Historical Cambridge Walking Tour, Boston (Self Guided)

If you're a history buff, the Cambridge district of Boston has a number of great historical architectural artworks to visit. Inside the walls of these places you can see history in action and find some great stuff that's not in the history books. Take our tour to discover the amazing facts and sights of Cambridge.
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Historical Cambridge Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Historical Cambridge Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Boston (See other walking tours in Boston)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
Author: anna
1
Mount Auburn Cemetery

1) Mount Auburn Cemetery

Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831 as "America's first garden cemetery", or the first "rural cemetery", with classical monuments set in a rolling landscaped terrain. The 174 acre cemetery is important both for its historical aspects and for its role as an arboretum. The area is well known for its beautiful environs and is a favorite location for Cambridge bird-watchers. Mount Auburn's collection of over 5,500 trees includes nearly 700 species and varieties. Thousands of very well-kept shrubs and herbaceous plants weave through the cemetery's hills, ponds, woodlands, and clearings. The cemetery contains more than 10 miles of roads and many paths. Landscaping styles range from Victorian-era plantings to contemporary gardens, from natural woodlands to formal ornamental gardens, and from sweeping vistas through majestic trees to small enclosed spaces. Many trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are tagged with botanic labels containing their scientific and common names.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Elmwood House

2) Elmwood House

Elmwood, also known as the Oliver-Gerry-Lowell House, is a registered historic house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, known for its several prominent former residents, including: Andrew Oliver (1706–74), royal Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts; Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), signer of the US Declaration of Independence whose political tactics earned the term gerrymandering, and Vice President of the United States; and James Russell Lowell (1819–1891), noted American writer, poet, and foreign diplomat. It is now the residence of the President of Harvard University. The house was built in 1767 by Thomas Oliver, Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts for a short period until he was forced to resign in September 1774. Although parts of Elmwood's interior have been altered, its exterior has not changed greatly over the years. It is a large, square, clapboarded structure in Georgian style with brick-lined walls and two interior chimneys.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Hooper-Lee-Nichols House

3) Hooper-Lee-Nichols House

The Hooper-Lee-Nichols House is a historic Colonial American house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is the second-oldest house in the city. The house is now headquarters for the Cambridge Historical Society, which provides tours several times a week. The house was originally built in 1685 by Dr. Richard Hooper as a typical "first-period" farmhouse, although its ceilings were plastered, which was unusual for a modest house. When Hooper died in 1691, his wife took in boarders and the property then began to fall into disrepair. She in turn died in 1701, and the house continued its decline until 1717, when it was inherited by Hooper's son, Dr. Henry Hooper. He added a lean-to and rebuilt the chimney with cooking ovens. In 1733, he sold the house to Cornelius Waldo, who added a third story and wooden quoins at the house's corners. Waldo also installed larger windows. The result was a house that looked thoroughly Georgian. The house is open for tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 and 3 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Longfellow National Historic Site

4) Longfellow National Historic Site

The house was built in 1759 for John Vassall, who fled the Cambridge area at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War because of his loyalty to the king of England. For almost fifty years, it was the home of noted American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. For a time, it had previously served as the headquarters of George Washington. The last family to live in the home was the Longfellow family, who established the Longfellow Trust in 1913 for its preservation. The home was donated in 1972, along with all its furnishings, and was made part of the National Park Service. The home, which represents the mid-Georgian architectural style, is seasonally open to the public. The Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site is noted for its garden on the northeast end of the property. For a time, Longfellow's home was one of the most photographed and most recognizable homes in the United States. Several replicas of Longfellow's home appear throughout the United States.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Asa Gray House

5) Asa Gray House

The Asa Gray House is a historic house located at 88 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is a National Historic Landmark. The house was designed in 1810 by architect Ithiel Town in the Federal style for the first head of the Harvard Botanic Garden, and has been the residence of ornithologist Thomas Nuttall and botanist Asa Gray. Asa Gray (November 18, 1810 – January 30, 1888) is considered the most important American botanist of the 19th century. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Cooper-Frost-Austin House

6) Cooper-Frost-Austin House

The Cooper-Frost-Austin House is a historic Colonial American house, currently estimated to have been constructed circa 1681-1682. It is the oldest extant home in Cambridge and operated as a non-profit museum by Historic New England. The house was built by Samuel Cooper on land that his father, Deacon John Cooper, had owned since 1657, and was first documented in 1689 in The Register Book of the Lands and Houses in the "New Towne" (as Cambridge was then named). Its original structure was a single room and chimney bay in width, two and one half stories in height with an integral lean-to, containing a "low room," "little room," "kitchin," "Chamber," "kitchin Chamber," "Garret," and "Cellar," all of which still exist, as do the original chimney and a facade gable. The house was extended in 1690 by Cooper's son, and then again between 1807 and 1816 by Martha Frost Austin and Thomas Austin who added an enclosed porch and Federal style stairway and trim.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Stillman Willis House

7) Stillman Willis House

The Stillman Willis House is a historic edifice situated at 1 Potter Park. It is one of the oldest residential buildings in Cambridge, dating back to 1839. Built entirely of wood, on the outside the house shows traditional Colonial Revival style with Georgian decorations on the facade. The building was listed on the National Historic Register in 1982.

