Complete Tour Catalog

Adventures at Sea: Bostonians in the Age of Sail

August Tour of the Month

For Boston's first two hundred years, "a flown sheate, a faire winde, and a boune voyage" were wishes at the heart of the city's life and economy.  Travel under sail was commonplace and central to the culture, across classes.  Join us for ten memorable stories... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

This tour takes our exploration of Boston Art Deco to the Back Bay. The planned development of Back Bay in the second half of the 19th century opened up opportunities for Art Deco in its redevelopment a half-century later. 

This tour through the first four blocks of the Back Bay... Read More

Ashmont Hill - Peabody Square

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. See one of the finest Gothic Revival churches ever built in the United States, and... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

Bay Village; Public Domain

October Tour of the Month

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... Read More

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... Read More

Beacon Hill Houses by Sharon Schindler

Join a Boston By Foot guide and professional photographer Sharon Schindler for a guided history and photography tour of one of Boston's most beautiful neighborhoods! Hear about the unique history and architecture of Beacon... Read More

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!... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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, and selectman, Bulfinch... Read More

Boston By Little Feet Tour

This child's-eye view of the Freedom Trail's architecture and history is especially designed for young walkers from 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... Read More

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... Read More

As working women were fighting for rights in the workplace, suffragists were demanding the right to vote. Boston’s women’s trade unionism & suffrage movements were lead by proud, defiant women who were divided along class lines. By the end of the 19th century, suffragists were becoming... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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.... Read More

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, and students and listed as one of the hippest places to live in the United States.

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... Read More

The First Latin School on School Street, 1600s

When Boston was settled in 1630 education was a priority and by 1635 the Boston Latin School was established.  The following year Harvard College was founded. Since then Boston has become one of the great cities of the world attracting the finest minds. Today there are 35 universities, colleges... Read More

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

From the 1600s to the mid-1900s, women's groundbreaking contributions to Boston were often under-recognized – or even overlooked.  On this walking tour, learn who some of these Bostonians were and what greatness they achieved against the backdrop of the city's downtown neighborhood. Their own... Read More

Tortoise and the Hare

There are clues all around Copley Square that are connected... Read More

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-... Read More

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... Read More

Charlestown Carver Gravestone

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... Read More

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... Read More

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.... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

Globe Fountain at Kendall Square

June Tour of the Month

The Kendall Square area has exploded with new development and is one of the hottest commercial real estate markets in the country. A center for innovation, it boasts offices for Google, Akamai, Biogen, Microsoft, Facebook, and more. This recent boom has been... Read More

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 sampling of what... Read More

Brookline 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.

Founded by two families... Read More

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,... Read More

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... Read More

The Mission Church Boston

Mission Hill is a neighborhood of continuous transition, rebirth, and renewal. Part of the colonial town of Roxbury, originally written as ‘Rocksberry,’ due to the plentiful outcroppings of Roxbury Puddingstone found throughout the area. We will see remnants of those and of the quarries that... Read More

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’... Read More

Boston West End Urban Renewal Sign

July Tour of the Month

Look into the past for a tour of Boston’s Old West End. Once a thriving multi-cultural neighborhood representing 23 nationalities, The West End was transformed during a Government-sponsored Urban Renewal Program starting in the late 1950s and lasting through the... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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

Photo courtesy of HBI. Photographer Greg Pemru.

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

Boston Chinatown (Paifang), Tufts Medical Center, State Theater Boston 1967 (Margaret L. DeWolf)

The historic South Cove Neighborhood includes Tufts Medical Campus, Chinatown, and Lower Washington Street, formerly known as the Combat Zone. As we walk through the Tufts Medical Campus, you will learn how the Boston Dispensary, Floating Hospital for Children, the Pratt Diagnostic, and Tufts... Read More

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... Read More

South Station Boston By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK - CC BY 2.0

In this walk, we’ll trace the rich history of South Station. While many Bostonians today think of it simply as a subway and commuter rail station, at the cusp of the 20th century South Station was the city’s main transportation hub, providing a union station for five major railroads and a grand... Read More

SoWa Open Market

September Tour of the Month

Is there a more hip and happening place in Boston than SoWa right now? This area of the South End (the bit that is SOuth of WAshington Street) is experiencing yet another reboot.  The neighborhood first came into being when... Read More

The Stamp Act

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... Read More

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... Read More

North Square, Michael Kappel, Creative Commons License

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

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.

Pinckney Street, Photographed by Matt Schick

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,... Read More

Temple Place

May Tour of the Month

Boston’s Ladder Blocks are bounded by Washington and Tremont Streets south of School Street. The streets that connect them create a street grid shaped like a ladder, giving the district the name by which it was once known. These blocks have a rich history, from... Read More

Back Bay and the Charles River

Everyone knows MIT as a Cambridge institution with a global reputation. But for its first 55 years, MIT called the Back Bay home. 101 years ago, MIT made the move from Back Bay to Cambridge. Join us as we trace “Boston Tech” from its founding to its relocation across the Charles River. This... Read More

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... Read More

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.

... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

A photo of the Chinatown Gate in Boston's Chinatown

A Special April Fool's Event

Join Boston By Foot for a unique walking tour of Boston that keeps participants on their toes. Called True Lies & False Facts, this questionable tour starts at the Boylston T Stop and winds its way around Chinatown and the Theater... Read More

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... Read More