The two quick days we spent in Boston were far from enough time to explore the city properly, and it was decided that the best way to maximize our time in town would be to take a Freedom Trail tour. There’s no need to join an organized tour – the 2.5 mile long trail is marked by a red line on the ground which takes you through different neighborhoods and combines historic and contemporary Boston sights. Even total map-o-phobes should have no problem sticking to the trail as it passes 16 significant historical sites that played a role in the American revolution, such as the site of the Boston Massacre, Bunker Hill monument, a Benjamin Franklin statue, the Old North Church, the Old State House and the Old Southern Meeting House where the Boston Tea Party was initiated.
Here are our favorite pictures from our Freedom Trail walk:
We started in Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States. The famous Ducklings statues refer to the main characters of the popular children’s book – Make Way For Ducklings.
Though not technically a part of the Freedom Trail, we were very excited about the street food vendor selling Peruvian arepas in Boston Common. We stopped and chatted with him for a bit before heading to the Massachusetts State Capitol with its distinct golden dome and further on towards the King’s Chapel & Burial Ground.
Love that contrast between the Old State House and the modern architecture of the surrounding skyscrapers along the Freedom Trail!
Next stop – Sam Adams. Not a beer, but the actual sculpture of Samuel Adams, leader of the American Revolution and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Mr Adams stands proudly in front of another historic building: Faneuil Hall, where he had held many important meetings and speeches, which eventually led to America’s independence.
The red line then led to Boston’s famous Quincy Market, but just before that we bumped into a terrific group of break dancers who entertained a huge crowd with their moves. Check out this guy flipping over five fully-grown adults! Amazing!
Quincy Market was easily one of our favorite stops along the trail – a paradise for foodies! There are dozens of food stands lined up, and while they ain’t healthy, they sure offer up some delicious concepts and cuisines.
The Italian bakeries have some seriously amazing goodies and we immediately picked up a pair of cannolis (which were the best we’ve ever had). With the crumbs still on our lips, we stumbled upon an Italian food market. Every.single.dish made our mouths water – from fried artichokes to lasagna, and all kinds of pasta dishes… we wanted to try everything!
We then followed the Trail to the Charlestown Bridge and picked up the pace to make it to visit Old Ironsides just as the sun began to set. The ship, otherwise known as the U.S.S. Constitution, is the world’s oldest floating commissioned naval vessel and stuffed with navy officers who, along with their active duty, help run the ship as a tourist attraction.
How to plan your own Freedom Trail Tour:
Where to start walking the Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail starts at the Boston Common, an easy to find park in the center of Boston. The end is Bunker Hill Monument
There’s a self-guided Freedom Trail tour (around US$6) which you can download to your phone. The audio tour provides you with interesting commentary along the way. You can download this free PDF which provides detailed information on each of the 16 stops along the Freedom Trail tour. GoogleMaps has a map of the Freedom Trail – simply click onthe red markers to get more information about each stop.
How long does it take to walk the Freedom Trail?
If you walk the Freedom Trail at a brisk pace and don’t stop a lot for photos along the way, it’ll take about 90 minutes to walk it. However, most people stop to roam the markets, grab some food, admire the 16 historic sites. I’d recommend planning in 3- 4 hours for your Freedom Trail Tour.
Guided Freedom Trail Walking Tours
There is no need for a guided tour, since it is very easy to walk the Freedom Trail independently. But if you prefer walking the Trail with commentary, the Freedom Trail Foundation runs walking tours for only US$14. They are 90 minutes long and tickets can be purchased at the Boston Commons Visitor Center. (I think these tours do NOT cover the entire Freedom Trail, however – double check before purchasing a ticket.)
Other Boston tours that include the Freedom Trail / the history of Boston include:
- Boston: Freedom Trail History and Architecture Walking Tour (2 hours, from US$20)
- Boston: 2-Hour Back Bay and Freedom Trail Walking Tour (2 hours, from US$35)
- Boston History & Highlights Afternoon Tour (2 hours, from US$46)
- Boston: 2-Hour Historic Walking Tour (2 hours, from US$35)
- Boston: North End to the Freedom Trail – Food & History Tour (half-day tour that combines food, history and highlights, starting from US$99)
Any questions about the Freedom Trail? Share them in the comments below…