With over 200 docents, Boston By Foot offers the greatest variety of walking tours in Boston. These tours are researched and written by the volunteer guides who donate their unique interests, specialties and time to this program for the sole purpose of sharing their passion for Boston's history, architecture and culture.
Hold your mouse over any of the titles to see a short description or click on it to read more information. Click on any of the categories to see more similar offerings.
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|Adams Family in Boston|
Join John and Abigail Adams as three generations of their descendants on a walk from the Old State House into the Back Bay.
|Architecture Boat Cruise|
See the architecture of the Boston skyline from the harbor on this boat cruise.
Boston can claim examples of Art Deco rivaling New York's finest. Walk through Boston's financial district to see examples of opulent and eclectic Art Deco buildings built from a time of economic and technological optimism through the Great Depression and World War II.
Discover the downtown you often see but rarely notice.
Explore a wonderful area of Dorchester, a town even older than Boston. Ashmont Hill was the site of several Colonial estates eventually giving way to lovely Victorian homes in this 19th century garden suburb.
|The Audacity of Government Center|
A clutch of buildings owned by a prosperous merchant became rowdy Scollay Square. World War II made cities brown and dirty. Highways and urban renewal became civic mandates.
Tour the destruction of one of Boston's most colorful areas that paved the way for a daring regrouping of the city.
|Avenue of the Arts|
Along a half-mile stretch of Huntington Avenue stands a dense concentration of Boston's most venerable cultural institutions. Walk with us through this corridor to learn about the establishments dedicated to the fine arts, music, theater, education, religion, sports and much more.
Visit one of Boston's hidden neighborhoods; a miniature, garden-filled area that has maintained its residential charm amidst the surrounding city.
From the Massachusetts State House through the historic streets of elegant brick row houses on Beacon Hill, experience the Federal-style architecture of Charles Bulfinch and his followers.
|Beacon Hill With a BOO!|
Beacon Hill With a BOO! is the Halloween walking tour of Beacon Hill featuring the murders, executions, ghosts and politicians of this seemingly quaint neighborhood.
|Ben Franklin: Son of Boston|
Celebrate and learn 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.
|Boston By Bulfinch|
Celebrate the 250th anniversary year of the birth of Charles Bulfinch.
Called one of America's first professional architects, Charles Bulfinsh defined the Federal style of architecture and the physical fabric of Boston. As architect, town planner, and selctman, Bulfinch designed some of the city's most enduring buildings and the street layout now known as the Bulfinch Triangle.
Bulfinch's story unfolds through some of his greatest works, including the Massachusetts State House, the residences on Beacon Hill, the sites of Boston's first theater and first Catholic cathedral, and his architectural masterpiece and financial ruin, the Tontine Crescent.
|Boston By Little Feet|
Boston By Little Feet is the only walking tour of the Freedom Trail specifically geared for children. Children will see the Cradle of Liberty, the site of the Boston Tea Party meeting at Old South, the site of the first Public School, and statues of Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin.
|Boston Common and Public Garden|
Stroll through Boston's two great parks for the people. Learn about the history of this green and precious heritage: a struggle for beauty and preservation against daunting odds. Experience the sculpture, ornamental plantings, ponds, and wildlife all within the heart of a bustling city.
|Bostonians Behaving Badly: Riots in Boston|
Find that rebel inside you as you walk through four centuries of riots and rebellions in Boston.
|Bulfinch Birthday Bash|
Celebrate the 250th anniversary year of the birth of Charles Bulfinch on a tour among his greatest works in Boston.
Explore the architecture, history and evolution of the Bulfinch Triangle.
Once considered a lost area of rundown buildings under the shadow of elevated tracks and highways, the Bulfinch Triangle is now evolving into a sophisticated urban neighborhood with new and restored buildings, restaurants, landscaping, and a growing base of Boston sports fans.
|Captain Kidd's Treasure Hunt|
A short self-guided tour for buccaneers of all ages. Each participant receives clues on a pirate's treasure map leading to a trove of architectural and historical gems.
The tour is self-guided at your own pace. Simply purchase the map during one of the available times.
|Champions of Freedom|
|Charlestown Navy Yard|
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 1812, to the drydocking of the USS Constitution in 1975. Now part of the Boston National Historical Park, the Navy Yard now has a new mission: to interpret the art and history of naval shipbuilding.
|Charlestown: Where Boston Began|
Charlestown was the first capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony before the Puritans crossed over to Boston in 1630. In 1775, Paul Revere crossed over to Charlestown to begin his famous Midnight Ride, the colonists stood up to the British army at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and Charlestown was burned to the ground.
Tour this urban village founded in 1628 that focuses on the early Puritan settlement, the Bunker Hill monument, and many of its distinguished citizens which have included John Harvard and Samuel Morse.
