Things to Do at Faneuil Hall Quincy Market

Updated: Januar 21, 2024

Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a popular and historic market square in Boston.

As a tour guide and resident of the Boston area, I can tell you just how popular the market is. In fact, it's one of the most visited attractions in the country!

Faneuil Hall Marketplace offers something to those who want to learn more about both Boston's and America's history and/or want to enjoy shopping, food, and entertainment.

To help write this particular post, I've used some of my and my fellow guides' experiences visiting the hall. It will inform you of the best way there, help you plan what to visit, and recommend places to eat. 

People like you, travelers, who have joined our Boston Travel Tips Facebook group, have also helped to create some of this content as well.

The group has over 16,000 members. It's a great place to look for answers to questions and learn more about Boston generally.


HISTORY OF FANEUIL HALL MARKETPLACE

Faneuil Hall was constructed in 1742 by Peter Faneuil, a local wealthy merchant. At that time, the town of Boston was governed by Great Britain.

In 1740, Faneuil had proposed to the town government that a permanent marketplace be built in central Boston with his own money as a gift to the town.

Market stalls were located on the lower level while a town meeting hall occupied the second floor. 

While the market housed fishermen and meat and produce sellers, the meeting hall became home to heated debates among Patriots about British rule.

Great political leaders and orators Samuel Adams, James Otis and John Hancock debated here. The fight against British taxation of the colonies while they had no representatives in Parliament began here.

Tensions rose after the Boston Massacre in 1770, and three years later colonists staged the Boston Tea Party lighting a fuse to the American Revolution.


The Buildings That Make Up Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Faneuil Hall Marketplace comprises four historic buildings: Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market.

The oldest building, Faneuil Hall, was built in 1742 as both a marketplace and town hall.

It was originally called the "Cradle of Liberty," which makes sense after you've learned about the heated debates and protests that took place there.

Today the Hall is owned by the city of Boston. On the lower level and first floor you'll find the National Park Service Visitor Center.

On the second floor is a Great Hall. There is a museum and meeting hall run by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company on the 4th floor.

The other three buildings that are part of Faneuil Marketplace date back to the 1820s.

They were built as the area became more populated and a larger marketplace was in need.

The three become collectively known as Quincy Market.

Today there are around 50 restaurants and eateries in Quincy Market, fitting its title of "the largest and oldest food hall in the country.

There are also retail stores and historic pushcarts selling apparel, shoes, souvenirs, specialty gifts, toys, and more.

You can also find some of the most entertaining street performers in Boston in the open-air square. 

Given the hall's significance in American history, it's a stop along the Freedom Trail.


PLAN YOUR VISIT

Below is information that will help you plan your trip to Faneuil Hall.


Where Is Faneuil Hall?

It is located in Downtown Boston at 4 S Market St., Boston, MA 02109.

It is located within easy walking distance of Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park and the North End neighborhood. 

Faneuil Hall in Boston Map

We recommend using this Google Maps link to get exact directions.

If you’re taking public transportation, there are multiple subway stops close by.

T Stops:

  • Aquarium/Faneuil Hall on the Blue Line.
  • Haymarket, North Station, or Park Street on the Green Line.
  • State Street or Haymarket on the Orange Line.
  • Park Street on the Red Line.
  • North Station or South Station on the Commuter Rail.

Hop-On-Hop-Off Buses: 

TIP: Taking our Freedom Trail tour will lead you right to Faneuil Hall.

Boston Walking Tours

Sample Itinerary

Arrive at Faneuil Hall Marketplace after a morning walking tour of the Freedom Trail with a healthy appetite and head straight to the food vendors in Quincy Market.

Make sure to do a complete walk-through once to scope out your options before deciding what you want. 

This photo of Quincy Market is courtesy of TripAdvisor

After filling up at lunch, take a leisurely stroll through the marketplace to see what shops are available. If you’re looking for a souvenir, this is the perfect place to find it! 

Then go to the 4th floor of the historic Faneuil Hall to see the free military museum there. This is a perfect stop for history buffs and a great way to top off a historic tour of the city.

It's just one of Boston's many free museums.

Finally, relax outside in the marketplace square to people watch and look for any street performances that might be happening.

