With New England-style boulevards, historical parks, and a thriving student population, it’s no wonder Boston is so often thought of as one of the nation’s most walkable cities. Also, since many of the original Boston blocks were constructed at a time when walking was the primary means of transportation, it makes sense that one should walk around town in the first place. But a walking tour isn’t just a meandering, day-long stroll; tours can also involve the other senses and the arts – these integrated memories can make the time you spend in a city much more personal. Here are a few selections from Boston’s wide variety of special walking tours that will do just that.
1. Boston’s Movie Mile Tour
Hundreds of films and TV shows have been shot in Boston’s atmospheric bars and downtown locations, particularly around Beacon Hill. Perfect for movie buffs and the easily starstruck (and even the not-so-easily starstruck), this tour can be done on your own with a little research or with a company that specializes in ‘Movie Mile’ tours of Boston. Memorable locations include those of Good Will Hunting, Cheers, Ally McBeal, Mystic River, the Departed, and Boondock Saints. To get the most out of it, re-watch your favorite Boston flicks just before your trip so you can really soak up the moment when you’re sitting on that oddly familiar park bench or bar stool.
2. Photo Tours of Boston
Almost all tourists take photos on their trips, but the hackneyed forced-smile-in-front-of-a-monument can leave something to be desired when you’re rifling through your memory card later. To get to know Boston in a different light (so to speak) while honing your artistic skills at the same time, take a photo tour to really capture the magic of the city’s architecture and dramatically changing seasons.
3. Boston Chocolate Tours
Chocolate goes well with anything, so it’s unsurprising that a chocolate walking tour should be a big hit with visitors. ‘Choco-Guides’ ensure that you’re able to sample a wide array of delicacies. Also available are ‘cupcake crawls,’ workshops, and specialized Boston chocolate tours in areas such as South End, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill.
4. History Tours
With all those movie locations, photo ops, and chocolate, don’t forget Boston has some of the best American Revolution tales and sites in the country. There are even guided tours that take you to the very spots of historical moments that changed the face of our country – and they have a suitably costumed storyteller to boot. This one’s great for kids.
5. The Ghosts and Gravestones Boston Frightseeing Tour
The Boston Ghosts and Gravestones Tour is best for those who aren’t afraid of traipsing around murder sites on rainy nights. If ‘The Boston Strangler’ is a name that piques your interest, make sure to hop on this trolley; although it’s not strictly a walking tour, there are two twenty-minute walking portions that earn it a place on this list (recommended for 13+ years of age).
There are plenty of other kinds of walking tours, especially for foodies. Of course, it’s always rewarding to invent your own walking tour and do it on your own time, but sometimes having a guide takes some of the planning-stress off your shoulders. And while it’s not exactly a tour itself, WalkBoston deserves to be mentioned because of its helpfulness in planning a walk around the city – that is, maps, safety, and walking-related awareness events. Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes!