Complete Tour Catalog

Old State House; Public Domain

"My Eyes are so diverted with Chimney Sweeps, Carriers of Wood, Merchants, Ladies, Priests, Carts, Horses, Oxen, Coaches, Market men and Women, Soldiers, Sailors, and my Ears with the Rattle Gabble of them all..." -- John Adams, diary, March 18-19, 1759

Follow the words and history of four generations of Adamses, from their experiences at the...

May Member Event

Join Boston City Archaeologist, Joe Bagley, for a walk through the diverse archaeological sites of the North End. The tour starts at the Sam Adams statue in front of Faneuil Hall and loops through the neighborhood, exploring over 400 years of history.  Highlights include Katherine Nanny Naylor's 17th century outhouse and sites from the...

Paul Revere House, 19 North Square, Boston, Massachusetts

Take a walk through time on a Roman scale.  With a view toward Matt Bronski's "architectural Darwinism," we follow an unusual route through the North End to consider the evolution of common architectural features.  While the decorations on a building's facade can define its style, did you know they were originally designed to make it last for centuries?  A scalloped...

Boston Skyscrapers © Tony Hisgett; Creative Commons License

Step off dry land and head out onto the water to experience Boston like never before!

This tour offers spectacular views of historic and contemporary architecture along Boston Harbor, through the Charles River Locks, and the Charles River basin. The tour includes landmarks such as the Customs House, the Hancock tower, the Old North Church, as well as cutting-edge...

Batterymarch Building © Tony Hisgett; Creative Commons License

Art Deco is said to be one of the few architectural styles that most Americans can recognize and name, and its enduring popularity bears this out. Though Boston is less well-known for its Art Deco architecture than New York and Miami, it can claim examples of Art Deco design that would rival New York's finest. The tour provides not only narrative on individual buildings...

Museum of Fine Arts © Paul Cohen; Creative Commons License

Along Huntington Avenue stands a dense concentration of Boston's most venerable cultural institutions. From McKim, Mead & White's Symphony Hall to Guy Lowell's Museum of Fine Arts this tour will showcase the establishments dedicated to the fine arts, music, theater, education, religion, and sports.

Copley Square, with Trinity Church; Creative Commons License

Unlike the casual, chaotic way in which early Boston was laid out, the streets of Back Bay are arranged in an orderly grid.  Renowned for its elegant homes,the architectural marvels of Copley Square, and its signature stately boulevard, Commonwealth Avenue, the Back Bay is one of Boston’s most charming neighborhoods.

On this tour you will learn how...

Boston's Back Bay

Back Bay is best known for its transformation from a foul-smelling swamp to Boston’s most fashionable late 19th century neighborhood. On this tour, we will walk past the elegant buildings of that era, and focus our attention upward to the taller buildings of the 20th and 21st centuries which have greatly enhanced the area’s commercial base...

Bay Village; Public Domain

Visit one of Boston's hidden neighborhoods; an area that has maintained its residential charm amidst the surrounding city.   This tour begins behind the Park Plaza Hotel, at Statler Park, overlooking the renaissance and classical revival buildings constructed on the site of the old Boston & Providence Railroad and also features the First Corps of Cadets Armory and the...

Acorn Street by Darron Schall; Creative Commons License

Boston’s Classic Tour Since 1976

From the golden dome of the State House to the elegant homes of Louisburg Square, the Beacon Hill tour travels picturesque streets, highlighting examples of early American architecture with particular emphasis on the work of Charles Bulfinch.

Experience Beacon Hill’s...

Pumpkins Alight © Andy Hay; Creative Commons License

A Special Halloween Event

Join Boston By Foot for our most popular event of the year! For 30 years, this tour has been part of any great Halloween celebration in Boston.

There is no better place than Beacon Hill to walk to the dark side on All Hallow’s Eve.  On the Boo! tour, you will hear stories that shed a new light on this quiet residential...

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin (detail) by David Martin; Public Domain

Celebrate and learn about the life of Benjamin Franklin by walking among the sites of his homes and haunts in Colonial Boston. 

