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Boston Famous Historical Sites Tour, Boston
Boston Famous Historical Sites Tour
Guide Location: USA » Boston
Guide Type: Self-guided city tour
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Ed Uthman
Author: anna
This self-guided walking tour is included in the iOS app "City Maps and Walks (470+ Cities)" in iTunes and the Android app "Boston Map and Walks" in Google Play.
Boston is one of the oldest cities in the USA. Its beginnings date back to September 1630 as the "City on a Hill". Through the centuries, the city has witnessed many historical turns of events such as the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. All left marks not only in Boston's history but also on the architectural structure of the city itself. The following tour will help you discover this rich history with your own eyes.
Tour Stops and Attractions
New Massachusetts State House
1) New Massachusetts State House
On top of Beacon Hill, opposite Boston you will find the New Massachusetts State House, an impressive building you shouldn’t miss taking a few photographs of, as it has a certain rarity value.

The building is the State Capitol house of the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the seat of the Massachusetts General Court and the offices of the Governor of the state. In the House of Republican chambers a wooden cod hangs on the wall. This fish is called the “Sacred Cod” and represents the importance of the fishing industry.

The State House was built in 1798 to designs by Charles Bulfinch who was inspired by two buildings in London: Somerset House and the Pantheon. The magnificent dome was once covered in wood shingles, but it leaked, so it was given a copper sheath and then covered with 23k gold-leaf. During the Second World War the dome was painted black to prevent it showing up in case of air-raids, and it cost the state a fortune to restore the gold-leaf at the end of the war. On top of the dome is a wooden pinecone to represent the importance of the logging industry.

In the grounds are several statues: an equestrian statue of General Joseph Hooker; the statesman Daniel Webster; Horace Mann, considered the father of the “normal school” movement; J.F. Kennedy; Anne Hutchinson, a staunch advocate of religious freedom and rights for women and Mary Dyer, one of the Boston Martyrs who was hanged because she was a Quaker in spite of a Puritan law forbidding Quakers in the city.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and David Paul Ohmer
Sight description based on wikipedia
Park Street Church
2) Park Street Church
The Park Street Church (built 1810) in Boston, Massachusetts is an active Conservative Congregational Church at the corner of Tremont Street and Park Street. Park Street church's steeple rises to 217 feet, and remains a landmark visible from several Boston neighborhoods. The steeple is seen as the terminus of both Columbus Avenue and Tremont Street, two of Boston's radial avenues. The church is adjacent to the historic Granary Burying Ground. The cornerstone of the church was laid on May 1 and construction was completed by the end of the year, under the guidance of Peter Banner (architect), Benajah Young (chief mason) and Solomon Willard (woodcarver). Banner took inspiration from several early pattern books, and his design is reminiscent of a London church by Christopher Wren. The church became known as "Brimstone Corner", in part because of the missionary character of its preaching, and in part because of the storage of gunpowder during the War of 1812.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Bill
Sight description based on wikipedia
Granary Burying Ground
3) Granary Burying Ground
Founded in 1660, the Granary Burying Ground in Massachusetts is the city of Boston's third-oldest cemetery. Located on Tremont Street, it is the final resting place for many notable Revolutionary War-era patriots, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence, Paul Revere and the five victims of the Boston Massacre. The cemetery's Egyptian revival gate and fence were designed by Boston architect Isaiah Rogers (1810-1849), who designed an identical gate for Newport's Touro Cemetery. Prominently displayed in the Burying Ground is an obelisk erected in 1827 to the parents and relatives of Benjamin Franklin who was born in Boston and is buried in Philadelphia. The oldest memorial in the yard lies near the Franklin monument memorializing John Wakefield, aged 52 who died 18 June 1667. Why there is a seven year gap between the establishment of the burying ground and the oldest memorial is unknown.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and Gruenemann
Sight description based on wikipedia
King's Chapel
4) King's Chapel
King's Chapel is "an independent Christian unitarian congregation affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association" that is "Unitarian Christian in theology, Anglican in worship, and congregational in governance." It is housed in what was formerly called "Stone Chapel", an 18th century structure at the corner of Tremont Street and School Street in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1749, construction began on the current stone structure, which was designed by Peter Harrison and completed in 1754. Inside, the church is characterized by wooden columns with Corinthian capitals that were hand-carved by William Burbeck and his apprentices in 1758. The current uniform appearance of the pews dates from the 1920s. Music has long been an important part of King's Chapel, which acquired its first organ in 1723. The present organ, the sixth installed in King's Chapel, was built by C. B. Fisk in 1964. The burying ground at King's Chapel is the site of the graves of many historic figures.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Urban
Sight description based on wikipedia
Old South Meeting House
5) Old South Meeting House
The Old South Meeting House (built 1729), in the Downtown Crossing area of Boston, Massachusetts, gained fame as the organizing point for the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773. 5,000 colonists gathered at the Meeting House, the largest building in Boston at the time. Old South Meeting House has been an important gathering place for nearly three centuries. Renowned for the protest meetings held here before the American Revolution when the building was termed a mouth-house, this National Historic Landmark has long served as a platform for the free expression of ideas. Today, the Old South Meeting House is open daily as a museum and continues to provide a place for people to meet, discuss and act on important issues of the day. The Old South Meeting House is claimed to be the second oldest establishment existent in the United States.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and Mr. Littlehand
Sight description based on wikipedia
Old State House
6) Old State House
The Old State House is a historic building, renowned for hosting the first elected legislature in the New World. Standing at the intersection of Washington and State Streets, it dates to 1713, which makes it the oldest public edifice in the city. Today it houses a history museum run by the Bostonian Society. Here, visitors can learn about the people and the events that have shaped the history of Boston, colony, state, and the whole of the U.S. The Museum's exhibits occupy two floors and explain the role of the building, and that of the city of Boston, in the American Revolution. Also on display are collections of The Bostonian Society. Among the most notable exhibits is tea from the Boston Tea Party and John Hancock's coat. Visitors can hear testimony from the Boston Massacre trial; see Boston harbor paintings and other memorable items. Families with kids will enjoy hands-on history galleries with interactive exhibits on the 2nd floor.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and Mr. Littlehand
Faneuil Hall
7) Faneuil Hall
Not far from the water front and the Government Centre, is a large marketplace comprising Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, North Market and South Market, set around a cobblestone promenade.

