Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long (4.0 km) path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. Marked largely with brick, it winds between Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. Stops along the trail include simple explanatory ground markers, graveyards, notable churches and buildings, and a historic naval frigate. While most of the sites are free or suggest donations, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, and the Paul Revere House charge admission. The Freedom Trail is overseen by the City of Boston's Freedom Trail Commission[1] and is supported in part by grants from various nonprofits and foundations, private philanthropy, and Boston National Historical Park.

Freedom Trail
USA-The Freedom Trail.JPG
Special markers implanted in the sidewalk denote the stops along the Freedom Trail
Length2.5 mi (4 km)
LocationBoston, Massachusetts
DesignationNational Millennium Trail
TrailheadsBoston Common to Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown
UseWalking, History
Hiking details
Trail difficultyEasy
Sights16 historical sites
Freedom Trail marker through a red brick sidewalk
Freedom Trail next to Faneuil Hall

The Freedom Trail was conceived by local journalist William Schofield, who in 1951 suggested building a pedestrian trail to link important local landmarks. Boston mayor John Hynes decided to put Schofield's idea into action. By 1953, 40,000 people were walking the trail annually.[2]

The National Park Service operates a visitor's center on the first floor of Faneuil Hall, where they offer tours, provide free maps of the Freedom Trail and other historic sites, and sell books about Boston and United States history.

Some observers have noted the tendency of the Freedom Trail's narrative frame to omit certain historical locations, such as the sites of the Boston Tea Party and the Liberty Tree.[3]

Members of the Boy Scouts of America who hike or camp along the Freedom Trail may be eligible for the Historic Trails Award.[4]

Official trail sitesEdit

The official trail sites are (generally from south-to-north):[5]

  1. Boston Common
  2. Massachusetts State House
  3. Park Street Church
  4. Granary Burying Ground
  5. King's Chapel and Burying Ground
  6. Benjamin Franklin statue and former site of Boston Latin School
  7. Old Corner Bookstore
  8. Old South Meeting House
  9. Old State House
  10. Site of the Boston Massacre
  11. Faneuil Hall
  12. Paul Revere House
  13. Old North Church
  14. Copp's Hill Burying Ground
  15. USS Constitution
  16. Bunker Hill Monument

The Black Heritage Trail crosses the Freedom Trail between the Massachusetts State House and Park Street Church. The Boston Irish Famine Memorial is also located along the Freedom Trail.

Self-guided audio tourEdit

The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) - visitor center at the Freedom Trail also offers GPS enabled self-guided audio tour guide app for both iPhone and Android. It works offline; the password to access the Tour/App can be purchased at the visitor center. Each point of interest along the tour has a narrated story, narrated directions, and helpful images. As visitors walk along the path and approach a pin, its story automatically pops-up and starts playing professionally narrated stories (prepared by local guides). The self-guided tour eliminates the need to follow any scheduled tour timings, one can skip crowded groups.

Visit the GBCVB website to learn more about the self-guided tour.

In popular cultureEdit

The Freedom Trail is a part of many fictional pieces of media, such as Fallout 4, which requires players to walk along the Freedom Trail to find the Railroad faction.


  1. ^ "Freedom Trail". City of Boston. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  2. ^ O'Connor, Thomas H. (1993), Building a new Boston: politics and urban renewal, 1950–1970, Boston: Northeastern University Press, ISBN 978-1-55553-161-4, ISBN 155553161X
  3. ^ Alfred F. Young (March 21, 2004), "The Trouble with the Freedom Trail", Boston Globe
  4. ^ "The Freedom Trail". Boston Minuteman Council. Archived from the original on June 21, 2011. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  5. ^ "The Freedom Trail". Boy Scouts of America. Archived from the original on April 22, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2017.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 42°21′36″N 71°3′24″W / 42.36000°N 71.05667°W / 42.36000; -71.05667