Don't miss out! Get the best events & activities in your inbox weekly...
Submit Event
View Newsletter

Old North Church Boston - Gallery & Crypt Tour

Interesting add-on tours of Boston's Old North ChurchOld North Church Boston - Gallery  Crypt Tour

We visited Old North Church this weekend during festivities of St. Anthony's Feast.   The North End was alive with a happy energy, along with that laid back late August vibe. 

The enduring fame of the Old North Church began on the evening of April 18, 1775, when the church sexton, Robert Newman, climbed the steeple and held high two lanterns as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea and not by land.

boston old north church extrerior

This fateful event ignited the American Revolution.

Revere's 'One if by land, and two if by sea' ride. Built in 1723, it was the tallest structure in Boston until the 217-foot steeple topping the Park Street Church surpassed it in 1809.

Prince’s Pew Pursuit: A Family Scavenger Hunt
This a new new activity designed especially for families, visitors explore Old North through a scavenger hunt narrated by Prince, the friendly North End cat who used to frequent the church.

By finding clues and answering questions, participants will see highlights of the sanctuary and learn about Old North’s unique history.

This activity is designed for children ages 6-12 and their families, and is included with your admission ticket! To participate, simply request a copy of Prince’s Pew Pursuit when you enter the church.

Admission grants visitors access to the main church nave, where you can explore the unique box pews and read about the history of the church and its congregation.

boston old north church nave

Add-On Tours: Bell Tower & Crypt
In addition to touring the church, from June to October you can also choose to add-on a tour the bell tower and the crypts.

The Gallery tour allows visitors to follow a guide up the stairs to the second floor balcony (which are otherwise closed off).   boston old north church gallery stairs

When you reach the top, you'll be greeted with a much different perspective of the church space.  You'll quickly see that the view from here is not nearly as good - in fact, there are few seats that you can even see the pulpit.   

boston old north church gallery

But you are at eye level with the beautiful organ, and have a birds-eye view of the congregation seating below.

boston old north church gallery organ

You'll also learn about the history of the four carved angels that sit atop the pillars in front of the organ; what the original interior might have looked like, and who generally sat up in the gallery seats.

boston old north church gallery organ

It's a beautiful, historic church and well worth a visit.  In addition to the nave, and gallery, you can also opt to take tours of the bell-tower above (stairs), and/or the crypt below.

boston old north church gallery

The Gallery is decorated for the Christmas holidays each year with simple garlands and wreaths with red ribbons. 

old north church boston christmas decorations

photo credit: BostonCentral

The Crypt tour starts out behind the church and takes you beneath the nave.  You'll hear the floorboards creak above your head as visitors explore the nave.  

The crypt history is pretty interesting.  We chose the crypt tour since it was a hot day at the end of August, and the space was cool and a nice respite from the heat of the day.

boston old north church crypt

The tour guide was enthusiastic and entertaining, and I left knowing a lot more information than I came in with so I'm marking this a win.  

boston old north church crypt

Most of the toms are sealed, but there is one that is "open" so you can get a sense of how big they were and how things were placed inside.   You'll find it interesting as to how many people are burying here, and how they were able to do it.

boston old north church crypt

It's also interesting how much smaller people generally were a few hundred years ago.

Boston old north church crypt

Here's a sneak peek at the Bell Tower from inside.  You won't find any lanterns in this part of the steeple, but you will find lots of light bulbs.  Tours of the Bell Tower are offered daily.


Once done, you are free to roam about the plaza as you decide which shop you'll go to for a box of Italian pastries, (Mikes? Modern? Bova?) or which restaurant you'll indulge in for lunch or dinner. 

Boston North End

During the warmer months, you can done al fresco, or in the open windows of many of the delicious restaurants.  It's a vibrant energy and a fun place to gather.

Part of the North End adventure, of course, is getting a cannoli after dinner.  Pick a line and peruse all of the treats as you await your turn at the service counter.

After you grab your box of pastries - we encourage you to walk up Hanover Street to the Rose Kennedy Greenway where you can enjoy miles of green park, botanicals, fountains, and open spaces. 

Boston Greenway

The Clough House
The Clough House is open once again! One of Boston’s oldest surviving brick residences, the 1715 Clough House is home to the Printing Office of Edes & Gill and Heritage Goods + Gifts.