Boston Shore Excursions: A Day in Port

Quincy Market in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dubbed "The Cradle of Liberty," Boston is rife with historical significance stretching back to the earliest days of the United States. Winding through the city's colonial streets is the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, which thousands of visitors traverse annually to visit 16 significant sites. All these historic spectacles, combined with the modern amenities of any world-class city, make Boston a must-see stop on a New England cruise.

While you’re in port for the day, experience the best Boston shore excursions and the most fascinating attractions.

The Boston Common

The Freedom Trail's southern terminus is the picturesque Boston Common. Located at the foot of the cobblestone streets of the Beacon Hill neighborhood, Boston Common became the nation's first public park in 1634 when colonists used it as a cow pasture. In the centuries since then, the Common has been the site of some of the city's darkest moments — and some of its brightest, too. In 1713 citizens rioted over the cost of bread, and until 1817 public hangings were staged here. More recently however, notable figures including Dr. Martin Luther King and Gloria Steinem have used the Common to make vibrant speeches, and in 1987 it was declared a US National Historic Landmark.

Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market

Further down the Freedom Trail, near the waterfront, are famous Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. Today, the Faneuil Hall area is a great place to shop for the perfect memento from your Boston vacation or sample classic New England-style seafood — but back in the fledgling days of the nation, this was a breeding ground for great minds to hatch revolutionary ideas. Some of the earliest gatherings at the marketplace were in protest of the Sugar Act and Stamp Act, giving rise to the concept of "no taxation without representation." Patriots, including Samuel Adams and James Otis among other Sons of Liberty, gave remarkable speeches here on the eve of the American Revolution, invigorating the passions of those who bore witness.

Bunker Hill Monument

Across the harbor sits Charlestown, Boston's oldest neighborhood, and nestled atop this colonial hub is the Bunker Hill Monument. Built on Breed's Hill, this monument was erected to commemorate the first major battle of the Revolutionary War, during which Colonel William Prescott uttered the famous order, "don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes." There is no better way to finish your walk down the Freedom Trail than by making the climb up to the top of the 221-foot monument for a gorgeous view of Boston.

Want to see more of Boston on a New England cruise? Explore more Boston shore excursions for all ages and activity levels while in port with Princess Cruises.