The Freedom Trail®, Massachusetts

The Freedom Trail® is a unique collection of museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, a ship, and historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution and beyond.

National Recreation Trail

Designated in 1976

• View more details for this trail
in the NRT Database

• Learn about the NRT Program.

The Freedom Trail® is a 2.5-mile walking trail through downtown Boston, the North End, and Charlestown connects 16 historic sites that tell the story of Boston's role in the American Revolution and the early growth of our nation.

The original idea for The Freedom Trail® came from Bill Schofield, Boston Herald-Traveler writer, and Bob Winn, a member of the Old North Church, both of whom noticed the need for a clearer and more concise wayfinding tool for tourists visiting Boston's historic sites. Schofield outlined this plan in his "Have You Heard" column on March 8, 1951. "All I'm suggesting is that we mark out a 'Puritan Path' or 'Liberty Loop' or 'Freedom's Way' or whatever you want to call it, so visitors and locals will know where to start and what course to follow... You could do the trick on a budget of just a few dollars and a bucket of paint. Not only would it add to the personality of the city but it also would please the tourists."

The Freedom Trail® is an iconic symbol of Boston. In its original form, the Freedom Trail was measured at a mile and a fifth long, beginning at Boston Common and ending in the North End. There was no red line on the ground, but a system of signs marking the path. In 1958, the red line was added and, in 1972, the Trail officially extended into Charlestown including all 16 of the present-day official Freedom Trail historic sites.

The red brick line snakes through some of the oldest parts of Boston, navigating visitors to some of the most significant historic sites in the Downtown, North End, and Charlestown neighborhoods. The trail itself does not necessarily tell a narrative. Rather, it aids tourists with a starting point—an opening sampler of Boston's storied, complicated, and multi-faceted history. While many sites are primarily recognized for their role in the American Revolution, all the sites on The Freedom Trail® remained significant because of the role they played in subsequent social, political, and religious movements, controversies, and challenges.

Most of the Boston National Historical Park sites are connected by The Freedom Trail®. Sixty-minute tours begin at the Visitor Center at historic Faneuil Hall and cover the heart of The Freedom Trail® from the Old South Meeting House to the Old North Church. Tours leave at regular intervals in the spring, summer, and fall, weather permitting. Visit for more information on tours. The trail is overseen by the City of Boston's Freedom Trail Commission.

Today The Freedom Trail® is a world-renowned, signature tourist experience attracting over 4 million people annually to visit Boston's precious 17th, 18th, and 19th-century sites.



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