Boston By Foot has been a staple of Boston since 1976. Boston By Foot is a nonprofit organization where ticket prices just cover operating costs and well-educated guides donate their time. The mission of the organization and its 200+ volunteer docents is the education of Boston's history and architecture.
The number of docents enables Boston By Foot to offer largest collection of tours in Boston while maintaining a specialized in depth level of knowledge on each tour. Our diverse menu includes scheduled classic daily tours during the May-October season, Tours of The Month, holiday strolls, Harborfest tours, customized tours for educational, corporate or private groups, and lectures.
If you're looking for something more than just saying you were there, consider spending an hour or two with Boston By Foot. [back]
No. Our guides use the architecture and landmarks as the backdrop for the historical accounts they share on their tours. Many docents are working professionals who volunteer their time to lead these tours. Their professions include education, architecture, engineering, research, law, media, medicine, government, business, and management.
What the Boston By Foot docents have in common is their extensive portfolio of knowledge about the city and its history that form the basis for these guided walks. We don't rely on props, role playing or other gimmicks. People are often surprised to find out what their guide actually does for a living after experiencing a Boston By Foot tour. [back]
We offer one scheduled children's tour during our May through October season. Boston By Little Feet is for children ages 6-12. This one-hour tour features sites in the downtown section of the Freedom Trail.
An additional selection of youth-oriented tours may be arranged for private groups throughout the year.
We also offer educational tours for schools. Popular tours include the Freedom Trail which can be customized for a curriculum, age group, or to include other sites of interest. Johnny Tremain's Boston is a tour of Boston's North End based on Johnny's adventures in the Esther Forbes' prize-winning novel, Johnny Tremain, and is geared for young people ages 11-14 who have read the book. [back]
Scheduled tours open to the general public range in price from $8 to $15. To find out the price for a particular tour, along with the times the tour is offered, bring up the tour page by clicking on the tour name as it appears in the calendar or other listings. [back]
Boston By Foot membership entitles you to free admission on daily scheduled classic tours and a discounted rate on holiday tours, Tours of the Month, Harborfest tours, and Rose Kennedy Greenway tours. You may join as a member at the start of any scheduled tour or contact us through the membership form. [back]
Our tour groups are typically smaller and more intimate than commercial tours which leaves plenty of opportunity for interaction with your guide. The size depends on the day of the week, the time of year, and the weather conditions. Larger groups are generally divided among 2 guides (more may be scheduled for larger groups in private tours). Tours are given rain or shine. [back]
Heart of the Freedom Trail is a 90 minute tour of the downtown section of the Freedom Trail, covering approximately a third of the 3 mile path. There are about 10 stops on this tour which include the historical sites of Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, Old State House, Old South Meeting House, Old City Hall and King's Chapel.
The North End tour continues along the Freedom Trail where you will see and hear about the home of Paul Revere, Old North Church, and Copp's Hill burying ground as well as learning about all of history and immigrants that have shaped this neighborhood since the American Revolution. Friday through Sunday these two tours are offered consecutively with ample time in between for you to enjoy lunch in Quincy Market.
The Charlestown sites of Bunker Hill and the U.S.S. Constitution are not covered by any regularly scheduled tour but is included on our annual Independence Day celebration, Footloose on the Freedom Trail. [back]
Boston Underfoot is a tour of Boston's engineering and infrastructure, much of it related to objects under and around the ground. Topics include land-making, tunnel construction, gas & electricity, the subway system, burial grounds, the Big Dig and the Greenway. Boston does not have a secret hidden underground city other than its subway, underground highways and sewers.
Boston Underfoot does include 3 subway stations and a ride on two of Boston's oldest subway lines so, technically, it does go underground. We're guessing most people would be less than interested in playing chicken with speeding cars or walking through sewage.
This is a fun off-beat tour that isn't offered anywhere else in Boston. People are often surprised to learn of the clues and artifacts in plain sight that tell the story of how one of America's oldest cities is put together. [back]
No. We do not require advance reservations for any regularly scheduled tours, including holiday tours, Harborfest tours, Rose Kennedy Greenway tours, and Tours of the Month. Just show up at the designated meeting location 10 minutes ahead of the tour departure time and pay your guide there. Exact change is not necessary but it is very much appreciated. The guides cannot process credit cards. [back]
Tours start promptly at the times listed. Please show up 10 minutes ahead of time to purchase a ticket. You might consider taking a restroom break or picking up a beverage before the tour begins. [back]
All of our scheduled tours start from locations close to T stations. Check the map links on the tour pages for directions and leave extra time for checking with your hotel concierge and navigating if you are unfamiliar with the city. The best route is likely by foot if you are staying downtown. [back]
Our guides are in plain clothes and are waiting at the designated locations 15 minutes before the start of a tour. If your guide is wearing a period costume, you're on the wrong tour.
Our guides may wear a Boston By Foot shirt or cap, but always have a Boston By Foot pin on their chest (to see what one looks like, scroll up and to to the right). Most guides carry a bright blue canvas bag.
Make note of the landmarks listed on the tour pages as we mean them literally. For example: at the steps in front of the State House means you will find your guide sitting on or standing in front of the steps. At the Samuel Adams statue means walk up to the statue, say Hello Mr. Adams, and you should bump into your guide. If you find yourself talking to the back of Sam's head, walk around to the other side.
Not all tours leave from the same location in the city, and not all at the same time each day. Be sure to double check the time for that day and from which location the tour is leaving. If you are unfamiliar with the city, leave extra time in case you end up asking directions. You'd be surprised at how many local residents can mix up Faneuil Hall and the Boston Common. [back]
Comfortably! You'll be outdoors for a while so dress appropriately and note that weather in Boston is not easy to predict. Temperatures can swing over ten degrees during a tour and the weather on one side of the city doesn't always indicate what's happening on the other side, especially near the harbor where each intersection has its own weather system. Err on the side of bringing the coat, extra layer or umbrella if you're wondering if it will be needed.
You! If this is a regularly scheduled tour you should bring enough money for the ticket (or your membership card to receive membership discounts). Wear appropriate clothing. Some water is recommended if it is very warm or a hot beverage is always nice on a chilly day. And don't forget the camera to capture your experience. [back]
We hope that you will continue your exploration of Boston's architecture and history. You can retrace your steps and visit the inside of the buildings featured on the tours such as the Boston Public Library, the Old or New State Houses, the Rose Nichols museum, Paul Revere House, King's Chapel, Otis Museum, Trinity Church, Old North or Old South. You can ask your guide for other fun an interesting things to do in the area.
You might also try a different walking tour. The North End and Beacon Hill are excellent follow-ups to the Freedom Trail tour. Architectural aficionados will love Victorian Back Bay and literary buffs will be fascinated with Boston's Literary Landmarks.
Boston By Foot has a few staff positions to run the organization which includes managing and supporting the 200+ guides, scheduling, coordination, public relations and customer service. Some of the cost goes into printing and distributing the brochures so people can find out about the work we do. Many jobs, including the production of this web site, are contributed by volunteers in the organization.
We love this question! Each spring Boston By Foot offers a training course given on six consecutive Saturdays starting in mid-April. We now have more than 200 enthusiastic volunteer guides who commit to a minimum of six tours during the regular season. Contact us if you are interested in volunteering some of your time and learning about Boston's history and architecture. You'll never look at the city the same way again! [back]