The Old North Church is the oldest church still surviving in Boston and the site of Paul Revere’s signal that the British were coming by way of the Charles River. This event sparked the Revolutionary War and half a million people still visit the historic Old North Church annually.
Christ Church, which came to be known as Old North Church, was built in 1723 and is the oldest church still standing in Boston. The most popular historic attraction in the city, Old North Church is famed for being the site of the signal lantern that Paul Revere designed to warn Lexington and Concord that the British were invading by way of the Charles River.
The church is now part of the Old North Historic Site and is managed by The Old North Foundation, a nonprofit secular group. The Christ Church in the City of Boston is still home to an episcopal congregation and is a partner of the Old North Foundation. Hours vary seasonally and are outlined on the Old North Church website.
Attractions at Old North Church Historic Site
In addition to the historic Old North Church, the site includes four other attractions that are popular for visitors to tour while visiting the Christ Church in the City of Boston.
Captain Jack’s Historic Chocolate Shop- Visitor’s to the chocolate shop will witness what chocolate making was like in the 18th century. Captain Jack’s still produces chocolate as it was during the Revolutionary War and Colonial times. Volunteers dress in period clothing and chat with visitors about the history of chocolate making in Boston and the connection to the church. The shop was built in the 1740’s and operated by Captain Newark Jackson. The site opened in 2013 as a historic landmark and chocolate shop to the public.
Gardens- There are multiple gardens at Old North Church that are used for quiet reflection, prayer, meditation, or walking. The gardens began in 1995 when gardeners from the Old North Church congregation and The North End Neighborhood joined together to beautify the historic site’s campus. The gardens use plants and grasses that were popular in the 18th century. There are displays of annuals and perennials throughout the year. Other gardens on the campus include St. Francis Assisi Garden, Washington Memorial Garden, The Third Lantern Garden, and The Memorial Garden. The Memorial Garden is the first public garden to honor the lives that were lost from American Troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as Operation Enduring Freedom.
Gift Shop- Found in the former St Francis Chapel, the main gift shop is 12,000 square feet featuring Old North Church Branded merchandise including American Heritage Chocolate that is produced in Captain Jack’s, Coffee, books, clothing, jewelry and educational items.
Old North Church Historic site is located along the Freedom Trail and has a parking garage nearby. Visitors are encouraged to participate in self-guided tours of the site which is free, while donations are appreciated. There is a mobile app, This Old Pew, that will provide an audio tour, history of specific pews, and the American Revolution. There are two guided tours daily that require ticketing. Reservations are required for groups of 8 or more who would like a guided tour.
Behind the Scenes Tour- This tour takes visitors from the crypt up to the bell tower of Old North Church while they are educated on the history of Paul Revere and the steeple, as well as artifacts that were found in the crypt.
Tolerance and Tombstones Tour- The second-floor gallery of the church’s sanctuary is only available to visitors on this tour. They will explore religion, and investigate how death and burial was handled in colonial times. The Crypt and Copp’s Hill Burying Ground are also visited during the 40-minute tour.
Aesthetic Appeal Tour- Visitors on this tour will see some of the beauty of the Old North Church in an interactive way exploring the concepts of Anglican Art and Architecture. Participants will see the second-floor gallery, and fine art pieces that decorate the church. This tour is only conducted when the church is closed to the public.
There are two annual events that are hosted at Old North Church Historic Site. There are several other events for families and children throughout the year and those can be found on the events calendar on the website.
Colonialfest- This celebration is held annually during Boston Fourth Of July Harborfest and includes activities and reenactments relating to the American Colonies, Revolutionary War, and 18th century life.
Family Fall Fest- Held on or before Halloween weekend, Fall Fest is a free celebration of Autumn and harvest time that includes lots of treats, family friendly activities and crafts immediately following the North End Halloween Party and Parade.
There is an admission fee.
193 Salem Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02113, Phone: 617-858-8231