Boston and Cambridge welcome guests to Freedom Trail, Old Ironsides and more
The historic homes and sites of Boston are legendary: just look at the stops of the Freedom Trail if you have any doubt: ranging from the Old North Church to the Paul Revere House to the USS Constitution. It is no surprise that this Colonial-era architecture and sense of time pervade the neighborhoods and streets where visitors find accommodations. Think about staying at a historic hotel
on your next trip to this most American of cities, where the country’s birth story is always on display.
Adams National Historical Park Visitor Center - 1250 Hancock Street
Quincy, MA, 02169
City of Presidents takes command of the nation’s history
It’s not surprising that the City of Presidents is a prime destination for those interested in John and John Quincy Adams, whose homestead is one of three historic houses (and the first presidential library) you can tour at the Adams National Historical Park. But Quincy’s historical sites also include a 17th century Native American summer campsite; the site of the nation’s first commercial railroad in the Blue Hills Reservation; and the Thomas Crane Library, a 19th-century Romanesque marvel with its stained-glass windows. History buffs will also want to see the Quincy History Museum, built on the site where John Hancock was born; the rock cairn marking where Abigail Adams watched the Battle of Bunker Hill; and cemeteries dating back to the 1600s.
At Harvard University - 11 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA, 02138
A journey into New England & America's legacy
Explore the enduring importance of rivers and canoes in Penobscot tribal life. See the archaeology of Harvard Yard, how students lived at colonial Harvard, and the role of the 17th-century Indian College in Harvard’s early years. Trace the birth of American anthropology through the China trade, the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the Javanese Village at the Fair, expeditions to the Arctic and the American Southwest, and more in the museum’s 150th anniversary exhibition. Visit the website for special exhibitions. Admission to the connected Harvard Museum of Natural History and its famed Glass Flowers is included. Open daily 9:00 AM–5:00 PM.
USS Constitution "Old Ironsides" at Charlestown Navy Yard
National Historic Park
Visitors will get a glimpse into the Naval history of Boston at this site, actively used by the U.S. Navy from 1800 until 1974. Includes a museum detailing the history of "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution. Admission to the Navy Yard is free.
Hours: Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; July - August, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
83 Beals Street
Guided tours are available at the site, covering the house and neighborhood, where President John F. Kennedy was born in 1917. In 2017, during the centennial of the late president's birth, the site is featuring a new exhibit on JFK’s political legacy. "John Fitzgerald Kennedy: The First One Hundred Years." Also debuting in May 2017 is a new orientation film to celebrate the site’s 50th anniversary year.
Hours: Grounds are accessible year-round, the house is open May through October. daily, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Because of the size of the house, tours are limited to nine visitors; larger groups will be divided into tours of nine. Please allow for a one-hour visit.
USS Constitution Museum
24 Fifth Street at the Charlestown Navy Yard
Charlestown, MA, 02129
The USS Constitution Museum serves as the memory and educational voice of USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides," the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat. The museum houses the ship's logs, weapons, charts, journals, arts, and more. Visitors fire a cannon, swing in a hammock, or command the USS Constitution in battle using a computer.
Hours: November 1-March 31, daily, Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; April 1-October 31, daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $5; seniors, $3; children, $2.
Mount Auburn Cemetery
580 Mount Auburn Street
In this cemetery are the graves of architect Charles Bulfinch, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Winslow Homer, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, in a tranquil arboretum and garden-like setting. A National Historic landmark.
Hours: Grounds are open 8 a.m.-5p.m.
50 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA, 02138
America's oldest university and one of the world's most revered learning institutions, Harvard has given degrees to some of the nation's most important historical figures. Free campus tours are available regularly.
Trinity Church (MA)
206 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA, 02116
Recognized as one of the most significant buildings in America, Trinity Church took shape on marshland in Boston's Back Bay in the 1870s. Built in 1877, the church was designed by H. H. Richardson, and is a prime example of the Romanesque architectural style.
HOurs for touring: Saturday, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 11 a.m.—5 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m.—6 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5:30 p.m.; Sunday (Shop Hours), 9 a.m.—6 p.m.
Old South Meeting House
310 Washington Street
Built in 1729, the Old South Meeting House was the largest building in colonial Boston. The building hosted historic gatherings such as the protests over the Boston Massacre to the infamous meeting where Samuel Adams launched the Boston Tea Party. The exhibition "Voices of Protest" and innovative, hands-free audio program "If These Walls Could Speak" tell the story of figures from Old South's history and reveal the controversial history of free speech that continues to this day.
Hours: Year-round, daily, April 1 - October 31, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; November 1 - March 31, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $6; seniors age 62 and older and students, $5; children age 6-18, $1.
New England Holocaust Memorial
98 Union Street
Commemorates the millions of lives lost in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Tours offered; consult website for details
Otis House Museum
141 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA, 02114
In 1796, Harrison Gray Otis, a congressman and real estate entrepreneur, and his wife, Sally, lived and entertained lavishly in this elegant home, designed by Charles Bulfinch. Today the house portrays both high-style living in the Federal era and the cycles of change in a dynamic urban neighborhood. Museum shop.
