Walking Tour: Green Spaces & Shopping Places

  • Start Boston Common
  • Finish Boston Common
  • Length 2.5 miles; three hours

Everybody knows about its world-class museums and historical sites, but Boston also offers a network of verdant parks, welcoming waterways and delightful shopping streets, making it a wonderful walking city. Take a break from the crowded downtown streets and discover another side of Boston.

Start at the country’s oldest public park, sprinkled with monuments and memorabilia. Follow busy Bostonians crisscrossing the Common and exit the park from the western side.

The Public Garden is a 24-acre botanical oasis of Victorian flowerbeds, verdant grass and weeping willows shading a tranquil lagoon. At any time of year, don’t miss the famous statue Make Way for Ducklings, based on the beloved children’s book.

Exiting the Public Garden through its southwestern gate, stroll west on swanky Newbury St, perfect for window-shopping and people-watching.

Boston’s most exquisite architecture is clustered around this stately Back Bay plaza. The Romanesque Trinity Church is particularly lovely as reflected in the modern John Hancock Tower. Opposite, the elegant neo-Renaissance Boston Public Library is packed with treasures.

Heading north, cross Commonwealth Ave, the grandest of Back Bay’s grand avenues. Lined with brownstones and studded with 19th-century art, the ‘Mall’ offers an eclectic perspective on history.

The southern bank of the Charles River Basin is known as the Esplanade, an enticing urban escape with grassy knolls and cooling waterways designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Walk northeast, enjoying the breezes and views of the river.

Intriguing history, iconic architecture and unparalleled neighborhood charm make Beacon Hill one of Boston’s most prestigious addresses. Traversing the flat of the hill, Charles St is an enchanting spot for browsing boutiques and haggling over antiques.

Stroll down residential streets lit with gas lanterns, admire the distinguished brick town houses and discover streets such as stately Louisburg Square that capture the neighborhood’s grandeur. Continue south to return to the Common.

Take a Break

Fuel up ahead of time with coffee and pastries at Flour or wait till your walk’s end and grab a meal at Paramount.

Walking Tour: Freedom Trail

  • Start Boston Common
  • End Bunker Hill Monument
  • Length 2.5 miles; three hours

Start at Boston Common, America's oldest public park, now dotted with monuments and public art. On the northern side, you can't miss the gold-domed Massachusetts State House sitting atop Beacon Hill and open for tours. Walk north on Tremont St, passing the soaring steeple of Park St Church and the Egyptian Revival gates of the Granary Burying Ground, final resting place of many patriots.

At School St, the columned King's Chapel overlooks the adjacent burying ground. Turn east on School St, and take note of the plaque outside the Old City Hall commemorating this spot as the site of the first public school.

Continue down School St past the Old Corner Bookstore. Diagonally opposite, the Old South Meeting House saw the beginnings of the Boston Tea Party.

Further north on Washington St, the Old State House was the seat of the colonial government. Later, it was the scene of the city's first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Outside the Old State House a ring of cobblestones marks the Boston Massacre site, where yet another uprising fueled the revolution. Across the intersection, historic Faneuil Hall has served as a public meeting place and marketplace for over 250 years. National Park Service rangers give free presentations about the site's significance.

From Faneuil Hall, follow Hanover St across the Rose Kennedy Greenway. One block east, charming North Sq is the site of the Paul Revere House, the city's oldest wooden house. Back on Hanover St, the Paul Revere Mall offers a lovely vantage point to view the Old North Church, where two lanterns were hung to signal the British soldiers' route. From the church, head west on Hull St to Copp's Hill Burying Ground, with grand views across the river to Charlestown.

Across the Charlestown Bridge, Constitution Rd brings you to the Charlestown Navy Yard, home of the world's oldest commissioned warship, the USS Constitution. Finally, wind your way through the historic streets of Charlestown center to the Bunker Hill Monument, site of the turning-point American Revolution battle.