In his day, Benjamin Franklin was America's greatest scientist, inventor, diplomat, humorist, statesman, and entrepreneur. Ben was born in Boston, came of age in Philadelphia, and was the darling of Paris. From his many inventions,...

John Adams Courthouse

Decisions made in Boston's courtrooms have had far-reaching and long-lasting effects. Join us on this tour of Boston's historic and contemporary courthouses as we explore Boston's fascinating legal history. From the notorious Boston Massacre trial to the cases that resulted in the Boston Harbor cleanup, we will discuss landmark trials that shaped the history of Boston and...

Called one of America’s first architects, Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844) defined the Federal style of architecture and the physical fabric of Boston, capturing the vision and spirit of the young Republic. As an architect, town planner...

This child's-eye view of the Freedom Trail's architecture and history is especially designed for young walkers from ages 6-12 years of age.

Walking along Boston's historic Freedom Trail and part of Boston's original coastline, children will experience the historical sites that played a key role in American independence: Faneuil Hall,...

June Member Event

The Boston Common, a National Historical Landmark, is one of Boston’s most beloved treasures. We walk by it, walk through it, ride the T under it, and park our cars below it, but do we know its history?  Join us on a guided walk through four centuries of history. We will stand on the same ground where seventeenth century religious dissenters were...

Boston Public Garden

Join us on a stroll to Copley Square through the Boston Public Garden, the magnificent front entrance to the Back Bay. Walk up Commonwealth Avenue, Boston's and listening to stories about the Boston’s Parisian architectural influences.

Join us on a 90-minute walking tour exploring the city's rebirth after the Great Fire of 1872. Follow the route of the progression of the Great Fire, a disaster in Boston's commercial district that proved more costly than the legendary Chicago Fire the year before. Hear how the city's architectural design contributed to the spread and speed of the devastating conflagration...

May Tour of the Month

Boston’s Chinatown is one of the city’s smallest yet most vibrant neighborhoods. Join us to learn about the neighborhood’s immigrant tradition, its evolution, and its current incarnation as one of the few surviving Chinatowns on the east coast. This tour takes you beyond the restaurants and markets to explore the backstreets and alleyways of...

Greetings from Boston, Courtesy of the Boston Public Library

In partnership with the Boston Literary District’s Construction of Self series, Boston By Foot has created a tour that will discuss how Boston’s identity was shaped by specific events and people. Psychologically, identity is composed of the qualities, beliefs and ways of expression that make a person (or a city) different...

A gay and lesbian culture flourished in Boston, in private homes, the theatre, coffee houses, the baths, and of course, bars. We will follow the footsteps of gay and lesbian friends from the 1840s to the 1980s, from Thoreau's walks along the Common and Charlotte Cushman's transvestite roles to the World War II bars and baths, to the AIDS Action Committee and the AIDS...

Boston Opera House

The History of Opera in Boston is as rich and dramatic as the art form itself! Discover the many ways our fair city has been deeply influenced by opera across the centuries. Boston’s rich musical and theatrical past comes to life in this special tour of historical opera sites. From the stages that first brought Bostonians operatic classics...

August Member Event

This walking tour will visit some of Boston's buildings constructed after WWII from the urban renewal period establishing the “New Boston” with Government Center and City Hall in the 1960s, to much more recent developments in the Seaport District. Join us to examine the architectural features of the buildings, consider the choice of design,...

Pope Night

Experience a most riotous tour through four centuries of protests, social violence and at times downright bad behavior! Known for the protests of the Stamp Act and Boston Tea Party, rebellions and uprisings have taken place throughout Boston's history. We'll examine many of the lesser known riots and street...

Isabella Stewart Gardner

The “Boston Brahmins” have a reputation for being exclusive and elitist, but many of these nineteenth-century upper-class men and women were active in making our city—and the whole nation—a better place to live.  They fought to abolish slavery and to recognize women’s rights, and they built libraries, colleges, museums and orchestras.  

On this tour we will visit...