Kids love the free entertainment - and it's one of the great family-friendly things to do in the city.


How much time should you spend at Faneuil Hall?

You could easily spend 2-3 hours in and around Faneuil Hall, especially if you have lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants or in Quincy Market. 

If you aren’t interested in purchasing something from the food market or looking at the museum, however, you can budget as little as one hour to do a walkthrough of the area.


TOP 10 THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Here is our list of fun things to see and do in and around Faneuil Hall Marketplace. It includes dining and shopping options, free activities, and entertainment.

If you're looking for other nearby things to do, check out: 


1. Eat at the Food Stalls

Faneuil Hall Marketplace has some great restaurants, but one of the main draws is the Quincy Food Market.

You’ll find 30 food stalls full of cuisine from all over the world, as well as a healthy amount of local specialties. 

If you’re looking for local cuisine, try Boston Chowda for seafood favorites and Pizzeria Regina for "Boston Style" pizza.

Boston Travel Tips and Hacks

2. Go Shopping

Whether you’re looking for additions to your wardrobe, or souvenirs, or just love to window shop, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is the perfect location.

They have shops selling apparel, jewelry, shoes, souvenirs, and specialty gifts. 

You can find independent shops as well as national brands like Ann Taylor, Ghirardelli, Coach, and Urban Outfitters, among others. 

For the kiddies, stop by the Dino Safari Gift Shop!


3. Take a Sightseeing Tour

Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a historic attraction included in our walking tours of Boston!

If you want an in-depth look at the Historic Hall, free talks and tours of the Great Hall are held every half-hour between 9:30 am - 4:30 pm.  

Of course, there are other great tours in and around Boston that touch on Faneuil Hall, like the popular hop-on-hop-off buses and trolleys, and ghost tours.  


4. Watch the Street Performers

Faneuil Hall Marketplace sits in a large square that often attracts street performers, musicians, singers, and other buskers.

Occasionally, Faneuil Hall will book school groups, church choirs, and other performances to entertain visitors. 

You never know who will be performing, but it is a great opportunity for a bit of free entertainment that the whole family can enjoy!

For more free things to do in Boston, check out our full post. 


5. Save Money with a Tourist Pass

There are a lot of great attractions to see while you’re in Boston.

The best way to maximize your time while saving 35-55% on entry fees is to get an tourist pass.

These passes work by bundling attractions together and only charging you one lower rate.

They can save you time, too, as you won’t have to line up at the box office.

Attractions Included: 

Take a look at our in-depth tourist pass comparison to see which one can save you the most time and money.


6. Military Museum and Armory

On the 4th floor of Faneuil Hall sits the Military Museum and Armory, displaying The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts’ uniforms, medals, and weaponry.

Learn about the personal stories of some of the people who helped win the Revolution as well as a few more recent artifacts and stories from battles like Desert Storm.

Best of all, this museum is free to enter! For more free museum fun, we have a list of all of Boston's free museums here


7. Take a Yoga or Zumba Class

During summer and fall, you can find plenty of options for getting your heart rate up with group workout classes.

From Free Zumba fitness to Barre and yoga classes, to Bootcamp sessions, there is something for everyone’s preferred workout style.

Check the events calendar to see which classes are running at what times.


8. Take the Kids to Children's Programs

If you’re looking for something to entertain the kids with, check out some of the family-focused activities happening.

Check the events calendar to see programming details.

Storytime

  • Tuesdays in July and August
  • Free performances from professional storytellers

Rosalita’s Puppets

  • Saturdays at 10:30 am
  • Free puppet show that happens rain or shine

Arts and Crafts

  • Various arts and crafts projects led by a teacher
  • Fun Outdoor Art Studio 

If you're looking for more family-friendly activities in Boston, read our full post!


9. See the Winter Light Show

Blink! Is the winter holiday light show featuring giant holiday trees and strings of lights everywhere on the property.

The lights dance in time with music during daily shows between November 28 - January 1.

You can catch performances from 4:30 pm - 10:00 pm. 

There will also be carolers, dancers, and musicians at various performances.

If you're looking for other November activities or things to do in December, we have posts full of ideas. 


