Wander along 2.5 miles of history on Boston’s Freedom Trail. In the heart of Boston—one of the United States’ oldest cities— this historical pathway leads visitors past some of the nation’s most iconic sites. Boston’s Freedom Trail includes 16 locations significant to the founding and formation the United States. Explore the trail from Boston Common to the USS Constitution in Charlestown, soaking up history every step of the way.
Below is a summary of the sites you’ll find along the Freedom Trail in Boston. A Freedom Tour audio tour is also part of the TripScout mobile app’s Boston guide.
Built in 1634, this park is the oldest in the country. It’s also the first stop on Boston’s famous Freedom Trail. Nearly 50 acres in size, it’s the perfect place to stroll around. In addition to its peaceful surroundings, it’s filled with a variety of monuments and memorials, such as the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial honoring the first African American volunteer regiment to fight in the Civil War. And here’s a fun fact: John Adams and General Lafayette came to this park to celebrate the nation’s independence.
Massachusetts State House
This building is the state capitol and house of government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It’s located on the Freedom Trail and in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the country. It’s the former home of historic and notable individuals, like John Hancock, Robert Frost, and Louisa May Alcott. Beacon Hill is an excellent place to wander around and get lost, though make sure to check out some of the interesting landmarks in the neighborhood, such as the African Meeting House and the Boston Athenaeum.
Park Street Church
Currently an active Conservative Congregational church, this religious center was built in 1809. The historic church can be found on the Freedom Trail and houses a whopping 2,000 worshipers for Sunday services. In the early 19th century, The Park Street Church earned the nickname “Brimstone Corner” for its impassioned preaching as well as its role in the War of 1812—during the war, the church was a site for gunpowder storage.
Granary Burying Ground
This is Boston’s third oldest cemetery, and the final resting places for many iconic Revolutionary War-era patriots along the Freedom Trail. Founded in 1660, the Old Granary Burial Ground is the burial place for three signers of the Declaration of Independence, including Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine.
This Anglican church was built in 1688 when the Royal Governor directed that the King’s Chapel be built on a cemetery, since no one in the city would sell their land for the purposes of building a non-Puritan church. The present granite structure can be found on the Freedom Trail and was built around the original wooden chapel in the mid-1700s. John Winthrop, the first Puritan governor of Massachusetts, and other early influential Bostonians were buried in the cemetery here prior to the Anglican church being built.
King’s Chapel Burying Ground
This burial ground was the first cemetery in Boston and is located on the Freedom Trail. Founded in 1630, King’s Chapel Burying Ground is the final resting place of Mary Chilton. One of the Plymouth Pilgrim, Chilton was the first European woman in New England.
Benjamin Franklin Statue
This statue memorializes the greatest son of Boston, Benjamin Franklin and be found on the Freedom Trail. Arguably the greatest person in American history, Franklin was a Founding Father (in fact, the only one to have signed all 4 key documents establishing U.S. independence), entrepreneur, inventor, statesman, postman, scientist, and diplomat. Most people only associate Benjamin Franklin with Philadelphia, but he was actually born in Boston and spent the first 17 years of his life here. This statue highlights some of Franklin’s many accomplishments.
Boston Latin School
Founded in 1635, this was the first school built in America and can be viewed on the Freedom Trail. It’s still in operation today and boasts the most impressive alumni in the country, including 5 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Paine, and William Hooper.
Old Corner Bookstore
This bookstore’s history dates back to the 17th century, where it was the site of Anne Hutchinson’s home, a woman who was expelled from Massachusetts in 1638 for heresy. The original building burned to the ground in the Great Boston Fire of 1711 and was later rebuilt. The current building was first used as a bookstore in 1828 and is an historic site on the Freedom Trail.
Old South Meeting House
This historic meeting place for Puritans to worship gained fame as the organizing point for the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773. After the British imposed a tax on tea that the colonist saw as unfair, 5,000 colonists gathered at the Meeting House since it was the largest building in Boston at the time. Samuel Adams then gave the order to dump the tea in the harbor. This caused a harsh reaction of new laws and restrictions from Great Britain, which inflamed tensions even further and eventually led to the full separation and outbreak of war. This site is a stop on the Freedom Trail.
