Are you ready to polish up your knowledge of early American history? Boston's top tourist attraction, the Freedom Trail, beckons. For the uninitiated, this two-and-a-half-mile hike to 16 sites across four neighborhoods may seem daunting—and it can be. But we're here to break it down so you get the best experience fit for your personal needs.
Follow the Trail
Because the Freedom Trail is, actually, a trail—marked by red painted or bricked line—we've listed participating sites in order, from start (at Boston Common) to finish (at Bunker Hill Monument). If you plan to spend a whole day parading through the Colonial era, this is definitely the way to do it. Read on for tips on how to "see" each and how much time to spend where—begin the day early because your adventure will run longer than you think it will. Do note that it's also easy to mix and match sites or selectively visit ones of interest you may happen to come up on.
Catch a Ride
If and when you make it to Charlestown, you'll likely be too tired to walk allllllll the way back to your hotel downtown. And that's not a problem. Catch the MBTA's Commuter Boat or Boston Harbor Cruises' Water Taxi year-round, right from the Charlestown Navy Yard, home to Old Ironsides.
Things to pack for a day on The Freedom Trail
- Cash for donations and minimal entrance fees
- Sneakers or hiking boots. Yes, you're in the city, but you're walking on cobblestones and climbing a lot
- A hat, because that sun beats down
- An umbrella for inclement weather. Sightseeing must go on!
The trail is open all the time, but operating hours and accessibility varies at each different site. Off-season, it's best to call ahead.