PLACES TO EAT

There is something for everyone in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which includes the popular Quincy Market food hall.

Quincy Market has 30 food stalls with cuisine from around the world, and you can find even more dining options around the square.


The Salty Dog

One of the original dining establishments at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, you can find some great seafood at this oyster bar and grill. 


Boston Chowda

What could be more stereotypically Boston than a bowl of clam chowder?

They’ve won the Boston Harborfest Chowderfest two times. Here you can find chowder, soups, bisques, and lobster rolls. 


Carol Ann Bake Shop

Enjoy some delicious pastries at this Quincy Market vendor.

Carol Ann makes all kinds of pastries, scones, cookies, and macarons. It is the perfect stop for dessert or an afternoon pick-me-up.


The Green Organic Bowl

If you’re looking for some healthy options in the sea of comfort food and indulgences at the marketplace, The Green Organic Bowl is a great find.

They offer some great smoothies, salads, and juices, among other healthy food options. 


Greek Steve’s Cuisine

What would be a sampling of world cuisine without some quality Greek food?

Here you can get your fill of pita, hummus, gyros, and falafel. 


Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar

Come to Mija for Mexican cuisine served in a fun atmosphere right at the entrance of Quincy Market.

Everything is made from scratch, which means both their tacos and churros are irresistibly fresh and tasty.


TIPS FROM LOCALS AND TRAVELERS

We hope we've answered many of the questions you might have about Fenueil Hall but know that sometimes you'll need answers to questions related to your personal experience.

As mentioned above, our Boston Travel Tips Facebook group is a great place to ask a question.

Below are some questions asked and answered by our members as well as other tips and facts that we hope will make the trip most enjoyable.

  1. When it comes to transportation from the airport to the area around Faneuil Hall, you have a number of options. Some suggest an Uber or Lyft, other say the T or a bus is best as they have space and head directly to downtown. Others say the ferry is best as there's a free shuttle bus from the terminal to the dock. The ferry is enclosed and heated so can be used in the winter.

2. Many folks recommend a stop a Faneuil Hall as part of a visit to the city. Note that you don't have to spend long there if you find it too touristy. There are plenty of other things to do in the area. However, you might want to just pop your head in to see what it's all about.

3. The Boston Women's Holiday Market, which runs for about a month at Christmas, is in Faneuil Hall Marketplace. And a gorgeous (and massive) Christmas tree is lit up between Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market.

4. The grasshopper weather vane that sits atop Faneuil Hall is the original! It's made of copper and gold leaf and weighs 38 lbs. Somehow, over 270 years, it has survived an earthquake, a fire, a war, and even theft.

5. Pedestrian malls connect the various buildings in Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

6. If you stand outside and watch the street performers, keep an eye on your wallet/purse. Pickpockets will target anywhere tourists gather in large numbers.

7. Speaking of large numbers, over 18 million annual visitors stop by Faneuil Hall Marketplace each year! This puts it in the top 10 most commonly visited tourist sites in the US.

8. The Cheers bar inside is not the original bar the TV show was based on. That can be found on 84 Beacon Street about a 20-minute walk away.

9. Check the calendar for events you might find interesting to watch or take part in at Faneuil Hall.

There are "town meetings" named the Destruction of the Tea and Rocking the Cradle.

The former focuses on ideas about patriotism, the destruction of private property, and the meaning of liberty. This recreation is based on a meeting that took place in 1774, just months after the Boston Tea Party.

The latter is a discussion about whether Bostonians would abide by the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. It is based on a meeting that took place there in 1854.

There's also an interactive program based on the Woman's Tea Party meeting held by Boston suffragists in 1873.


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About The Author

Brian Burgess

I was born in Cambridge and have been living in the Boston area all my life. I am a graduate of Boston's Emerson College with a degree in communications with a journalism/history focus. I have been leading tours for Free Tours By Foot Boston since it was started in the city of Boston in 2012, and enjoy sharing my knowledge of Boston's rich history with not only the guests on my tours, but with everyone I meet. <a href="https://freetoursbyfoot.com/contributors/brian-burgess/" Read More...
Updated: Januar 21st, 2024
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