A trip to the Massachusetts State House and Beacon Hill is definitely one of the must-do things when visiting the East Coast of the United States. This neighborhood, which is listed as a National Historical District, is a testament to what life used to be like in the 18th and 19th centuries. Brick sidewalks abound, areas are lit at night with gas lamps, and elaborate brass knockers tell of status and personality during the days of yore.
There are plenty of attractions to see in Beacon Hill as well:
The Boston Commons: The Boston Commons is the oldest public park in the United States, having been founded in 1633. In its nearly 400 years of existence, it has hosted everything from grazing cattle to the Pope. There were even public executions in the park until the early 19th century! The park has a frog pond that is fun for the kids to play around during the summer months, while in winter, you can brave the Boston cold and go ice skating. The perfect place for a picnic lunch, an afternoon book, or a game of catch, don't miss this free stopping point on the Freedom Trail.
The Boston Public Gardens: From the “Make Way for Ducklings” statues to the swan boat rides, the Boston Public Gardens hold a lot of charm. One of the oldest gardens in the United States, it's easy to get there from the Boston Commons – just cross Charles Street! Take an afternoon to hike around the gardens, examining the many bronze statues that the park contains. There are roses and other permanent blooming fixtures in the park that add color to any gray Boston day, while numerous chestnuts, elms, and maples line the many walking paths. Don't forget to say “Hi!” to Romeo and Juliet, the two swans that currently call the pond home!
The Massachusetts State House: Originally built in John Hancock's pasture, the Massachusetts State House originally had a wooden dome when it was completed in 1798. It leaked terribly, so in 1802, Paul Revere was hired to cover the dome in copper. That copper was covered with gold leaf in 1874 and was painted numerous different colors, including black during World War II to prevent reflections. In 1997, it was once again covered in gold leaf. Inside the building, there are numerous murals and other pieces of art that help to make it the hub of the universe, as it was once described in literature.
The Rose Nichols House Museum: Many of the homes on Beacon Hill are closed to the public, which is why visiting this house museum is particularly special on a trip to this neighborhood. The museum offers many different programs throughout the year that help to show what life was like for early Bostonians, while there is also an impressive collection of artwork and artifacts to see year round. This museum is the perfect final piece of the puzzle that you put together when visiting Beacon Hill!
Location: Beacon Hill Neighborhood in Boston