Boston's historic architecture is some of the best in the country, and a great way to get a feel for the historic nature of the city. From Boston's first schoolhouse to the oldest house in the United States, visitors can easily immerse themselves in the city's past by exploring its historic buildings.
Historic Sites in Boston
Boston is a city of history, and there's no shortage of museums, attractions, and tours that focus on the city's rich history. Boston's history stretches back over 400 years, with the city's first settlers landing in 1630. Since then, the city has been shaped by its diverse population, and today, Boston is a vibrant, bustling city with plenty to offer history buffs.
Granary Burying Ground
The Granary Burying Ground is the third oldest cemetery in the city. It began in 1660 and has graves from the Revolutionary War including Paul Revere as well as the victims of the Boston Massacre.
1 Park Street, Downtown Crossing, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108
The historic neighborhood of Beacon Hill is famous for its Federal-style brick rowhouses and narrow gaslit streets. The brick sidewalks and historical character give the area a lot of charm and the residents maintain beautiful gardens and beautiful home fronts. There are often seasonal holiday decorations throughout, so it's worth wandering through during the holiday season. This one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and it has a number of historic landmarks including the Massachusetts State House and the Boston African American National Historic Site.
Boston, Massachusetts, 02114-3203
Established as a permanent central marketplace in Boston, and gifted by the wealthy merchant Peter Faneuil, this marketplace building was constructed in 1742 and then later expanded over the following decades and centuries. The meeting hall on the upper floor of the building became famous as a place of protest against the British during the era of the Revolutionary War. It has since become a place of protest and democracy throughout American history. Today, visitors can tour the historic building as well as visit the shops and restaurants of the marketplace buildings. Grab a souvenir and a bite to eat in the food court, or join one of the many walking tours of Boston that begin in this part of town.
4 South Market Street, North End, Boston, Massachusetts
The historic and central area of Harvard University, the oldest in the nation, this large green space is intermixed with University buildings, trees, and the occasional statue. The area is generally open to the public and for tours, although at times the gates may close, so plan ahead.
Harvard Yard, Cambridge, Massachusetts
This historic baseball stadium is home to the Boston Red Sox. Catch a game in the summer, or come check out the Fenway Park Living Museum. The stadium is famous for the "Green Monster", the huge wall of greenery in the outfield. First opened in 1912, this is the oldest Major League ballpark in the country, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
4 Jersey Street, Fenway-Kenmore, Boston, Massachusetts
Old State House
Dating back to 1713, the Old State House was the site of the Boston Massacre where British soldiers fired into protesting colonists. This building was the seat of British government at the time, and became a spot where local colonists debated the details about their government leading to the revolution. Now, the building is a museum (combined with the Old South Meeting House) showcasing exhibits from the history of the revolutionary era.
206 Washington St, Downtown, Boston, Massachusetts
Old North Church
This historic church is one of the main landmarks in the historic area of Boston's North End. Surrounded by houses and buildings that are hundreds of years old, the church itself dates back to 1723. Not only is it well preserved, but it has a special place in American history as the beginning of Paul Revere's famous ride to let everyone know that the British were indeed coming. Self-guided tours of the church are available, and additionally visitors can go down into the crypt underneath the church as well. Furthermore, the church is open for services on Sundays if you make a reservation.
193 Salem Street, North End, Boston, Massachusetts, 02113
Blackstone Block Historic District
The Blackstone Block Historic District was once the waterfront business area but is now a bit inland due to the infill of land. The area is near Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall and includes a number of historic buildings including the Union Oyster House.
33 Union Street, Dock Square, Boston, Massachusetts, 02113
Bulfinch Triangle Historic District
The Bulfinch Triangle neighborhood has a number of historic commercial buildings that were built between 1870 and the early 1900s.
101 Merrimac Street, Dock Square, Boston, Massachusetts, 02102
Custom House District
The Custom House District is a historic area that includes a number of 19th century mercantile buildings as well as early 20th century skyscrapers.
89 Broad Street, Waterfront, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110
Federal Street Theatre
The Federal Street Theatre, also called the Boston Theatre, was the first theater built in the city.
160 Franklin Street, Church Green, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110
Fulton-Commercial Streets District
The Fulton-Commercial Streets District was established in the second half of 19th century after land was created to the south of the Shawmut Peninsula.
65;67 Fulton Street, Dock Square, Boston, Massachusetts, 02109
Kings Chapel Burying Ground
Kings Chapel Burying Ground is a historic cemetery that is part of the Freedom Trail. It's also the oldest cemetery in the city.
45 School Street, Downtown Crossing, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108
Boston African-American National Historic Site
The Boston African American National Historic Site offers information on 15 pre-Civil War structures that are significant within the African American community, including the oldest standing black church in the United States.
76 Mount Vernon Street, Downtown Crossing, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108
Gibson House Museum
This 1859 house on Beacon Street was designed with an Italian Renaissance style. There are guided tours available that take you through the four floors that are ornately decorated with elegant staircases and Victorian style furniture. A highlight of the tour is seeing the kitchen and bathroom from the turn of the century.
137 Beacon St, Back Bay, Boston, MA, 02116
The Paul Revere House
This simple, two story, wood-frame home offers a glimpse into how Paul Revere and his family lived during the late 18th century. The Tudor-style house is part of the Freedom Trail.
