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Boston's Freedom Trail

Discover the roots of the revolution and Boston's rich history on this popular walk.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.4 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview:  The Freedom Trail is more than a collection of historic sites related to the American Revolution or a suggested itinerary connecting... more »

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Points of Interest

Nothing is more central to Boston than the Common, the oldest public park in the United States and undoubtedly the largest and most famous of the town commons around which New England settlements were traditionally arranged. Dating from 1634, Boston Common started as 50 acres where the freemen of Boston could graze their cattle. (Cows were banned ... More

2. On the Common: The Central Burial Ground

The Central Burying Ground may seem an odd feature for a public park, but remember that in 1756, when the land was set aside, this was a lonely corner of the Common. It's the final resting place of Tories and Patriots alike, as well as many British casualties of the Battle of Bunker Hill. The most famous person buried here is Gilbert Stuart, the... More

3. On the Common: The Boston Massacre Memorial

On Tremont Street near Boylston stands the 1888 Boston Massacre Memorial; the sculpted hand of one of the victims has a distinct shine from years of sightseers' caresses.

4. On the Common: The Soldiers and Sailors Monument

The Common's highest ground, near the park's Parkman Bandstand, was once called Flagstaff Hill. It's now surmounted by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, honoring Civil War troops.

The Common's only body of water is the Frog Pond, a tame and frog-free concrete depression used as a children's wading pool during steamy summer days and for ice-skating in winter. It marks the original site of a natural pond that inspired Edgar Allan Poe to call Bostonians "Frogpondians." In 1848 a gushing fountain of piped-in water was... More

6. On the Common: The Robert Gould Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial

On the Beacon Street side of the Common sits the splendidly restored Robert Gould Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial, executed in deep-relief bronze by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1897. It commemorates the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first Civil War unit made up of free blacks, led by the young Brahmin Robert Gould Shaw. He and half of his troops died... More

On July 4, 1795, the surviving fathers of the Revolution were on hand to enshrine the ideals of their new Commonwealth in a graceful seat of government designed by Charles Bulfinch. Governor Samuel Adams and Paul Revere laid the cornerstone; Revere would later roll the copper sheathing for the dome.

Bulfinch's neoclassical design is poised... More

If this Congregationalist church at the corner of Tremont and Park streets could sing, what joyful noise it would be. Samuel Smith's hymn "America" was first sung inside the church, which was designed by Peter Banner and erected in 1809–10, on July 4, 1831. The country's oldest musical organization, the Handel & Haydn Society, was... More

"It is a fine thing to die in Boston," A. C. Lyons, an essayist and old Boston wit, once remarked, alluding to the city's cemeteries, among the most picturesque and historic in America. If you found a resting place here at the Old Granary, as it's called, chances are your headstone would have been elaborately ornamented with skeletons... More

Both somber and dramatic, King's Chapel looms over the corner of Tremont and School streets. Its distinctive shape wasn't achieved entirely by design; for lack of funds, it was never topped with the steeple that architect Peter Harrison had planned. The first chapel on this site was erected in 1688, when Sir Edmund Andros, the royal governor whose... More

11. Benjamin Franklin Statue/Boston Latin School

This stop on the Freedom Trail commemorates the famous revolutionary and inventor. His likeness also marks the original location of Boston Latin School, the country's oldest public school, which still molds young minds, albeit from the Fenway neighborhood, today. Franklin attended Boston Latin with three other signers of the Declaration of... More

Through these doors, between 1845 and 1865, passed some of the century's literary lights: Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow—even Charles Dickens paid a visit. Many of their works were published here by James T. "Jamie" Fields, who in 1830 had founded the influential firm Ticknor and Fields. In the... More

This is the second-oldest church building in Boston, and were it not for Longfellow's celebration of the Old North in "Paul Revere's Ride," it might well be the most famous. Some of the fieriest of the town meetings that led to the Revolution were held here, culminating in the gathering of December 16, 1773, which was called by Samuel... More

This colonial-era landmark has one of the most recognizable facades in Boston, with its State Street gable adorned by a brightly gilded lion and unicorn, symbols of British imperial power. The original figures were pulled down in 1776. For proof that bygones are bygones, consider not only the restoration of the sculptures in 1880 but also that... More

The single building facing Congress Street is the real Faneuil Hall, though locals often give that name to all five buildings in this shopping complex. Bostonians pronounce it Fan-yoo'uhl or Fan-yuhl. Like other Boston landmarks, Faneuil Hall has evolved over many years. It was erected in 1742, the gift of wealthy merchant Peter Faneuil, who... More

Originally on the site was the parsonage of the Second Church of Boston, home to the Rev. Increase Mather, the Second Church's minister. Mather's house burned in the great fire of 1676, and the house that Revere was to occupy was built on its location about four years later, nearly a hundred years before Revere's 1775 midnight ride through... More

One of the city's oldest brick buildings, this structure, just to the left of the Paul Revere House, was once owned by Nathaniel Hichborn, a boatbuilder and Revere's cousin on his mother's side. Built about 1711 for a window maker named Moses Pierce, the Pierce-Hichborn House is an excellent example of early Georgian architecture. The home's... More

Standing at one end of the Paul Revere Mall is a church famous not only for being the oldest one in Boston (built in 1723) but for housing the two lanterns that glimmered from its steeple on the night of April 18, 1775. This is Christ, or Old North, Church, where Paul Revere and the young sexton Robert Newman managed that night to signal the... More

An ancient and melancholy air hovers like a fine mist over this colonial-era burial ground. The North End graveyard incorporates four cemeteries established between 1660 and 1819. Near the Charter Street gate is the tomb of the Mather family, the dynasty of church divines (Cotton and Increase were the most famous sons) who held sway in Boston... More

Better known as "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution rides proudly at anchor in her berth at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. fleet is a battlewagon of the old school, of the days of "wooden ships and iron men"—when she and her crew of 200 succeeded at the perilous task of asserting the... More

Three misunderstandings surround this famous monument. First, the Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought on Breed's Hill, which is where the monument sits today. (The real Bunker Hill is about ½ mi to the north of the monument; it's slightly taller than Breed's Hill.) Bunker was the original planned locale for the battle, and for that... More