Financial District to Theatre District
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- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
This Boston walking tour will allow you to explore the waterfront and Boston’s Financial District. Don’t let the name confuse you though, there are many must-see historical and fun stops in the area! After time walking through the Financial District head to the more-lively Theatre District. Filled with great restaurants and bars as well as a variety of shows, and of course historically significant buildings housing them all - this makes for a great afternoon into evening walk!
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Route Description for Financial District to Theatre District
Many large conventions and meetings take place at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center. It is also the main hub of international activity in New England and the home of the US Export Assistance Center. The World Trade Center building opened in 1986 and the Seaport Hotel was added in 1998. In this area, there are also some great restaurants you might want to stop at before beginning this walk. Try the Legal harborside for excellent Boston seafood.
From the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, take a right on Seaport Boulevard, then take a left on Boston Wharf Road followed by a right on Congress Street. This will take you straight to the entrance of stop number two-the Boston Children’s Museum.
The second oldest children’s museum in the country, the Boston Children’s Museum was founded in 1913 by the Science Teachers’ Bureau with assistance from the Women’s Education Association. The museum was first opened in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood and relocated to its current location in 2007. With a focus on hands-on engagement, the museum’s main goal is to inspire children to learn. Housed here are exhibits ranging from environmental awareness to literacy to dolls and dollhouses. Admission to the museum is $16 and it is open every day of the week.
After exploring the Boston Children’s Museum, exit back onto Congress Street and walk toward the water. Stop number three is located halfway across the Congress Street Bridge, but before you get there, make sure to stop and take advantage of the view from the bridge. Once you’ve snapped pictures of the Seaport and Financial Districts, go ahead and explore the Boston Tea Party Museum.
The Boston Tea Party Museum offers an interactive experience where visitors get to take part in the story. They also have a meeting house and authentically restored tea ships on site to explore. Tickets cost $26, but this engaging tour is definitely worth it. The museum provides excellent insight to a famous piece of Boston’s, and America’s, history, so definitely be sure to make time for a stop here. The museum is open every day of the week and tours run from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Once you’ve learned all about the Boston Tea Party, continue across the Congress Street Bridge and into the Financial District. This area is basically the definition of concrete jungle, but lends itself to some cool skyscraper pictures. As you stroll around this business hub, keep an eye out for traffic, both vehicular and from pedestrians. To explore the Financial District, continue up Congress Street. Then take a right on Franklin Street at the Norman B. Leventhal Park, named for a Bostonian businessman who was chairman of the Beacon Companies and dedicated to civic improvements in Boston.
After walking past the park, continue on Franklin Street until you can turn right on Oliver Street, followed by the next possible left onto High Street. High Street will take you right past Kane’s Donuts. If you’re in need of a snack or a caffeine boost, take a break from the walk to stop in here. It is quite possible that these will be the best donuts you’ve ever tasted. With Flavors ranging from Creme Brulee to Apple Fritter, there is definitely a donut here for everyone.
Continue along High Street until you reach John F. Fitzgerald Surface Road and turn left, followed shortly by another left onto Broad Street. The stroll on Broad Street will take you through another large portion of the Financial District. After walking on Broad Street for a while, turn right on Milk Street and take the second left onto John F. Fitzgerald Surface Road. Then turn left on State Street. This will take you past another excellent place to stop for food- The Black Rose.
If you’re still hungry after your donut, or if you aren’t but you want to stop for a pint of Guinness anyway, check out this excellent Irish Pub. With live music seven nights a week, The Black Rose makes for an entertaining place to stop and relax for a little bit. If you are hungry, grab yourself a Lobster Roll or some Shepherd's Pie. Otherwise, sit back with a pint and enjoy the music.
After The Black Rose, continue on State Street. State Street will take you past more restaurants and stores before it turns into Court Street. Then turn left onto Tremont Street. Tremont Street will lead you to stop number six-King’s Chapel and Burial Ground.
The original King’s Chapel congregation was founded in 1686 and was the first Anglican church in New England. The original wooden church was built in 1688. The current congregation is a Christian Universalist congregation and the building was completed in 1754. The building is now a National Historic Landmark.
The King’s Chapel Burial Ground is the oldest cemetery in the city. It was founded in 1630 and was the city’s only burial ground until 1660. When exploring the King’s Chapel Burial Ground, you can find the graves of the first European woman to step ashore in New England, a hero of the American Revolution, a pirate, and the first Puritan governor of Massachusetts.
