The Freedom Trail
Three hundred years in 2.5 miles?! It's funny because it's true.
Follow the red-brick road on this trip back in time to the American Revolution. The Freedom Trail is one of Boston’s most-visited attractions for a reason: weaving through the Financial District, Downtown Crossing, the North End, and beyond, the Trail consists of 16 historic sights associated with the birth of American Liberty. You’ll get an up-close look at some of the city’s most iconic addresses, including the Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Faneuil Hall, and Boston Common. Stroll through Boston’s colonial history on your own time, or leave the navigation to a professional with one of our guided walking tours. If going out on your own, be sure to check the hours for each historical stop ahead of time, as they vary throughout the year.
Location & Contact
Best things to see at The Freedom Trail
Normally, the best way to experience the Trail is by foot, starting from Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument. Throughout the city, you’ll see plaques and markers identifying the historic stops. It really takes a full day (and comfortable walking shoes) to see it all, or you can visit different sites on different days to take it all in at a slower pace. Many attractions close in the evening, so start early to make the most of your Freedom Trail tour. Plus, you’ll feel a lot less rushed, and ready to conquer any Redcoat, without the cumbersome distraction of after-work traffic. PlacePass offers a variety of guided tours if you’d rather leave the navigating to the experts. There are 16 stops along the Freedom Trail:
Originally a lowly cow pasture sold to the Puritans, Boston Common was America’s first public park and remains the heart of the city, a truly common place where visitors and residents gather together to picnic, rest their feet, and let their children run wild.
Massachusetts State House
In the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the seat of government was the Old State House downtown. After the American Revolution, area politicians wanted a new government building that would reflect the prosperity and prestige of their young democracy. They bought John Hancock’s cow pasture on the south slope of Beacon Hill and hired a young selectman named Charles Bulfinch to design an appropriately impressive structure. Completed in 1798, the golden-domed state capitol covers 6¾ acres, or about two city blocks. Bulfinch’s lavish topper supposedly inspired the tradition of putting a gold dome on every US state capitol building.
Park Street Church
Built in 1809 on the site of the 18th-century town granary, the elegant Park St. Church (now a Congregational church) was once the first sight travelers saw when approaching Boston. Throughout the 19th century, the church was the site of some of the country’s most impassioned anti slavery speeches, including a famous 1829 address delivered by William Lloyd Garrison. Today, it remains both a historic site and a welcoming Evangelical church with a diverse crowd of university students, Beacon Hill locals, and international worshippers.
Granary Burying Ground
Established in 1660, the third-oldest cemetery in Boston takes its name from the grain warehouse that once occupied the site of the adjacent Park St. Church. It is the final resting place of the five victims of the Boston Massacre as well as such colonial notables as Elizabeth “Mother” Goose, Samuel Adams, John Hancock (whose suggestive tombstone is a favorite photo op), and silversmith-cum-midnight rider Paul Revere. (Revere’s riding partner, William Dawes, lies down the street at King’s Chapel, below.) Although the burial ground may seem impressive enough as it is, there are even more people here (5000) than tombstones (2300); some graves contain more than 20 bodies.
King’s Chapel and Burying Ground
Founded in 1686 by order of King James II (hence the church’s name), King’s Chapel is the oldest Anglican parish in America—kind of awkward, considering that the Puritans had left England specifically to get away from the Anglicans. When the congregation of British soldiers who worshipped here became too large, America’s first architect, Peter Harrison, was hired to design a grand new church in 1749. The result is the building you see today, considered the finest example of Georgian church architecture in North America. If the building seems to be lacking something, that’s because it is: the colony ran out of money before construction was completed, so a spire was never added atop the bell tower. In 1785, King’s Chapel became the first Unitarian church in the Americas. Benjamin Franklin statue and former site of Boston Latin School A smirking statue of Benjamin Franklin—the first portrait statue ever erected in the US—presides over the courtyard in front of the Old City Hall building. It was built on the former site of the Boston Latin School, which is still in operation but has since relocated to the Fenway. Established in 1635, Boston Latin was the country’s first educational institution; famous alumni include Franklin, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams.
Old Corner Bookstore
Many famous American authors called the Boston area home. In the mid-19th century, the most important American writers would gather at their publishers’ home, the Old Corner Bookstore, at Washington and School St.
Old South Meeting House
The original Old South Meeting House was built in 1729 by a Puritan congregation that hardly could have imagined the building’s future prominence in American history. Within these walls, Ben Franklin was baptized and Samuel Adams uttered the words that led to the Boston Tea Party. Today, the building remains intact as a museum and remains a forum for discussions and events.
