The Boston Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts. The trail passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States.
It’s without a doubt one of the biggest attractions in Boston. A tour of just some or all of the Freedom Trail route can be done in a number of different ways.
After a couple of issues (more on that later), we opted for a self-guided freedom trail tour. It actually turned out to be the very best way of us going on the freedom trail. We, therefore, wanted to share our experience to help others go on a self-guided freedom trail tour when in Boston.
- Freedom Trail: Frequently Asked Questions
- Freedom Trail Map
- Where To Eat On The Freedom Trail
- Where To Stay Near The Freedom Trail
- Our Self Guided Freedom Trail Tour
Freedom Trail: Frequently Asked Questions
To help you on your self-guided tour of the Freedom Trail in Boston we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions (with answers). If there’s anything you’re still unsure of about your trip after reading this article then please let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to assist you.
Where Does The Freedom Trail Start?
The Freedom Trail starts at Boston Common.
How To The Start Of The Boston Freedom Trail?
For us, the start of the Boston Freedom Trail was a 10-minute walk from where we were staying.
The Green or Red Line will take you to Park Street Station. This is the closest station to the start of the Freedom Trail.
Alternatively, The Blue and Orange lines come into State Street Station. This station is quite literally on the Freedom Trail and is approximately a 5-minute walk to Boston Common.
When Was The Boston Freedom Trail Established?
The Boston Freedom Trail was established in 1951.
Is The Boston Freedom Trail Free?
It’s completely free to walk the Boston Freedom Trail. However, a number of paid guides are available they cover some and/or all of the entire trail.
Can I Enter Sites On The Boston Freedom Trail?
The following locations charge an entrance fee to enter;
Old South Meeting House
The following locations suggest a donation, however, it’s not required for entrance;
What Are The Sites Of The Boston Freedom Trail?
Massachusetts State House
Park Street Church
Granary Burying Ground
King’s Chapel Burying Ground
Benjamin Franklin Statue & Boston Latin School
Corner Book Store
Old South Meeting House
Old State House
Site of Boston Massacre
Paul Revere House
Old North Church
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
Bunker Hill Monument
Freedom Trail Map
The following map highlights all of the sights on the Freedom Trail. Click on any of the numbers to learn more about that particular location. Those points highlights in orange are coffee shops and restaurants (something for all budgets) that I’ve gone into slightly more detail below.
Where To Eat On The Freedom Trail
All of the following locations mentioned in this section have been added to the map of the Freedom Trail above.
Coffee & Snacks
The thinking cup is a great place to pick up a coffee, snacks or even a sandwich. The menu features a wide range of gluten free options too.
There’s a number of Starbucks in and around the Freedom Trail in Boston. You’re likely to have had a Starbucks previously regardless of where in the world you come from, so a safe and solid choice if you’re in need of refreshments.
One of my favourite places as an English person when visiting America is Chipotle. We chose to eat here during our walk of the Freedom Trail, and I don’t think this list would be quite complete without giving it a mention.
Elite clientele, food gathered from around the world and a contrast of cultures so bright you have to look twice, Yvonne’s is well and truly an experience not to be forgotten.
Tip Tap Room
The Tip Tap Room is the perfect place to head for a well-deserved meal and a pint. Located opposite Otis House Museum, this restaurant is the furthest away from the Boston Freedom Trail route.
A world famous American Italian, Giacomo’s isn’t a cheap choice but it’s one you won’t regret making. With pasta made in-house, fresh, daily you’ll probably find yourself queuing here at lunch time so get there early.
Where To Stay Near The Freedom Trail
We stayed in HI Boston which is the only hostel in Boston. If a hostel doesn’t sound like it would suit your accommodation needs during your stay in Boston then check out some of the other options below;
Our Self Guided Freedom Trail Tour
You can’t go to Boston without hearing and seeing sights of The Freedom Trail. Our first day in Boston was a Sunday, and we couldn’t think of a better way to discover the city we’d be spending the next few days in.
Staying at the HI Boston we were just around the corner from Boston Common where The Freedom Trail begins. Adjacent to the Tremont Street, midway in the park you’ll find a visitor centre. It’s hard to miss as there’s usually groups congregating outside.
Inside the visitor centre, you found a wealth of Boston and Freedom Trail related products. As well as the option to sign up for a historic tour. The tour was almost $15 for adults and $13 for students, unfortunately, this was our entire daily budget – meaning it simply wasn’t an option in this case.
A budget-friendly alternative is a $3 map. A free map is available (something that’s not made clear inside the visitor centre – I only found out post our trip online). To access it you need to go to the counter and ask for the “Free Freedom Trail Map”.
I simply didn’t want to settle for paying $3 for a map that I was determined would be available online. So I scoured the internet on my iPhone and managed to find the most fantastic, free and mobile-friendly resource. We’ve since gone onto make our own map, with all the features we’d have liked to have had in the other one. Scroll back to the top of this post to view.
The Freedom Trail couldn’t be easier to follow thanks to a two brick red line that runs along the path from start to finish. Although we noticed some small breaks where works had been constructed and the line not replaced.
During peak hours 10am – 3pm and peak areas of the Freedom Trail I very much doubt you’ll need to use the line. Being such a popular attraction you’ll notice many independent tours and groups following the trail, inevitably you’ll find yourself following them too.
Each of the seventeen stops is marked with a sign interrupting the two brick line on the path. In some cases you’ll also find an additional sign at eye-level.
Again, I very much doubt you’ll need to make use of this in popular times and at popular destinations. You’ll once again notice the influx of cameras taking ‘selfies’ or tours stopping.
By now you’ve probably heard me mention ‘popular’ sites within The Freedom Trail. That’s because we noticed a significant reduction in the people following the trail after stop number 12; Faneuil Hall.
Stop ones to twelve measure a distance of just under one mile and takes approximately one and half-hours (depending on how busy it is, how fast you read, what information you read, if you stop for snacks, toilet break etc. and if you go inside any of the sites)
Stops twelve to seventeen, however, measure a distance of more than one and a half miles over mixed terrain.
In fact, stop seventeen, Bunker Hill Monument isn’t even in Boston. It’s actually in Charlestown.
Including stopping for snacks and not entering any of the paid exhibits the entire walk took us three hours (from 10.30am until 1.30pm). Having arrived at Bunker Hill (and walked more than three miles and not eaten lunch!). We decided to get the bus back to central Boston.
The bus cost us $2 each and took a little under 10 minutes. Of course, it’s your self-guided freedom trail tour – which means it’s completely up to you whether you how you choose to get back to the centre of Boston.
You could even look to do the route almost back to front ending up in the centre of Boston.
We hope that from this guide you’ll be able to conduct a self-guided freedom trail tour when in Boston.
Below we’ve included a small number of guided tours and other things to do in Boston should you find a self-guided freedom trail tour unsuitable for your requirements.