Boston is a wealth of history and one of the great year-round attractions to explore in Boston is the Freedom Trail. This red brick line on the sidewalk leads you on a 2.5 mile-long route through downtown Boston, visiting 16 historical locations where you will learn about what helped shape our country during the American Revolution. We’ve put together some information to help you plan your trip to explore the Freedom Trail.
Freedom Trail Trip Planning Information
There are many options for self-guided tours – you can either explore the trail on your own or choose to take the guidance of numerous available apps and audio tours. Typically, the freedom trail takes about 3 hours to complete, but a self-guided tour gives you the flexibility to go at your own pace and schedule and spend more time at the sites that interest you most.
Each of the 16 sites is marked with a Freedom Trail plaque on the ground. A narrow, red brick trail connects all of the sites – just follow this trail through the city.
The Freedom Trail starts at Boston Common (map). To get to the Commons, take C&J direct to Boston South Station. From there you can walk to the Commons, or take the red line (towards Alewife) and exit the train at Park Street. Follow the path in the Commons along Tremont Street until you reach the Boston Common Visitors center where you will find maps and staff available to help get you on your way to exploring the Freedom Trail.
The trail ends at the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill Memorial. You can either walk or take the Water Shuttle to get back downtown Boston.
Below are some pieced of helpful information and options to consider when planning your self-guided Freedom Trail tour:
- You can see our interactive Map of Boston that includes all the stops on the Freedom Trail as well as our favorite restaurants and other Boston attractions.
- Download the official Freedom trail brochure. That offers information about all the stops along the trail.
- Download the Freedom Trail Map.
- Take advantage of the free Freedom Trail App for your phone. This interactive app gives you maps, pictures, and information for all stops along the trail right on your phone.
- The Freedom Trail Foundation offers a 3-hour audio file you can purchase ($15) and download to your phone, giving you information along your journey. The cost is $15.
If you are looking for more information and structure to your exploration, then you may want to consider a guided tour. The Freedom Trail foundation offers a number of daily tours catering to different interests. Guided tours typically run about 90 minutes and are hosted by experienced, costumed tour guides. This is a great way to experience highlights of the trail in a fun group setting. Just know, most guided tours do not cover the entire trail. You can see the list of tours here.
Other Helpful tips:
- Wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
- Bring water – make sure to stay hydrated during your adventure.
- Make sure to wear sunscreen – protect your skin, you’ll be outside for most of the day.
- Dress in layers – this is New England (and as they say)- if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.
- Most historical sites are open from 9am to 5pm daily – make sure you plan your timing to make the most of your day.
- Skip the hassle of driving into Boston and paying the high parking fees and ride a C&J bus direct to South Station.
Where do I stop for food on the Freedom Trail?
Looking for food along the way? Check out some of our favorite stops:
- The old corner bookstore is now a Chipotle, you can grab a quick bite along the route.
- At Faneuil Hall, check out their dining directory that’s sure to have something catch your eye.
- When your near Paul Revere’s house stop at Modern Pastry a couple blocks away for a sweet treat or delicious cannoli.
- End of the trail and craving more history? Grab some grub at The Warren Tavern. This is the oldest tavern in Massachusetts. Established in 1790 and named after Doctor Joseph Warren who sent Paul Revere on his midnight ride in 1775.
Where do I go to the bathroom on the Freedom Trail?
Need to go while you’re on the trail? Check out these public restrooms nearby:
- Boston Common Visitor Center – Open 9am-5pm Daily
- Faneuil Hall – Open 9am-5pm Daily
- Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center – Open 9am-6pm Daily
Freedom Trail Historic Sites:
Here’s the SparkNotes version of the stops along the Freedom Trail:
Boston Common – Americas oldest public park, established in 1634
Massachusetts State House – Designed by Charles Bulfinch, the state house opened in 1798
Park Street Church – Founded in 1809, this church was a major Boston landmark for travelers.
Granary Burying Ground – Established in 1660, this is the resting place for many of America’s well-known Patriots, including Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock.
King’s Chapel and Burying Ground – America’s first Anglican Church founded in 1686
Benjamin Franklin statue and former site of Boston Latin School – The oldest public school in America, founded in 1635. The Ben Franklin statue marks the location of the original school house by its former student and most notable dropout.
Old Corner Bookstore – Boston’s oldest commercial building built in 1718 home to many booksellers and publishers.
Old South Meeting House – Built in 1729, this site was the meeting point for the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
Old State House – Built in 1713, the Old State house is the oldest remaining public building in Boston
Site of the Boston Massacre – Occurred on March 5, 1770 outside the Old State House. Bostonians rallied against the Crown of England driving the Red Coats from the city.
Faneuil Hall – Built in 1741, this meeting hall and marketplace hosted America’s first town meeting.
Paul Revere House – Home to famous Patriot, Paul Revere, the house remains the oldest building in Downtown Boston
Old North Church – Boston’s oldest church, built in 1723. This church was the location that sprang the start of the American Revolution and Paul Revere’s midnight ride. “One if by land, two if by sea.”
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground – the second-oldest cemetery in Boston, founded in 1659.
USS Constitution – The oldest US warship afloat, earned the nicknamed ‘Old Ironsides’ during the war of 1812.
Bunker Hill Monument – Site of the first major battle of the Revolutionary War in 1775.