Old State House
The oldest surviving public building in Boston, this icon of American history served as the backdrop of the Boston Massacre and embodies the stubborn pride of the early rebels. One of the highlights of the Freedom Trail, this building, built in 1713, served as the seat of the pre-Revolutionary colonial government and as Boston City Hall in the 1830s. The museum (restored to its 18th-century appearance) displays a permanent collection of colonial artifacts as well as rotating exhibits on more recent events. Site of the Boston Massacre Tensions between the soldiers and colonists reached a head on March 5, 1770, when eight British regulars opened fire on a crowd of hecklers, killing five, near what is now the Old State House. Though Bostonians probably should have known better than to throw icy snowballs at armed soldiers, most colonists saw the Boston Massacre as an unprovoked attack.
Faneuil Hall is one of Boston’s best-known historic sites. The inspiring speeches given here by Samuel Adams and other Patriots inspired Faneuil Hall’s nickname, the “Cradle of Liberty.”
Paul Revere House
You’ve heard the story and read the poem—now see where Paul Revere’s historic midnight ride began. Built in 1680, this wood-paneled house was Paul Revere’s home from 1770 to 1800. Signs lead visitors on a self-guided tour through meticulously recreated 18th- and early-19th-century rooms, chock-full of Revere family possessions and Revolution-era trimmings.
Old North Church
Officially known as Christ Church Boston, the Old North Church (built in 1723) is the oldest church in Boston and remains a functioning Episcopalian-affiliated place of worship. The church is on the Freedom Trail because of the important part it played in jump-starting the American Revolution: from here, on the night of April 18, 1775, the church sexton, Robert Newman, used two lanterns to signal to colonials stationed across the river how the British troops would be advancing on Lexington (“one if by land, two if by sea.”)
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
The hill is named for cobbler William Copp, who sold his land on the northernmost slope of the Shawmut Peninsula to the colonial government in 1659. The burying ground earned a spot on the Freedom Trail as the final resting place of more than 11,000 colonial Bostonians, among them 1,000 free blacks, who settled at the bottom of Copp’s Hill in a settlement known as New Guinea.
Nearly every elementary-school student in Massachusetts has been towed through the original top and gun decks of the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat. Learn about Old Ironsides from actual sailors clad in 1812-style uniforms.
Bunker Hill Monument
Perhaps the most underrated point of interest on the Freedom Trail, this granite obelisk rises 221 ft. above Breed’s Hill, where, as every Boston history buff can tell you, the Battle of Bunker Hill was really fought in 1775. Take a few deep breaths and climb the 294-step spiral staircase (there’s no elevator) for a bird’s-eye view of Boston, the harbor, and beyond.
The Freedom Trail directions and parking
Best way to get to the Freedom Trail
Starting at the Boston Common Visitor Center offers the most straightforward and convenient route to naturally reach all of the sites from heart of downtown Boston. Visitors to The Freedom Trail can take the Red or Green Line to the Park Street Station stop, which is right at the Boston Common Visitor Center. The Boston Common Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Best parking near the Freedom Trail
By car, the easiest way is to use GPS and enter the address for the Boston Common Visitor Center which is: 139 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02111. You can park at the Boston Common Parking Garage located at 0 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02116.
Best places to eat & drink near The Freedom Trail
Union Oyster House
The Union Oyster House is one of the oldest restaurants in America. Touristy? Yes. Worth a visit? Yes. The menu hasn’t changed much over the years: it’s still all about the seafood, with plenty of (you guessed it) oysters, clams, scallops, and more. Make like Daniel Webster and knock back six plates of oysters with a glass of brandy on the side. Don’t forget to try the Indian pudding for dessert.
This award-winning restaurant is the birthplace of the famous Boston Cream Pie and Parker House rolls. The restaurant has a rich history, with the likes of Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and other literary greats once having dined here as members of the “Saturday Club.”
The Freedom Trail FAQs
Where does the freedom trail start and end?
The Freedom Trail starts near Park Street Station, right next to Boston Common, which is a stop on either the Red or Green line. The Freedom Trail ends at the Bunker Hill Monument and U.S.S. Constitution in Charleston. If you need to get back to downtown Boston, just take the Charleston Water Shuttle.
How long is the Freedom Trail in Boston?
The Freedom Trail consists of a 2.5 mile path through downtown Boston and is comprised of 16 patriotic locations and attractions.
How many stops are on the Freedom Trail?
The Freedom Trail has 16 stops, starting with Boston Common and ending with the Bunker Hill Monument.