Cambridge Common

Founded in 1631, Cambridge Common Park was once the common pasture for Old Cambridge. Later it served as an encampment for the Continental Army. Today it’s home to playgrounds and ballfields, surrounded by historic houses, churches, and buildings of Harvard University.  We’ll explore nearly 400 years of history & architecture on our loop of Cambridge Common.

 ...

Carruth's Hill

Many people do not know much about the history of Dorchester, which is technically even older than Boston.  Transportation enabled the development of rural areas of Dorchester into streetcar suburbs.  The establishment of the streetcars allowed ‘Carruth’s Hill’  to become a beautiful garden suburb. It was one place that the 1% flocked to, and they built wonderful houses...

William Lloyd Garrison

Boston's great defenders of Liberty were not soldiers on horseback with sword in hand, but average citizens. Their courage, determination and sacrifice paved the path for the society we have today. Some were instrumental in forming our Constitution, others in solidifying their rights under it.

Join our knowledgeable guides to examine the circumstances that forced...

USS Constitution is moored at the Charlestown Navy Yard; Public Domain

Huzzah! Established in 1801, the Charlestown Navy Yard is one of the oldest shipbuilding facilities in the US Navy. Designed in large part by Alexander Parris, the Navy Yard played important roles in multiple United States Navy endeavors, from the completion of the 74-gun Independence, the Navy's first ship-of-the-line in 1812, to the drydocking of the USS Constitution in...

Battle of Bunker Hill by Edward Percy Moran; Public Domain

Boston began in Charlestown.  Founded  two years before Boston, Charlestown was the first capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Paul Revere crossed the Harbor and began his famous Midnight Ride here.  The American colonists resisted the British regulars at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the town was burned to the ground. Tour this small, urban village to learn of the...

During the 17th and 18th century Columbia Point was a 14 acre marshland that Dorchester residents used as a calf’s pasture. For over three centuries the land has been filled in to increase the size of the peninsula Today, Columbia Point is a vibrant Boston neighborhood. It is the location of museums and educational institutions, the first mixed income community, and the...

Commonweath Ave

Take a walk through the heart of Victorian Boston on this tour of Commonwealth Avenue!

Boston's grand boulevard, Commonwealth Avenue, provides an enduringly popular stroll. The tour parallels the 19th century filling and development of the Back Bay from its origin at Arlington Street down the seven blocks along the tree-lined, grassy Mall. See how careful...

July Member Event

Sculptor Cyrus E. Dallin created one of Boston's best known icons, Paul Revere, which sits in the North End. It took the statue a long time to get there. The City of Boston launched an international competition for a statue to memorialize Revere for posterity. Dallin won the competition at the age of 23. The statue went up 56 years later...

Zakim Bridge © Dave Desroches; Creative Commons License

Take a journey of discovery exploring the new open spaces along the lower Charles River. A hub of transportation and recreation, this area has experienced several cycles of dramatic change resulting from the construction of bridges and dams, the expansion of Boston, and the Big Dig project.

From the tidal estuary of the Charles through the mudflats of Millers River...

Sculptures at Davis Square; Creative Commons License

Learn about the vibrant neighborhood of Davis Square. An eclectic mix of the old and new, the once commercial area of West Somerville is now a rich mix of theaters, restaurants, shops, artists, students and listed as one of the hippest places to live in the United States.

September Member Event

In 1630, English passengers from the Mary and John settled near today’s Edward Everett Square and founded the town of Dorchester. The town remained a rural farming community until the 1870 annexation to Boston. With new city services and development, the area transformed to a middle-class streetcar suburb.

This tour will follow the...

August Tour of the Month

Discover East Boston’s rich history and dynamic present by exploring the neighborhood of Maverick Square, East Boston’s oldest commercial center.  Trace its roots back to Noddle’s Island and learn how the East Boston Company created a planned community that became today’s vibrant and diverse East Boston.

This tour will examine the...

Boston Pops Orchestra and Fireworks Spectacular courtesy of the US Navy; Public Domain

A Special Fourth of July Event

A Boston tradition! Footloose on the Freedom Trail is a 3 hour guided walking tour of the entire Freedom Trail from the Boston Common and Massachusetts State House to the U.S.S. Constitution offered every Independence Day.

