One of Boston's most famous historic sites, Faneuil Hall has stoked the flames of American democracy for over 250 years.
First built as a public marketplace in 1743, Faneuil Hall earned its reputation as Boston’s “Cradle of Liberty” for its meeting house, which has hosted speeches and demonstrations by some of America’s most important protest movements, including the Sons of Liberty, abolitionists, women’s suffragists, and more. Today, the Marketplace actually includes four buildings: Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market. They’re linked by a bustling cobblestone plaza chock full of food stalls, street performers, and shops. Don’t miss the beautifully-restored Great Hall, which still hosts debates, performances, and other public events.
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Best things to see at Faneuil Hall
Escape the kitschy first-floor shops and relax in the beautifully restored meeting room where early patriots first opposed British taxes. The space retains the feel it must have had centuries ago, when the nation’s great orators spoke there. In the mid-19th century, Faneuil Hall was the chief rallying place of America’s antislavery movement and played host to famous abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. Today, park rangers give tours and mini-history lessons. Also check out the Armory and Museum of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company on the third floor for paintings depicting the Revolution and old letters from the Founding Fathers.
Located right next to Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market was built in 1824-1826. It was one of the largest markets built in the US during that time period and served as a major hub for Boston merchants. Today, it’s home to a popular food hall (known as the Colonnade) with more than 50 places to grab a bite.
New England Holocaust Memorial
Just around the corner from Faneuil Hall, the sobering New England Holocaust Memorial allows visitors to reflect on one of the darkest chapters in recent history. The memorial features six glass towers representing the millions of Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Each tower is etched with millions of numbers that evoke the infamous tattoos given to concentration-camp internees.
Best places to eat & drink near Faneuil Hall
The Bell in Hand
The Bell in Hand is a true Boston landmark dating back to 1795. Claiming to be America’s oldest tavern, it was opened by former town crier Jimmy Wilson. After 50 years of reporting on all the major happenings in Boston (Tea Party, Revolutionary War) Jimmy settled into a comfortable (and we hope slightly less stressful) retirement as proprietor of this friendly neighborhood tavern. It’s still a great place to grab a beer and hear live music on weekends.
The Black Rose
Located in the heart of Faneuil Hall, The Black Rose practically oozes Irish tradition. Between perfect Guinness pints and classic New England clam chowder, The Black Rose has something for everyone. Pro tip—be sure to check out the live music calendar. You won’t be disappointed.
Faneuil Hall directions and parking
Best way to get to Faneuil Hall
Public transportation on Boston’s MBTA is the best way to get to Faneuil Hall. The closest T stops to Faneuil Hall are Aquarium (blue line), Haymarket (orange or green lines), and State Street (orange or blue lines).
Best parking near Faneuil Hall
If you’re driving, Faneuil Hall has plenty of parking around. On the off-chance that some lots are full, you may also be able to park on the street for a limited amount of time and for a decent amount of change. Pro tip: take the T or walk here. Boston’s pretty small, and you’ll get to see a lot of stuff along the way. The T is quite convenient and runs about every 5-10 minutes. The 75 State Street Garage is Faneuil Hall’s official parking garage—be sure to enter on 5 Broad Street. Some merchants have parking vouchers to decrease the price tag; when inside, see individual stores for details.
Faneuil Hall FAQs
Are Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall the same thing?
Quincy Market is a historic market built in 1824-26 and named after Boston mayor Josiah Quincy. Quincy Market is next to Faneuil Hall.
How old is Faneuil Hall?
Construction on Faneuil Hall was completed in 1742.
Why is Faneuil Hall famous?
Faneuil Hall was a meeting place that provided a platform for many of Boston’s most famous politicians and orators (think Sam Adams, George Washington, and the like). Faneuil Hall is also where colonists established the doctrine of “no taxation without representation.”