Taking in 16 of Boston’s most famous cultural and historical sites, the 2.5-mile-long (4-kilometer) Freedom Trail winds through downtown Boston, from southerly Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park, to the Bunker Hill Monument on the north side of the Charles River. The red-brick path and its designated stops, including colonial-era churches, museums, and meeting houses, make for an excellent introduction to Boston and its role in the American Revolution and United States history.
Visitors can easily spend a full day independently exploring the Freedom Trail’s many stops, but most travelers simply wander the trail, choose a couple sites to fully experience, or join one of the daily 90-minute walking tours led by guides in 18th-century garb to cover the trail and some of the historic sites’ exteriors in sections. (These run hourly, except from November to March when they are less frequent.) It’s also possible to visit via group and private Freedom Trail tours and Boston city sightseeing tours that also stop at other top attractions such as the Boston Navy Yard and the Boston Tea Party site. The Freedom Trail is a suggested route, so independent travelers can choose where to start and end.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Most choose to walk from site to site rather than drive. Remember to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes.
- Though the Freedom Trail itself doesn’t charge admission, fees are required to enter some of the designated stops: the Old State house, the Old South Meeting House, and the Paul Revere House.
- Self-guided audio tours are available for purchase at the Boston Common Visitor Center.
- While the Freedom Trail is wheelchair accessible, some of the sites are not.
- It’s best to allot at least 30 minutes inside each Freedom Trail site.
How to Get There
The Freedom Trail is accessible at any point along its length and winds from Boston Common to Beacon Hill, downtown, the waterfront, the North End, and across the Charles River. Many choose to start at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center, in the heart of downtown Boston, where 10 of the 16 sites are clustered within a mile-long section of the trail. Several Freedom Trail stops can be reached by bus or subway (locally called “the T”), including Boston Common (via Park Street Station on the green and red lines).
When to Get There
The Freedom Trail is accessible year-round, but the most pleasant days for exploring are sunny ones in spring and fall. The trail can be walked any hour of the day, but most stops are only open to the public between 9am and 4 or 4:30pm. The USS Constitution is always closed on Mondays, and the Boston Common Visitor Center is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Tours typically do not sell out.
Things to See on Boston’s Freedom Trail
The trail features Boston Common, the Massachusetts State House, the Park Street Church, the Granary Burying Ground (final resting place of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere), the King’s Chapel and Burying Ground (established in 1686), the Boston Latin School, the Old Corner Bookstore, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall (a popular spot for lunch), the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground (with its grand views across the river to Charlestown), the USS Constitution, and the Bunker Hill Monument. Each official stop is indicated by a circular brass marker embedded in the sidewalk.