Walk the 2.5-mile route with us on this patriotic tour through 16 historic sites, as it winds...

September Tour of the Month

Explore the engineered world of Fort Point Channel. On this tour of discovery, you will experience the history and engineering marvels of this industrial waterway that has become the centerpiece of this neighborhood's revival.

Fort Point Channel was the most difficult undertaking of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project - the I-90...

Charlestown Carver Gravestone

October Tour of the Month

Explore three of downtown Boston's burying grounds and learn about the customs surrounding death and dying in Puritan New England. Dig deeper into the religious views, practices, symbolism, and traditions of death in Boston.

Beginning at King's Chapel Burying Ground, this tour will lift the veil of mystery...

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice (detail) by Andres Zorn; Public Domain

From the 17th century to present day, women's contributions to Boston did not always garner the attention they might deserve. On this walking tour, you will learn who they were and what they achieved against the backdrop of the Boston's downtown historic sites from the arrival of Anne Pollard in 1630 through the 20th century.

Abolitionist, poet, and Beacon Hill...

Harvard Yard; Public Domain

Established in 1636, the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony established a college in Cambridge and later named it Harvard College for its first benefactor. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in America.

Learn the history of this venerable institution, as well as the academic history of America, through an eclectic mix of...

Old State House; Creative Commons License

The perfect introduction to the history of Boston!

This walking tour of the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston begins with the city’s establishment in 1630. The story of Boston unfolds through an exploration of the city’s architecture spanning more than three centuries. Beginning with the Puritan settlement, the tour continues through the American...

Boston Harbor © Alexius Horatius; Creative Commons License

Boston has a great seafaring heritage. Ocean trade and its related industries had a major impact on the growth of Boston and the shape and character of its waterfront.

This tour includes the beginnings of Long Wharf as the grand entry into Boston, and the genesis of its Financial District, the lore of clipper ships and the China Trade, and classic 19th century...

Soldier's Monument; Creative Commons License

Jamaica Plain is one of the smaller neighborhoods of Boston, with an unusually big history. JP (as it usually called by locals) encompasses only 3.07 square miles but offers a tremendously rich and varied narrative.

Settled by Puritans in the 1630s and attracting wealthy Bostonians to build summer estates on the Jamaica Pond in the 18th century, JP was transformed...

Copp's Hill Burying Ground; Public Domain

Relive the adventures of Johnny Tremain in Colonial Boston based on Esther Forbes' prize-winning coming-of-age novel featuring a young boy who gets caught up in the whirlwind of events that led up to the American Revolution.

Johnny's story unfolds in downtown and North End locales, many of which are today's Freedom Trail sites including the Old State House, Copp's...

After the likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott in the 19th century, another literary scene evolved on Beacon Hill in the 20th century.  But, how did it compare to the Victorian "flowering of New England"? Come explore a...

Brookline Cottage Farm

July Tour of the Month

See two of Brookline's most delightful neighborhoods. Longwood and Cottage Farm provide a quiet, bucolic setting apart from its urban borders. This walking tour showcases a remarkable collection of romantic English country style cottages and picturesque churches.

Founded by two families, the Sears and Lawrence families, as places...

Harvard Medical School; Public Domain

Boston has a very long tradition of leadership in the medical profession dating back to the introduction of the smallpox inoculation into the colonies by Dr. Zabdiel Boylston and Cotton Mather in 1721, and the founding of Harvard Medical School by Dr. John Warren in 1782.

On this tour, explore today's world-renowned community of hospitals, academic institutions, and...

View of Mission Church; Creative Commons License

Discover one of the least explored neighborhoods within Boston. Mission Hill was once an area of Rocksberry and divided among several large landowners but slowly developed into a dense urban area.

Formally called Parker Hill, the arrival of the Redemptorist Fathers who set up a small mission church changed the name of the area to Mission Hill. The mission expanded...

October Member Event

Walk from Beacon Hill and into the South End on this tour of murder, mayhem, and mysticism. Meet the woman who lured Houdini to Boston, the Quaker hanged for her faith, and duelist who died on the Common. See the mass grave of soldiers and the club that changed fire laws across the country. It’s a spooky walk through the city on a hill’s less...

