Tour guides share the most frequently asked questions from visitors



How easy is it to get around? where is cheers Plus more questions frequently asked by visitors.

The Freedom Trail in Boston. David L. Ryan/Globe Contributor

  • 12 Boston Museums Everyone Should Visit At Least Once

Tour season is kicking off, which means groups of tourists traverse Boston daily accompanied by tour guides eager to share the city’s rich history.

And the visitors have questions.

We asked tour guides in Boston to share the most common questions they get asked during tours. From questions about food, buildings and bathrooms, they heard everything.

“Where is the Freedom Trail?”

“It’s funny because you’re usually right on the Freedom Trail red line when asked,” said Jeremy Murphy, a Freedom Trail player who tours the Freedom Trail in full Colonial costume. “People don’t notice.”

The famous 2½ mile Freedom Trail, famously marked with a red line, connects 16 nationally significant historic sites and tells the story of the American Revolution and beyond. It was recently named one of the top 15 American Landmarks by Fodor’s Travel.

“How easy is it to get around the city?”

People always have questions about touring around the city, said McEntee of ToursByLocals.

“We are a city where it is easy to walk. So if you stay downtown, you can walk to pretty much every neighborhood, attraction, or port,” McEntee said in an email. “We also have a fairly reliable train (The T) that’s easy to get around if you’re a bit far on foot. The T itself is historic as we have one of the oldest train systems in the country.”

There are also plenty of taxis and Ubers, he noted.

Established in 1826, the Union Oyster House is Boston’s oldest restaurant and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. – Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe

“Where is the best lobster roll and where is the best clam chowder?”

Boston is known for its seafood, so Free Tours by Foot tour guide Brian Burgess is inevitably asked which restaurants serve up the best seafood.

Burgess sends people to Pauli’s in the North End for lobster rolls (with instructions to order a large one) and Union Oyster House, Boston’s oldest restaurant, for clam chowder.

“It’s a historic restaurant, and they make a fine chowder,” Burgess said via email.

“Where’s Cheers?”

The tour guides said visitors want to see the bar, made famous by the hit TV show Cheers, which ran from 1982-1993.

“Seriously, after almost 30 years since it went off the air, people are still asking!” Neil Roberts, a tour guide for ToursByLocals, wrote in an email.

Cheers on Beacon Hill was founded in 1969 as the Bull & Finch pub. It is located at 84 Beacon St. across from the Public Garden.

“Where should I go to eat?”

Martin McEntee, tour guide for ToursByLocals, said he’s “spoiled for choice” when it comes to places to eat in the city. He tells visitors that while sampling the seafood is a must, don’t overlook the Italian food.

“One of my first suggestions is to visit our Little Italy: the North End,” McEntee said via email. “There are over 100 restaurants ranging from traditional Italian menus to modern interpretations of the classics to coffee shops and bakeries.”

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Boston City Hall. —John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“What is that?” (while pointing to City Hall)

Boston City Hall’s brutalist architecture often surprises people, said Tom Revay, tour guide for Boston by Foot.

“I’ll give you a brief history that it was a competition held in 1961 to come up with a new town hall,” Revay said. “And that it represented a new direction for Boston, which Boston really needed at the time.”

“If you have to see one thing in Boston, what will it be?”

“I encourage people to check out the USS Constitution because there’s nothing else in the world like it,” Revay said.

The USS Constitution or “Old Ironsides” is located near the USS Constitution Museum in the Charlestown Navy Yard. It is the oldest commissioned warship in the world still afloat.

His other favorites: The Isabella Gardner Museum and its “amazing courtyard” and the Boston Public Library. “There are all kinds of interesting free public art in this building, as well as free public tours,” he said.

“What else is there to see in Boston besides the Freedom Trail?”

Many, according to McEntee, from ToursByLocals.

“Boston has so much to offer…we have a beautiful harbor with great ocean views and a Harborwalk that is a walk from one end of town right along the water,” McEntee wrote. “We also have very different neighborhoods, each with its own look and feel. You’ll see some of the most interesting and diverse architecture of our 400-year history, from ancient cobblestone streets and red brick to contemporary buildings and seaside buildings. There’s a vibrant cultural scene in Boston, we have world-class art galleries, restaurants, music venues and of course our amazing sports teams. One final recommendation I have is to take the time to walk around our parks. We have fabulous green spaces in the city and one of my favorite things to do is have a coffee and go to the Public Garden or the Greenway and just be outside.”

Boston weather
The People’s Garden. —David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

“Where is Mother Goose buried?”

“It’s kind of awkward because the woman everyone in the graveyard thinks is Mother Goose is probably not,” said Murphy, the Freedom Trail player.

The historic Granary Burying Ground, located on the Freedom Trail, has approximately 2,300 markers featuring famous names such as Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere. And Mary Goose.

“In the 17th century in Boston there lived a woman named Mary Goose,” said Murphy. “But Mother Goose’s rhymes predate them by some time and come from Europe, not Boston. So she’s probably not Mother Goose. We can’t rule it out 100 percent, but it’s very likely she’s not Mother Goose.”

“What’s your favorite part of Boston?”

Often asked about favorite city spots, Naim Benmayor, tour guide for ToursByLocals, said Beacon Hill, the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church are personal must-see destinations.

“The fall season is very special in New England, and I always recommend my customers drive out of town to places like New Hampshire and/or Concord, MA to see the color change,” Benmayor wrote in an email.

“Where is the toilet?”

“Any tour guide worth their salt knows where all the restrooms are in the city,” said Revay, tour guide for Boston by Foot, adding, “This city needs more of these in my opinion.”


Comments are closed.