first public school in the country. Pass the place of the Boston Massacre and then on to Faneuil Hall where Samuel Adams and James Otis fanned the winds of revolution. Enjoy a bowl of seafood chowder or a lobster roll in the popular marketplace, just behind the hall.
In the historic North End, pay a visit to Paul Revere House, the oldest building in downtown Boston. The wooden house dates back to 1680 and now serves as a homely museum, which recreates life in those times. Next stop is the oldest church in the city, Old North Church. Its steeple, the tallest in Boston, was used as a signal point at the start of the American Revolution warning that the British were “marching” to Lexington by sea.
Across the Charles River, the Freedom Trail passes the Bunker Hill Monument, which marks the first major battle of the Revolutionary War. At nearby Charlestown Navy Yard, climb aboard the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.
History buffs will appreciate all 16 sites on the Freedom Trail, but the path can be picked up anywhere along the route. Pick up a map for a self-guided tour, or join one of the guided 90-minute tours, both available from the visitor center. Summer is the best time to enjoy the Freedom Trail; however, this is also the busiest time of year.
Although some sites charge an admission fee to go inside, most sites are free and open year-round. Tours are available every 30 minutes for about nine months of the year.