Beacon Hill is one of the most picturesque and historic neighborhoods in all of Boston. No matter what your itinerary is for your trip to Boston, be sure to make time to walk around these brownstone-lined streets and take a photo on Acorn Street. This little pocket of the city is also home to several of Boston's most popular landmarks and attractions, including the start of the Freedom Trail. Additionally, Beacon Hill's central location within Boston means you can connect on to other neighborhoods before or after.
Read on for the top things to do in Beacon Hill, including what to see, where to eat and drink, where to shop and more.
The Boston Common is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, as it's the oldest public park in the United States, dating back to 1634. It's a 50-acre park that touches five of the city's main streets, including two in Beacon Hill, Beacon Street and Charles Street. Here you'll find Frog Pond, where you can ice skate during the colder months, and the Brewer Fountain Plaza.
If you're visiting Boston for the first time and want to dive into the city's history, walking along the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail is the best way to do just that. Beginning at the Boston Common and ending in Charlestown, this trail is easy to follow thanks to the painted brick red line on the sidewalks and roads. There are 16 stops along the way and on average it's best to give yourself three or so hours to take in all of the landmarks along the way, including the Old State House, Paul Revere House, and Bunker Hill Monument.
Boston Public Garden
If you're near Boston Common, walk just a little bit further to reach the Boston Public Garden, the country's very first public botanical garden. The scenery is beautiful and this is also where you'll find the iconic Swan Boats and "Make Way for Ducklings" statues, which you'll want to grab a photo of as part of your Boston memories. If you're interested in learning about the park, take a 60-minute guided walking tour during the warmer weather months for a taste of its history, sculptures and more.
Massachusetts State House
If you're walking through the streets of Beacon Hill or the pathways of the Boston Common, you'll notice a building with a golden dome, made from copper and topped with gold. That's the Massachusetts State House, which has been there since 1798 and houses the state's government. There's plenty of Massachusetts history to take in if you visit for a free tour.
Louisburg Square has been said to be the most expensive place to live in all of Boston. The homeowners themselves own this square — and over the years those homeowners included famous names including Louisa May Alcott and John Kerry, Secretary of State, the latter of which lives there now. Louisburg Square was originally designed to pave the way for development of the city's town house development back in the 1840's, but given how much space they took up, it wasn't feasible to replicate it in other neighborhoods. You can take walking tours that will go through Louisburg Square while visiting Beacon Hill.
Acorn Street is one of the country's most photographed streets and once you're there, you'll understand why. The narrow cobblestone pathway lined with old brownstones has become a popular backdrop for both photographers and tourists, especially during the holiday season when the entire neighborhood is decorated with festive wreaths, lights and more. As you walk to Acorn Street — and through all of the neighborhood streets of Beacon Hill — you'll pass by plenty of other picture-worthy brownstones.
Charles River Esplanade
Just over a bridge from Beacon Hill is the Charles River Esplanade, a three-mile, 64-acre park that runs along the Charles River. This area is a Boston staple and where you'll find runners, boaters and families spending time outdoors, whether it's doing fitness activities, going to the playground or attending an event. The Esplanade is found between the Boston University bridge and the Museum of Science. Here you can rent kayaks, grab a beer at the pop-up Night Shift Brewery Owl's Nest (seasonal) or spend your 4th of July experiencing the annual Boston Pops Independence Day Concert and fireworks at the DCR Hatch Shell.
Charles Street is one of Boston's best shopping areas, particularly if you're into boutique stores rather than big name brands. The fact that it's in Beacon Hill brings a Boston feel to the experience as well, as everything in this quaint neighborhood feels like it's part of history (which much of it is!).
There are several clothing stores, including Ouimillie, Paridaez, Holiday and December Thieves. For adorable children's clothing, try The Red Wagon. If you're into skincare, check out the Follain retail store, which is an educational retail experience as you learn about the importance of clean skincare and beauty products.
Restaurants & Bars
Beacon Hill also has lots to offer when it comes to restaurants, bars and cafes. For a night out to dinner, try Mooo (steakhouse), Toscano (Italian), Figs (upscale pizza) or the Tip Tap Room (known for their "tips" and beer menu). Bostonians also love Tatte for coffee and pastries, which is now opening up in other areas of the city. Sweet Bakery is the place to get gourmet cupcakes.
While you likely won't find any tourists there, Beacon Hill is home to the iconic Cheers. The neighborhood has a number of other popular bars that range from dive bars, such as the Beacon Hill Pub or the 21st Amendment, to upscale lounges, including Clink and Alibi, both located in the Liberty Hotel.