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Easy Things to Do in Boston for History Lovers

From the Boston Tea Party to Quincy Market, there are plenty of things to do in Boston for history lovers. Whether you’re looking for a stroll through history or a more interactive experience, you’ll find something to satisfy your craving for understanding the past.

Take a tour of the Freedom Trail, where you’ll learn about the American Revolution and explore the city’s iconic landmarks. Visit Quincy Market, a historic marketplace dating back to the early 1800s. Here, you’ll find shops, restaurants, and street performers paying homage to Boston’s past.

With so many exciting and educational options, there’s always something to do in Boston to satisfy your love of history.

Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center

The Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center is an excellent starting point for discovering things to do in Boston, Massachusetts. Operated by the United States Park Service, this visitor’s center provides planning resources for an exciting day of learning about Boston.

image of Visitor Welcome Center in Boston Massachusetts
Photo © Gwyn Goodrow

Even better, the welcome center is just across the street from the Old Town Trolley main ticketing location.

Things to Do in Boston Riding the Old Town Trolley

The easiest way to get a guided tour of Boston is by riding the Old Town Trolley. The trolley makes a complete loop around the city every 2 hours. A single ticket allows access to any of their buses. You can easily hop on and off while exploring landmarks along their route.

The bus schedule runs from 9 am to 4 pm from November to March. It’s available 9 am to 5 pm during the rest of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

The bus operators describe buildings, landmarks, and events while the bus tours through the many historic and culturally significant locations visible from the comfortable seats.

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

The Boston Tea Party was a political protest on December 16th, 1773, when the Sons of Liberty, a group of colonists, threw 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbor from three ships to protest tea taxes imposed by the British. The night of the Tea Party was a turning point in the colonies’ struggle for independence from Britain.

The event is an important part of American history. The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum in the Fort Point Channel offers a unique way to understand these pivotal colonial events of the 1770s.

The museum features interactive exhibits and performances that tell the story of the events that led to the Boston Tea Party. A multi-sensory movie experience, “Let it Begin Here,” encourages visitors to relive the emotionally complex times for the colonial patriots and specific events that led to the American Revolution.

Guests can board a full-scale replica of the Dartmouth ship and participate in a live reenactment of the Tea Party, complete with sound and lighting effects. Artifacts recovered from the bottom of the harbor are displayed in the ship’s hull. From the deck of the replica ship, visitors can get a great view of the Boston skyline and learn about the importance of the harbor during the Revolution.

Dine at the Boston Tea Party Museum in Abigail’s Tea Room

The ticketed experience ends at the gift shop. Abigail’s Tea Room is adjacent to the main building. Enjoy a tea sampler while enjoying waterfront views. Or opt for a light lunch with sandwiches, salads, soups, and chowder, served in a colonial-themed cozy dining space.

Image of sign at Abigail's Tea Room in Boston Massachusetts
Dine at Abigail’s Tea Room in Boston, Massachusetts © Gwyn Goodrow

The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is a great way to experience a piece of American history in a unique and interactive way. If you’re looking for a fun and educational experience, the museum offers easy things to do in Boston.

Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall is historically significant as one of the primary meeting places for Samuel Adams and members of the Sons of Liberty.

The building was gifted to the city by Peter Faneuil in 1740 and constructed between 1740 and 1742. The area near the hall was used as a slave auction site by Peter Faneuil and other Transatlantic trade merchants.

The building was destroyed by fire in 1761 but rebuilt by the city the following year. There are public restrooms on the lower level of the building (basement level) and museum-quality displays on the main floor where the National Park Service operates a tourism information kiosk.

Faneuil Hall is a historic building in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, with three additional granite buildings called North Market, South Market, and Quincy Market. These are adjacent to the east of Faneuil Hall and collectively operate as an indoor/outdoor mall and food eatery.

Tours and Tickets to Experience Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Quincy Market

Quincy Market, opened in 1826, was named in honor of Mayor Josiah Quincy, who orchestrated its construction without tax or debt, which was important to the colonists. Alexander Parris designed the building, which, at the time, was located near the waterfront at the town dock.

Part of the local harbor was filled with dirt to create sufficient land for the market.

From its beginning, Quincy Market was a produce and food shopping center, with grocers of such goods as eggs, cheese, and bread along the perimeter of the inside walls.

