This summer our family was able to visit Boston for the first time. This was one of our stops on our epic road trip to the northeast and it was a great one. Because of getting stuck in traffic we had about 4 hours in the city. Our plan was to visit Boston’s Freedom Trail and we were able to walk it and walk by the sites in that time. If you want to go into more of the historic sites you will need to schedule more time. We did a behind the scenes tour at the Old North Church and a terrific ride on the iconic swans boats plus walked the trail in 3 hours.
This first thing to do is find a great place to park which can be difficult. We found a great little parking spot at Fitz-Inn auto parks on the corner of Hull and Commerce streets. This parking lot is right on the freedom trail about 2 blocks from the Old North Church. The price to park will be between $18-$30 depending on how long you stay. But this is the average price throughout the city.
We started with a “Behind-the-Scenes” tour of the Old North Church. This is the church where the 2 lanterns were hung in the bell tower to signal Paul Revere that “The British were coming”. We got to go up to the bell chamber (about 1/2 up to where the lantern’s were hung) and then down to the catacombs below. The tour cost our family of 6 $32.
You can also go in the sanctuary. They ask for a small donation at the front, but it is not mandatory. The church is beautiful and they still use it every Sunday. The Old North Church was a perfect beginning to our freedom trail exploration. They also have bathrooms which is important to know as you explore the city.
The freedom trail is 2.5 miles in total length marked with a red line which visits 16 historical Revolutionary sites throughout Boston. The red marked trail makes it super convenient as you wind throughout the city. The kids were great at following the trail.
Many of the buildings you can enter and explore for a small fee. For military members many are Blue Star Museums which offer free admission to active military and their families. Above is the Old State House where there were many speeches and discussions on the subject of taxes and liberty. It is amazing to see these beautiful, centuries old buildings set among the newer skyscrapers of Boston.
The Old South meeting house is where the secret signal to begin the Boston Tea Party was delivered. With 16 total site these are just a few of the magnificent buildings we encountered.
The end of the trail was at Boston Common’s, the Nation’s oldest park. We were worn out from walking and really looked forward to riding in Boston’s iconic swan boats. These boats have been in the same family since 1877 and it is so fun to take a peaceful and calm ride around the lake. For our family of 6 it cost $18 and the ride was about 15 minutes. It was a nice respite from all that walking.
Boston Commons is the beginning/ending of the Freedom trail, so now we had to head back toward the Old North Church. I wish we had more time to actually go in some more of the historical buildings (Paul Revere’s home is on my wish list). If my husband and I were alone we would really enjoy that. The kids not as much. One challenge of the freedom trail is that the historical sites close at 5pm which means you need to start early to get the most in. Along the trail, especially in the North End, there are charming open air restaurants and bakeries to enjoy. We stopped for some delicious Black & White cookies at Modern Pastry. It was the perfect pick-me-up for our family.
We ended our tour back at the Old North Church, but could have continued along the trail to visit Bunker Hill. (Remember they have bathrooms here, which is a great stop before getting back in the car) Boston was a great city to visit and I especially love the Revolutionary history that we were able to learn and experience.