Boston Walking Tours
Given Boston is often referred to as “The Walking City” it’s quite appropriate that you at least consider doing one of the many Boston walking tours.
You basically have three options for walking tours of Boston:
1. Take a guided walking tour.
2. Get an audio walking tour and do-it-yourself.
3. Get a tour map and really do-it-yourself.
Well, really, you have many more options as well. Do you want to walk a particular area? Do you want to learn about a particular aspect of Boston’s history? Do you want to learn about art, eat chocolate, see ghosts or practice your photography?
If you can think of it, there’s probably a Boston walking tour of it. And, if not, several tour companies will happily create one for you!
I’ll start with several DIY options…
Self-Guided Map & Audio Tours
- Black Heritage Trail – This interactive map provides a description of each stop if you click on the related number.
- Irish Heritage Trail – This interactive map provides a description of each stop if you click on the related number. You can pick up a physical copy of the map at visitor centers at the Boston Common, Prudential Center and along the Mass Turnpike.
- Freedom Trail – We’ve devoted a whole page to the Freedom Trail. Please find a variety of guided and DIY tour options there.
- Boston Harborwalk Audio Tours – Two free downloadable audio tours around the Boston Harborwalk.
- Beacon Hill – A walking tour of Mount Vernon Street in Boston’s Beacon Hill.
- Norman B. Leventhal Walk to the Sea – A one mile long walk dedicated to bringing to life the impact of the Boston Harbor on our city’s history.
Boston Walking Tour Books
If you want to get serious about doing a self-led Boston walking tour, here are a few excellent books to point you in the right direction(s).
Walking Boston: 34 Tours Through Beantown’s Cobblestone Streets, Historic Districts, Ivory Towers and New Waterfront,
Victorian Boston Today: Twelve Walking Tours,
Walking Tours of
Guided Boston Walking Tour Options
Now onto the guided Boston walking tour options…
Freedom Trail Tours
As far as walking tours go, Boston is, of course, most well known for the Freedom Trail. As a result there are several guided walking tour options. I’ve put those along with a detailed description of the Freedom Trail on our Freedom Trail Boston page.
Yes, you read that right. Free Tours By Foot now offer Boston walking tours absolutely free of charge. The idea is that their tour guides are so good that the tips they make will be enough to keep them off (or should I say on?) the streets!
At the time of this writing, they’re only offering Freedom Trail tours, but given their clear success in other cities, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more soon!
Somewhat less specific to Boston, many people love to learn about the cities they visit by going on themed walking tours. Two topics in particular have gained some serious popularity in recent year, so I’ve devoted pages to them as well.
- If you’re a fan of eating (and learning about) chocolate, you’ll want to at least consider taking a Boston Chocolate Tour.
- Or, if your interest is piqued but the darker side of a city and its history, a Boston Ghost Tour would be a great option.
Also, if you have a soft-spot for celebrity, movies and TV, the Boston Movie Mile Walking Tour will be right up your alley. Click here to read a full review on the “sister tour,” Boston TV & Movie Sites Bus Tour.
Here are a variety of other themed or niched walking tours that I have run across:
For Little People
Boston By Little Feet Freedom Trail Tour: A 1-hour Freedom Trail tour specifically designed for 6-12 year olds. Runs Fridays & Saturdays 10am, Sundays 2pm, $8 per person, Season: May-October.
Boston Architecture Tours
It’s no surprise given Boston’s historic and often stunning architecture that this would be of particular interest to tourists and non-tourists alike. Here are a few options:
Victorian Back Bay Tour: Focuses on art & architecture in Boston’s Back bay. Runs one time per day on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays for 1.5 hours, $12 adults, $8 children (6-12), Season: May-October.
Downtown Freedom Trail – History and Architecture: Runs at 10am for 70 minutes, cost: $15 per person. This is the first part of their 2-hour Downtown Boston to Back Bay Tour. Let your tour guide know what your specific interests are.
Beacon Hill Tour: A walking tour of Boston’s Beacon Hill area which acts as a great introduction to early American architecture. Runs Monday-Friday at 5.30pm, Weekends at 2pm for 1.5 hours, $12 adults, $8 children (6-12), Season: May-October.
Ethnic/Culturally Based Tours
For many, a tour of Boston holds particular meaning when it encompasses the history of their own culture or that of others in their life.
Black Heritage Trail: Guided by the National Park Service. Run 3 times per day in the summer season and once a day during the winter season.
Boston Jewish Cultural Walking Tour: Run on Mondays at 2.30pm for 2 hours, $25 per person.
Irish Heritage Trail: They are working on reguarly scheduled tours for the public. At the moment, they only provide group tours upon request.Given Boston is often referred to as “The Walking City” it’s quite appropriate that you at least consider doing one of the many Boston walking tours.
The North End
If you have a particular interest in Boston’s Little Italy, known as the North End, here are a couple of options.
The Old Boston Original Secret Tour: A 2-hour tour that runs 1-2 times per day (Monday-Saturday), costs $30 per person.
Boston By Foot: The North End Tour: A 1.5 hour tour, runs Friday-Sunday at 1pm, $12 adults, $8 children (6-12), Season: May-October.
North End Market Tour: A 3 hour tour that takes you where the locals go. Check out this great review provided by one of our readers.
A Few More Themed Boston Walking Tours…
Power of Women Tour: Run Thursdays at 3pm for 2 hours, $30 per person.
Literary Landmarks: A 1.5 hour tour, runs Saturdays at 10am, $12 adults, $8 children (6-12), Season: May-October.
PhotoWalks Photo Tours of Boston: PhotoWalks offer photography focused tours in several areas of historic Boston. Their tours run 1.5-2 hours and cost $30 for adults, $15 for ages 10-17 (with a paying adult).
Finally, Walking Boston, Walking Tours of Historic Boston only provide private walking tours, but can be a great deal on an excellent quality tour if you have a group of nine or ten. Their tours currently run at $140 for up to 10 people.
If walking tours are not the best option for you, consider visiting the Boston trolley tours. Click here to learn more!