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Self-Guided Historic Walking Tour Of Boston

There are countless guided and self-guided walking tours in Boston for citizens and visitors alike. However, many of them are so popular and crowded and are part and parcel of the basic Boston experience. Those who want to walk along the beaten trail and still get a taste of both popular and oft-missed attractions can easily do so by weaving in and out of the more popular routes on a self-blazed historic walking tour of the city.
Boston Common, Massachusetts.
Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Boston Common
131 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02111
(888) 733-2678

Boston Common is definitely not off the beaten path, but it is a top-notch starting point for virtually any walking tour of Boston. It is close to food, has plenty of space for a picnic and is a great rallying point for people to meet. The Common is Boston history with the earliest European settlers of the land first inhabiting this stretch in the 17th century before the settlement became too large for the space. Today, there are no grazing animals or Puritans, but there are many historic locations marked throughout the park and surrounding streets.

Related: Boston's Best Historical Sites

old city hall
(Photo from

Old City Hall
45 School St.
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 523-8678

This 19th century structure is conveniently located on the Freedom Trail, so you can follow the red brick marker to see it. But it is not officially part of the Freedom Trail, even if the Old City Hall Landmark Corporation likes to say so. It is a beautiful building to look at with several striking features, such as the multi-level columns and arched windows. It is occupied by several businesses at the moment. Nonetheless, it is worth a peek on an historical stroll through the city.

Irish Famine Memorial
Corner of School St. and Washington St.
Boston, MA 02108

The Irish Famine has a place in Boston history in spite of the distance between the two nations. When the Irish Famine was at its peak, Irish emigrants fled the country by the hundreds of thousands. Many of them made their way to Boston and began the solid Irish population that still exists here today. This is one of the several reasons, another being its beauty, to visit the Irish Famine Memorial when taking in the history of this great walking city. It is a memorial of the suffering of victims and a tribute to those who made it to Boston safely.

Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall and the surrounding marketplace (credit: Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Faneuil Hall
1 Faneuil Hall Square
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 635-3105

Faneuil Hall has been part of a marketplace in Boston for centuries. It was constructed in 1742 and has been home to such major historical events as the speech given by Samuel Adams following the Boston Massacre. Today, it is highly frequented by tourists, so if a visitor's goal is strictly historic, it is sometimes best to skip the food and drink venues and go straight to the hall on the second floor. Those who are lucky can reach the military museum on the third floor if they can catch it on the rare occasion that it is open.

Related: Boston Area's Best Historic Churches

New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston. (Credit: New England Holocaust Memorial Website)

New England Holocaust Memorial
Greenway off Congress St.
Boston, MA 02109

This is the newest installation on this historic walk through Boston, but it involves a significant era in human history -- The Holocaust. Concentration camp survivor and longtime City of Boston employee Stephan Ross was the impetus behind this large memorial. The Stanley Saitowitz structure was completed in 1995 and has since offered visitors a place to reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust and, perhaps by chance, to get warm on colder days in the city. There are several glass towers along the walk that makes up the structure and each is warmed by a vent from beneath, in a way giving the weary that bit of solace that victims were refused.

Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at

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