Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Touring Boston - What to Know About Visiting the Bunker Hill Monument & Museum with Kids

One of the last stops of the Boston Freedom Trail is the Bunker Hill Monument.  For two years I could see the spire of the monument light up at night from my apartment window, but somehow whenever we went on the Freedom Trail or took visiting friends or family we always got distracted from the Freedom Trail about the time we went near Mike's Pastries and never finished the second half.

What to Know About Visiting the Bunker Hill Monument & Museum with Kids

When my parents came to town to visit I was determined that we were going to do the full trail so that I would finally see both the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument.

The Bunker Hill Monument was created to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill, which was the first fight between the British and the New Englanders during the American Revolutionary War (battle fought on June 17, 1775)  From my perspective it's a huge, tall, monument with 294 very narrow stairs leading to the top.

Top of Bunker Hill Monument
We climbed the 20 flights on a blisteringly hot day.  Somehow, and I'm not really sure how, my husband managed the climb well ahead of us, with toddler on his shoulders.  I'm kind of glad I didn't see it because those stair are narrow and I'm sure seeing my boy on his shoulders would have scared me to death.  The other three of us made it about 50 stairs and had to take a break, then we would walk 40 stairs and a break, then 35 stairs ... anyway, eventually we made it to the top sweaty, exhausted, and empowered.  The view was fantastic and it was totally worth it... though I could not control my legs or get them to stop shaking for about an hour.

Things to Note:

1.  Price
Both the Bunker Hill Monument and Bunker Hill Museum are free.

View from top of Bunker Hill Monument
2.  Stroller Access
You can easily bring a stroller into the Bunker Hill Museum, but there didn't seem to be any handicap access and certainly no elevators leading to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument.  If you want to enjoy the view from up there you're going to have to hike a lot of stairs and either leave your stroller bound tots at the bottom while you do it or carry them to the top with you.

3.  The Stairs
There are so many stairs leading to the top of the monument and they are narrow and winding.  If you've got kids with you you're going to want to keep a close eye on them and if they are too big to be carried but too little to walk all the way up you should probably not attempt to bring them.  The stairwell as well as the stairs are narrow and not a great place for little ones to play.

4.  The View
The view from the top was fantastic, but the windows to enjoy the view were tiny and dirty... and even when you get to the top there is not a ton of room.  Don't plan on getting there and hanging out or having a picnic or anything.  It's more like a get to the top, check out how awesome Boston is, rest for a minute, and then start the decent.

Summary and Rating: ★★★★☆

Four stars, it's hard to complain about free. This place will give you a serious work out and it's not for the faint of heart.  Not super toddler friendly though you can easily bring up older children and, if you're feeling strong, you can carry up a baby.  On the off chance that you don't want to walk to the top you can still enjoy the view from the hill.  There is lots of green grass to run around on and the area surrounding it is beautiful.  Plus right across from the monument is Bunker Hill Museum, which has air conditioning, water and an elevator.

Have you been here before?  If so I'd love to know more about your experience and any tips or tricks you have in the comments section below. 

Bunker Hill Monument & Museum
Boston National Historical Park Monument Square
Charlestown, MA

Phone: 617-242-5641 (Group tours 617-.242-5689)
Website: or

Museum: September - June, daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. July - August, daily 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monument: September-June, daily 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. July - August, 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day