Walking Tours in Boston, Massachusetts

Create Your Own Walk in Boston

Create Your Own Walk in Boston

Creating your own self-guided walk in Boston is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

With its many historical landmarks and modern artworks, Boston is a city with a unique image. Mementos of Boston's heroes and memorials to world-changing events are found here, as well as some fine examples of art in the open. Take this orientation walk to see the biggest and best sights of Boston.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 km
Boston Museums Walking Tour

Boston Museums Walking Tour

Boston's rich historical past is carefully nourished by the city's many museums. Inside these museums you'll find unique works of art, scientific wonders and many other objects that illuminate the past. Take our walking tour to discover the best museums in the city.

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.0 km
Boston Famous Historical Sites Tour

Boston Famous Historical Sites Tour

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...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Boston Places of Worship Tour

Boston Places of Worship Tour

Boston's many great churches are among the most precious of the city's numerous architectural jewels. What makes these artworks special are their unique styles, elegant facades and centuries of history. Take our tour and experience these must-see wonders of Boston.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Kids Entertainment Tour in Boston

Kids Entertainment Tour in Boston

When it comes to the best entertainment for kids, Boston's got a winning combination: Swan boats, fresh ice cream, unique plants and animals, delicious cookies and much more. There's also the chance to make learning fun with the use of hands-on science exhibits. Take our Kids Entertainment Tour to discover the most fun you can have in Boston.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Boston Nightlife Tour

Boston Nightlife Tour

Boston is one of the most sparkling and vibrant cities for nightlife in the US. Bostonians, tourists and Hollywood stars alike flock to the dance clubs here. Become one of the in-crowd by taking our tour of the best nightlife spots in the city of Boston.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Boston's Marblehead Eateries

Boston's Marblehead Eateries

With such a diverse variety of dining cuisines and styles, the little town of Marblehead has something to satisfy every budget and culinary palate. You won't find any neon here, none is allowed in town and there are no fast food or drive-thrus establishments either. Most are quaint and...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Boston for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Boston has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Boston's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Boston CityPASS or GO Boston Card.

A city pass combines all or multiple Boston's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving your precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Boston hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Boston Omni Parker House Hotel, The Bostonian Boston, Ames Boston Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Boston, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Boston typically costs somewhere between US$35 and US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off trolley to enjoy sightseeing of Boston in comfort listening to a live on-board commentary from a local expert, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route as often as you like. The tickets are valid for one or two days.

- Pack your “very best of Boston” experience in just one day with the help of a fully narrated sightseeing tour covering all of the city's key historic attractions, including those in the neighboring Massachusetts cities of Cambridge, Lexington and Concord, dating back to the times of the American Revolutionary War.

- Feel the spirit of Boston on a guided, 2-hour walk through the Downtown area on the popular Freedom Trail visiting the locations of great historical importance for the United States. If you're a history buff, this tour is definitely for you!

- Summon your guts and sense of adventure to dig deep into the ghastly side of Boston on a scary, yet fun and informative frightseeing tour set to bring light to some of the darkest corners of the city and relay the stories of the unfortunate souls and sinister characters that once walked the streets of Boston.

- Pedal your way around Boston on a 3-hour educational and fun bike tour to appreciate the city's most spectacular sights while stopping at some of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning interesting facts about the attractions en route from a knowledgeable group leader.

- Spend another three hours in a most tasteful way on a walk led by an expert guide to explore the culinary scene of Boston. Along with the freshest seafood food and other delights, you will acquaint yourself with Boston's Little Italy, learn the history of this neighborhood and some fascinating facts about its most favorite dishes.

Day Trips


If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Boston, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Cambridge, Lexington and Concord, New England coast, Salem, Martha's Vineyard, or Plimoth. For as little as circa US$50+ to US$105 per person you will get a chance to discover several nearby Massachusetts cities that left mark in the American history, stand on the legendary battlefield and visit other locations that played a prominent role in the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars, capture the beautiful scenery of the New England coast replete with postcard-worthy beaches, harbors, wetlands, rugged cliffs and lighthouses, travel along the rocky coast of Maine to one of the most iconic lighthouses in the U.S., learn the fascinating history of the Salem Witch Trials, see the birthplace of the American Navy, explore Boston's original Martha's Vineyard, or step back in time for a glimpse of life of the Pilgrims back in the 1600s with a chance to interact with the costumed actors reenacting the Pilgrims' daily chores in the English colony. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Boston and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach to the destination of your choice and back again.