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Tour Guide Volunteer

Boston By Foot, Inc. is an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring locals and visitors to discover and appreciate the diverse stories of Boston by exploring the cityscape together. Boston By Foot depends on the time and talents of its over 200 volunteers to support its mission-driven programming.

Tour Guide Volunteers give public walking tours after successful completion of Tour Guide Training. Join our community of over 200 volunteers from all walks of life! Background in history, architecture or tour guiding is not required.

  • Type:

    This is an in-person volunteer position, with some virtual components.

  • Commitment:

    This is a seasonal volunteer position primarily from April - November. Tour Guide volunteers commit to guiding at least 8 tours per year. New Tour Guide Volunteers commit to participate in Guide Training. Guide Training 2024 begins March 19, 2024.

  • Application Status: Closed

Frequently Asked Questions:

I love Boston history and want to be a tour guide, do I need to be a historian or architect?
You do not need any experience or expertise in Boston history, architecture or tour guiding to become a volunteer. Our volunteers come from all walks of life! While some are historians or architects, we have volunteers whose day jobs include engineering, data science, graphic design, teaching, marketing, administration, and beyond. Our comprehensive Tour Guide Training is designed to prepare you to guide Boston By Foot tours. All you need is a passion for learning and a desire to support our mission to inspire visitors and locals to discover and appreciate the stories of Boston by exploring together!

How many tours do Boston By Foot volunteers give each year?
Boston By Foot tour guides give at least 8 tours each year. New tour guides give at least 2 tours before July 31st, and 6 more tours between August and mid-November

Do I have to attend all training sessions to become a volunteer tour guide?
Attendance and participation in training is critical to becoming a tour guide. But we understand that sometimes unexpected life events come up. Guides-in-Training may miss 1 week of training and make up the materials. For Guide Training 2024 sessions will not be held on Sun March 31 or Mon April 22 - Sun April 28 in observance of holidays.

Do you have a minimum age to volunteer?
Volunteers must be at least 16 years old at the time of application to volunteer at Boston By Foot. There is no upper age limit for volunteers.

Do I have to dress up in a costume?
No, Boston By Foot tour guides wear a name tag and carry a Boston By Foot Walking Tour sign, but you may wear clothing and footwear that you are comfortable in on your tours.

Tour Guide Duties include:

  • Guide at least 8 Boston By Foot tours per year in Boston’s downtown and surrounding neighborhoods
  • Interpret Boston’s multi-layered history and story to diverse touree groups
  • Provide excellent customer service
  • Manage tour groups on busy urban streets
  • Use Boston By Foot tour manuals and guide Boston By Foot tours only for uses authorized by Boston By Foot
  • Be dependable and punctual: Arrive reliably for scheduled tours

Qualifications and required skills

  • Ability to participate in and complete the 7-week, intensive Boston By Foot Guide Training program
  • Desire to support Boston By Foot and our mission
  • Desire to learn Boston history and architecture
  • Desire to learn and develop heritage interpretation, storytelling and public speaking skills
  • Desire to learn and develop tour group management skills to lead tours
  • Desire to inspire touree connection to Boston and its history
  • Time management skills
  • Have strong customer service skills
  • Have a patient disposition and the ability to work with a variety of personality types
  • Be flexible and have a creative approach to problem solving
  • Ability to travel 1/2 to 1 mile outdoors on urban terrain at a moderate pace for 60 to 90 minutes
  • Ability to work outdoors in variable weather conditions
  • Ability to access the internet and use a computer, tablet or mobile device
  • Ability to abide by policies and procedures with training provided
  • A strong interest in Boston history
  • A strong connection to Boston and the surrounding community

Resources for Prospective Tour Guide Volunteers

We are often asked by prospective tour guide volunteers enthusiastic to jump start their learning if we have a suggested tour list. While there is no expectation that applicants have taken these tours or programs, you are welcome to explore these optional resources if you would like:

Walking Tours:

Boston By Foot public walking tours and recorded virtual programs are free to members. Not a member? Become a BBF Member today!