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Category: architecture (16)

boats docked under the bridge to fort point Boston

Fort Point Channel

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
90 minutes
1 mile
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
Explore the engineered world of Fort Point Channel. On this tour of discovery, you will experience the history and engineering marvels of this industrial waterway that has become the centerpiece of this neighborhood's revival. Fort Point Channel was the most difficult undertaking of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project - the I-90 extension. Since then, the Channel experienced great change. Cleaner water, parks, public docks, hotels, and restaurants have appeared among the historic bridges, buildings, and Gilette's 30MG/day cooling system. This tour focuses on the Channel itself from how it came to be through the activities of the Boston Wharf Company, South Station development, the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, and recent activation efforts. It will feature the workings of its three remaining historic bridges, plus the memories of the Mt. Washington, the rolling bridges at South Station, and the ambitious cofferdam. This team of guides has led many tours along the Charles River, down the Greenway, and through Boston's downtown infrastructure and are proud to debut this tour of Fort Point Channel. Prepare to walk from one end to the other and see this area like you have never seen it before! find out more
View of the Zakim bridge and Bunker Hill from the waterfront

Dams, Bridges & Locks

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
90 minutes
1 mile
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
Take a journey of discovery exploring the new open spaces along the lower Charles River. A hub of transportation and recreation, this area has experienced several cycles of dramatic change resulting from the construction of bridges and dams, the expansion of Boston, and the Big Dig project. From the tidal estuary of the Charles through the mudflats of Millers River, this unique tour traces the evolution of the lost half-mile and the reshaping of Boston. Dams, railroads, bridges, and highways have closed off this area until the recent creation of incredible public parks and recreation space. This tour will also feature a walk over the new North Bank Pedestrian Bridge connecting Cambridge and Charlestown. On this tour you will discover the artifacts left behind, examine up close the bridges and dams spanning the Charles River, and see the reclamation of land once dominated by the railroads of the 19th century while the upper basin developed in the tradition of Frederick Law Olmsted with Charlesbank, the Cambridge Esplanade, and the Boston Embankment. The views on this tour are unique and spectacular. We will see all the nooks and crannies people drive past, but never get out and explore. We will walk over bridges, under expressways, over railroads, and on top of movable locks. Whether you are an explorer at heart, a fan of landscape architecture, a history buff, or have an interest in engineering, there's something on this tour for everyone. find out more
Rowe's Wharf architectural rendering 1984

The Story of Rowes Wharf

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
60 minutes
0.25 mile
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
When the modern Rowes Wharf was conceived in 1982, it was a design competition with a bold vision of a new Boston. Learn why this building was such a breakthrough, and how it remains at the center of 21st-century Boston. Our hour-long, accessible, quarter-mile tour will lead you through memories of colonial wharves and elevated trolleys, schooners and steamships, and into the transformed city. Presented in partnership with the Boston Harbor Hotel find out more
Boston viewed from the Harbor

Architecture Cruise

Step off dry land and head out onto the water to experience Boston like never before!

Sails & Cruises :
120 minutes
Step off dry land and head out onto the water to experience Boston like never before! This 2-hour tour offers spectacular views of historic and contemporary architecture along Boston Harbor, through the Charles River Locks, and the Charles River Basin. The tour - narrated by a Boston By Foot guide - includes landmarks such as the Customs House, the Hancock tower, and Old North Church. These are simply the best waterfront views of Boston and Cambridge! The boat has a cash bar where guests can purchase drinks: beer, wine, soda, and premium mixed drinks. Lights snacks including chips and pretzels are also available. Tickets are available online two weeks before a scheduled cruise date. Because of the cruise’s popularity, advance reservations are highly recommended. This tour is offered in partnership with the BSA Foundation and the Charles Riverboat Company . Professional continuing education credits are available for architects upon request. Please email ce@architects.org to receive credit upon completion of the tour. find out more
Tall Ship in Boston Harbor

A Sail Through Time

Step aboard the Liberty Star schooner for a guided sailing adventure on Boston Harbor

Sails & Cruises :
120 minutes
Sail alongside Boston’s vibrant neighborhoods, including Downtown, The Seaport District, South Boston, East Boston, Charlestown, and the North End. Enjoy stories of Boston’s diverse cultures and people that represent both Boston’s historical past and its vibrant present. While onboard enjoy spectacular views of Boston, as you explore how the age of sail shaped the city and nation. This sail is presented in partnership with the Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships . find out more
Front of the Boston Art Museum

Art, Architecture and Gardens

Take note of significant buildings, gardens and pieces of artwork as you stroll the Back Bay Fens.

