Boston Walking Tour: Beacon Hill & Back Bay

Gregg Squeglia, Knockabout Travel

20 June 2019

Explore two of Boston’s finest neighborhoods – Beacon Hill and the Back Bay. Each has had a role in Boston’s history, and both contribute to a great itinerary for the explorer that enjoys seeing the town the way it was meant to be seen – on foot.

  1. Grab coffee and a breakfast sandwich at Finagle A Bagel, located right outside Mass General Hospital. They have amazing bagels and strong coffee that will help get your day started. Watch your bagel zip from one side of the store to the other as it is sliced with the “Bagel Buzz Saw.”
  2. Take a walk through Beacon Hill. Stroll through Boston’s most picturesque neighborhood with its narrow streets lined with functioning gaslights and flower boxes hanging from the townhouse windows. Be sure to stop and grab a selfie at Acorn Street, America’s most photographed street. Then walk up Mt. Vernon Street to the Massachusetts State House, where the “beacon” of the hill stands.
  3. Granary Burying Ground: Take a self-guided tour of Boston’s third oldest cemetery and final resting place for some of Boston’s most notable citizens including Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and the victims of the Boston Massacre.
  4. Old State House: Spend the few dollars on admission here and get access to this Freedom Trail site that includes a guided talk on the Old State House itself as well as the events leading up to and including the Boston Massacre that happened right outside its doors on March 5, 1770.
  5. Lunch in Chinatown is sure to be amazing. I recommend Q Restaurant. Grab a Mongolian hot pot and enjoy this unique way of dining. Not interested in Asian cuisine? Then walk a few blocks to Downtown Crossing and grab some street fare from the cart vendors on Washington Street.

Flower boxes and American flags line the streets of Beacon Hill, arguably Boston’s most picturesque neighborhood.

  1. Then it’s only a block to Boston Common and Boston Public Garden. Enjoy a bit of green space and the botanical gardens. You might even want to take a Swan Boat ride.
  2. After a little chill time, start walking along Newbury Street in the Back Bay neighborhood. Hook a left at the H&M department store and walk one block to Boylston Street and Copley Square. If you’re a fan of classic architecture, then take a self-guided tour of Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library.
  3. Keep walking toward the Prudential Tower, but before going inside, walk one block further on Huntington Avenue and visit the reflection pool at the Christian Science Center. You don’t have to be a Christian Scientist, or even Christian at all to enjoy this serene outdoor space.
  4. Although the Prudential Tower’s Skywalk Observatory is now closed and in the process of being reimagined, you can still visit the Prudential Center’s large shopping mall and restaurants. 
  5. If you are feeling particularly ambitious, it’s only another few blocks to either Fenway Park, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, or the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (location of the largest art heist in history.)

Let the consequences be what they will, I am determined to proceed. The only principles of public conduct that are worthy of a gentleman or a man are to sacrifice estate, ease, health, and applause, and even life, to the sacred calls of his country.

-James Otis, Patriot, arguing in 1761 against the British Writs of Assistance

Use this map to assist with navigating the walking route.

The Granary Burying Ground is home to some of Boston’s most notable Patriots.

Looking for something a bit more structured? Try the Boston Audio Tour. Includes approximately 90 minutes of narration through Boston’s most popular sections. 

Knockabout Boston Audio Tour

Take a self-paced walk through Boston’s most historic neighborhoods. Includes all audio files streamed directly to your smartphone. No apps, no accounts, no passwords to remember.

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