The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile route in Boston that takes you to 16 historically significant sites. You can complete the trail yourself or hop on a tour. We opted to do it ourselves so that we could take our time where we wanted to, and it’s also more accommodating for the little one.
The photo on the top right shows the “red line” – the red lined route for the entire trail. Yup, you don’t really even need a map! Once you get to the Boston Common, you’ll see the trail and can follow that all the way to the end at the U.S.S Constitution. Here were some of the landmarks!
The Massachusetts State House…
Granary Burying Ground…
The clear difference between a DIY tour and booking a tour is that you don’t get as much history about the locations you’re seeing. Technically, we could just use Google, but it’s nice to hear someone talk about it in real time too. There are signs that include a few paragraphs that you can read, but at some locations, we had to wait for others to finish reading, so we would just move on. Anyway, below is the Old State House which I thought was pretty cool considering it’s surrounded by tall, modern buildings. It was also the site of the Boston Massacre.
Okay, Quincy Market isn’t a historical site, but it’s worth visiting while you’re touring!
Paul Revere House to the left, then finding ourselves in North End to the right. If you ever plan on doing the trail, plan to end up at North End for lunch time. It’s an adorable neighborhood flowing with good food – mostly Italian. We didn’t even eat the Italian food, but everyone was raving about it. Why didn’t we eat any? We wanted to be sure we could fit in a lobster roll this trip. We ended up getting a hot and a cold roll at Pauli’s so we could try the best of both worlds. They were both delicious. No regrets here! There was a farmer’s market going on as well where we got some freshly shucked oysters.
We didn’t take photos at every stop, so the next and last spot we really took time to enjoy was the Bunker Hill Monument. The homes surrounding the monument were so cute. They were painted different colors and had little yards. It seemed so quaint – and so not California. We spent some time roaming around the grass too (and some running down the hills).
The end of the trail is the U.S.S Constitution, and at this point it was getting very chilly. We decided to go ahead and head back, and in order to do so, we took the water shuttle. The trail is one-way, so to head back closer to your starting point you could either take the water shuttle, take a cab/Uber, or walk back. We’re glad we took the shuttle so we could enjoy a little bit of the view from the water, but it’s important to know that the shuttles are a bit old. The smell of gas was pretty strong, but that might also have been because we were on the bottom level. Anyway, it drops you off at the New England Aquarium, so you can always check that out afterwards too.
If you really appreciate and/or have interest in American history, it’s a pretty awesome “attraction” in Boston. While you make your way through it, you also end up going through several of the city’s neighborhoods, so you’re sightseeing the overall city and not just seeking landmarks. I think it took us around 5 hours to complete the entire route, but that’s including several stops for feeding and diaper changing as well as a stop for lunch 🙂 Oh, and waiting in line for gelato and cannolis at North End (which you should also add to your itinerary).
You can read about the route in more detail here: http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/index.html.