The Freedom Trail Tour Planning – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I provided an assessment for the time needed to visit each of the 16 official Freedom Trail Stops. In this post, I’ll suggest itineraries for 1/2, full and two day tours. If you can, plan for a full day (or more), especially if you want to spend time visiting any particular Stop. However, if it’s all you have, a 1/2 day is still fantastic, and it takes two days for an in-depth visit.

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Below find alternatives for 1/2 day, full day and two day visits. Use the custom Google Map referenced here to help you visualize what you are seeing and help as you walk your tour.

Most of the downtown Stops are close together. Walking directly from Boston Common (Stop 1) to Faneuil Hall (Stop 11) is only about .6 miles (1 km) and takes less than 15 minutes. Walking from downtown Faneuil Hall to the Paul Revere House in the North End (Stop 12) takes 10-15 minutes, but you pass through the Blackstone block, one of my favorites and a great place for a lobster lunch.

The Charlestown Stops (USS Constitution and Bunker hill) are another 15+ minute walk from the last Stop in the North End (Copp’s Hill Burying Ground), and there is a 10+ minute walk between the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill. If you can, save energy for the climb up the Bunker Hill monument, the view from the top is spectacular on a nice day.

Sam Adams & Boston Massacre Victims in Granary Burying Ground

Sam Adams & Boston Massacre Victims in the Granary Burying Ground

To review, the official stops are:

Stop 1 – Boston Common.

Stop 2 – The Massachusetts State House.

Stop 3 – Park Street Church.

Stop 4 – Granary Burying Ground.

Stop 5 – King’s Chapel.

Stop 5a – King’s Chapel Burying Ground.

Stop 6 – Boston Latin, Old City Hall, Franklin Statue.

Stop 7 – Old Corner Book Store.

Stop 8 – Old South Meeting House.

Stop 9 – Old State House.

Stop 10- Boston Massacre Site.

Stop 11 – Faneuil Hall and National Park Service visitor center.

Stop 12 – Paul Revere House.

Stop 13 – Old North Church.

Stop 14 – Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.

Stop 15 – USS Constitution and the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Stop 16 – Bunker Hill Monument.

1/2 Day Tour Recommendations:

Option 1: (Downtown) Walk by Stops 1 – 3, visit Stops 3 – 5, walk by 6-8, visit 9, walk by 10, and visit 11. Lunch and break at Faneuil Hall Market or the Blackstone Block area.

Option 2: (Downtown and North End): Walk by Stops 1 – 3, visit Stops 3 – 5, walk by 6 – 10, visit 11, walk by 12, visit 13 and 14. Lunch and break in Faneuil Hall Market, the Blackstone Block or the North End.

Option 3: (Charlestown – USS Constitution and Bunker Hill): Visit Stop 15 USS Constitution (bypass the Constitution Museum and USS Cassin Young), visit Bunker Hill Monument and Museum. Lunch at the Warren Tavern or at the Navy Yard.

Option 4: (Charlestown, USS Constitution): Spend a full 1/2 day visiting the USS Constitution, the Museum, USS Cassin Young and walk around the Navy Yard. Lunch at the Navy Yard or across the Bridge in the North End.

Option 5: (A little Downtown, free ranger-guided tour, North End, USS Constitution – requires a lot of walking and tour-time coordination): Start at Stop 11, Faneuil Hall, and listen to the NPS Great Hall talk, take the NPS  tour that goes to the North End, visit Stops 13 – 15, take the Water Shuttle back to Long Wharf.

Full Day Tour Recommendations:

Boston and the North End: Walk by Stops 1-3, visit Stops 3-5, walk by 6-7, visit 8 and 9, walk by 10, visit 11, lunch or break in Faneuil Hall Market, the Blackstone Block or the North End, visit 12-14.

Charlestown: spend a full 1/2 day visiting the USS Constitution, the Constitution Museum, USS Cassin Young and walk around the Navy Yard, lunch around the Navy Yard or at the Warren Tavern, visit the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum.

If you want to visit the entire Freedom Trail in a single day, it is recommended that you combine Options 2 and 3. It will be busy and there is a lot of walking, but you will have a great time.

Two Day Recommendations:

For a two day visit, combine both of the full day recommendations. It is worth the time if you can spare it.

What would I do?

If I could fit in a flexible half day, especially with kids, without question Option 5. This requires planning to fit in the National Park Service ranger tours, but is absolutely worth it. Start at Faneuil Hall  and enjoy the Great Hall ranger talk (every 1/2 hour) and get a sticker for the ranger-tour that goes to the North End (currently at 12, 2 & 3 PM – stickers available 1/2 hour prior. Confirm times at the NPS visitor center.) After the tour, visit Old North Church (Stop 13), walk through Stop 14, then walk quickly to Stop 15 and take the USS Constitution tour. Take the Water Shuttle back to Long Wharf (every 1/2 during non-commuting hours). Grab lunch where you can.

If I only had half a day, wanted to self-guide, and could not coordinate times for Option 5, I’d recommend Option 2 with a lobster lunch in the Blackstone Block. See as much as you can, and the North End has fantastic character and European feel. Don’t miss a Faneuil Hall tour or visiting the Old State House. If you are not from New England, the lobster is not to be missed.

If I had a full day, combine Options 2 and 3. The downtown stops are great and I love the Navy Yard and USS Constitution (it is easy to spend too much time here). Bunker Hill and the Bunker Hill museum are excellent. Have a lobster lunch in the Blackstone Block or grab some character and a Paul Revere Burger at the Warren Tavern in Charlestown (I’d choose the lobster, but it may be too early in your day).

Have a great visit.

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  1. […] Part 2 of this series, I’ll provide specific recommendations for 1/2, full and two day tours. Use […]

  2. […] how should you plan for your visit, and for how long? The posts on Planning to Tour, Part 1 and Part 2, will give you an overview of all the official Stops, a sense of how long it takes to visit each, […]