Boston is the city I grew up with. I have moved to Massachusetts for school, and my university is actually only 30 minutes from the city, so I’ve become very well versed with the capital. In the countless amount of time I’ve spent there, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge, which in turn I am sharing with you to use on your next trip to the States.
About the Boston Freedom Trail
The Boston Freedom Trail is a collection of 16 historically significant sites along a 2.5 mile distance. The trail goes from the Massachusetts State House near Boston Commons all the way to the Bunker Hill Monument across the Charles River. The whole trail would only take about an hour to walk through if you don’t make any stops. Guided tours are available, hosted by members of the Revolution themselves. Actors dress up as characters such as Elizabeth Wells Adams, the wife of Samuel Adams, not just an American beer, but a key player in the Boston Tea Party Act against Great Britain. The characters leading the tours provide a sense of authenticity that makes the Revolutionary sites come alive. Even so, you can choose to walk the Trail on your own.
The entirety of the Boston Freedom Trail is marked by a distinct pattern of cobblestone, two red bricks outlined by granite on each side. The Trail has markers and plaques that explain what each stop is as well, making it convenient for those who prefer to go their own pace. Of the 17 official stops along the trail, five tend to be the most well known.
The USS Constitution
The oldest commissioned warship, known as “Old Ironsides," fought the British in the War of 1812. As the cannons were firing from the British ships, the cannonballs appeared to bounce right off of the USS Constitution, earning its nickname. Visitors can take a tour of the old ship, going inside and seeing what the tough ship was made of. This is extremely fun for kids, for there are old cannons still on board, along with preserved artifacts to show what it was really like.
Faneuil Hall is probably the most well-known stop on the Boston Freedom Trail. The hall itself is now a visitor center, but its structure has been preserved. Directly behind Faneuil Hall is Quincy Market, full of delicious food where old vendors used to run their businesses. Between Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, the small square has constant entertainment of street performers and artists. Surrounding these two buildings are modern shopping stores and bars, but you must cross the cobblestone to get to them. If you plan on walking around Boston, especially around Faneuil Hall, it’d be best to wear stable shoes because, as many visitors have found out, heels and cobblestone do not mix.
Paul Revere House
Paul Revere was a key player in the American Revolution, and is most famously known for alerting the town that “the Redcoats are coming!" His house is the oldest building in Boston and is actually the only home that is part of the Freedom Trail. Its location in the North End of Boston makes it the perfect place to make a little detour from the trail. The North End is the original home to Boston’s Italian immigrants, providing a wealth of delicious Italian food today. Of all of the restaurants and bakeries, two of the best and well known are Mike’s Pastry on Hanover Street and Pizzeria Regina on Thatcher Street.
Boston Common is America’s oldest public park. Today, visitors can lounge in the grass, check out the scattered statues, and even go skating on Frog Pond in the winter. The Commons, as it’s locally known, is right near a few American universities, making it a pretty hip place to be.
Massachusetts State House
The Massachusetts State House, as with most of Boston, sits atop some pretty prime reality, namely John Hancock’s cow pasture. Adding even more to the historical significance, Paul Revere was the one who painted the distinct golden dome atop, but he only finished it with copper. The state house itself is a beautiful building and sits at the top of a small hill overlooking the Commons.
Besides the Freedom Trail, there is plenty to do in Boston. The New England Aquarium is right on the harbor, the Science Center and the Museum of Fine Arts provide great low key but still really fun experiences, and the Harbor Walk is another self-guided trail that follows the different wharfs of the city. And of course, it would be foolish to even talk about Boston without mentioning its sports teams. Boston pride is real, and the Boston Red Sox (baseball), the Celtics (basketball), the Bruins (hockey), and the New England Patriots (football) keep the fire alive. It is hard to find a more committed fan than a Boston fan.
If you have a chance to hit the Garden near the North End and see the Celtics or Bruins or head to Fenway Park for a Fenway Frank and sing along to the traditional “Sweet Caroline" during the seventh inning stretch of a Red Sox game, your Boston experience would be complete.