No other city in the USA holds as much historical importance from the colonial and Revolutionary wars as Boston, which is one of the oldest in the United States of America. Home to the first free municipal library, the first subway system, and the first public park, Boston is even home to America’s first chocolate factory, founded in 1765.
It’s the only US state capital with a coastline that stretches over 47 miles (76km). Within its harbour are 34 islands; eight are accessible to the public depending on the season and tides. Much of the shoreline can be walked, except for a stretch close to Logan Airport. Thanks to its coastal location, Boston has many seafood restaurants, the most famous and oldest being Union Oyster House, which has been serving fresh seafood since the 1820s.
Boston features an incredible amount of famous artworks and architecture, with many renowned art pieces in the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum. The museum was the victim of a heist in 1990, where thieves stole 13 pieces of artwork totalling more than $500,000,000. The art is still missing and a large reward is on offer for anyone who has information.
Boston is a key historical location for crucial parts of America’s history, including the Boston Tea party of 1772, the Boston Massacre, and predating the Salem witch trials were the Boston witch trials. It’s an incredible, culturally rich city with many exciting things to do and famous landmarks in Boston to see such as:
- Boston Landmarks
- Famous Landmarks in Boston
- 1- Old State House
- 2- Old South Meeting House
- 3- African Meeting House
- 4- Union Oyster House
- 5- Trinity Church
- 6- Fort Warren
- 7- Massachusetts State House
- 8- Bunker Hill Monument
- 9- Fenway Park
- 10- USS Constitution
- 11- Boston Common
- 12- Boston Public Garden
- 13- Freedom Trail
- 14- Harvard Square and Art Museum
- 15- Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
- 16- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- 17- Charles River Esplanade
- 18- Faneuil Hall Marketplace
- 19- The Paul Revere House
- 20- Boston Public Library
- 21- Acorn Street
- Famous Landmarks in Boston
Famous Landmarks in Boston
Looking for a historical tour? Book this 90-minute tour of Boston.
1- Old State House
The Old State House (built in 1713), was originally a merchants exchange and a seat of government.
Until 1775 the royal governor, appointed by the King of Great Britain, held his office in the house.
Holding office here allowed the governor to extend the Kings voice into Boston from London.
The balcony where the governor would pass on the King’s messages is ornately decorated with a lion and a unicorn, the royal symbols of Great Britain.
Old State House is at 206 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02109.
2- Old South Meeting House
Old South Meeting House began its life in 1729 as a Puritan Worship House.
However, its role in the Boston Tea Party organisation in December 1773 has made it famous.
It has been a museum, historical site and education institution since 1877.
It has also been an important location for free speech, and these days it hosts public forums, debates and concerts.
Recently, an exhibition called “Voices of Protest” has shed light on the men and women’s voices who came through the meeting house with an ambition of change.
Old South Meeting House is at 310 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108.
3- African Meeting House
African Meeting House is part of the Museum of African American History. The house was built in 1806 in the heart of Boston’s 19th-century free black community.
The meeting house has played an important historical role during the Abolitionist Movement.
During this time, the New England Anti-Slavery Society was founded in 1832.
Maria Stewart, a black woman, spoke publicly before a mixed-gender audience in 1833, and Fredrick Douglass gave an important anti-slavery speech at the house in 1860.
Following several sales, the house was purchased by the Museum of African American History in 1972 and restored to its original condition.
African Meeting House is at 8 Smith Ct. Boston, MA 02114.
4- Union Oyster House
Opened in 1826, Union Oyster House is America’s oldest restaurant.
The building was built sometime during the early 1700s, although no records confirm this.
Before it was a restaurant, Union Oyster House was a dress goods store and a newspaper publishers.
Famously whilst exiled from France, Louis Phillipe, the future King of France, lived on the second floor of the restaurant in 1796, where he spent his time tutoring the French area’s children.
The restaurant serves traditional New England fare with oysters as their speciality.
Other dishes include lobsters and clams.
Union Oyster House is at 41 Union Street, Boston.
5- Trinity Church
Trinity Church is the third iteration of a church within Boston City’s parish after the two previous churches were lost to demolition and fire.
