Faneuil Hall’s got it all: food, shopping, entertainment, and tons of history. While it’s undeniably a bit of a tourist trap, any Boston visitor needs to make at least one stop at this New England institution for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Faneuil Hall got its start way back in 1742 when it was created by a wealthy merchant named Peter Faneuil. It was a gathering place for Boston’s residents, as a gift to the city. Since it’s opening, it has hosted famous figures like Samuel Adams and George Washington. And in the 1970’s, it was completely renovated and refurbished to restore the buildings to their original splendor. Today, the area encompasses Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market. History buffs will love the Military Museum and Armory, located on the fourth floor of Faneuil Hall. It is entirely free to visit and features all sorts of uniforms, weaponry, medals, and more.
Where to start? There is an overwhelming amount of quick bites. You can find everything from deli sandwiches to clam chowder and rotisserie chicken at the food colonnade. Are you looking to sit down and stay a while? Take your pick from Wagamama, Ned Devine’s Irish Pub, historic Durgin Park, McCormick and Schmick’s, the iconic Cheers, and more. For something a bit campier, try Dick’s Last Resort. The staff is notoriously obnoxious, and might even make you a hat that says something rude on it.
You’ll find all the usual retail suspects here: Urban Outfitters, Coach, Vera Bradley, Sephora, and Victoria’s Secret, plus some unique offerings from shops like Boston Pewter Company, Local Charm, Newbury Comics, and I Love Boston Sports (which is the perfect place to grab those souvenir Patriots, Sox, Bruins, or Celtics gear).
In nice weather, it’s virtually impossible to find yourself at Faneuil Hall without seeing a show by a street performer. Everyone from straight jacket escape artists to unicycle-riding gymnasts to singer-songwriters put on shows for cheering crowds all day long. The best part? While the performers gladly accept tips, all of the shows are completely free for your amusement.