Franklin Place; Public Domain

Boston played a pivotal role in the development of the Historic Preservation movement. On this tour of Boston's architectural history, you will learn the story behind the survival of some of Boston's most beloved historic landmarks such as the dramatic rescue of the Old South Meeting House from demolition.

There were also many casualties such as the loss of the John...

Long Wharf by Ingfbruno; Creative Commons License

A walk through Boston is a walk through time! The eclectic urban landscape is composed of layers of history whose story is revealed by the clues left behind.

The city has aggressively reinvented itself over and over again to accommodate a growing population, the needs of business and industry, public and private...

Dr. Gannet;s Church, Arlington St, Boston Mass. John P. Soule. Creative Commons

When the Puritans arrived in Boston in 1630 they established a new society based on adherence to religious law and conformity to a strict social order. The religious freedom they sought was for their beliefs and to the exclusion of others. Our tour will demonstrate the sacrifices and heroic efforts of many to achieve the level of tolerance that we have today . The...

Boston's Blackstone Block

From the Boston Massacre to Paul Revere's midnight ride, Boston is renowned for its inciting events to the American Revolution. Come explore the streets of Boston's oldest neighborhoods and hear the extraordinary stories preserved in the meetinghouses, halls, and homes where the Revolution was born.

Our most comprehensive Freedom Trail...

Alvah Kittredge House, Photo Courtesy of HBI; Photographer Greg Pemru

Photo courtesy of HBI. Photographer Greg Pemru.

June Tour of the Month

The Roxbury Highlands tour explores a remarkable neighborhood. Our tour travels through the center of colonial Roxbury:  Eliot Square, where the First Church proudly stands as the oldest wooden church in Boston. The Highlands flourished in the...

First Church of Roxbury (photo by John Phelan)

Gain a new perspective of Roxbury as you walk between two of its prominent hills, Fort Hill and Mission Hill. Beginning with colonial First Church in Roxbury and ending with the puddingstone grandeur of Mission Church, participants will visit prominent religious buildings which relay the history of Roxbury, as well as hear about demographic changes and industrial...

Manulife Building, Platinum LEED Certified

From tidal flat to industrial area, to Innovation District and hot new nightspot, many transformations have taken place in the South Boston Seaport in the last 150 years, and more are planned for the immediate future. This neighborhood of new and exciting developments in Boston didn't even exist in the early 19th century.

Come learn about its creation, its maritime...

Union Park, Photo Credit: South End Historical Society

Photo courtesy of the South End Historical Society

Join Boston By Foot to explore one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Boston!  The South End was Boston's first big land-making project designed for new housing for Boston's growing upper class. It is based on an English plan, with lovely parks and squares framed by rows of...

No Taxation Without Representation! Commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act with Boston By Foot! This special walking tour will visit the sites related to the 1765 Stamp Act protest riots that gave birth to the American Revolution.

Beginning with an overview of the Stamp Act, including Parliament’s reasons for the tax and...

Boston Financial District; Creative Commons License

From an architectural perspective, Boston is often known for its examples of Federal and Victorian structures. Yet its built environment has continued to evolve, and in recent years, contemporary architecture in Boston has flourished.

While the city boasts innovative and eclectic architecture of all periods, there remains no singular area in Boston to showcase newer...

The Dark Side of Boston; credit peapop

Get off the Freedom Trail and explore the darker side of Boston! This original guided walk through misery, misfortune, malevolence and murder is based on true historical events that have occurred in Boston. Fact is often stranger than fiction!

As you begin to uncover Boston's dark side, you will hear many dark and disturbing stories not...

City Hall Plaza, Boston (Photo by Connie, 2007)

This tour encompasses Boston's history from the end of World War II to the opening of the new Quincy Marketplace. The architecture serves as a point of departure for a discussion of the events leading to the “death” of the city following middle class migration to the suburbs and the subsequent “rebirth” of Boston through Urban Renewal, the return of enterprise and upper...

