Boston America’s Walking City
By Susan M. Keenan © 2007
Boston, noted for being a great city to visit and explore history, has so much to see that you’ll need several days to take it all in. Even then, you probably won’t get to see all that Boston has to offer. Traveling by car can be difficult so be prepared to go by foot, by bus, or even by duck boat (tours).
Famous landmarks beckon to tourists from seemingly every corner. Once upon a time, America’s patriots walked along these streets and contributed in some way to Boston’s heritage. Today’s visitors can walk along Freedom Trail, a three-mile red brick road, which meanders through the North End, Beacon Hill, and the Financial District, passing many famous landmarks along the way.
Markers and plaques along the Freedom Trail identify each of the stops including:
Boston Common - the country’s oldest public park, dating back to 1640.
Massachusetts State House - includes numerous outside statues.
Park Street Church - dates back to 1809 and it has been a place where many important events occurred.
Old Granary Burying Ground - Crispus Attucks, the first black man to die in the Revolutionary War is buried here along with others.
King’s Chapel and Burying Ground - first Anglican church in Boston.
Benjamin Franklin Statue - the first of its kind in Boston and the site of the first public school in the nation.
Old Corner Bookstore Building - site of Anne Hutchinson’s home at one time.
Old South Meeting House - a large crowd gathered here waiting for word of three ships of tea and whether they would be returned to England. The Boston Tea Party took place when they were not sent back.
Old State House - John Hancock was inaugurated here and the Boston Massacre took place in front of it.
Boston Massacre Site - Five snowball and rock throwing colonists were killed at this site by Royal Troops on March 5, 1770.
Faneuil Hall - the site of many Revolutionary gatherings. The hall includes a military museum (open Monday through Saturday) as well as many paintings of the military battles.
New England Holocaust Memorial - erected in 1995 to commemorate the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust.
Paul Revere House - in downtown Boston, home of Paul Revere at the time of his famous ride. Now a museum showcases his collection of silver as well as other artifacts.
Paul Revere Mall (James Rego Square) - a park containing a statue of Paul Revere.
Old North Church - Old North Church, also known as Christ Church, is open to the public daily. Admission is by donation. This is the oldest church in Boston, dating back to 1723. Sit in one of the box pews and imagine that you were the one signaling the revolution with the famous “one if by land and two if by sea. Two different tours are offered for a small fee.
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground - Boston’s second oldest burial ground where Cotton Mather and Robert Newman are buried.
USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) - one of the oldest frigates.
USS Constitution Museum -a hands-on museum about ships.
Bunker Hill Monument - 221-foot obelisk that honors the fallen at Bunker Hill.
Some of the most distinctive neighborhoods in Boston include the South End, Cambridge, Fenway, Brookline, Back Bay, and Charleston. Additionally, Boston has one of the largest concentrations of universities and colleges in the world, including Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT.
If you go at the right time of year, you can catch the Red Sox at Fenway Park, one of the oldest baseball stadiums in the United States. The Charles River is a busy spot with lots of water sports for water lovers. Swan boats offer a leisurely ride for a minimal fee across the lagoon located at the Public Garden, which is thought to be the country’s first botanical garden. Open daily.
Faneuil Hall marketplace is a great place to buy souvenirs or pick up something you need since it features more than 125 boutiques, restaurants, pushcarts, and produce stands. The marketplace is open Monday through Saturdays.
Filene’s Basement can be an exciting treasure hunt of its own. Every day reductions are made on the remaining stock, creating an ever-spiraling set of bargains.
There’s plenty more to see including numerous museums. The New England Aquarium, open daily, showcases over twenty thousand specimens including seals, penguins, fish, sharks, eels, and turtles. For science lovers, there’s the Museum of Science. For art lovers, there’s the Museum of Fine Arts or the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. History lovers should seek out the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum or the
Once you think your sightseeing is over and it’s time for a bite to eat and a nice long drink, stop at Cheers Beacon Hill, the inspiration for a long-running television series. Since it’s open at 11:00 am, you can stop by for lunch as well.