Top 5 Boston Tour Sites
The past and present uniquely coexist in the city of Boston, making it an ideal stop for a student trip. Students can spend the morning walking alongside Pilgrims at Plimoth & Pawtuxet Museum and enjoy their afternoon in the high-tech halls of the MIT Museum.
The next time you bring your students on a Boston school trip, make sure to stop at one (or all!) of our top five favorite tour sites.
Nicknamed “Old Ironsides” after British cannonballs rolled off of her sides during the War of 1812, the USS Constitution ship and museum are conveniently located along the Freedom Trail. The old warship has remained undefeated since its launch in 1797. Today, it’s manned by U.S. Navy personnel who will teach students about the ship’s construction, history, and life on the high seas during the 1700s.
While some groups opt to spend all their time on the ship, others chose to explore the museum while visiting. With hands-on, interactive exhibits, students can learn about what life as a sailor was really like. If you can’t visit now, check out their free online exhibit, “A Sailor’s Life for Me,” to experience the museum from home!
Average Visit Time: 45 minutes (longer if you visit the museum)
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is another great nautical adventure for your students. Step back in time and join American revolutionaries as they fight against British tyranny.
To get the full museum experience, start your visit in the Meeting House where students take part in a colonial town hall meeting led by Samuel Adams. Then, join the Sons of Liberty as they storm the British ships and dump tea overboard. The museum also teaches students about the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party through a multi-sensory film in Minuteman Theater.
Average Visit Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
Plimoth & Pawtuxet Museum (formally, Plimoth Plantation) is one of the most popular destinations in New England, and for good reason! The living, interactive museum complex tells the interwoven stories of the Pilgrim settlers and the native Wampanoag people. The permanent outdoor exhibit includes a 17th century English village, Wampanoag Indian site, gristmill, and craft center that recreate the sights, sounds, and stories of early America.
If you’re not ready to leave Plymouth at the end of your tour, you can add-on a traditional Pilgrim dinner for your group. Before returning to your hotel for the evening, join a Dead of Night Ghost Tour in Plymouth. Your group will walk some of the oldest streets in America with an expert guide to learn about local legends, mysteries, and folklore.
Average Visit Time: 3 hours (if Mayflower is included)
Want to get your students exercising first thing in the morning? Start your day with a hike up to the Bunker Hill Monument. Start your tour in the Bunker Hill Lodge that adjoins the Monument to learn about the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. The lodge “houses the statue of Joseph Warren, portraits, and a Revolutionary War cannon, The Adams.” If the walk to the monument wasn’t enough to get your blood pumping, your group can also climb the 294 steps to the top of the monument for unparalleled views of the surrounding neighborhoods.
Located across the street from the Monument grounds, the Bunk hill Museum has exhibits to teach about the Battle of Bunker Hill, the construction of the Bunker Hill Monument, and the history of the Charlestown neighborhood.
Average Visit Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
If you want to tour Boston, but walking seems like too much, you can always make a reservation on a Boston Duck Tour. A land and water experience awaits your group as you board an amphibious vehicle for site-seeing throughout Boston. While the included attractions may vary a bit based on your tour route and traffic, the tour usually includes several attractions along the Freedom Trail.
Some of those attractions include Trinity Church, Boston Common, Beacon Hill, the Boston State House, Faneuil Hall, and Quincy Market. After your tour guide has exhausted all land-based stops, your group will sail down the Charles River for the amphibious part of your trip.
Average Visit Time: 2 to 2.5 hours
Originally published August 2020, updated March 2021