Relive history and discover our nation’s fascinating past and the American Revolution as you walk along Boston’s Freedom Trail. On this 2.5-mile, red-lined brick route, you’ll stroll your way to churches, burial grounds, museums and meeting houses, each with a compelling story that played a significant role in the shaping of America.
The Freedom Trail was the brainchild of local journalist William Schofield, who in 1951 suggested building a pedestrian trail to link together important local landmarks. These landmarks included Paul Revere’s house, the Old North Church, the Old State House, and the Old South Meeting House, all of which are historical gems. Schofield and then Boston Mayor John Hynes advocated for an organized route that linked them all together. Businessmen and women, elected officials, and non-profit organizations rallied together to designate a walking trail on Boston’s sidewalks in front of 16 historically significant locations.
And so, the Freedom Trail was born. Just a few short years later, 40,000 people were walking the trail each year. And in 1958 the red line was added to clearly mark the trail. After being taken over by the National Park Service and being incorporated into Boston National Historical Park, the Freedom Trail was visited by more and more people. Today, more than three million people take the walk each year.
The Freedom Trail Includes 16 Official Historic Sites
The start of the Freedom Trail is Boston Common. The length of the trail is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) and takes about 90 minutes to complete, but if you want to visit the sites along the way, it can be a whole day affair. The end of the trail is at the USS Constitution Museum. If you’re driving there, parking is available at the Boston Common Garage.
An outdoor and indoor living history experience. You can begin your tour in the beginning, middle or the end, visiting the sites in any order you choose. The official start of the trail begins at Boston Common. The trail winds its way to the other sites including the Massachusetts State House, the Park Street Church (open summer time only), Granary Burying Ground, Kings Chapel, Kings Chapel Burying Ground, Benjamin Franklin Statue & Boston Latin School, Old Corner Book Store, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall, the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution.
Each site offers a compelling look into the rich past of the American Revolution. Adults and children of all ages can learn the fascinating stories of the people, the places and the events that took place in colonial Boston as they walk the Freedom Trail.
A walk along the Freedom Trail can be experienced however you wish. If you’re one who likes to take your time, linger and learn; a self-guided tour may be just what you’re looking for. The Freedom Trail guides are another great way to see the sites and learn more about each one.
As one of the most popular historical tours in all of New England, the Freedom Trail’s Walk into History tours entertain and enlighten millions of guests each year. The 18th century costumed guides add a dramatic element to the tour; each one is a local Bostonian with a deep historical knowledge of the trail. You’ll hear intriguing tales of how the patriots and the colonists fought for freedom and how they succeeded in establishing what we know as the United States of America. Each tour is 90 minutes in length and is designed for individuals, groups, schools and more.
Old Town Trolley is a convenient way to explore The Freedom Trail while maximizing your vacation time. With multiple stops along the 2.5 mile historic trail, you can hop on and off at the sites you want to visit and learn about the rest during our fully narrated 90 minute historic sightseeing tour. Find the lowest price and money-saying packages by purchasing tickets direct through our website.
Things To Do Nearby
The Black Heritage Trail features various homes, memorials, and sites that are significant in the history of Boston’s 19th century African American community. The first slaves arrived in 1638 and by 1705 there were over 400.
Approximate time to allow: 2 hours.
Dedicated in 1806, the African Meeting House is the Oldest African American Church and was the First African Baptist Church. Over the years it also served as a school and a community meeting place. It was here that William Lloyd Garrison founded the New England Slavery Society, making it the center of the abolitionist movement. In 1972, the building was acquired by the Museum of Afro-American History and it was restored in 1987. Today, the museum commemorates African American history from slavery to the abolitionist movement, with a focus on educational equality.
Approximate time to allow: 30 minutes.