Walking Tour of Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, the birthplace of the American Revolution by virtue of the Boston Tea Party, an event that occurred in 1773, and other events, is loaded with history and tradition. However, at the same time, it is thoroughly modern, with high quality museums and tall skyscrapers. It is perhaps the "poster boy" for the seamless and attractive blend of old and new. It is also fairly compact, as large cities go, making it great to explore by foot.
My walk begins at the Boston Common, the nation’s oldest city park, which sits pretty much in the center of the downtown area. It is bounded by Beacon Street (on the northwest), Tremont St (to the southeast), Charles St (on the southwest) and Boyleston St (to the south). Stroll the grounds before exiting at Charles Street and crossing into the Public Gardens which may be the United States’ oldest botanical garden. Kids will enjoy taking a ride on the Swan Boats.
Exit the gardens at Beacon Street and turn left then left again at Arlington Street. When you reach Newbury Street, turn right. You are entering the Back Bay section of the city. Newbury Street is lined with "brownstone" apartments and also offers restaurants and small shops. Keep walking southwest to Fairfield Street and turn left. The road brings you to Boyleston Street and, just ahead, the Prudential Center. You may head up to the Skywalk Observatory, on the 50th floor, for sweeping views of the entire city. (Check out some of the places on the Walking Tour to get better oriented)
When finished here, exit at Boyleston Street and turn right. Several blocks ahead, turn right on Clarendon Street and into Copley Square. Check out the lovely and distinctive Trinity Church, an architectural gem in dramatic contrast to the tall buildings nearby. Close to the church is the John Hancock Tower (60 stories), the city’s tallest skyscraper, which also has an Observation Area if you skipped the one at the Prudential.
Continue northward on St James Avenue, then turn right on Arlington and left on Stuart Street. When you reach Tremont Street, turn left again. You will skirt the Boston Common as you proceed northward. At Park Street, turn left, then left again on Beacon Street to reach the state of Massachusetts’ golden-domed State House, prominently located on Beacon Hill.
From here, retrace your steps on Beacon and Park back to Tremont Street. Turn left and check out the Park Street Church on your left. More important than the church is the adjacent cemetery (the Granary Burying Ground), which contains the remains of many Colonial patriots, among them, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and the parents of Benjamin Franklin). Continue on Tremont to School Street. At the corner is King’s Chapel, a great example of Georgian architecture. Beside it is another of the city’s old cemeteries (Governor John Winthrop is buried here).
Head right on School Street to its end, then turn left on Washington Street to reach the Old State House, which dates to 1713. Stop inside to learn of the numerous historical events that occurred here.
Next, head north (left) on Congress Street and visit the Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market complex, another of Boston’s favorite gathering places. The Hall was the scene of many important meetings, Also in the complex is the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, with a plethora of shops, and the Quincy Market which offers an incredible variety of prepared foods and lunch options.
At the opposite end of the complex, turn right, then left on State Street past the attractive, old Custom House (now a Marriott property) and cross under the expressway and down toward the waterfront. Here you can visit the New England Aquarium, one of the best venues of its kind in the United States.
After the visit, go back toward the expressway and turn right on Atlantic Avenue, along Christopher Columbus Park, then turn left on Richmond Street. Turn right at North Street and check out Paul Revere House, on your left. Continue north on North Street and turn left on Prince Street, then right on Hanover Street. You are now in Boston’s Italian neighborhood, the North End. At Tileston Street, take a left. Ahead, on your right, is the Old North Church, where the lantern signals in the belfry on April 18, 1775 launched Paul Revere’s famous ride.
Take a right when exiting the church onto Hull Street, then turn left on Causeway Street. From here there are several options:
1. To end the walk and return to the starting point, continue on Causeway which becomes Staniford Street, then turn right on Cambridge Street and left on Joy Street to get back to the Boston Common.
2. If you want to extend the walk, follow Causeway Street to North Washington Street. Take a right and cross the Charles River into Charlestown. Take a right on Chelsea Street and then right again, then left on Constitution St and into the Charlestown Navy Yard where the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") is docked and can be visited. When you exit, take a right on Constitution Street, left on Chelsea and a quick right on Chestnut Street, then bear left on Adams Street which leads to the Bunker Hill Monument. After your visit, retrace your steps back to Chelsea, turn right then left back over the bridge to Causeway Street. Take a right and complete the circuit by following the directions in Option #1 above.