This thriving, self-sufficient community combines the irrepressible spirit of the East with a Boston flavor. Recently, Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians have further expanded the ethnic diversity of the neighborhood. This tour traces Chinatown's rich cultural and architectural history, from 1875 to present day, and a vibrant convergence of old and new.
1630-1776: The settling of the Shawmut Peninsula by the Puritans and their development of a successful mercantile economy produced a densely populated town of Colonial and Georgian homes, buildings and churches.
Field Trip: Historic Downtown Area
The grand dame of avenues,
1900-present: Follow the progression of 20th and 21st century architecture through the modern and post-modern office buildings, government buildings, condos, skyscrapers, convention centers and hotels of Boston.
Field Trip: Government Center & the financial district
|The Contemporary City|
This tour through downtown Boston traces the city's evolution from its depressed state in the 1960's to a thriving hub of commerce. We will examine the history and effects of the rise of the skyscraper as steel-frame construction supplanted masonry and see a variety of approaches to revitalizing an urban environment.
|Dams, Bridges & Locks|
Take a journey of discovery and explore the new open spaces along lost half-mile of the 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, railroads, land-making, and the Big Dig project.
From the tidal estuary of the Charles through the vision of Charles Eliot, reclaim this lost half-mile on this trek over dams, under bridges, along railroads, and through beautifully sculpted parks.
|The Dark Side of Boston|
Take a walk on Boston's Dark Side through its history of misery, malevolence, misfortunes, malfeasance, malice, misdeeds, and the macabre.
From streetcar suburb to urban decline to one of the hippest places to live, Davis Square has withstood it all. Learn all about the history and architecture of the diverse neighborhood that serves as West Somerville's hub or commerce, transportation, and the arts.
|Dram Shops and Drunken Sailors|
This tipsy tour of Boston tells the story of Boston through booze! Enjoy a downtown walk among the sites associated with saloons, tavern life, and the profitable rum trade.
Boston By Foot shakes and stirs fine cocktales served with run. revolution, and perhaos some refreshment.
|Eating and Drinking in Colonial Boston|
This illustrated lecture examines the importance of food in the Colonial era as well as the development of etiquette, food marketing, styles of food service, and entertaining in the home.
Topics also include Colonial cooking equipment and practices as well as the history of cookbooks and social attutudes towards women and technology.
Walk Boston's jewel of parkland along the Charles River. The Esplanade is the culmination of a vision of accessible outdoor recreational space in and around the Charles River that features sculpted landscaping, sporting facilities, and entertainment at the Hatch Shell.
1785-1820: Charles Bulfinch emerges as the architectural leader of the Federal style with important contributions such as the Massachusetts State House, the Tontine Crescent and the Colonnade. Beacon Hill develops as a neighborhood for the affluent featuring many of Bulfinch's works and that of his followers.
Field Trip: Beacon Hill
Written exam followed by preparatory field work.
|The Flat of Beacon Hill|
Discover the new 19th century neighborhood of Beacon Hill. From the early carriage houses to Victorian row houses, the Flat is a charming neighborhood with colorful history and architecture with notable landmarks such as the Church of the Advent and the Charles Street Meeting House.
|Footloose on the Freedom Trail|
Footloose on the Freedom Trail is a 3-hour walking tour of the entire Freedom Trail from the 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 its way through the various special events. There's no better time to do it than on the Fourth of July, no better way to start off the day, and no better way to celebrate America's birthday!
|GIT Orientation Tour|
Get the lay of the land in this fun introduction to the lecture series. You will be introduced to the architectural concepts, the historical topics, and the topology of Boston on this interactive tour.
|Grave Undertakings: Death in Boston|
From 1630 people have been dying in Boston. Walk among the dead through Boston's historic burying grounds and learn of religious views, practices, and traditions of death in Boston.
|Great Women of Boston|
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.
|Greenway & Beyond|
Explore the new Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway on this 2-hour special walking tour offered by Boston By Foot. The Greenway is Boston's new centerpiece of the Big Dig's urban restoration. From North Station to Chinatown, the Greenway is breathing new life into the downtown neighborhoods once blighted by an elevated highway.
|Guide Training Orientation|
An orientation session to the Guide Training Program.
Explore the oldest and one of the most foremost educational institutions in America. From its founding in 1636, Harvard University includes edifices that span the architectural styles of the nation. Learn the history of this venerable institution, as well as the academic history of America, through this eclectic mix of structures and objects in Harvard Yard.
|Heart of the Freedom Trail|
Walk American history on the downtown portion of the Freedom Trail and see historic sites from the Puritan settlement through the American Revolution. Stops include Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, the Old State House, King's Chapel, Old South Meeting House as well as the site of the first public school in America.