Faneuil Hall was built in 1742 and given to the city as a gift from Peter Fan, a rich Bostonian merchant. On the cupola of the hall you can see a grasshopper weathervane which was placed there in 1745. The open ground floor of the hall was an indoor market place, frequented by merchants, fishermen and meat and produce sellers.

It quickly became a favourite place for famous orators. It was in this hall that colonists first protested against the “Sugar Act” in 1764 and established the “No taxation without representation” slogan, which was the basis of the War for Independence. The hall is called the “Cradle of Liberty”.

Today the market is full of shops and restaurants and it is a great place to stop and have lunch or just for a drink, as it is very popular with street players, jugglers, magicians and musicians, so you will be entertained while you are having your meal. The first floor of the hall is a meeting hall for debating societies and the second floor is occupied by the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Daderot
Sight description based on wikipedia
Paul Revere House
8) Paul Revere House
The Paul Revere House (1680) is the colonial home of American patriot Paul Revere during the time of the American Revolution. It is located at 19 North Square, Boston, Massachusetts, in the city's North End, and is now operated as a nonprofit museum by the Paul Revere Memorial Association. In April 1908, the Paul Revere House opened its doors to the public as one of the earliest historic house museums in the United States. Despite the substantial renovation process which returned the house to its conjectured appearance around 1700, ninety percent of the structure (including two doors, three window frames, and portions of the flooring, foundation, inner wall material and raftering) is original to 1680, though none of the window glass is original. Its heavy beams, large fireplaces, and absence of interior hallways are typical of colonial living arrangements. The two chambers upstairs contain several pieces of furniture believed to have belonged to the Revere family.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Urban
Sight description based on wikipedia
Old North Church
9) Old North Church
Old North Church (officially, Christ Church in the City of Boston), at 193 Salem Street, in the North End of Boston, is the location from which the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" signal is said to have been sent. This phrase is related to Paul Revere's midnight ride, of April 18, 1775, which preceded the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution. It is the oldest active church building in Boston and is a National Historic Landmark. Inside the church is a bust of George Washington, which the Marquis de Lafayette reportedly remarked as the best likeness of him he had ever seen. Old North Church was built in 1723, and was inspired by the works of Christopher Wren, the British architect who was responsible for rebuilding London after the Great Fire. Eight change ringing bells at Old North Church were cast in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1744 and hung in 1745.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and timsackton
Sight description based on wikipedia
Copp's Hill Burying Ground
10) Copp's Hill Burying Ground
When you follow the Freedom Trail you will see many interesting historical sites and one of them is the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, which came into use in 1659, making it the second oldest burial ground in Boston. In 1974 it became part of the National Historic Register.

