15 Things to Do in Beacon Hill, Boston

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From the Author: We lived on Revere St. on Beacon Hill for 4 years, and Mike worked on Myrtle St. for over 6 years. We love this neighborhood and know it well. If you have any questions, we respond quickly to comments!

Beacon Hill may be small (1/6 of a square mile), but it packs a punch – there’s a lot of fun and interesting things to do here.

Whether you’re looking for a guided tour to take in all the rich history, or just want to walk around and leisurely explore on your own – we’ve got you covered.

Welcome to The Hill!

NOTICE // We try our best to keep the information in this guide as up to date as possible. If you notice anything has changed, please leave us comment down below.


1. Walk the Charles River Esplanade

Right across the street from Beacon Hill, over The Frances Appleton walkway, is the Charles River Esplanade. Mackenzie and I used to walk it daily.

There’s tons of green space, miles of walking paths, public docks, playgrounds etc. and even an event area/stage called the “Hatch Shell“.

But by far, my favorite thing to do is rent a kayak from the Community Boating Building and float in the Charles!

2. Take a Photo on Acorn St.

Acorn St., in the middle of Mount Vernon and Chestnut, is one of the most photographed streets in all of Boston. It was even rated top 53 most beautiful streets in the WORLD by Architectural Digest.

This narrow, picturesque, cobble stone street gives a tiny glimpse into Colonial era Boston. It’s worth a visit!

3. Visit the Massachusetts State House

The gold-domed Massachusetts State House is an architectural masterpiece and a must see.

There are free, daily walking tours that last approximately 45 minutes if you’re interested in getting a peak inside.

4. Get a Slice of Pizza at Florina

After your tour of the State House, walk right across the street and grab a slice of pizza from Florina Pizzeria.

Florina is the two time winner of “Best Pizza in Boston“ and I can confirm – their pizza is amazing! They make it two ways – Classic & Sicilian. I prefer the Classic (pictured below).

5. Walk the Black Heritage Trail

The Black Heritage Trail is a 1.6 mile route that runs through the heart of Beacon Hill.

There are 10 stops along the route, ranging from residences to community buildings all associated with a Black community that thrived on, and near, the north slope of Beacon Hill before, during, and after the American Civil War.

It’s a great way to see the Hill!

Insider Tip:

Make sure to download the FREE walking tour app before you visit! It’s a visual and audio tour, all through your smart phone.

6. Visit the Museum of African American History

The final stop of the Black Heritage Trail brings you right in front of the the Museum of African American History, on Joy St.

Here you’ll find a variety of exhibits, programs, and educational activities that showcase the “powerful stories of black families who worshipped, educated their children, debated the issues of the day, organized politically and advanced the cause of freedom”.

If you plan on visiting, you’ll have to reserve a ticket in advance!

7. Admire the Brownstones in Louisburg Square

Louisburg Square is home to some of the most expensive residential real estate in all of Massachusetts.

The square consists of two rows of magnificent brownstones, separated by a beautiful small private park in the middle. It’s as Beacon Hill as it gets!

Fun Fact:

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry owns the townhouse at 19 Louisburg Square, right on the edge of Pinckney St. and Lousiburg Sq (pictured above, behind the red car).

8. Walk the Boston Public Gardens

Right across the way from Charles St. is are the Boston Public Gardens – 24 beautiful acres, smack-dab in the middle of Boston.

It’s a wonderful place to lay out on a nice day, read a book or go for a stroll. It’s also home to the famous “Make Way For Ducklings” statues and the Swan Boats.

9. Splash and Skate in Boston Common

The Boston Common is right across the street from the Public Gardens and is considered America’s oldest public park.

Frog Pond, located in the heart of the Common, serves as spray pool during the summer months, and a skating rink during the winter.

Right next door is the Tadpole Playground and a little further down is the “The Embrace” – a new memorial sculpture made in tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

10. Vist the Boston Athenæum

The Boston Athenæum, located on Beacon St., is one of the oldest independent libraries in the entire country!

Founded in 1807, this library has some incredible sculptures, art and a rare collection of over 500,000 books. It’s easily one of the coolest spots in the entire city. Highly recommend a visit.

Fun Fact:

There is a memoir on display here by the career criminal James Allen (alias George Walton) that is bound by his own flesh! The cover has the Latin phrase “Hic Liber Waltonis Cute Compactus Est:” – “This book was bound in Walton’s skin.” Gross.

11. Go Shopping on Charles Street

Charles St. is home to nearly 50 independent shops. There is everything from home furnishings, to kids toys and clothes. Truly something for everyone.

Kenzie’s favorite store is Whitney & Winston, located on the corner of Charles and Revere.

Mackenzie shopping on Charles St Beacon Hill

12. Visit the Phillips and Myrtle St. Playgrounds

If you’re visiting Beacon Hill with kids, you’re in luck – there are two public playgrounds on the Hill. One is located on Myrtle St., and the other on Phillips.

I prefer the Myrtle street playground – it’s bigger and has lots more to do. Declan loves it!

13. Visit the Hill on Halloween Night

Beacon Hill is one of the best places in all of Boston to trick-or-treat on Halloween night. The people who live here go ALL OUT – the decorations are unmatched, and the candy is top notch.

The Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) arranges to have many of the main streets closed between 4:00-8:00PM. I recommend starting on Myrtle Street and then making your way over to Louisburg Square.

Beacon Hill Boston Halloween decorations

14. Get a Drink at Teddy’s on the Hill

As you start to wind down from your action packed visit, consider grabbing a quick drink at Teddy’s (formerly Red Hat) on Bowdoin St.

This is the oldest bar on the Hill – it’s been in operation for 115 years! It has a really cool, old school vibe with loads of games like Golden Tee, Skee-Ball and darts.

15. Eat Dinner at The Grotto

Now it’s time to end the night at Mackenzie and I’s favorite restaurant and Beacon Hill’s best kept secret – The Grotto.

This small, charming, unassuming, garden-level establishment is the perfect spot for an intimate and delicious Italian meal!

Insider Tip:

Get my go-to entree – the short rib gnocchi with mushrooms and gorgonzola. It never disappoints.

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Michael Donovan
Hey. I’m Mike, Mackenzie's husband, and dad to Declan and Maeve. I'm also a co-founder and writer here at Stay New England. I've been traveling across the New England region for well over a decade now and I'm excited to share all that I've learned!
Photo of author
Michael Donovan
Hey. I’m Mike, Mackenzie's husband, and dad to Declan and Maeve. I'm also a co-founder and writer here at Stay New England. I've been traveling across the New England region for well over a decade now and I'm excited to share all that I've learned!

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