Boston Freedom Trail: A 2.5-mile red brick trail through Boston’s 16 most important historic sites

Boston, MA’s famous Freedom Trail was proposed in 1951 by journalist William Schofield, completed in 1953, and is now walked by tens of thousands of visitors every year. Why? There’s no better or more scenic way to explore the Revolutionary-era history of the United States than strolling this 2.5-mile red-brick path, starting in Boston’s Back Bay. You’ll get two centuries worth of our founding narrative and an eyeful of Boston’s most impressive architecture while you’re at it.

So where to start? Just a mile from Newbury Guest House Boston’s front door at Boston Common. Take the brick path from Boston Common in downtown Boston through the North End to the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution in Charlestown, and you’ll pass storied churches and graveyards, and some of the most significant sites in Colonial history. Each of the 16 stops have explanatory markers, and many include additional site-specific tours.

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 and is supported in part by grants from various nonprofits and foundations, private philanthropy, and Boston National Historical Park.

Local journalist William Schofield conceived the Trail in 1951 when he 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.

The National Park Service operates a visitor's center on the first floor of Faneuil Hall offering tours and free maps of the Freedom Trail and other historic sites, as well as selling books about Boston and United States history.

So where to start? Just steps from our front door (we recommend a grabbing a cup of our Lavazza espresso and a pastry before you start). Begin your journey at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center located at 139 Tremont Street and conclude at the USS Constitution in Charlestown.

Happy trails!