I like Boston.
I’ve been to the capital of Massachusetts several times, twice for actual visits and an additional handful of times to catch a flight.
An Introduction to Boston, MA
Founded in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. As the largest city in New England – boasting a metropolitan population of 4.5 million – it is the northeastern hub of sports, media, culture, and entertainment. Boston is where Harvard University is located, as well as a few other prestigious colleges; it is the hometown of the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox, both extremely successful sports teams; some of the world’s finest hospitals can be found in the city as well.
Several major historic events have taken place in the city, including some that were a direct cause of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre. Many significant battles were fought in the surrounding area as well.
Having played and still playing a leading role in the shaping of the U.S., Boston is also home to many ‘firsts’ in the country. For instance, it has the first Latin School, the first public school and the first subway system.
Exploring the City Along the Freedom Trail
Created in 1951, the 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) Freedom Trail is Boston’s number one highlight. Why? you ask. Because it takes in pretty much all other highlights, I say. It runs through the heart of the city and past virtually every major historic site and building. The trail is marked with a red line on the pavement, making it incredibly easy to follow. If, after checking in into one of the Boston hotels – the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel or Ames Boston Hotel are fine examples – you’re wondering where to start, this is it.
The trail starts at the Boston Common, incidentally the oldest public park in the U.S., in downtown Boston, MA, and ends at the USS Constitution in the neighborhood of Charlestown. Along the way, the trail takes in graveyards, historic churches, and notable buildings. Most of the sites are free to visit, but a few of them do charge an admission fee.
Further reading: Boston: What Not to Miss
16 Official Freedom Trail Sites
There are 16 official sites along the Freedom Trail, all related to the history of both the city and the nation and all well-worth visiting.
After taking a look around the Boston Common – the city’s green heart, featuring a visitor center – and taking a picture of the Massachusetts State House, follow the trail to the Park Street Church and the Granary Burying Ground. Next up are King’s Chapel and King’s Chapel Burying Ground, the Benjamin Franklin Statue, and the Boston Latin School. A few old historic buildings follow: the Old Corner Bookstore, the Old South Meeting House, and the Old State House.
Then you’ll be at the site of the Boston Massacre, followed by Faneuil Hall – where an information booth is located – the Paul Revere House, and the Old North Church.
The last sites before you arrive at the USS Constitution are Copp’s Hill Burying Ground and the Bunker Hill Monument.
So, here you have it. If you ever find yourself in Boston, head out and walk the Freedom Trail for the best possible introduction to the city.
I wrote this post in collaboration with Hipmunk, a great online source of cheap hotels.