Boston National Historical Park | PARK AT A GLANCE

USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston

USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston

PARK OVERVIEW

Boston National Historical Park is a collection of American Revolution-related sites located in Boston, most of which can be reached by walking the Freedom Trail®, an organized route that leads to the historical points of interest. The trail has its southern terminus at Boston Common and its northern terminus at the Bunker Hill Monument. The neat thing about the trail is that it is actually marked in the sidewalk with a pattern of colored bricks, so as long as you can find your way to a point on the trail, you don’t even need a map—just follow the Yellow Brick Road, so to speak. An additional site is located in South Boston at Dorchester Heights, so some vehicle travel is required to see the entire park.

The Freedom Trail is 2.5 miles from one end to the other, and while you can easily walk this distance in a day, there is no way to see all of the historic sites in a day. You’ll need two days at a minimum, and if you really want to give each site a thorough visit—catching all of the tours and reading through everything in the museums—give yourself three full days. Keep in mind that most attractions are only open from 9 AM to 5 PM, even on the weekends, so you need to be in downtown Boston first thing in the morning to have a chance to get everything done in two to three days.

The central hub of Boston National Historical Park is Faneuil Hall. A historic site itself, it is the location of the National Park Service’s main visitor center. The State, Government Center, and Haymarket metro stations are all within a short walk. I highly recommend using public transportation to get around Boston, for like any major city, driving and parking are a big hassle.

There are sixteen official stops on the Freedom Trail, and some of these have multiple attractions. There are historic buildings, churches, cemeteries, sites of historic events, ships, and markers for buildings that no longer exist. Some sites offer tours, some offer exhibits and museums, and some you simply enter, take a look around, and leave.

Boston National Historical Park differs from most National Parks in that the National Park Service does not own or operate most of the attractions. Instead, it helps manage and promote the park in conjunction with private and non-profit organizations, the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and even the United States Navy. Because of this, fees and operating hours differ per site. See the following reviews for complete information (sites are listed from north to south and do not include Dorchester Heights).

Bunker Hill (aka Breeds Hill)

USS Constitution Museum

  • Covers the history of the USS Constitution
  • Allow 1-2 hours

USS Constitution

  • Tour ship
  • Allow 1-2 hours, depending on the wait in line

USS Cassin Young

  • Tour ship
  • Allow 30 minutes

Charlestown Navy Yard

  • National Park Service visitor center
  • Navy Yard Museum
  • Allow 1 hour

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground

  • Explore the cemetery
  • Allow 30 minutes

Old North Church

  • Multiple tours
  • Allow 1 hour

Paul Revere House

  • Self-guided House Tour
  • Allow 30 minutes

Faneuil Hall

  • National Park Service visitor center
  • Freedom Trail Tour meeting place
  • Great Hall
  • Allow 30 minutes to see the hall, and up to 3 hours for tours and lectures

Old State House

  • Building and Boston Massacre Site
  • Boston History Museum
  • Allow 1.5 to 2.5 hours

Boston Massacre Site

  • Historic site

Old Corner Bookstore

  • Commercial Building (currently a Chipotle Mexican Grill)

Old South Meeting House

  • Self-guided architecture tour
  • Voices of Protest exhibit
  • Allow 1 hour

First Public School Site

  • Historic Site Marker

King’s Chapel

  • Self-guided exploration of the main floor
  • Bells and Bones Tour
  • Allow 1 hour

King’s Chapel Burying Ground

  • Explore the cemetery (no association with the church)
  • Allow 30 minutes

Park Street Church

  • Visit the interior
  • Short film about the church
  • Allow 15-30 minutes

Granary Burying Ground

  • Explore the cemetery
  • Graves of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Robert Paine, and the Boston Massacre victims
  • Allow 1 hour

Massachusetts State House

  • Tour
  • Allow 1 hour

Boston Common

  • Public park
  • Information station
  • Allow 30 minutes

OPERATING HOURS

Nearly all of the attractions at Boston National Historical Park are privately owned and have their own hours. Before making travel plans, get the latest schedule on the National Park Service’s Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the park.


FEES

The Old State House, Old South Meeting House, Old North Church, King’s Chapel, and the Paul Revere House all have fees to enter. There are no fees to enter any of the other sites, though most do ask for donations.

Get the current prices on the National Park Service’s official Fees and Passes web page for Boston National Historical Park.

Back to the Top


Last updated on September 15, 2021
Share this article