Phillips Brooks, Sarah Wyman Whitman, John La Farge and others built the church to ensure a welcoming space for worshippers.
The church was built in the Richardson Romanesque style and talking a walk to see it is one of the romantic things to do in Boston at night.
Thanks to its design, the church is now one of the American Association of Architects top 10 buildings in the country.
John La Farge covered the church in many murals to allow the church to give off a feeling of stepping into a painting.
206 Boylston St Copley Square, Boston, MA 02116-3916.
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6- Fort Warren
Fort Warren was constructed between 1834 and 1860 as a Union soldier facility during the Civil War.
The fort is on George’s Island inside the mouth of the Boston Harbour. Fort Warren was built from stone and granite and formed part of a broader collection of coastal defences.
Following the Civil War, Fort Warren served as a further defensive fort during World War II.
According to legend, the fort is haunted by the ‘Lady in Black’, Melanie Lanier, who was lynched for attempting to free her husband from the fort prison in 1862.
She is rumoured to be buried under the Corridor of Dungeons.
Fort Warren is at George’s Island, Boston.
7- Massachusetts State House
The Massachusetts State House (1798) and has served as an important landmark in Boston’s and the state’s history since.
Charles Bulfinch designed the State House.
The most notable feature of the State House is the 23 karat gold dome sitting atop the red brick structure.
Inside are many impressive stained glass windows.
Unusually the State House is home to two unusual items; the Sacred Cod and the Holy Mackerel, symbols of Boston’s fishing heritage.
Massachusetts State House is at 24 Beacon Street, Boston.
8- Bunker Hill Monument
Bunker Hill Monument sits on Breed’s Hill and commemorates the battle of Bunker Hill.
The monument was built between 1827 and 1843 and is made from Quincy granite. It’s 221ft (67m) tall and was the tallest memorial in the United States until the Washington Monument was constructed.
The monument commemorates the first battle between British forces and the New England soldiers.
The British won the battle, however, their troops sustained the most casualties.
Bunker Hill Monument is at Monument Square, Charlestown, Boston, MA 02129.
9- Fenway Park
Fenway Park is the Major League’s oldest baseball park.
The park opened in 1912 and is the home of the Boston Red Sox.
The stadium has been renovated and expanded several times and unusual features have been added to it.
Features include ‘The Triangle’, Pesky’s Pole, and most famously, the Green Monster in the left field.
The Green Monster is the 37ft (11m) high green left-field wall, a popular target for right-handed hitters to reach while in-game.
Fenway Park is at 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215-3409.
10- USS Constitution
The USS Constitution (1797) is the oldest commissioned US Navy ship. The ship features a wooden hull and has three masts. It is 204ft (62m) in length and has a gun range of 1200 yards (1109m).
Patriot Paul Revere made the bolts and copper sheathing for the ship.
The ship is nicknamed “Old Ironsides” due to the failure of a British shot to penetrate the oak sides.
Famously, the ship fought in the war of 1812 and was a regular in battles and service until 1853.
Today the ship is moored in the navy yard in Charlestown and is sailed every July 4th around Boston harbour.
USS Constitution is at 1 1st Avenue, Charlestown, Boston.
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11- Boston Common
Boston Common is America’s oldest park and stretches across 50 acres. It is easily accessible as part of the Freedom Trail.
The commons has served many purposes over the years, including being used as a camp by British Forces during the American Revolutionary War, a location for public hangings during witch trials, and a cattle grazing ground.
The park features many monuments, including the Boston Massacre Monument and the Declaration of Independence Tablet.
There’s also a plaque that marks the location of a Great Elm tree that was destroyed in a storm in 1876.
The park is also home to the Central Burying Ground.
During the winter months, Frog Pond freezes over and is turned into an ice rink by locals.
Boston Common is at 139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111-1318.
12- Boston Public Garden
Boston Public Garden neighbours Boston Common.
It was established in 1837 and is the first public botanical garden in the United States.
Within the garden are many historical statues linking to Boston’s role in America becoming free of British rule, fountains and swan boats on the lake.
The swan boats have been a feature of the garden since the early 1870s.
