Delineated by a 2.5-mile-long red-brick (or paint) stripe in the sidewalk, the Freedom Trail (thefreedomtrail.org) stretches from Boston Common to Charlestown, linking sixteen points “significant in their contribution to this country’s struggle for freedom”. About half the sights on the trail are related to the Revolution itself; the others are more germane to other times and topics.
Though some of the touches intended to accentuate the trail’s appeal move closer to tarnishing it (the costumed actors outside some of the sights, the pseudo-antique signage), the Freedom Trail remains the easiest way to orient yourself downtown, and is especially useful if you’ll only be in Boston for a short time, as it does take in many “must-see” sights. Detailed National Park Service maps of the trail can be picked up from the visitor centre. Thrifty travellers take note: most stops on the trail are either free or inexpensive to enter.