The Freedom Trail is more than a collection of historic sites related to the American Revolution or a suggested itinerary connecting... more » Boston’s unique neighborhoods. It’s a chance to walk in the footsteps of our forefathers—literally, by following a crimson path on public sidewalks—and pay tribute to the figures all school kids know, like Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Ben Franklin. In history-proud Boston, past and present intersect before your eyes, not as a re-creation but as living history accessible to all.
Boston played a key role in the dramatic events leading up to the American Revolution. Many of the founding fathers called the city home, and many of the initial meetings and actions that sparked the fight against the British took place here. In one day, you can visit Faneuil Hall—the “Cradle of Liberty”—where outraged colonial radicals met to oppose British authority; the site of the incendiary Boston Massacre; and the Old North Church, where lanterns hung to signal Paul Revere on his thrilling midnight ride. Colonists may have originally landed in Jamestown and Plymouth, but if you really want to see where America began, come to Boston.
The 3½-mi Freedom Trail begins at Boston Common, winds through Downtown, Government Center, and the North End, and ends in Charlestown at the USS Constitution. The entire Freedom Trail is marked by a red line on the sidewalk; it’s made of paint or brick at various points on the Trail.
Getting There and Back:
The route starts near the Park Street T stop. When you’ve completed the Freedom Trail, head for the nearby Charlestown water shuttle, which goes directly to the downtown area. For schedules and maps, visit www.mbta.com.
If you’re stopping at a few (or all) of the 16 sites, it takes a full day to complete the route comfortably. If you have children in tow, you may want to split the trail into two or more days.
There are Freedom Trail information centers in Boston Common (Tremont Street), at 15 State Street (near the Old State House), and at the Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center (in Building 5).
The National Park Service’s free 90-minute Freedom Trail walking tours begin at the Boston National Historical Park Visitor Center at 15 State Street and cover sites from the Old South Meeting House to the Old North Church. Check online for times; it’s a good idea to show up at least 30 minutes early, as the popular tours are limited to 30 people.
Half-hour tours of the USS Constitution are offered Tuesday through Sunday. Note that visitors to the ship must go through security screening.
The trail winds through the heart of Downtown Boston, so finding a quick bite or a nice sit-down meal isn’t difficult. Quincy Market, near Faneuil Hall, is packed with cafés and eateries. Another good lunch choice is one of the North End’s wonderful Italian restaurants. less «