Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is the second oldest graveyard in Boston. It was established in 1659 in the North End. Named after shoemaker William Copp, the burying ground has many tombs of Boston’s less-affluent craftsmen and artisans. Here are some highlights to check out when you visit, perhaps as part of a day in the North End!
1. Daniel Malcolm lived in the North End and was a member of the Sons of Liberty. He evaded paying taxes during the buildup to the Revolutionary War, but he didn’t get to see American independence, as he died in 1769. When the British soldiers occupied Boston, they’d often hang out at Copp’s Hill and use Malcolm’s tomb for target practice!
2. Puritan ministers Cotton and Increase Mather are also buried at Copp’s Hill. You may know them for their fiery role in the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century.
3. Robert Newman was a sexton at the Old North Church. He helped hang the lanterns during Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride: “One if by land, two if by sea…” The sea in Longfellow’s 1861 poem, by the way, referred to the Charles River, which separates Boston from Charlestown. The British placed cannons on Copp’s Hill during the Battle of Bunker Hill, which took place in Charlestown in 1775, because it was high ground.
4. You’ll also find the USS Constitution in Charlestown. Edmund Hartt, who was the ship’s master carpenter, is buried at Copp’s Hill.
5. The animal life at Copp's Hill is amazing. On several occasions we've seen a black cat roaming through and bunnies (bunnies!) hiding over in the bushes by Malcolm's grave (#1 on this list).
In the mood for some local craft beer and New England cuisine? Check out these Boston-area brewpubs! Hit up all five and you’ll have explored five different neighborhoods…sounds like the perfect combination of beer and history!
1. Democracy Brewing (Downtown Crossing)
This worker-owned brewpub opened in 2018, modeling itself after the public houses of yore and is the perfect place to visit for lunch before one of our tours. Sip on a “democratic” brew, like the Fighting 54th Saison, named after the first African-American regiment organized for the Union in the Civil War - Huzzah!
2. Cambridge Brewing Co. (Kendall Square)
CBC is one of the oldest brewpubs in the area, opening in 1989. Its claim to fame is being the first commercial brewery in America to produce a Belgian-style beer and it has continued experimenting with cellar aging and sake-beer hybrids…how fun! You can also get more typical beer styles, along with seasonal New England cuisine.
3. Dorchester Brewing Co. (Dorchester)
A community-oriented brewpub, Dorchester Brewing serves in-house-brewed beer in flights or pints. They don't prepare food in house, but there's often a food truck outside or you can get deals for delivery from local restaurants. Join the avid trivia teams on Tuesday nights or take a free tour on Saturdays.
4. Night Shift (Everett)
Easily accessible on the T, Night Shift has plenty of space (a two-bar taproom and outdoor patio) to go with its delicious beer. There are always snacks on hand, usually some food trucks, and sometimes live music. If you want to stay closer to home, you can check out their latest location at Lovejoy Wharf, which is an"experimental brewery," so there's usually something interesting on tap.
5. Trillium (Fort Point location in the Seaport)
When Trillium’s new industrial-style brewpub opened in 2018, this small hipster brewery became one of the most popular spots in town. You can grab a beer and casual bite on the first floor or make a reservation for the upstairs dining room that boasts New England farmhouse cuisine. On a sunny day (and if you beat the happy hour rush), head to the top floor for the outdoor patio!
One of our favorite buildings in Boston, the Old State House, currently has an exhibit about John Hancock's home called "Through the Keyhole." Hancock's uncle built a mansion on the top of Beacon Hill that John later inherited. Before the house was leveled in 1863, Hancock's front door and several items from inside the home were saved and are part of the current display. The North Bennet Street School in Boston recreated the striking doorway.
We recommend visiting the exhibit and then joining one of our tours to find out about John Hancock's impact on revolutionary Boston!
Given its rebellious and revolutionary history, Boston is THE place to celebrate Independence Day! And because revolutionary history is what we do best, we have the perfect recommendations to help you make the most of the holiday. Follow the schedule below for a full day of celebration or pick what fits with your BBQ and beer-drinking plans.
9-10am: Flag-Raising Ceremony and Parade to Granary Burying Ground
Grab your coffee to go and join other Independence Day celebrators at Boston’s City Hall Plaza. The Mayor will give some opening remarks to kick off a parade toward Granary Burying Ground, where city officials will lay wreaths on the graves of those who helped launch the American Revolution, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence – Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine.
10-10:30am: Reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Old State House
Continue on the parade route to assemble in front of the Old State House for a public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia. But the first time it was read in Boston, it was broadcast from the very balcony you’ll see it read from today. Abigail Adams attended the reading and wrote, "Great attention was given to every word...and then three cheers."
10:30am-1pm: USS Constitution Turn-Around Cruise
The USS Constitution, aka “Old Ironsides,” is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Launching from its home in Charlestown Naval Yard at 10:30am, the ship will head out to Castle Island to fire a 21-gun salute at 12pm. You can watch the ship come and go from much of Boston Harbor, but local sailing groups and boat companies also offer tickets to ride alongside Old Ironsides on her annual expedition.
8-11pm: Boston Pops Firework Spectacular on the Esplanade
The city’s most famous Fourth of July event takes place at the half shell, along the Esplanade and Charles River. There will be crowds, so stake out a spot anywhere along the Esplanade throughout the day. The concert starts at 8pm and the fireworks fly from 10:30-11pm. You can see the fireworks from most places downtown with a view of the Charles River. This year’s guest performers include Queen Latifah and Arlo Guthrie.
Not a fan of big crowds? Celebrate a day early! Join us for a tour on July 3 at 2pm to learn some revolutionary history and drink local craft beer. Afterwards grab some dinner and head to the Esplanade. The Boston Pops have a full dress rehearsal (without the fireworks) from 8-10pm that’s much less crowded.