The Boston Waterfront was the epicenter of the maritime economy in the New World. From Quincy Market to Rowes Wharf, this walk through Boston's mercantile history features tales of the colonial shoreline, the lore of clipper ships, and the vibrant revitalized waterfront of today's shops and restaurants.
Jamaica Plain encompasses only 3.07 square miles but offers a tremendously rich and varied narrative. From an early Puritans settlement to an area of wealthy summer estates, the rise of modern transportation transformed JP into a streetcar suburb. This walking tour features a selection of very impressive Victorian houses and the Emerald Necklace park system. Discover why Jamaica Plain is so well-loved by its residents.
Relive the adventures of Johnny Tremain in Colonial Boston based on Esther Forbes' prize-winning novel about a young boy who gets caught up in the whirlwind of events that lead up to the American Revolution.
Enthusiasts of American literature will enjoy walking among the homes and haunts of the great Victorian writers such as Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Alcott, James, Dickens, and Longfellow.
|Longwood & Cottage Farm|
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.
|Longwood Medical Area|
See a world-renowned community of hospitals, academic institutions, and biomedical research centers including the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Joslin Diabetes Center.
Discover the Boston neighborhood of Mission Hill. Winding up the hill, learn the history of Parker Hill and the mission of the Redemptorist Fathers, see where Roxbury Puddingstone got its name, the architecture of Ralph Adams Cram, and a former tuberculosis sanatorium. The finale at the top of the hill features sweeping views of the city.
|The North End|
Visit America's oldest neighborhood tracing its evolution from an early Puritan settlement through the waves of immigrants whose cultures have shaped the city. Now considered the Little Italy of Boston, this tour will also feature the revolutionary icons of Paul Revere and the Old North Church.
|The North Slope|
Join us on an exploration of the North Slope of Beacon Hill and experience the history, cultures, and eclectic architecture of this ever-changing neighborhood.
|Preserving Boston's History|
Learn the story behind the survival of some of Boston's most beloved historic landmarks and the destruction of others as we discuss Boston's role in the development of the Historic Preservation movement and the role of preservation in a vibrant modern city.
|Printing and Publishing in Boston|
The first printing press in British North America was installed in 1638. Boston was a preeminent publishing center in Colonial America. The various Revolutionary-era print shops, such as "the "forge of sedition," played a major role in the fight for independence.
Boston remained a significant publishing center through the transcendental movement of the 19th century. Some 19th century printers and publishers evolved into publishing concerns important through the 20th century and still exist today.
Following the talk, attendees are invited to visit "The Printing Office of Edes and Gill" (Gary Gregory, master printer), a replica of an 18th century print shop in the Ebenezer Clough House.
|Reinventing Boston: A City Engineered|
From the first subway to Long Wharf through the Big Dig, Boston has led the nation in transforming its cityscape. Find forgotten waterways, streets, and hills in this layman's walk through the history of the city engineered.
|The Road To Revolution|
From the Boston Massacre to Paul Revere's Midnight Ride, explore the streets of Boston's oldest neighborhoods and discover the extraordinary stories of the meeting houses, halls, and homes where the Revolution was born.
Explore the Fort Hill and Eliot Square areas of Roxbury. Visit the neighborhood of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and the myriad of ethnic groups who have made Roxbury their home.
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 and industrial history, and plans for the future.
|The South End|
The South End is a tour of a vibrant Boston neighborhood, full of wonderful buildings, and diverse culture. Built entirely on made-land, the South End, with its lovely parks and early Victorian row houses, has experienced dramatic changes from an enclave for Boston's 19th century elite, to a poor immigrant neighborhood, through its present day urban, architectural, and cultural renewal.
Under the city is a dense network of pipes, conduits, sewers and tunnels that serve the utility and transportation needs of a growing city. In 1987, Boston began the largest public works project in U.S. history to submerge an aging elevated highway amidst existing roads, structures, subways, railroads, utilities, businesses and homes, and in the process transformed the downtown landscape into a shining example of 21st century urban renewal.
Field Trip: the Big Dig, Kennedy Greenway and downtown infrastructure
When George Washington arrived in Massachusetts in 1775, 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.
Is your knowledge of history good enough to know fact from fiction?
|Victorian Back Bay|
Tour the 19th century made-land and one of America's richest collections of art & architecture. This tour features Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, New Old South Church, and the many Victorian townhouses along streets designed after the grand boulevards of Paris.
1850-1900: With great influence from Paris, the Back Bay land-making project enables wealthy persons moving up from the South End to build large mansions as well as providing great structures for art, learning and worship. The Victorian period ushers in a variety of architectural styles featuring the works of H.H. Richardson, C.F. McKim, and Cummings & Sears.
Field Trip: Copley Square and Back Bay
Take in the spectacular views of Boston Harbor learning of Boston's great seafaring heritage from Atlantic Wharf to Battery Wharf.