Boston Women's Heritage Trail
The Women’s Heritage Trail tells the remarkable stories of women whose lives and achievements have enriched the city of Boston for almost four centuries. Below are some of the self-guided tours that you can take to learn about each neighborhood.
Back Bay East
The Back Bay East area, originally a mudflat, was filled in with gravel brought from suburban Needham by train between 1852 and 1890. This elegant neighborhood includes Commonwealth Avenue with its tree-lined mall of grass, center walking path, and sculptures, as well as the “uptown” shopping area with high-end stores, art galleries, and restaurants.
Back Bay West
The Back Bay West Walk starts at Copley Square and ends at the Boston Women’s Memorial. Focusing on women of the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the sites demonstrate the high energy devoted by women to the arts and education, pointing out educational institutions, clubs, and art associations as well as women’s sculptures.
The Beacon Hill Walk begins at the Massachusetts State House with the statues of two seventeenth century women religious dissenters. The walk continues up, down, and across Beacon Hill, often paralleling the Black Heritage Trail. Starting with intense activity in the period before and after the Civil War and continuing into the nineteenth century, women writers and artists living here supported social movements ranging from anti-slavery to suffrage.
The Chinatown/South Cove Walk starts at the Visitor Center on Boston Common, winds through Chinatown, and ends at Park Square. It presents a wide range of women’s activities and organizations working for social change and economic justice. The focus is on immigrant groups, most recently Chinese. The walk also includes a women’s settlement house serving an earlier immigrant population, and the international programs of a Catholic sisterhood.
The Downtown Walk begins at the State House and goes past many of Boston’s earliest historic sites, ending at Franklin and Washington streets, a block below Tremont Street and the Boston Common.
The walk features women across the centuries, with a focus on the eighteenth century through the mid-nineteenth century. It includes women who wrote poetry, essays, and plays and spoke out publicly before members of the Massachusetts State Legislature and in Boston’s halls and churches for the abolition of slavery, woman suffrage, and African American and Native American rights.
View more walks on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail and download maps for each one.
Boston women have always played an integral role in shaping our history: including abolitionists, suffragists, artists, scientists, poets, writers and patriots.
Self-guided tours are free
Private tours are available by appointment
Various Walking Tour Locations, Boston, MA map
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