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The Freedom Trail

Explore the Roots of the American Revolution with this historic Boston walk
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 2.5 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview:  Nothing tops the Boston Freedom Trail as an introduction to the history and popular sites of Boston. This 2.5-mile walk will take... more »

Tips:  Allow plenty of time for this walk; while the path itself is 2.5 miles, each point of interest may take longer to see (and after 16 it... more »

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Points of Interest

Start in Boston Common, America's first public park (established in 1634), with a walk around the ponds or perhaps a ride on a swan boat in the nearby public garden. This area was originally used as a place for livestock to graze until 1830. In the beginning years of America it served as a military space for the British soldiers before... More

The "new" State House (not to be confused with the Old State House, which is also on the Freedom Trail) was completed in 1798 and designed by Charles Bulfinch. The gilded dome has had its fair share of renovations: starting off wood, it was covered with copper by Paul Revere, gilded in 1874, painted black to escape bombings during World ... More

Built in 1809, the Park Street Church was one of the first Congregational churches in this area. It was designed by Peter Banner and can be easily recognized by its 217-foot white steeple. Many important movements took place here, including prison reform, women's suffrage and protests against slavery. Today it remains one of the most significant... More

Although it is a small space, the Granary Burying Ground (it was named after the massive grain storage building next door) has 2,345 tombstones; some claim as many as 8,000 people were buried here. While here look for the graves of Benjamin Franklin's parents, John Hancock, Paul Revere and Samuel Adams.

This chapel was built for British soldiers in America who were sent to enforce British laws. Peter Harrison was the architect and the church was completed in 1754. The interior is considered the best Georgian church architecture in North America.

Next to the King's Chapel, this burying ground was the only burying place for almost 30 years (it is older than the Granary Burying Ground near the beginning of the Freedom Trail). John Winthrop, Massachusetts's first governor; Mary Chilton, the first woman off the Mayflower; and William Dawes, the forgotten rider who rode to Lexington and Concord... More

The Boston Latin School is the oldest public school in America (founded on April 13, 1635). A statue of Benjamin Franklin, the famous statesman and inventor, stands in front, marking the original location of the schoolhouse. Fraklin, Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Robert Treat Paine all attended the Boston Latin School and signed the... More

The Old Corner Bookstore opened in 1828 and was operated by Ticknor and Fields, the nation's leading publisher between 1833 and 1864. Famous authors such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nathaniel Hawthorn, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Charles Dickens were all frequent visitors and had their words produced here.

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Address: Corner of School and... More

The Old South Meeting House played an important role in many of the events that led up to the American Revolution. It was built in 1729, but a more memorable date was Dec. 16, 1773. That was when many citizens—who had tired of paying taxes to the British and refused to pay a large duty for tea shipments—crowded into the Old South Meeting House for... More

Before the American Revolution, the Old State House was the seat of the British government and the first capitol building for the Commonwealth. It was here that Samuel Adams uttered the famous phrase, "No taxation without representation!" that would become the rallying cry for the revolution. It is also where John Adams declared, ... More

On March 5, 1770, with tensions high due to recent riots caused by excessive taxation by the British, a British soldier hit a young man in the face with his musket. An angry mob soon gathered and began throwing snowballs at the British soldiers. Among the snowballs, a club hit Private Montgomery, who then fired the first shot. After the smoke... More

Faneuil Hall also played a major role in the revolution, housing protests against the Sugar Act, Stamp Act and Townshend Act, as well as many meetings that led up to the Boston Tea Party. A statue of Samuel Adams stands outside and the market stalls on the first floor are still in use today.

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Address: Government Center, Haymarket, State
... More

Before Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride to Lexington and Concord on April 18, 1775, he lived in this wooden house, which is now downtown Boston's oldest building. You can take a tour inside, where Revere lived with his mother, children (he had 16) and wife.

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Address: 19 North Square, North End
Phone: 617-523-2338
Admission: Adults... More

The Old North Church opened on Dec. 29, 1723, and is the oldest church in Boston. You can recognize it by its 191-foot steeple, which was used to signal the arrival of the British during the American Revolution. On April 18, 1775, Thomas Bernard hung two lanterns, which was a signal that the British had arrived ("One if by land, two if by sea... More

Built in 1659, Copp's Hill Burying Ground was the largest colonial burying ground, where merchants, artisans and craftspeople were buried. Up to 1,000 free African-Americans may also be buried here.

The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship, used in the War of 1812. The cannonballs fired simply bounced off the side of the ship, which is where it gets its appropriate nickname, "Old Ironsides." In its glory days, the ship traveled to the West Indies, Brazil and Western Africa, and required a crew of 500 men. Today a crew... More

Bunker Hill was one of the major battles in the Revolutionary War (June 17, 1775). Technically, it was a British victory, but it proved that the colonial soldiers were willing and able to put up an effective fight.  

The colonists on the hill eventually ran out of ammunition, which led to the order, "Don't fire until you see the whites ... More