Walking Tours : New for 2022
90 minutes
1.5 miles
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
In the early nineteenth-century, Boston philanthropists designed and funded institutions to create a city of culture and learning through the arts, sciences and education for residents and immigrants. They also supported institutions that delivered medical and dental services for those in need. Today the tradition continues and Back Bay Fens represents all that and more. The Art, Architecture and Gardens walking tour highlights the aforementioned while strolling along the southern Fens, a section of the Emerald Necklace designed by landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted. It includes an introduction to architecturally significant buildings, gardens, and pieces of artwork. Participants learn about the history, stories, architectural details and the significant impact each had on society. find out more
victorian buildings in boston's back bay

Back Bay’s Victorian Architecture

Delight in the elegant homes and architectural marvels of Victorian Back Bay

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
90 minutes
0.65 mile
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
On this guided tour, explore how Boston’s back bay was filled in to become one of the United States’ richest collections of art and architecture. The treasures of this Back Bay tour include Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, Old South Church and grand Back Bay townhouses. Walk back in time to uncover splendid examples of Victorian architecture. find out more
Tower of Boston's Custom House

The Custom House Historic District

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
Join Boston By Foot for a classic walking tour of the Custom House Historic District. Established in 1973, expanded to include more buildings in 1996 and just shy of 16 acres, the district is comprised of 18 buildings deemed architecturally and historically significant. The area was the nexus of mercantile trade in Boston, from the earliest wharves and warehouses built in the area to later early 20th century business headquarters for banks, insurance companies, transatlantic shipping lines and the Board of Trade. Using the parameters of the Historic District as our guide, our tour starts in the 1700s as the area grew by wharfing-out, expanded by landmaking and by even employing the tactics later used in Urban Renewal, and ends in 1928 with the Art Deco Batterymarch Building. This area tucked away between Faneuil Hall and the Greenway is ready for rediscovery. The tour starts at the rear of the Custom House building, at the corner of State and India Streets. find out more
Eliot Square greek revival building

Roxbury Highlands

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
The Roxbury Highlands tour explores a remarkable neighborhood. Our tour travels through the center of colonial Roxbury:  Eliot Square, where the First Church proudly stands as the oldest wooden church in Boston. The Highlands flourished in the mid-19th century as a garden suburb with many pear and apple orchards.  There was even an apple named after the area – the Roxbury Russet.  We will see wonderful Greek Revival and Victorian houses along our route and discuss some of the amazing individuals who called this area home including Edward Everett Hale – author of The Man Without a Country, and Louis Prang – who printed the first Christmas cards in America.   Finally, we finish on top of the hill at the Roxbury Standpipe, in a lovely park which occupies the location of the Roxbury High Fort. Come explore with us! This tour is presented in partnership with the Boston Preservation Alliance , a nonprofit organization that protects and improves the quality of Boston's distinct architectural heritage through advocacy and education. find out more
Boston Aquarium during construction

Rethinking Boston Brutalism

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Like it or hate it, Boston is unarguably a center for Brutalism in America. Building with concrete represented one of the major architectural movements of the postwar era, but in Boston it was deployed in more numerous and diverse civic, cultural, residential, corporate, and academic projects than in any other major U.S. city. Brutalism is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity. How fitting that this year we commemorate the 50th anniversary (1969 – 2019) of two of Boston’s concrete gems—the New England Aquarium and Boston City Hall (the buildings that bookend the tour). Join us as we explore the historical and social context of an architectural style that has put Boston on the international map, but which Bostonians still love to hate. find out more
West End Project Redevelopment Sign 1960s

Old West End

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Look into the past for a tour of Boston’s Old West End. Once a thriving multi-cultural neighborhood representing 23 nationalities, The West End was transformed during a Government-sponsored Urban Renewal Program starting in the late 1950s and lasting through the 1960s. The project displaced over 2,500 families amounting to over 10,000 people. Concurrently, the City Hall Plaza project (through separate funding) forced the demise of Scollay Square - the commercial, entertainment and cultural center of the neighborhood. Lost were relics such as the Old Howard, The Boston Museum (think P.T. Barnum), and the Elizabeth Peabody House. In its place, just a few small plaques commemorate 300 years of lost history. Highlights include: The West End Museum, The Last Tenement Standing, The West End Settlement House, The Old West End Church, The West End Library, Bowdoin Square and Scollay Square. This tour encompasses the old neighborhood and recreates the fabric of the era before Urban Renewal and City Hall Plaza. find out more

Commonwealth Ave

Boston’s Grand Boulevard

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
90 minutes
1.5 miles
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
Take a walk through the heart of Victorian Boston on this tour of Commonwealth Avenue! Boston's grand boulevard, Commonwealth Avenue, provides an enduringly popular stroll. The tour parallels the 19th century filling and development of the Back Bay from its origin at Arlington Street down the seven blocks along the tree-lined, grassy Mall. See how careful effort over 150 years has preserved the "grandness" of the Avenue. find out more
Boston Harbour viewed from above the custom house

Change and Response

Boston’s Architecture, 1837 – 2021

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
45 minutes
0.75 mile
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
This tour tracks Boston’s development in chronological order on a walk that’s just a half-mile long. Along the way, we’ll be paying special attention to what Robert Campbell, the Boston Globe’s long time architectural critic, calls the encoded information that is present when we look closely at buildings. Things like: The moment they were built: Boston responding to local and national events The men (as it turns out) who built them and their profession The (mostly) European design precedents that inspired their work The new building systems, materials, and regulatory trends that informed them. find out more
The Boston Capitol Building

Boston By Bulfinch

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Called one of America’s first architects , Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844) defined the Federal style of architecture and the physical fabric of Boston, capturing the vision and spirit of the young Republic . As an architect, town planner, and selectman, Bulfinch designed some of the city’s most enduring buildings, and the street layout now known as the Bulfinch Triangle . Bulfinch’s story unfolds through some of his greatest works, including the Massachusetts State House, the residences of Beacon Hill, the sites of Boston’s first theater and first Catholic cathedral, and the Tontine Crescent, which was his architectural masterpiece and financial ruin. find out more