Hours: Year round, Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tours every half hour, 11 a.m. -4:30 p.m. Clost major holidays; open July 4.
Admission: Adults, $8; seniors, $7; students and children, $4.
Granary Burying Ground
Park and Tremont streets
America's most historic cemetery features the graves of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and those killed in the Boston Massacre.
Hours: June 17-August 31, Tuesday-Saturday 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Copp's Hill Burial Ground
21 Hull Street, Uphill from the Old North Church
Pre-revolutionary graves can be found here, including those of Cotton Mather and Edward Hart, builder of the USS Constitution. Many African Americans who lived in the New Guinea community are buried on the Snowhill Street side.
Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Bunker Hill Monument
Monument marks the site of the Bunker Hill skirmish, one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War, which took place on June 17, 1775.
Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last climb at 4:30 p.m. Summer (July - August) open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Last climb at 5:30 p.m.
Bounded by Tremont, Beacon, Charles, Park and Boylston streets
The starting point of the Freedom Trail, the large Boston Common is a beloved and legendary park, and the anchor for the Emerald Necklace, a system of connected parks through many Boston neighborhoods. Until 1830, cattle grazed the Common. British troops camped on Boston Common prior to the Revolution and left from here to face Colonial resistance at Lexington and Concord in April, 1775. Lots of public space and public events take place here.
African Meeting House in Boston (1806)
46 Joy Street
The African Meeting House on Beacon Hill was built in 1806 in what was the heart of Boston's 19th century African American community. It is today a showcase of black community organization in the formative years of the new republic. The Meeting House was the host to giants in the Abolitionist Movement who were responsible for monumental historical events. The African Meeting House is the oldest black church edifice still standing in the United States. It is part of boston's Black Heritage Trail.
Hours:Year-round, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Black Heritage Trail
46 Joy Street
Beginning at the African Meeting House on Smith Court, this walking tour follows the history of the African-American community in 19th century Boston. Many of the sites are open to the public and are listed separately here. The the walk includes the following: The African Meeting House (1806), Smith Court, the Abiel Smith School (1834), the George Middleton House (1797), 54th Regiment Memorial on Boston Common, Phillips School, the John J. Smith House, the Lewis and Harriet Hayden House, and Coburn's Gaming House (1844).
Old Burial Ground
Corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Garden Street
This cemetery contains the graves of Myles Standish, John Alden, Priscilla Alden, their son and other pilgrims.
527 Washington Street
Newton, MA, 02458
The Jackson Homestead, a 1809 Federal-style farmhouse, is a nationally accredited museum and home to Newton's Historical Society. The exhibits and programs concentrate on topics of New England history, including the home as a site on the Underground Railroad. Collections include paintings, costumes, photographs, manuscripts, maps, and historical artifacts.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; closed Mondays and major holidays.
Admission: Adults, $5; children, $#3.
99 Chauncy Street
Boston, MA, 02111
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile walking trail through Boston that connects 16 of the country's most important historical sites linked to the American Revolution. Lively and informative costumed characters travel the Trail during the summer. These characters are fun and engaging for children of all ages (from 5 to 75!) and act as ambassadors to the era of America's founding and the birth of our country's freedom. Tours: June 29-September 1; Saturdays and Sundays 11am & 1pm. Tours last 90 minutes and begin at the Boston Common Visitor Center. $12 Adults, $6 Children. Call for tickets and information 617-227-8800.
Old State House (Museum of Boston History)
Corner of State Street and Washington streets
Visit Boston’s oldest public building, the seat of Royal authority, where the American Revolution was fomented by Sam Adams, James Otis, John Adams, and John Hancock. See tea from the Boston Tea Party; objects from the Boston Massacre, Battle of Bunker Hill; Paul Revere’s handiwork; John Hancock’s red velvet coat.
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; open until 6 p.m. in July and August; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Admission:Adults, $7.50; senior over age 61 and students, $6; youth age 6-18, $3.
399 Lexington Road
Amos Bronson Alcott purchased two houses on 12 acres on the Lexington Road in 1857. He moved joined the smaller tenant farmhouse to the rear of the larger manor house. The grounds included an apple orchard. The house is noted as the place where Bronson's daughter, Louisa May Alcott, wrote and set her classic, "Little Women," in 1868 at a shelf desk her father built especially for her.
Admission: Adults: $10; seniors and college students,
$8; youths age 6-17,
$5; families, 2 adults and 4 youths, $25
November 1 - March 31, Monday - Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m. April 1 - October 31,
Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m.
USS Cassin Young
55 Constitution Road, Pier 1, Charlestown Navy Yard
Guided tours of this floating museum focus on the history and active duty life of this World War II destroyer. This ship may be in dry dock for repairs. Call ahead for information on making a visit.
Park Street Church
Park and Tremont streets
Site where, in 1829, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison gave his first speech against slavery.
Hours: June 17-August 31, Tuesday-Saturday 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
58 Tremont Street
Founded as the first Anglican Church in America in 1754, this became the site of the country's first Unitarian church soon after the Revolution.
