Old City Hall
Old City Hall
4
About
Once Boston's city hall, this beautiful building is now home to one of the city's finest restaurants.
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Downtown
The largest area of the city, Downtown is rich with historical and iconic sites in Boston. Stroll through one of Boston’s most famous green spaces, the Boston Public Gardens, check out and make way for duckling statues, picnic under a beautiful tree overlooking the pond, and walk over the iconic footbridge where, during summer time, you will catch a swan boat toting children and eager tourists through the pond. Have your camera ready to capture its peaceful beauty in the middle of a bustling city. Continue on through the Gardens and take in some open green space at the Boston Common, where you can spend time throwing a frisbee, sitting on a park bench, or, in the winter time, skating on the frog pond. Head north from the end of the Common to see the golden dome of the State House, and travel through government center to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, both a historic and popular destination worth a quick visit for a first time to Boston. Head to Long Wharf to visit the Aquarium, or catch a boat to Charlestown or even Cape Cod.
How to get there
  • Government Center • 3 min walk
  • State • 3 min walk
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.0
111 reviews
Excellent
20
Very good
61
Average
28
Poor
1
Terrible
1

Travel R
Rochester, MN1,710 contributions
Jul 2022 • Couples
Well up-kept historic buildings. Which has a statue of a donkey in front and one of Benjamin Franklin just outside it’s doors.
Written 2 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BrakiWorldTraveler
Belgrade, Serbia17,664 contributions
Apr 2022
It's a pity this stylish European style City Hall edifice is not used for its purpose any more. Instead, it's a high end steakhouse inside.
However, from a historic point of view it's an interesting spot to stop while walking the Freedom Trail. It's next door down the road from the King's Chapel.
In its courtyard you'll find a Benjamin Franklin statue and a donkey statue along with magnificent architecture.
Written 15 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tinaNtravel
San Jose, CA1,883 contributions
Sep 2021
This building is along the Freedom Trail after the Old South Meeting House. The building itself is impressive and has a small garden out front along with a plaque and some historical information. But the inside is now modern offices and such. So while you can enter the building, there is nothing to see/do there, unless you have actual business in the building.
Written 22 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thomas V
Oakland, CA16,407 contributions
Jan 2020
This is a very historic building, classic 19th Century architecture to show off the city. Worth a stop on your walking tour.
Written 17 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BeachStone2C
Helsinki, Finland2,775 contributions
Jan 2020 • Solo
Old City Hall has massive front doors. There are impressive murals in the building entrance. This is along the Freedom Trail with several interesting touristic sites nearby.
Written 23 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

retireeVancouver
Vancouver, Canada1,809 contributions
Sep 2019
There were several points of interest at the Old City Hall. First, was how different the Old City Hall looked like from the other red bricked buildings around it. Notice that it has an all white facade with a projecting central section encased with columns. Its front doors also were an eyecatcher at the time it was built - in the 1860's - because of its laid-in marble circles. This style of building caught on in the States, notably in Washington. Because of its architectural style, this historic building is now a landmark in Boston. It has been repurposed rather than pushed over and houses Ruth Chris's Steakhouse and offices. It probably is easier to photograph the Old City Hall when the leaves have fallen off the tall deciduous trees planted out front.

The second feature at this location were the two statues of notable Bostonians in the courtyard out front. One was of Ben Franklin whose accomplishments were shown in 4 reliefs around the pedestal of his statue. The other was of Josiah Quincy whose accomplishments as an early Boston mayor, Senator, and Harvard University president were prominently inscribed on his pedestal. Each statue had a different sculptural style, but each appeared to be evenly matched in height when seen in the courtyard on either side of the entry door. Benjamin Franklin's statue, erected in that spot in the mid-1860's, was the first statue in Boston of a person wearing clothes he might have worn while Josiah Quincy's statue, erected later in the 1870, is shown wearing a suit partially hidden by a classic/academic toga.

Probably more eyecatching than the statues, however, was the bronze donkey just at the entrance to the courtyard with shoe prints in front of it. A bronze plaque explained how the donkey became the symbol of the Democratic Political Party and how the elephant - an image on the shoe prints with the slogan, "We stand in opposition" - became the symbol of the Republican Political Party.

Another feature of this property was its association with Boston's first public school. This building no longer stands on the property, but its presence, at this location, was memorialized quite uniquely with a decorative children's hopscotch mosaic in the sidewalk in front of the building.

We stopped at this property for a photo stop on our Freedom Trail walking tour. The Old South Meeting House which is adjacent to the Old City Hall was really the important stop on this walking tour and probably the reason for walking past the Old City Hall. It was a nice break from all of the red bricked buildings where pre-Revolutionary events occurred.
Written 30 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lorry04
Cambridge, MA338 contributions
Oct 2019
I stopped by here as part of a walking tour. While this is indeed the old city hall and the omni parker house is also nearby, I was more attracted to learning the Boston Latin School was once located right there. One of its most popular students, Benjamin Franklin, is remembered with a statue right there in old city hall.
Written 13 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Piotr H.
Lodz, Poland3,983 contributions
Jun 2019
Very nice and old traditional building. Boston is reaaly beautiful city comparing with other cities in the U.S. And the old city hall is really worth seeing it.
Written 5 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lesley B
Mountain View, CA2,942 contributions
Sep 2019 • Couples
The Old City Hall site is an interesting historical feature of the Freedom Trail. There are a few interesting things to view at this site: The hopscotch in the sidewalk on School Street indicates this spot is the site of the Boston Latin School. There is a statue of a former student - Benjamin Franklin - in the courtyard. Scenes of Franklin's accomplishments appear on the square pedestal of the statue. The statue of Franklin was the first portrait statue to be erected in Boston.
There is also a bronze donkey in the courtyard, signifying the Democratic Party, with two bronze footprints in front of it labeled "stand in opposition" and a plaque explaining the origin of the donkey as the Democratic party's symbol.
Written 22 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mharroun52
Flint, MI56 contributions
Jul 2019 • Solo
The grounds are well kept. The statue of the donkey is cute. The front doors are so tall with such low door knobs.It was late when we got there so we didn't get to see much but was impressed with how well kept it is.
Written 13 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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OLD CITY HALL: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Old City Hall