When you’re done soaking in the history at King’s Chapel, take a left on School Street to get to the next stop-the Irish Famine Memorial. As you reach the corner of School Street and Washington Street, you’ll be able to spot the sculpture depicting three people in despair and three people prospering. This piece of art was created by Robert Shure in 1998 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the famine. The sculpture tells a story of a starving family in Ireland, juxtaposed with a thriving family that has immigrated to America, which is the story of many Bostonians’ ancestors.
From the Irish Famine Memorial, turn right on Washington Street to shop your way through Downtown Crossing. One of Boston’s main shopping areas, Downtown Crossing has been a desired site for department stores since 1841. Today, Downtown Crossing is home to a variety of stores ranging from Macy’s and Primark to various street vendors and souvenir stores. This is also a buzzing tourist area, which makes for fun people watching, and there are a variety of places to stop and grab a bite to eat if you need, such as Dunkin Donuts or Sidebar.
After you leave the main shopping area of Washington Street, the street will lead you straight to the Boston Opera House. Originally built in 1928 as a movie palace and vaudeville theater, today the Boston Opera House is the home of the Boston Ballet. Many touring Broadway shows also perform here. The building was designed by architect Thomas White Lamb in a fusion of French and Italian styles. The theater was built as a memorial to Benjamin Franklin Keith, a vaudeville theater owner and entrepreneur. The building saw frequent performances until 1991, when the Opera Company of Boston could no longer maintain funding. The deterioration that followed was shocking. In 2002, the Boston Opera House finally got the massive renovation it deserved and was reopened for performances.
Continue on Washington Street to further explore the Theater District. This street will also take you along the edge of Chinatown, so feel free to stop into any of the Chinese restaurants you’ll pass. They are all incredible and worth a try. When you’re ready to continue the walk, though, turn right on Stuart Street followed by a left on Tremont Street. Very shortly after that left turn, you will find yourself standing between two of Boston’s best theaters-the Shubert Theater and the Wang Theater.
The Shubert Theater opened in 1910, originally intended as a venue for Shakespearean plays. With time, it morphed into more of a test run stage for future Broadway productions. Many classics were originally performed at the Shubert Theater. Today the venue hosts many community arts organizations as well as touring performances.
The Wang Theater opened in 1925 under the name the Metropolitan Theater. In its lifetime, the Wang Theater has been a movie theater, a vaudeville stage, and a music hall. Today, the stunning venue hosts performance events of all kinds, from touring Broadway shows to dance to music.
If you have a chance, take time to look around the theaters and take in the gorgeous architecture, but when you’re finished, turn down the alley off Tremont Street in between W Boston and the Shubert Theater. Then turn right onto Warrenton Street, followed by a left onto Stuart Street and right onto Charles Street South. Continue on Charles Street South as it turns into Park Plaza. Then, take a right onto Boylston Street.
Being right across the street from the Boston Common, it might not look like you’re standing right in the middle of a college campus, but in fact this is where Emerson College makes its home. Emerson College was founded in 1880 as a “school of oratory” and today boasts being the only college in America dedicated to the study of communication and the arts in a liberal arts context. The school was founded a year after Boston University’s School of Oratory closed its doors and the first class was made up of ten students. After having many homes throughout Boston, Emerson College finally settled in the Theater District in the mid-1990s. The college now owns many buildings and theaters throughout the Theater District, as well as a branch in Los Angeles, California and a 14th century castle in the Netherlands, as a base for its European programs.
From this last stop, you could continue to explore the city via the Boston Common or by taking Boylston Street to Copley Square. You could also easily grab a cab on busy Boylston Street or take the Boylston T stop to elsewhere in the city.
Insider Hints for Financial District to Theatre District
- If you have time while strolling through Chinatown, stop into Gourmet Dumpling House for some excellent Chinese food.
- If you’re a Boba Tea fanatic, include Chatime Chinatown in your walk.
- The Primark location in Downtown Crossing is one of only two in the United States, so be sure to check it out if your schedule allows.
Getting to the Financial District to Theatre District Trailhead
To begin this walk through some of Boston’s most buzzing commercial and cultural neighborhoods, take the Silver Line to the World Trade Center stop. When you go up the stairs and exit the stop, you’ll be standing in front of the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center. This area is either referred to as the Innovation District or the Seaport District.
Financial District to Theatre District Elevation Graph
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Financial District to Theatre District Reviews
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