Guide and Tips in Exploring Historical Downtown Boston
January 1, 1970
by Aliana Grace Gimena
More than the Boston we know
Boston is one of the famous cities located in the state of Massachusetts. Boston has been the home of famous sports teams such as the Boston Celtics in the field of basketball, the New England Patriots in the field of football and Boston Red Sox in the field of baseball. But beyond Boston’s greatness in sports, there are other things worth knowing and exploring in this city – particularly the downtown area. Downtown Boston plays a significant role in shaping the history of the state of Massachusetts as well as the whole country of America.
The Freedom Trail Walking Tour
There are various ways to experience and relive the history of Boston when visiting the place. There are different tours that are being offered online such as the Boston Duck Tours, Boston Hop-on-hop-off Bus Tours and a lot more. But why spend some dollars if you can do a historical tour with a $2 dollar budget or better yet a free one? When I visited Boston few months ago, I was on a tight budget so I did not want to spend much on tours. Plus, I want to be extra adventurous and independent that is why I chose to just spend two bucks for the tour. Where did my two bucks go? It was spent to buy the map which will serve as my guide in the tour or what the locals call it as the “Boston Freedom Trail” tour. The map was very helpful because it contains information and background about each stop of the Freedom Trail. However, if you have a lot of time and effort, you can do this tour for free by researching in advance about the Freedom Trail and list the details on your phone or on a paper.
So now you might be probably asking already, “Where will this tour start?” “How am I gonna know my next stop?” The Boston Freedom Trail starts at the Boston Common Visitors Center (139 Tremont St, Boston, Massachusetts, United States). Once you get there and you already bought the map, you can start the tour by simply following the red-lined route which will lead you to your next stop. There are total of 16 stops in this Freedom Trail and every stop has a story tell about Boston’s history. The trail is 2.5 miles or 4 kilometers long. Let’s get the virtual walking tour started!
1st Stop: Boston Common
2nd Stop: Massachusetts State House
3rd Stop: Park Street Church
4th Stop: Granary Burying Ground
5th Stop: King’s Chapel
6th Stop: Benjamin Franklin Statue and Boston Latin School
7th Stop: Old Corner Bookstore (unfortunately the iconic bookstore is not there anymore, instead it’s now the home of Chipotle Mexican Grill)
8th Stop: Old South Meeting House
9th and 10th Stop: Old State House and Boston Massacre Site
11th Stop: Faneuil Hall
12th Stop: Paul Revere House
13th Stop: Old North Church
14th Stop: Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
15th Stop: USS Constitution
16th Stop: Bunker Hill Monument
Some Tips in Exploring Downtown Boston
And that’s it for the Boston Historical Freedom Trail Tour! But besides the map as a helpful tool in this do-it-your-own tour, allow me to share with you some tips on how to make the most out of this tour.
Tip #1: Appreciate history!
Some people think that historical tours are boring because history itself is boring. But some people ignore the idea that history is one of the lens to see through and understand a culture. Also, it is all in the mindset of a person. If in the beginning, you do not put yourself and interest in this kind of tour, then it is actually you who will suffer and end up not enjoying the tour. So before starting a historical tour like the Boston Freedom Trail, psych yourself that history is fun and exciting! Believe me you will appreciate history then.
Tip #2: You could be the tour guide yourself.
It was mentioned earlier that in the map, there are information about each historical site. Why not add some spice in your own tour? Instead of just reading the map with your eyes, READ THE DETAILS ALOUD while you are walking your way to the next stop! My friend and I did this. We also filmed ourselves while reading the map and it was fun watching ourselves after. It felt like we were not just tourists but we were tour guides as well!
Tip #3: Keep hydrated!
Remember that this Freedom Trail tour is a WALKING TOUR. A distance of 2.5 miles or 4 kilometers is no joke (maybe for some it’s easy and chill as breeze because they are used to cardio exercises) so it is important to keep yourself hydrated especially when you are visiting Boston in the summer.
Tip #4: Get a memento before the tour ends.
Sentimental people make sure they have something to bring with them at the end of every trip because it serves as a reminder of the trip’s happy memories. Souvenir stores are everywhere in Boston. Souvenirs or mementos need not be expensive. A fridge magnet can be a simple memento or if you don’t want to buy something, the best souvenir you can get which is for free is by taking a photo or documenting your trip.
Tip #5: Share your travel experience.
There are various platforms to share your travel experience. It can be in a form of a blog, video blog (vlog) or social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Capping Off My Trip
Based on my experience, Boston is not as busy and fast-paced as those other cities I have visited in the United States. What I loved most about the city is the mix of the preservation of its cultural origins and its modernity when it comes to architecture and technology. My love for culture and modernism is what made me easily love and appreciate Boston. That’s why if given the chance to go back to the United States, Boston will definitely be on the list of my must visit cities. Boston has more to offer than those of the athletic image of the city that we know of.
I am looking forward to visit and explore other parts of Boston!