Things To See While Visiting Boston Massachusetts
Boston Common’s Visitors Center (Free)
The Boston Common Visitor Center is a good place to start the Freedom Trail. The trail starts right outside. The visitor center has lots of area brochures and maps. Maps for the Freedom Trail are not free. Helpful guides are available to help plan your route or answer questions.
There is a public restroom here.
Boston Common’s (Free)
Hear the echoes of 350 years of the most extraordinary history of America’s oldest park.
Here the Colonial militia mustered for the Revolution. In 1768, the hated British Redcoats began an eight-year encampment. George Washington, John Adams and General Lafayette came here to celebrate our nation’s independence. The 1860s saw Civil War recruitment and anti-slavery meetings. During World War I, victory gardens sprouted. For World War II, the Common gave most of its iron fencing away for scrape metal.
Boston Common continues to be a stage for free speech and public assembly. Here, during the 20th century, Charles Lindbergh promoted commercial aviation. Anti-Vietnam War and civil right rallies were held, including one led by Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1979, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass.
Frederick Law Olmsted never touched Boston Common, but his sons did. About 1913, their firm supervised the paving of walkways, the replenishment of the soil, and the moving of 15-ton trees.
From a utilitarian common ground for activities like grazing, militia formations and public hangings, the Common evolved. Its peaks were leveled cows were banned and 19th Century Bostonians added trees, fountains and statuary. The Common became the park-like greenspace we know today. The park includes ballfields, a tot lot and the Frog Pond, which provides skating in winter and a spray pool for children in the summer.
The Friends of the Public Garden is a non-profit citizen’s advocacy group formed in 1970 to preserve and enhance the Boston Public Garden, Common, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall in collaboration with the Mayor and the Parks & Recreation Department. The Friends number over 2,500 members and many volunteers. The Friends have also produced a brochure detailing the park’s history
- Massachusetts State House
- Park Street Church
Granary Burying Ground Cemetery (Free)
The Granary Burying Ground was established in 1660. Town officials set aside for burials part of what was then the Boston Common to help alleviate overcrowding in the near-by King’s Chapel Burying Ground.
The Granary Burying Ground took its present name in 1737 when a granary, a small building used to store grain, was moved to the site presently occupied by the Park Street Church.
All interments ceased at the Granary in 1880. The Granary Burying Grounds contains approximately 2,345 gravestones and tombs, although it is estimated that 5,000 people are buried at at this site.
The grave markers are predominantly slate, with a few in greenstone or marble. The gravestones’ original haphazard configuration was rearranged into straighter rows over to the years to accommodate both nineteenth-century aesthetics and the modern lawnmower. During the mid-nineteenth century, many landscaping projects were undertaken in the Granary, including the installation of pedestrian walkways and the planting of shade trees and shrubbery.
The remains of thousands of Boston citizens and notables lie within the walls of the Granary. Along with Massachusetts governors, mayors and clergymen, visitors will find the graves of three signers of the Declaration of Independence: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine; Peter Faneuil, benefactor of the famed downtown Boston landmark; patriot and craftsman Paul Revere; James Otis, Revolutionary orator and lawyer; and five victims of the Boston Massacre. Near the center of the ground, a 25-foot-tall obelisk commemorates the tomb of Benjamin Franklin’s parents.
- Kings Chapel Church
King’s Chapel Cemetery (Free)
Founded in 1630 at the time of the settlement of Boston, King’s Chapel is Boston Proper’s oldest burying place. Like the majority of Boston’s burying grounds, it has always been under municipal control, not affiliated with any church. The site is said to be part of Isaac Johnson’s estate, an esteemed early settler. In 1668 Royal Governor Andros seized a portion of this property to construct the town’s first Anglican church, King’s Chapel, which was built in 1688.
The earliest graves and tombs were scattered randomly throughout the grounds, with no formal pathways. In the early nineteenth century, landscaped cemeteries outside cities became the public parks of their times and efforts were taken to beautify urban burying grounds. Pedestrian footpaths, an ornamental cast iron fence and various plantings were all installed to enhance visitors’ experience in King’s Chapel Burying Grounds. Efforts went so far as to rearrange the gravestones in straight rows, frequently not corresponding to the body buried underneath.
Tradition holds that the first interment in King’s Chapel Burying Ground was that of the former owner of the property, Isaac Johnson, in 1630. Notables buried here include Massachusetts’ first governor, John Winthrop; William Dawes, Paul Revere’s compatriot on his ride to Lexington in 1775; the Reverend John Cotton, a powerful religious leader in seventeenth-century Boston; Hezekiah Usher, the colonies’ first printer and publisher; and Mary Chilton, who many believe was the first woman to step off the Mayflower.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission refers to this cemetery in MACRIS as BOS.803 King’s Chapel Burying Ground.
- Omni Parker House
- Harvard University Yard (Free)
- Mit-Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Fenway Park (Rex Soxs)
- Make Way for Ducklings statue (Free)
- Harry Houdini plaque on ( Mass- Ave/Charles River bridge) (Free)
- Custom House with clocks on Tower
- Faneuil Hall
- Quincy Market (Free)
- Boston Museum of Science
- US Constitution-Old Ironside
- Bunker Hill Monument
- Boston Tea Party
- Old state house
- Paul Revere’s house
- Salem Mass
- New England Aquarium
- New England Aquarium Whale Watch (Downtown Seaport)
- Newbury Street
- Boston Museum of Science
- Franklin Park Zoo -(Dorchester)
- Edward A. Hatch shell stage (Backbay Area) (Free)
- Arthur Fiedler head (Charles River Esplanade) (Free)
- Old North Church
- Boston North End Small House
- Old Meeting House
- Old State House
- MBTA Park Street station
- Ye Old Oyster House
- Skinny House (44 Hull Street in the North End)
- Holocaust Memorial Walk (Free)
- Acorn Street- (North end Boston) (Free)
- Paul Revere’s House
- Old State House
- Old Meeting House