19 N Square, North End, Boston, MA, 02113
First Harrison Gray Otis House
This 1796 Federal-style house has been fully restored with bright colors, and elegant but timely furnishings. It offers a glimpse at upper class life in Boston during the late 1700s and early 1800s. There's also an interesting architecture museum in the basement.
141 Cambridge Stree, West End, Boston, MA, 02114
Nichols House Museum
The Nichols House Museum is located in an old Victorian mansion that was once owned by Rose Standish Nichols. This is a small and unique Boston museum that has a collection of art and furniture.
55 Mt Vernon St, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA, 02108
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Religious Sites in Boston
Trinity Episcopal Church
Sitting on Copley Square and famously reflected in the glass of the John Hancock Tower, this gorgeous church dates back to the 1870's. The interior's beauty matches the exterior, as numerous stained-glass windows bring in the light while telling a myriad of stories. The church is a national historic landmark, and tours are available along with a gift shop.
206 Clarendon Street, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
Old South Church
Located across from Copley Square, this historical church is gorgeous. Visitors here can see architectural history combined with American history, as the church's history goes back to the early days of European settlement in the 1600's. The current building was completed in 1875, and is a prominent part of Boston's community today.
645 Boylston St, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
Old South Meeting Place
This historic church was built in 1729 and is famous for its role in the 1773 Boston Tea Party. At the time, it was the largest building in the city, and the gathering point of more than 5,000 people during the protest. This was the organizing point for the Boston Tea Party, on December 16th, 1773. It is also part of Boston's famous Freedom Trail.
294 Washington Street, Downtown, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110-1301
Old West Church
The Old West Church was built in 1806 and played an important role in the American Revolution. It is believed that this is where the phrase "no taxation without representation" came to be.
131 Cambridge Street, Downtown Crossing, Boston, Massachusetts, 02114
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Monuments in Boston
Boston is famous for its many historic landmarks, many of which were frequented by famous historical figures such as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. Now many of these monuments are well known historical places which can be visited either as museums or as part of a walking tour through Boston.
The Boston Lighthouse is found on Little Brewster Island in the outer Boston Harbor. The original structure was built in 1716, making it the first lighthouse in the United States. The current structure was built in 1783 and is the second oldest working lighthouse in the country.
Boston, Massachusetts, 02045
One of the most popular spots in Boston, Copley Square is flanked on one side by the gorgeous Trinity Church which is reflected in the neighboring John Hancock Tower, and on another by the luxurious Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. Also in the area visitors can find the Boston Public Library and the Old South Church.
Boylston & Dartmouth, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
Tremont Street Subway
Located between Boylston Street to Park Street and Government Center stations, this is the oldest subway tunnel in North America. It was opened in 1897 and today it is part of the Green Line.
120 Tremont Street, Downtown Crossing, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108
Long Island Head Light
Long Island Head Light is a historic lighthouse on Long Island that was built in 1819.
Paul Revere Mall
Also known as the Boston Prado
, Paul Revere Mall features a large statue of, you guessed it, Paul Revere. Also along this stretch of pedestrian-only cobblestones are plaques along the walls that feature other notable and important people from Boston's and America's history such as Benjamin Franklin. The plaza runs between Old North Church and St. Stephen's Church.
North End, Boston, Massachusetts
Castle Island Park & Fort Independence
Located in South Boston, this is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. There's a nice white sand beach where you can relax. Fort Independence is a granite fort dating back to 1851. Within the park there are two walking and running trails. For the easiest and shortest option, try the Castle Island Loop. The longer trail is the Pleasure Bay Loop. There are also great areas where you can enjoy a picnic and a nice playground that is perfect for kids who like to climb, jump, and run.
2010 William J Day Blvd, South Boston, Boston, MA, 02127
Bunker Hill Monument
The Bunker Hill Monument is located on the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill, which was one of the first major battles of the Revolutionary War. The monument stands 221 feet tall and is a 294 stair climb to the top. But it's well worth the effort as from the top you'll enjoy impressive views of the Boston Harbor, the Charles River, and the city skyline.
Monument Sq, Charlestown, MA, 02129
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The Architecture of Boston
Boston is well-known for its impressive architecture, and is dotted with a number of historic landmarks. The Boston Common, Boston Public Garden, and Beacon Hill are all popular spots for walking and admiring the historic and modern architecture.
Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library is housed in a 1895 Renaissance Revival-style building that has museum quality sculptures and paintings. There's a gallery on the second floor that features murals by the French artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and on the third floor there are murals by John Singer Sargent. The library has a number of family friendly programs available.
700 Boylston Street, Back Bay, Boston, MA, 02116
Boston's famous Freedom Trail is a three mile long route that goes by 16 of the city's most notable historic sites. The trail is marked by red bricks in the sidewalk and there are footprints through the street crossings. There are a number of brochures available in different places, including the city's visitor center (found in Boston Common), that will tell you about the history along the trail. Notable sites along the route include the Old Granary Burying Ground, King's Chapel Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House, and the Old State House. The route begins in Boston Common and ends across the bridge in Charlestown at the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill Monument.
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Where to Stay in Boston
How much do vacation rentals cost in Boston? Prices vary by location, date, size of the place, and the level of luxury. See below for options.