This last weekend I was reminded how much I love living in Boston. I love when friends and family come to visit me, because I get to play tour guide and show them around my favorite city.
The best introduction to the historical sights of Boston is to walk along the famous Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile path marked by a red line throughout the city. Every time I walk the trail I learn something new, and I feel like I’m walking through history.
The best place to start the trail is at the information center behind the Park Street “T” stop. You can either pay to join a guided tour with a guide dressed up in period costume, or you can pick up a map and venture out on your own.
After the first few stops including the New State House, memorial statues, and the Park Street church, you’ll arrive at the Granary Burial Ground, where you’ll find the grave sites of some of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence and the 5 victims of the Boston Massacre, among others.
Further along Tremont Street, you’ll pass by King’s Chapel and the Omni Parker Hotel, famous for inventing the Boston Creme Pie. If you get a chance, I definitely recommend stopping in for a piece. It’s delicious!
The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence took place on the balcony of the Old State House in July 1776. The site of the Boston Massacre is labeled on the ground right below the balcony.
The Fanueil Hall/Quincy Market area is fun to explore and the perfect place to stop for lunch. History, shops, food stalls, and street performers galore.
It’s definitely worth it to venture off the beaten path of the freedom trail to explore the Boston harbor front. Start at Christopher Columbus park and stroll along the Harborwalk for great views of the water, yachts, and city skyline. You’ll also find the New England Aquarium and IMAX theater in this area, as well as Emack & Bolio’s, where you can taste my favorite ice cream in Boston.
Once you make your way back to the Freedom Trail, you’ll continue on past the impressive Holocaust memorial, which has 6 million numbers symbolically etched on glass towers. Directly across from the memorial is Ye Olde Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in Boston.
You can stop at the open-air Haymarket on Fridays or Saturdays to buy some fresh, local fruits and vegetables on the way to the North End (or Little Italy).
Little Italy in the North End
There are many great Italian restaurants in the North End. It’s a great place to enjoy a nice dinner al fresco and to people-watch on Hanover Street. Giacomos, Regina Pizzeria, and Lucca Restaraunt are my favorites. Don’t be scared if you find a long line out in front of any of these restaurants. The wait is definitely worth it. For dessert, make sure to try the cannolis at Mike’s Pastry.
The Freedom trail continues through the North End past the Paul Revere House, a national historic landmark and the oldest house in downtown Boston, as well as his statue a few blocks away. You can buy a ticket to take a tour of the inside of the house for a couple dollars.
The Old North Church is famous for being the site where signals were lit to inform the patriots of the movements of the British Army at the start of the Revolutionary war. “One if by land, and two if by sea…” Inside, guides give a free talk every 15 minutes about the history of the church and the important events that took place there.
Established in 1659, this burial ground is one of the oldest in the city. It’s the last stop before crossing the bridge into Charlestown to see the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill monument (both not pictured). We didn’t get the chance to finish the Freedom trail this time, but definitely check it out if you have the time. You can walk up a bunch of stairs inside the Bunker Hill monument for an amazing view of the city– a perfect end to a perfect introduction to Boston, America’s favorite walking city.
Have you visited Boston? What’s your favorite part of the Freedom trail? I hope you enjoy it here as much as I do!