Welcome to the Birthplace of American Liberty! Lexington, Massachusetts, is a treasure trove of historical museums, homes, battlefields, and more. Signs that the Colonial era’s memory is alive and well can be detected across the town. The Battle Green with historic memorials, costumed guides, and a helpful Visitors Center transports you to a time when Minutemen were standing at the ready to fight for freedom. You can spend a few hours or a few days exploring the historical sites in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Many of Lexington’s historic sites are operated by the Lexington Historical Society. The Historical Society offers educational opportunities for visitors and student groups while maintaining an extensive collection of local Colonial- and Revolutionary-era artifacts. Visiting Lexington is an immersive adventure into the life and times of early America and the men and women who shaped our history.
Lexington Battle Green
The Minuteman Statue graces Lexington Green. It memorializes the first skirmish between the Colonial Minutemen and the British Soldiers. You can join a walking tour of the Lexington Battle Green delivered by costumed guides who will regale you with fascinating stories of the first battle where blood was shed in the revolution for American independence.
Another notable monument is the Revolutionary War Monument. Seven of the eight minutemen killed in the Battle of Lexington are buried beneath the monument.
Hour-long Battle Green Tours are available Saturdays, Sundays, and school vacation days for a nominal fee.
Pro Tip: Download the Lexington by Foot and Phone app for access to navigation directions and audio information.
Scottish Rite Masonic Museum And Library
The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library is dedicated to collecting and preserving memorabilia related to American Freemasonry, fraternalism, and American history. Exhibits change and offer a wide range of topics from Keeping Time: Clockmakers and Collectors to Maps of the American Revolution.
Pro Tip: Guided tours are available for a nominal fee. Special behind-the-scenes tours for Masonic Groups are available.
The Old Belfry
The Old Belfry began tolling in 1762 to call citizens to worship, warn them of danger, and memorialize their deaths, and on the morning of April 19, 1775, it was the resounding alarm calling the Minutemen to arms. Unremarkable today as a means of communication, 300 years ago, it was the best and fastest way to get the local citizens’ attention.
Pro Tip: The Old Belfry is located in Belfry Hill Park. A short hike is required to get to the base of the tower.
The Lexington Depot
The Lexington Depot is a must-stop for all the railroad buffs who visit. Renovated and serving as the headquarters of the Lexington Historical Society, the depot is a beautiful building open for lectures and educational opportunities, and it serves as a central hub for Lexington’s history.
Pro Tip: The Depot was originally part of the Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad.
The Old Burying Ground
The Old Burying Ground is the resting place of early Lexington citizens, soldiers from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and even a British soldier who died from wounds at the fighting on Battle Green.
Stories of Lexington residents, now resting peacefully, are the subject of the Old Bury Ground Tour. Tours are offered Fridays at 11 a.m. for a nominal fee. The 35-minute walking tour covers less than a mile.
Pro Tip: For the Genealogy researcher, the Old Burying Ground is a fascinating look into the citizens of Lexington.
Buckman Tavern, circa 1704 to 1710, was the gathering place for many revolutionary Minutemen. Located on the Battle Green, it is now operated by the Lexington Historical Society as a museum. The exhibits are unique and interesting. Something Must Be Done — Bold Women of Lexington, for example, profiles women and their contributions to the history of the region.
Buckman Tavern is the oldest tavern in Lexington. The Minutemen gathered here in the early morning of April 19, 1775, to await their encounter with the British Regulars. The beautifully restored tavern offers visitors a glimpse into the social fiber of Colonial New England.
Pro Tip: For anyone interested in delving deeper into Revolutionary-era history, research archives are available through the Lexington Historical Society’s Collections.
The Hancock-Clarke House, circa 1698, was the final destination of Paul Revere and William Daws as they rode from Boston to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming to arrest them. Enjoy the museum’s Colonial furnishings, artwork, and other period artifacts that provide a peek into the lives of famous rebels.
To explore the buildings of the Colonial era, take the Architecture Tour. It is less than a half a mile walk down Hancock Street from Buckman Tavern to The Hancock-Clarke House. The tour explores the architectural styles of the classic homes in this 45-minute tour. The tour is offered at a nominal fee on Saturdays at 11 a.m.
Pro Tip: The Hancock-Clarke House barn is home to the Historical Society’s Fire Equipment Museum.
The circa 1690 Munroe Tavern was used as a temporary headquarters for British Brigadier General Earl Percy when they marched to Lexington on April 19, 1775. Years later, in 1789, President George Washington visited the tavern while in Lexington. The tavern currently operates as a historical museum showcasing Colonial-era artifacts.
Pro Tip: The Munroe Tavern is worth a visit for anyone interested in classic Colonial architecture. It is a true-to-period Colonial mansion.
Minute Man National Historical Park
Located in the towns of Lexington, Lincoln, and Concord, Minute Man National Historical Park brings the battlefields to life.
The battle for American independence began on April 19, 1775, on the land that’s now preserved by the park. “The shot heard round the world” echoes through your thoughts as you explore this historic park and walk across the pastures and along the riverbanks.
Highlights of the park include The Bloody Bluff, an outcropping of rocks that saw fierce fighting; Meriam’s Corner, where a decisive battle was fought; and Fiske Hill, where the Colonial Minute Men used a battle technique unfamiliar to the British — they hid behind trees and the ubiquitous New England stone walls.
Free ranger-led tours offered by the park are a wonderful way to get insight into the history of the area. The Parker’s Revenge Battle Site Exploration, which actually occurred on the Lexington Green, is an interesting look at how history and modern technology came together to pinpoint this battlefield location. The battle site had been unknown until just recently.
Minute Men: Neighbors in Arms is a fun and educational experience. A park ranger in period dress loads and fires a colonial musket. Watching the process of loading, aiming, and firing, you will become even more impressed with the Minute Men’s fortitude.
Pro Tip: If you want to explore the Battle Fields by car, you can download a map and free Cell Phone Audio Tour. The adventure begins at the Minute Man Visitors Center in Lincoln and takes you by many of the important sites.
Hop aboard the Liberty Ride Trolly for a 90-minute tour of the important historical sites in Lexington and Concord. Relax comfortably as your guide, dressed in colonial garb, takes you on a journey back to April 1775, with stories of intrigue, insurgence, and hard-fought battles. The Liberty Ride takes you along Battle Road, where you will pass by Lexington Battle Green, Buckman Tavern, Hancock-Clarke House, Munroe Tavern, The Belfry, Orchard House, Colonial Inn, The Wayside, Old Manse, Emerson House, Concord Museum, and Minute Man National Historical Park.
The tour offers a great overview of the historical sites in Lexington and Concord, allowing you to choose which ones call out to you to return for a longer visit. The tour runs daily during the summer months and on the weekends during the shoulder seasons. Be sure to ask for the Senior or Active Military discount.
Pro Tip: If you have limited time to visit Lexington and Concord, the Liberty Ride is a good option to see all the highlights in a short timeframe.
The quaint town of Lexington is an American Revolutionary historical gem. With fantastic historical sites to visit, you will encounter a wealth of knowledge that will make your chest swell with pride at these courageous men and women. Whether you have just a few hours or you have an entire weekend, exploring the Birthplace of American Liberty will be a trip to remember. History buffs will also want to read up on