One of the most famous monuments within the gardens is the ‘Make Way for Ducklings’ statue cast from bronze, which celebrates the children’s story by Robert McCloskey.
Boston Public Garden is at Public Garden, Boston,
13- Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is a 3 mile (4.8 km) long trail through Boston’s streets that takes walkers past 16 monuments and sites.
A red brick line marks the trail on the pavement and features footprints at crossings.
Important landmarks along the trail include the Old Granary burying ground where some of Boston’s most influential historical residents now reside, including Paul Revere and Samuel Adams and the Old State House, which was the site of the Boston Massacre.
Many guided tours along the Freedom Trail are available and offer a greater insight into each of the key landmarks.
The Freedom Trail begins at Boston Common, which is at 139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111.
14- Harvard Square and Art Museum
Harvard University is the oldest higher education institution in the United States and was founded in 1636.
The campus itself is famous worldwide for its educational standards, architecture, leafy walkways and New England vibe.
Harvard Square is a popular meeting point for students, locals and tourists who wander around the ice cream shops, bookstores and coffee shops.
Harvard Art Museums adjoins the square and features an impressive collection of famous works, including many pieces of Italian Renaissance art, as well as a collection of Bauhaus objects from Kandinsky and Klee.
In the Arthur M. Suckler Museum is a collection of Chinese jade, Japanese prints, and Greco-Roman antiquities.
Harvard Square and Art Museum is at 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge.
15- Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum are a collection of floating museums on a barge and replica ships.
The museum commemorates and educates visitors on the Boston Tea Party and features interactive re-enactments.
Visitors can throw tea from the restored tea ships and explore the dedicated museum, which shows what life was like in colonial Boston.
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is at 306 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210-1027.
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16- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is a world-renowned college specialising in technology.
It is, however, its architectural design that draws visitors to the campus.
The college features an eclectic mixture of modern and postmodern architecture. Alvar Aalto, Frank Gehry, and I. M. Pei have all designed buildings within the college campus.
In addition to the impressive architecture, MIT is also home to hundreds of art installations, including sculptures from Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore and Jaques Lipchitz.
The sculptures and works of art are easily found by following one of the self-guided walking tour maps.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is at 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Boston.
17- Charles River Esplanade
Charles River Esplanade is a stunning stretch of 17 miles (27km) of river, walkways and parklands.
The esplanade is in the Black Bay Area, where during the summer months, there are many concerts, including the free 4th of July Boston Pops concert in the parks along the riverbank.
The river itself is popular with canoes and kayaks, while its walkways are alive with cyclists, walkers and rollerblades.
Charles River Esplanade is at Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA 02116.
18- Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Peter Faneuil, a Huguenot merchant, built the hall between 1740 and 1742 to serve as a market hall for the public to access.
Faneuil Hall is known locally as ‘the cradle of Liberty’.
Today, the hall’s ground floor remains a market place, and the upper floors are council chambers.
The building’s fourth floor houses the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Museum.
Head to the marketplace on a sunny day to enjoy street food, buskers and performers, as well as getting a glimpse into Boston’s history.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace is at Faneuil Hall Square, Boston.
19- The Paul Revere House
Paul Revere’s House is the oldest house in Boston, built in 1680.
Revere was trained as a silver and goldsmith and also spent time in the Massachusetts artillery.
Revere was well known for his intricate gold and silver work, as well as creating copper plates for prints, however, it was his political involvement that has carved a place for him in Boston’s history.
Revere was a key player in planning the Boston Tea Party and the Midnight Ride, where Revere rode through the night to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were approaching.
Revere’s former home today serves as a museum offering visitors an insight into the life of Revere and what life was like for Boston residents during the 17th century.
The Paul Revere House is at 19 North Square, Boston.
20- Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library was founded in 1848. Charles Follen McKim designed the current building in 1895.
Within the building are many examples of Renaissance Revival architecture.
The library is decorated with murals painted by John Singer Sargent and Edwin Abbey.
Stained glass by William Morris is also a key feature of the library’s artworks and design.
Due to its high level of art and architectural features, the library is a popular stopping location on architecture and art tours that run for free in the city.
Boston Public Library is at 700 Boylston Street, At Copley Square, Boston.
21- Acorn Street
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