Ended up in Boston on a business trip and had a few days to see the town. What I did not realize was how close together and “walk-able” everything is. In one day I managed to see all that I had initially put on my itinerary, which meant that I had to figure out a day-two plan.
While working my way through North End and Beacon Hill, on what seemed to be a food-tour of Boston (best night: start at Giacomo’s and then walk over to Modern Bakery for desert), I decided to see Salem (a quick 40 minute ferry jaunt or 30 minute train ride) and then wrap up the freedom trail. Walden Pond is close as well (by car only, 20 minutes).
The Freedom Trail takes you through the majority of Boston, spread out over several miles. The best part of the trail is the actual demarcation on the sidewalk (red bricks lead you street by street to the assigned locations) so getting lost is not an option. The best part is that the trail takes you through a wide and varied array of Boston, so jumping off the trail, and back on, is easy. There are plenty of services/guides that you can pay/hire to walk you through the town and provide further historical insight. In the words of my generation: “I googled it” and found that I missed relatively little.
The only downside is that many of the locales close early (typically 5pm) so I recommend getting an early start in order to fully enjoy all the extras –like the crypt tours at King’s Church.
I highly recommend that you start at Faneuil Hall, review all the sites in Boston proper, and then head north –via Uber/Taxi– to the Navy Shipyards where you’ll get to see the U.S.S. Constitution. By this point you’ll be a few blocks from Bunker Hill (the monument and all 220 feet are climbable).
All the sites are worth seeing, but only a handful have added tours: Fanueil Hall, Old Statehouse, Paul Revere’s House, King’s Church, Granary Cemetery, Bunker Hill, and Navy Shipyard. None of these take a long time –30 minutes per site (on average).