Hours: Group tours offered daily. See schedule at http://bit.ly/U6F604.
Walk starts at Old State House, 206 Washington Street
A self-guided walk that traces the history of the Boston waterfront. The tour begins at the Old State House, brochures are available at the National Park Service Visitor's Center on State Street. The HarborWalk also connects to inland trails, including the Emerald Necklace system, the Charles River Esplanade, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Adams National Historic Park
1250 Hancock Street
Adams National Historical Park was the home of American presidents JOhn Adams and John Quincy Adams and their descendants from 1720 to 1927. The family's experience represented and shaped important events in Unilted States history. The park preserves the properties of four generations of the Adams family to educate and inspire current and future generations.
HOurs: Season is April 19 through November 10; daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Homes open by guided tour only; tour is 2 hours. Last daily tour leaves at 3:15 p.m.
Admission: $5 per person; valid for seven days.
269 Monument Street
Concord, MA, 01742
Overlooking the North Bridge, this National Historic Landmark was built in 1770 by the Rev. William Emerson. His grandson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, drafted his essay "Nature" while living here. Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne honeymooned here from 1842 to 1845. The house contains 200 years of family furnishings.
Hours: Grounds: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset.
Walk-in tours offered May 29-October 31, daily except Monday, noon-4 p.m.; November and December, Saturday and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Closed to walk-in tours from January 1 to mid-February. Tours by appointment can be booked ahead any time.
Admission: Grounds open for free. Tour fee is $5-$8.
Longfellow National Historic Site
105 Brattle Street
A historic double whammy, this site was headquarters for George Washington in 1775 and 1776. It was author Longfellow's home in 1837-38.
Hours: June 1-October 28; Visitor Center hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free 45-minute guided house tours are offered at 10 and 11 a.m., noon, 1, 2, 3, and 4 p.m. House tours are offered on a first-come first-served basis. The gardens and grounds are free and open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk every day.
Used as a barracks during the Revolutionary War, this 1761 church is the oldest surviving church building in the country.
Massachusetts State House
Beacon Street at Park Street
Built in 1798, the State House is across from the Boston Common at the summit of Beacon Hill. Charles Bullfinch, a leading architect of the time, designed the building. The dome is sheathed in copper and covered by gold. In the House of Representatives chambers hangs a wooden codfish -- Sacred Cod -- representing the importance of the fishing industry. At the top of the dome sits a wooden pine cone, a symbol of the logging industry in the 18th century.
Hours: Tours held Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; must be scheduled in advance.
Paul Revere House
19 North Square
The oldest building in downtown Boston, built in 1680, was also home to Paul Revere; whose patriotic ride is one of the most famous events of the Revolutionary War. The average visit is 30-45 minutes depending on the time of year. There are no public restrooms or telephones on the site.
Hours: November 1-April 14, 9:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.; closed on Mondays in January, February and March.
Admission: Adults, $3.50; seniors and college studenrs, 3; youth ages 5-17,$1.
Old North Church
193 Salem Street
Still in use today, the oldest church in Boston was built in 1723. The building played a truly reknowned role during the Revolution as the spot where lanterns were hung -- "one if by land, two if by sea" -- to warn about the approach of British troops.
Hours: Historic Site Hours are January-February, Tuesday–Sunday,10 a.m.–4 p.m.; March–May, daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; June–October, daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; November–December, daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.Closed to Visitors on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
This residential and historic square is surrounded by homes once resided in by Louisa May Alcott, William Dean Howells, and other famous Boston residents.
Faneuil Hall and Faneuil Hall Marketplace
1 Faneuil Hall Square
Built in 1742, this marketplace and meeting area became a focal point of discussion and protest against the British government during the colonial era. Historical talks are held daily in what has become known as the "Cradle of Liberty."
Faneuil Hall Marketplace is next to Faneuil Hall. The Marketplace is a treasure trove for shopping and dining in the Greek Revival-style Quincy Market filled with 45 international eateries and the flanking North and South Market buildings with 80 specialty shops.
Abiel Smith School (1834)
46 Joy Street
Constructed in 1834, the Abiel Smith School is the first building in the United States built for the sole purpose of serving as a public school for black children. This historic site has been transformed into exhibit galleries and a museum store open to the public. This is the home of the Museum of African-American History and part of Boston's Black Heritage Trail.
Hours: Year-round, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum
306 Congress Street
Boston, MA, 02210
You Are There!
This historic site transports you back to one of those moments in time that changed America and set its course for independence in 1776. This new floating museum experience offers a multi-sensory adventure with live actors, high-tech, interactive exhibits, authentically restored tea ships and the stirring documentary <em>Let it Begin Here</em>. During a one hour tour, you’ll meet colonists, explore the ships and dump tea overboard just as the Sons of Liberty did on December 16, 1773. There’s a gift shop and Abigail’s Tea Room for some mementos and a spot of the beverage that launched a revolution. Your one hour tour is educational and highly entertaining and will make history come alive as you step right into the scene from that fateful night. Don’t miss it!