At first it was called Windmill Hill, but was later renamed Copp’s Hill after William Copp who once owned the land. Copp was a shoemaker and the burial ground became the final resting place of craftsmen, artisans and merchants. On the Snowhill Street side of the graveyard are many unmarked graves of African Americans.

It is also the burial site of the famous (or infamous) Salem witch-hunters Cotton and Increase Mather; Edmund Hart, a rich shipyard owner; Prince Hall, ardent abolitionist and founder of the Black Masonic Order; Robert Newman, who placed the signal lanterns on the Old North Church steeple for Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride to Lexington and Concord during the War for Independence. Another tombstone marks the place where George Worthylake, the first keeper of the Boston Lighthouse, is buried.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and jbcurio
Sight description based on wikipedia
USS Constitution
11) USS Constitution
USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. Named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America, she is the world's oldest floating commissioned naval vessel. Launched in 1797, Constitution was one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794. Constitution's mission is to promote understanding of the Navy’s role in war and peace through active participation in public events and education through outreach programs, public access and historic demonstration. The Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston is responsible for planning and performing her maintenance, repair and restoration, keeping her as close to her 1812 configuration as possible. She is berthed at Pier 1 of the former Charlestown Navy Yard, at one end of Boston's Freedom Trail. The privately run USS Constitution Museum is nearby, located in a restored shipyard building at the foot of Pier 2.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and Alotor
Sight description based on wikipedia
Bunker Hill Monument
12) Bunker Hill Monument
The Bunker Hill Monument was built to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill. The 221 foot granite obelisk was erected between 1827 and 1843 in Charlestown, Massachusetts with granite from Quincy, Massachusetts, conveyed to the site via the Granite Railway, built specially for that purpose, followed by a trip by barge. There are 294 steps to the top. The Bunker Hill Monument is not on Bunker Hill but instead on Breed's Hill, where most of the fighting in the misnamed Battle of Bunker Hill actually took place. The Monument Association, which had purchased the battlefield site, was forced to sell off all but the hill's summit in order to complete the monument. An exhibit lodge built adjacent to the monument in the late 19th century houses a statue of Warren and a diorama of the battle. Bunker Hill is one of the sites along the Freedom Trail and is part of Boston National Historical Park.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and Allie_Caulfield
Sight description based on wikipedia
Attractions Map
Private Tour Guides in Boston
Join this art historian-led seminar to explore the world-class collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Join this scholar-led walk of Boston's African American history, spanning from the early 17th through the late 19th centuries.
Join a local historian or architectural historian for an exploration of Boston's earliest and arguably most significant neighborhood, the North End.
Join this scholar-led walking seminar of the Boston Common and Beacon Hill and discuss the progressive, intellectual Brahmins of 19th century Boston.

View all Boston guides
Out of the Ordinary Trips in Massachusetts
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This 6 day tour includes mountains to wander over, Alander, Everett and Bear; a little of the Appalachian Trail; the area near Sages Ravine or the Ice Glen in Stockbridge and more!
An Extraordinary Opportunity to Learn English. NESE believes that the English language can be best learned when combined with cultural immersion.

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