Massachusetts State House
Black Heritage Trail
This free 1.6-mile walking tour explores the history of the abolitionist movement and African American settlement on Beacon Hill. The...
Robert Gould Shaw Memorial
The magnificent bas-relief memorial opposite the State House was sculpted by Augustus St Gaudens over nearly 13 years. It honors the...
Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenaeum is an old and distinguished private library, having hosted the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and...
Named for one of the US Constitution's most important amendments – the one repealing Prohibition – this quintessential tavern has been...
Zen Sushi Bar & Grill
Affordable lunch specials make this a popular spot for State House staffers and other professional types. The minimalist decor and...
cnr Beacon & Bowdoin Sts · interesting places nearby
Massachusetts State House information
High atop Beacon Hill, Massachusetts’ leaders and legislators attempt to turn their ideas into concrete policies and practices within the State House. John Hancock provided the land (previously part of his cow pasture); Charles Bulfinch designed the commanding state capitol; but it was Oliver Wendell Holmes who called it ‘the hub of the solar system’ (thus earning Boston the nickname ‘the Hub’). Free 40-minute tours cover the history, artwork, architecture and political personalities of the State House.
Tours start in the Doric Hall, the columned reception area directly below the dome. Once the main entryway to the State House, these front doors are now used only by a visiting US president or by a departing governor taking ‘the long walk’ on his last day in office.
The nearby Nurses Hall is named for the moving statue of a Civil War nurse tending to a fallen soldier. The circular Memorial Hall, known as the Hall of Flags, honors Massachusetts soldiers by displaying some of the tattered flags that have been carried to battle over the years. Finally, the impressive marble Great Hall is hung with 351 flags, representing all the cities and towns in Massachusetts.
Upstairs, visitors can see both legislative chambers: the House of Representatives, also home of the famous Sacred Cod; and the Senate Chamber, residence of the Holy Mackerel. The Governor's office is also here, though it's not open to the public.
On the front lawn, statues honor important Massachusetts figures, among them orator Daniel Webster, Civil War general Joseph Hooker, religious martyrs Anne Hutchinson and Mary Dyer, President John F Kennedy, and educator Horace Mann. Unfortunately, these lovely grounds are closed to the public, so you’ll have to peek through the iron fence to catch a glimpse.