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Top Boston Attractions

The first time you visit Boston, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Boston to help with your itinerary planning.

Beacon Hill Beacon Hill
Faneuil Hall Marketplace Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Old State House Old State House
USS Constitution USS Constitution
Paul Revere House Paul Revere House

Beacon Hill

The district of Beacon Hill is well known for its rows of picturesque brownstone townhouses and unique boutiques, all set along tree-lined sidewalks. Residents pride themselves on the small town atmosphere surrounding the area’s big city location. Two staples of Boston culture and history, Boston Common and The State House, further enhance the excellent residential community.

Boston Common’s fresh cut fields and strong standing trees attribute to Beacon Hill’s quaintness. Over the years since Boston’s founding, the area has always been a rural spot in an ever-growing city. In the past, Boston Common has acted as a camping ground for Revolutionary war soldiers and as a pasture for cattle grazing, but today stands as the nation’s oldest existing public park. On any afternoon, you can stroll through Boston Common and witness a mingling of people from all over the city. Contemplative students, hard-at-work musicians, wedding parties in search of the perfect photo opportunity, and businessmen and women on break, can all escape to Boston Common.

Just a short walk from the great park, you will discover The State House. Sitting on land once owned by John Hancock, the State House is recognizable by its gold plated dome, dramatic white columns, and red brick exterior. While The State House is an architectural triumph, keep in mind that even greater value lies in what is inside. Since 1798, the State House has functioned as the seat of Massachusetts’s government, and continues Boston’s legacy of democracy and justice.


Faneuil Hall Marketplace

 Location Government Center
 Admission Free
 Hours 9 am to 5 pm daily
 Phone 617-242-5642

Although all of Boston is brimming with great food and fashion, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is one of the city’s main centers of commercial activity. Composed of Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market, as well as numerous street vendors, you can purchase almost anything at the marketplace. Whether you want souvenirs, couture, hamburgers at a replica of the original Cheers bar, or fine seafood dining, the marketplace will meet your needs and more than satisfy your shopping desires. During warmer months, various festivals take place outside, allowing for a thoroughly entertaining shopping experience.

Apart from its marketplace identity, the original Faneuil Hall serves a second, but not secondary, purpose. Since 1742 it has acted as a meetinghouse for citizens of Boston to exercise their constitutional right to freedom of speech. Since the Revolution, the hall, dubbed the “Cradle of Liberty”, has welcomed both protesters and inspirational speakers alike. George Washington commemorated America’s first birthday with a celebratory toast at a party that took place in the building, and set an example for many political figures to follow. Since the first President’s oration, captivated audiences in Faneuil Hall have heard many speakers, such as women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony and former President Bill Clinton. Even today, the second floor of Faneuil Hall serves as a place for Boston citizens to discuss and debate community issues and events.


Old State House

 Address Corner of State Street and Washington Street
 Hours 9 am to 5 pm daily
 Phone 617-720-1713

The Old State House was built in 1713, and served as the seat of Boston’s government for nearly 85 years. Once the tallest building in Boston, it now stands modestly among skyscrapers, and is instead renowned for being the oldest public building in Boston. Currently owned by the Bostonian Society, the Old State House acts as a museum of Boston history. Although it houses many artifacts, the most significant historical item is the building itself. The circle of cobblestones in front of the Old State House marks the site of the Boston Massacre, during which five Bostonians were killed by British fire. A few feet above the street, the building’s white balcony sits prominently underneath a gold-rimmed clock. This balcony served as the podium for the speaker who delivered Boston’s first reading of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Old State House is truly representative of Revolutionary Boston, both as a museum and as an independent monument.


USS Constitution

 Address Charlestown Navy Yard
 Admission Free
 Hours Winter, Thursday to Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm / Summer, Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm
 Phone 617-242-5670

A faithful servant of the United States Navy for over 200 years, the USS Constitution sits peacefully on Boston Harbor. Like many monuments in Boston, she is a major symbol of the city’s significant role in the early developmental years of America. Commissioned by President George Washington to defend American interests abroad, the USS Constitution has seen the world through both war and peace. She earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812, when cannonballs from an enemy British ship appeared to bounce harmlessly off of her sides. The live oak, white oak, and yellow pine construction held strong, and the USS Constitution emerged victoriously from the battle. Today, she is honored in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat.

Roughly every half hour, experienced and active Navy sailors conduct tours around the ship to give you a glimpse of life at sea. While the tours are insightful and interesting, the rich history of the ship cannot be encompassed in a half hour. To properly celebrate the ship and all of its glory, you should take time to visit the USS Constitution Museum, located just a short walk away. A visit to the museum is more of an independent experience, but knowledgeable staff members are always on hand to answer questions and provide assistance. As you walk through the various rooms, the museum provides interactive activities, such as hoisting a sail and maneuvering a ship’s helm. The USS Constitution museum is flooded with artifacts, such as the ship’s log, flags, and various images captured throughout the years. While “Old Ironsides” is in a state of retirement, sailors still occupy its quarters, as it is the most prized possession of the United States Navy.


Paul Revere House

 Location North End
 Admission $3
 Hours Winter, 9:30 am to 4:15 pm daily / Summer, 9:30 am to 5:15 pm daily
 Phone 617-523-2338

After more than two hundred years, Paul Revere remains one of Boston’s most legendary citizens. His “midnight ride” exclamations that “the British are coming!” warned Boston citizens of the hostile British troops’ advancement towards the city. Today, his former home still stands on 19 North Square, and attracts visitors who are eager to discover the every day life of a man who displayed such extraordinary bravery.

While touring through the house, you will find it hard to believe that at least nine children and two adults occupied the quarters at any given time. Keep in mind that a third floor existed during the time that the Revere family inhabited the house. While you are free to walk around, proceed responsibly and cautiously as a few original Revere belongings are preciously preserved in the home. More than just a dedication to an American hero, the Paul Revere house is a real life introduction to living in Revolutionary Boston.


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