A history buff’s guide to Boston


If you’re a history buff, you probably know the names of all the key players in the American Revolution as well as you know your best friends. A trip to Boston lets you walk where those historical figures walked, and hang out in their favorite haunts. No doubt they will end up feeling like old friends by the time you leave the city.

Red-brick houses on Acorn Street in Boston
Historic Acorn Street in Boston

Hike the trail  
Packed as it is with historic sites and buildings, you’ll have no problem filling up your days with history in Boston. Get to the heart of America’s past along the Freedom Trail. This 2.5-mile walkway connects 16 of the city’s most historic sites, including the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre and the Old North Church. Don’t worry about losing your way in an unfamiliar city: A line of red paint and/or brick leads you along the entire route. Actors in Colonial costumes greet you along the way, brimming with factoids and trivia from days of yesteryear.

Get artsy
Buildings and documents can shed light on historic events, but artwork offers insight into the deep emotion surrounding them. Head for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to see paintings, etchings and artifacts from the country’s early years. Then, enjoy more expressions of Boston and its history by using an interactive a map of Boston’s public artwork. Check out the several-hundred-foot Mystic River Mural portraying the natural wonders and history of the area, or marvel at the still-functional 1800s giant steaming teakettle.

Hit the heights
You don’t have to take a break from your history quest to get in a little exercise. Strap on your walking shoes and climb 295 bun-burning steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument for an unparalleled view of the city and harbor. Step back in time to before the Revolution with a hike at the Blue Hills Reservation. Explore Native American settlements, early colonial farmsteads, and an early weather observatory where weather patterns were measured with balloons, strings and piano wire. Bring along a swimsuit and cool off Colonial-style with a dip in spring-fed Houghton’s Pond.