- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Boston started here. Charlestown was a thriving settlement a year before colonials headed across the Charles River at William Blaxton's invitation to found the city proper. Today the district's attractions include two of the most visible—and vertical—monuments in Boston: the Bunker Hill Monument, which commemorates the grisly battle that became a symbol of patriotic resistance against the British, and the USS Constitution, whose masts continue to tower over the waterfront where she was built more than 200 years ago.
The blocks around the Bunker Hill Monument are a good illustration of how gentrification is changing the neighborhoods. Along streets lined with gas lamps are impeccably restored Federal and mid-19th-century town houses; cheek by jowl are working-class quarters of similar vintage but more modest recent pasts. Near the Navy Yard along Main Street is City Square, the beginning of Charlestown's main commercial district, which includes City Square Park, with brick paths and bronze fish sculptures. On Phipps Street is the grave marker of John Harvard, a young minister who in 1638 bequeathed his small library to the fledgling Cambridge College, thereafter renamed in his honor. The precise location of the grave is uncertain, but a monument of 1828 marks its approximate site.
To get to Charlestown, you can walk across the Charlestown Bridge from the North End, or take Bus 93 from the Haymarket T station; it stops three blocks from the Navy Yard entrance. A more interesting and speedy way to get here is to take the MBTA water shuttle from Long Wharf in downtown Boston, which runs every 15 or 30 minutes year-round.
Charlestown at a Glance
Elsewhere in Boston
- Back Bay and the South End
- Beacon Hill, Boston Common, and the Old West End
- Boston Outskirts
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $429* & up -- Premium Economy to Boston from California, O/W Virgin America
- $149-$199 -- Cambridge, Mass. Hotel near University, 20% Off Boston Marriott Cambridge
- $245-$281 -- Downtown Boston Hotel Through Summer Holiday Inn Express Boston Garden
- $269 -- Boston: 4-Star Back Bay Hotel thru Summer, 30% Off — $269 The Westin Copley Place
- $197 & up -- Boston: AAA 4-Diamond Waterfront Hotel, 40% Off — $197 The Westin Boston Waterfront