When the market was expanded in the late 1970s, diggers uncovered evidence of animal bones, suggesting on-site butchering work.

In addition, street vendors took up space outside the building in its plazas and against its exterior walls. Some surviving signage from those early merchants is visible today in the upstairs seating hall.

Today, Quincy Market houses dozens of retail shops and restaurants. The surrounding plaza has boutique shops and various entertainment venues. It would be easy to spend an entire day visiting Quincy Market and still not see everything available.

Old North Church

The Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city and has an interesting slice of American history. The Georgian-style church, originally built in 1723, is most famous for its role in the American Revolution. Paul Revere famously used two lanterns in the church’s belfry to signal to patriots in Charlestown that the British were arriving by sea. As the tallest building in the area, it was the logical site for signals.

The church’s history extends beyond the Revolutionary War, though. Revere’s role in the American Revolution was memorialized in William Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” published in 1861, on the cusp of civil unrest among the American states.

Today, the Old North Church is an active Episcopal house of worship and a popular tourist destination in Boston, with guided tours for visitors to learn more about its fascinating history. The church is a National Historic Landmark.

USS Constitution Museum

The USS Constitution was launched in 1797 as the first ship commissioned by the United States Navy. As the most successful frigate in the history of the Navy, the nickname “Old Ironsides” symbolizes America’s maritime strength.

Today, visitors to Boston, Massachusetts, can get an up-close look at the famous ship at the USS Constitution Museum. Located in the Charlestown Navy Yard, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of the USS Constitution’s history, from its construction and service in the War of 1812 to its modern-day status as a commissioned U.S. Navy ship.

Museum guests can explore interactive exhibits, watch short films, and learn about the ship’s crew. The museum houses artifacts from the ship’s long history, including tools, weapons, and uniforms used by the crew.

In addition, the museum offers educational programs for students, including classroom field trips and interactive tours of the USS Constitution.

The USS Constitution Museum is a great way to explore an important part of American history. Exploring the USS Constitution and the museum is an easy thing to do in Boston. This tourist attraction provides an in-depth look into the history of Old Ironsides.

Boston Common

Boston Common is the oldest public park in the United States. The city of Boston established this “common pasture” in 1634 for citizens to graze their cows on the land. The colonists paid a fee for grazing rights, and a town shepherd received a payment to tend to the cattle. However, due to overgrazing, this arrangement was discontinued in 1830.

As you can see, The Boston Common has a rich and storied history. During the British occupation of Boston before the American Revolutionary War, the Common served as a base training camp. British troops who engaged in the Battles of Lexington and Concord were stationed at this camp.

Despite its pleasant atmosphere today, the Common has a dark past as a site for public executions and Puritanical punishments. The Great Elm tree, now gone, was once the site of the hangings of witches, pirates, and murderers. Mary Dyer and three other Quakers were also hanged at the Common for their beliefs.

Today, the Common is a great place to take in the sights and sounds of Boston. It features a variety of green spaces, including Frog Pond, where visitors can ice skate in the winter or ride on a carousel. Visitors also enjoy the beautiful Commonwealth Avenue Mall, which runs through the Common, or stroll at leisure along The Path and the Freedom Trail.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a great place to visit, explore the Boston Common. With its long history and beautiful green spaces, it’s easy to see why Boston Common is one of the top things to do in Boston.

Fenway Park

Fenway Park is one of the world’s most iconic sports venues and the oldest Major League Baseball (MLB) stadium still in use today. Constructed in 1912, Fenway Park has been the home of the Boston Red Sox for more than a century. It has been the backdrop for some of the greatest moments in baseball history.

Visitors to Fenway Park can take a guided tour of the ballpark to explore its many attractions. While there, study the careers of famous Red Sox players like Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and Carl Yastrzemski, and celebrate the World Series wins. The tour provides an in-depth look at the stadium’s history, from its opening day in 1912 to its current place in baseball lore.

Summary

Boston, Massachusetts, has plenty of things for history enthusiasts to do while visiting the city. Explore iconic landmarks like Quincy Market, the Old North Church, the USS Constitution Museum, and the Boston Common. There are many stress-free travel experiences in this historic city from the convenience of the Old Town Trolley in Boston. Take a short ride to Fenway Park to enjoy a baseball game or tour this historic location. With countless attractions and historical sites to explore, you will have an unforgettable experience in Boston.

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