Old State House
This historic building was built in 1713 and is one of the oldest public buildings in the United States. It housed the Royal Governor prior to the American Revolution and served as home to the Massachusetts state government afterwards. The Declaration of Independence was first read out loud to Boston from the east side balcony.
Site of Boston Massacre
The Boston Massacre, when British soldiers shot and killed protesting civilians, occurred right in front of the Old State House. This historic site is on the Freedom Trail. The event—known as the Incident on King Street by the British—was heavily propagandized by leading patriots, such as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, and was a turning point in the cause for independence.
This grand building is known as America’s cradle of liberty. Faneuil Hall has been a marketplace and meeting hall since 1743. The marketplace occupies the first floor and the meeting room, which was the center of Boston’s government and revolutionary meetings, is located on the second floor. Legends such as Samuel Adams gave many historic speeches here calling for independence. It has continued to be an important landmark for the call to liberty, having served as a meeting hall for later abolitionist and suffragist. Artwork in the building includes many paintings and sculptures of Revolutionary War activists, pre-Civil War abolitionists, and political leaders.
Paul Revere House
Built in 1680, this house is the oldest standing building in downtown Boston and is a fascinating look back in time at America’s colonial era architecture. It was also home to Paul Revere, one of the most influential Bostonians, a silversmith, engraver, early industrialist, and a patriot in the American Revolution. He is perhaps best known for his “Midnight Ride” to alert the Colonial militia about the approach of British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord. This enabled the militia to prepare and stand ready for battle, instead of being taken by surprise. You can visit the Paul Revere house along the Freedom Trail.
Old North Church
Built in 1723, this is the oldest church in Boston. Originally known as Christ Church, it was Boston’s original Anglican place of worship. However, its fame and significant role in history come from the role it played in Paul Revere’s famous Midnight Ride. Paul Revere had the groundskeeper sneak into the church and use lanterns to signal messengers across the river to alert the Colonial militia about the approach of British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord. This enabled the militia to prepare and stand ready for battle, instead of being taken by surprise.
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
Founded in 1659, this is the 2nd oldest burial ground in Boston and the burial place of many patriots who served in the American Revolutionary War and participated in the Boston Tea Party. Some of the Bostonians buried here are Robert Newman, the patriot who lit the lanterns to signal Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride to Lexington and Concord, and Cotton Mather, in the Mather Family Tomb. Mather was a politically and socially influential New England Puritan minister who participated in revolutionary acts a hundred years prior to the revolution. However, he is also believed to have been responsible for laying the groundwork for the Salem witch trials. On the way out, make sure to check out the skinny, grey house in across the street, also known as the skinniest house in Boston.
Bunker Hill Monument
This giant granite obelisk commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill, which was the first major conflict between British and Patriot forces in the American Revolutionary War. The battle was fought at this site on June 17, 1775 and the order “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” given just prior to the fight has come to symbolize the determination of the poorly trained and supplied American colonists facing the most powerful army in the world. Completed in 1843, this is one of the oldest monuments in the United States and can be found on the Freedom Trail.
This is the oldest still commissioned warship in the world, and it’s the last stop on the Freedom Trail. Built in 1797, it heroic war stories have made it a national treasure. It has patrolled the West Indies, Brazil, the west African coast, and participated in the Barbary Wars. However, the USS Constitution is best known for the role it played in the War of 1812 against Great Britain, sometimes referred to as the “second war of independence,” defeating five British war ships. During this war, the cannon balls appeared to simply bounce off the ship’s sides, giving it the nickname “Old Ironsides.” The ship’s copper fastenings were actually constructed by Paul Revere.
Enjoy the Freedom Trail while on your Boston Tour!
Boston Tour Benefits
- Curated Sites
- Audio Tours
- Offline Map
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