Brahmins of Boston - Small Group Walking Seminar

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What To Expect

A small-group tour of Beacon Hill and the center of Boston, looking at the role of the Brahmin class and how they shaped Boston in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Tours in Boston
Departs From:
Meeting Point:
In front of Brugger's Bagel Bakery
3 hours
Product Code:
Voucher info:
Paper voucher printout not required for this activity. You may show e-voucher from your mobile device.
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Boston Segway & Walking ToursBoston City Tours & SightseeingSegway & Walking ToursCity Tours & Sightseeing


At the dawn of the 19th century, descendants of the original Puritan settlers of Boston began to adopt a more enlightened, cosmopolitan, and progressive set of social and political mores. Taking their name from the elite upper caste of India, the "brahmins" of Boston presided over several decades of economic and social upheaval, and saw the birth of Unitarianism as well as the rise of fervent Abolitionism leading, eventually, to the Civil War. During this three-hour walking seminar, we'll look at how this group of Bostonians redefined their city and set the tone for rest of America during this period.

Although the focus of our walk will be Beacon Hill and the Boston Common, we begin just down slope at the Old South Meeting House, one of the oldest churches in Boston and the place where the Boston Tea Party was planned. Here we'll get our bearings with a brief overview of some of the social and political developments in Boston at the turn of the century (the turn of the 19th, that is).

During our walk, one theme we'll address is how the Brahmin classes began to look outward, beyond Boston, to the world at large. Whether through immigration, trade, or intellectual curiosity, Boston under the Brahmins became much more situated in an international context. We'll begin looking at this with the Irish Famine memorial here in front of the Old South Meeting House and continue with a visit to the Boston Atheneum, the city's most prestigious membership library that is infused with Italian sculpture, French maps, and testimonials of the Brahmin's great love affair with the Grand European tour.

Our walk will take us into the heart of Beacon Hill. We'll discuss the architectural and urban planning context of this beguiling neighborhood, and visit such key landmarks as the Boston Common and State House. We'll stop by the African Meeting House and Shaw Memorial to discuss the central role that Abolitionism played in Boston at this time and the effect of the Civil War on the city. We will also look closely at Jewish history in Boston and stop by the Vilna Shul/Boston Center for Jewish Heritage, where some of our docents have been involved in archaeological research.

After meandering through this neighborhood and visiting several other historic homes, we'll wind up in the Boston Common, the central landscape of Boston and a perfect denouement to our discussion of this city, its inhabitants, and their crucial role in American history.


  • Beacon Hill

  • Old South Meeting House

  • Boston Atheneum

  • African American Museum


  • Service of a docent


  • Meals and drinks

  • Personal expenses

  • Tips and gratuities

  • Optional activity costs

Please Note

  • Children below 12 years old are not permitted on this tour.

  • Minimum of 2 passengers per booking is required. Private walking seminars are available for solo travelers.

  • Tour will be operated as a guaranteed Small Group Tour with a maximum of 6 guests.

  • Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather.

  • The State House is closed on weekends, Vilna Shul on Saturdays, and African American Museum on Sundays.

Cancellation Policy

  • Free cancellation: 8 days or more prior to start date of activity.
  • 20% Cancellation Fee (80% reimbursement): between 4 to 7 days prior to date of activity.
  • 100% Cancellation Fee (no reimbursement): 3 days or less prior to date of activity.

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