Experience Boston’s own great depression from 1929 to its eventual revival by 1969 on this Decline and Rebirth of a City walking tour. From the iconic Parkman Bandstand in the Boston Commons where over 4,000 unemployed Bostonians denounced key political figures to the Boston City Hall and the portrait of Mayor John Collins who helped revive Boston’s economy.

It...

Charles River Esplanade; Public Domain

The Esplanade is one of Boston's best loved parks with stunning views of the Charles River. From the filling of the Back Bay to the construction of James Jackson Storrow Memorial Drive, the Esplanade was built in stages fulfilling the vision of landscape architect Charles Eliot. Today, the once malodorous mudflats are now bustling with walkers, joggers, skaters, and bikers...

Imagine the amazement of the Boston population in 1826 when Quincy Market was opened as a public market. The innovative use of granite and glass in post and beam construction made a definitive statement about the Boston’s emergence as a major city. Since that time Quincy Market has seen glory days and dismal transitional periods. The roller coaster history of this market...

This walking tour is inspired by Samuel Eliot Morison's childhood memoir One Boy's Boston. Discover Morison's neighborhood on this tour through one of Boston's least known and most delightful areas.

The Flat of Beacon Hill is built on 19th century-made land along the Charles River. The Flat is geologically part of Back Bay and culturally part of Beacon Hill...

Boston Greenway © Bert Kaufmann; Creative Commons License

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is Boston's new mixed-use public space that once housed the elevated highway since replaced by the Big Dig. Learn the history of the neighborhoods that once occupied this space and the present day urban planning that is knitting Boston back together.

Ticknor House, Park Street, Boston. Photographed by Southworth & Hawes, 1858.

By the mid-nineteenth century, Boston had earned the nickname “The Athens of America”, as an important center for literature and as home to many of America's greatest writers. It was the launch pad of American Romanticism, Transcendentalism, the Fireside Poets, and American Realism.

...

Everyone knows MIT as a Cambridge institution with a global reputation. But for its first 55 years, MIT called the Back Bay home. On the 100th anniversary of MIT’s move to Cambridge, join us as we trace “Boston Tech” from its founding to its move across the Charles River. This tour will feature some of the sites of the original Back Bay campus while discussing the drivers...

Paul Revere's House by Ben Franske; Creative Commons License

America's oldest neighborhood is a delightful labyrinth of narrow streets and exotic marketplaces.

A gateway for immigrants from around the world, the North End is also home to the Old North Church, Copp's Hill Burying Ground, and the Paul Revere House. Isolated from the rest of downtown by the...

Myrtle Street

Explore the narrow streets and alleyways of the North Slope of Beacon Hill. This colonial port district with an unsavory reputation evolved to become a significant force in the abolitionist movement, an important station on the Underground Railroad, and home to many immigrant families.

Unlike the historically more fashionable South Slope that has always defined the...

A Tavern Scene

Booze. Hooch. Liquor. Kill Devil. Grog. Applejack. It's all covered on the Tipsy Tour: Dram Shops and Drunken Sailors!

This tour is not a pub crawl - it's an exploration of Boston's boozy past! You’ll hear stories from the very beginnings of Boston’s history through Prohibition and meet some interesting characters along the way –...

Longfellow National Historic Site; Creative Commons License

In 1775, when George Washington arrived in Massachusetts, he made his headquarters in the abandoned mansions of wealthy loyalists along Brattle Street in Cambridge. Walk through one of America's finest neighborhoods and see elegant examples of early New England architecture.

Brattle Street residents also included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Declaration signer...

A Special April Fool's Event

Join us for Boston's newest April Fool's tradition! 

Ever heard that the truth is stranger than fiction? This Boston By Foot tour proves the point. True Lies & False Facts is the first “questionable” tour of Boston that keeps participants guessing. Strolling around the Jamaica Plain neighborhood, this tour will tell some...

photo courtesy of Historic New England

Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Historic New England.

Urban renewal, a controversial mid-twentieth-century movement to revitalize America’s city centers, still evokes strong feelings. Learn about the complex events that led to the decline of America's downtowns and the promise offered by proponents of urban renewal. These...