Experience Faneuil Hall

Experience Faneuil Hall
For many, Boston starts at historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Why? Well, besides being steps away from hotspots like the waterfront, financial district, North End, Government Center, and Haymarket, Faneuil boasts over 70 unique and nationally-known shops, as well as an ever-evolving array of eateries, some of which are world-famous.

Here, treading on cobblestone promenades, you’ll feel as though you’re stepping back in time, exploring an old English country market. Faneuil Market dates back to 1742, and while it has undergone renovations, it retains much of its age-old charm. This, in conjunction with the food and entertainment — Faneuil boasts some of the best entertainment in Boston, what with its incredible variety of street performers and musicians — is why the market is one of the most visited sites in America. After all, nobody should miss out on experiencing street performers’ high-energy comedy shows that leave you reeling with laughter or other dramatic shows that make you wonder just how the body could bend in such a way, or how one could juggle up to 8 balls while standing on a one-legged stool. Be sure to keep an eye peeled for the World Yo-Yo Champion too!

Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Greenway Carousel

Places to Visit in Faneuil Hall

  • Quincy Market
  • The Lounge
  • Greenway Carousel
  • North Market
  • The Great Dome

Unique Things to See and Do in Faneuil Hall

  • Try the oysters at the almost 200-year-old Union Oyster House
  • Admire the street performers
  • Play a game or read the newspaper in The Lounge
  • Buy homemade crafts from Bostonian artists
  • Listen to local musicians play their unique tunes
  • View the gilded grasshopper weathervane

Why Faneuil Hall should Top Your Must-See List

Today, Faneuil Market is a premiere urban destination that attracts ten of millions yearly, but, like everyone and everything, it did go through hard times; by the mid-1900s, the building was in utter disrepair, and the buzz that came with the territory when it was a vital business hub a century earlier, was all but gone.

Thanks to a few local architects’ determination not to let demolishers get their hands on the unique historic landmark, the market was given new life in 1976, and imitations have since popped up across the world. It’s that impressive. But perhaps the most interesting part of the market’s reconstruction in 1976 was that workers discovered a dome in one of the sections, a “Great Dome” that had been hidden by a false ceiling. Needless to say, the unique dome is now visible for your viewing pleasure.

Faneuil is fertile ground for shoppers, entertainment-seekers, and foodies, but the market is also known as “The Cradle of Liberty” because it’s where many impassioned speakers, like Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy, have given inspiring speeches. Interestingly, Faneuil is also where colonists protested the Sugar Act in 1764, and where the “no taxation without representation” doctrine was also established.

What Makes Faneuil Hall Unique

Faneuil is fertile ground for shoppers, entertainment-seekers, and foodies, but the market is also known as “The Cradle of Liberty” because it’s where many impassioned speakers, like Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy, have given inspiring speeches. Interestingly, Faneuil is also where colonists protested the Sugar Act in 1764, and where the “no taxation without representation” doctrine was also established.

Unique things to do at Faneuil Marketplace reach beyond visiting one-off shops and restaurants; there’s also a whole slew of free (yes, free!) activities for children and adults at the outdoor program area. Here, you can rest your feet and catch up on the news in the Reading Room, play pool at an outdoor pool table, paint in the open-air art studio, or rummage through the games cupboard. An afternoon spent at Faneuil can easily turn into a multi-day stay.

Did you know…?

Faneuil used to be waterfront, but the harbor was filled in in the early 1800s to create more land space.

Boston Harbour

Did you ALSO know…?

Street Performances began at Faneuil in the early 1970s to entertain construction workers.

Gilded grasshopper weather vane
Before leaving, top off your day of unique experiences at Faneuil Market by viewing the grasshopper weather vane perched atop the building. The vane is guided with gold leaf, weighs about 80 pounds (as much as a large dog), is 4 feet long, and is purported to be modeled after the one on the Royal Exchange building in London. The grasshopper vane is Faneuil’s only untouched original feature.

Getting Around Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Market is a convenient five-minute walk from other major sites, like the New England Aquarium, The Children’s Museum, and The Old State House. At the market, you’ll want to be on foot; anything else and you’ll have a bad time. Locals’ best advice is to never drive in Boston (for one thing, parking is outrageously pricey), and because the city is a walker’s paradise, travelling by foot is a safe (and encouraged) option. Just make sure to pack comfortable walking shoes; there’s so much to see, you won’t want to stop!

Feet aside, Boston also has an extensive public transportation system, and you can buy a one-day pass for “The T” (what locals call the public subway, bus, train, and boat system) that’ll get you all over the city painlessly.

Best Time of Year to Travel to Faneuil Hall

Since Faneuil Hall is a covered market, temperature-wise, there really is no best time to visit. The market gets busier during the usual holiday times, so it’s optimal if you can travel to Faneuil during the off-season months. That said, the market is truly spectacular in the winter when festive lights are up, winter foods are being served, and cheerful music is playing.

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