Massachusetts Has 192 National Historic Landmarks… But These 7 Are the Coolest

Written by Patrick MacFarland
Published: March 4, 2024
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The United States is filled with a rich history and culture. From the Native Americans that inhabited the lands of what is now the United States to when the European colonists arrived. Eventually, the colonists established a country and the places of great interest have been part of our history. Every state has historical landmarks that signify so much. Pennsylvania has 169 historic landmarks. Virginia has 123 historic landmarks. But what about Massachusetts? Massachusetts is one of the original 13 colonies. This means that the state is steeped in the rich history of the United States’ founding.

Massachusetts is home to a whopping 192 National Historic Landmarks. And we’re going to highlight seven of the best ones to visit. We’ll go more in-depth into each of them and add a few fun facts.

John Adams Birthplace

John Adams Presidential Dollar, USA coin a portrait image of JOHN ADAMS 2 th PRESIDENT 1797-1801, $1 United Staten of Amekica, Close Up UNC Uncirculated - Collection

The John Adams Birthplace was designated as a National Historic Landmark on December 19, 1960.

©Prachaya Roekdeethaweesab/

Located in Quincy, this is where the Second President of the United States John Adams was born. The saltbox home was built by John Adams’s father and they lived there throughout his childhood. The home was owned by an Adams family member until they decided to sell it to the City of Quincy in 1940. The birthplace home and the house next door where John Quincy Adams was born is now a museum and historical park. The birthplaces of both presidents are available for tours.

Beacon Hill Historic District

Boston, Massachusetts

Beacon Hill Historic District was designated as a National Historic Landmark on December 19, 1962.

© Pavone

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Boston, Beacon Hill has cobblestone streets, Rose houses, and street lamps that are still gaslit to this day. It reminds you of the 1600s and 1700s when you walk down the narrow streets. The rich history that Beacon Hill offers is one of a kind. Ever since 1625 when William Blackstone built a house and an orchard in the neighborhood, it’s been historical and magical. If you have a chance to visit Boston, walk around Beacon Hill and welcome the historical magic.

Boston Common

Boston Common, Boston - Massachusetts, Public Park, Boston Public Garden, Springtime

Boston Common was designated as a National Historic Landmark on February 27, 1987.

© Marino

It’s the oldest public park in the country. Boston Common is a total of 50 acres of rich history. It was founded in 1634 and this is where the echoes of men and women supported the Revolution. Since then, Boston Common has been the site of major events in our country’s history. There is also a dark presence in the park when they would hang witches and pirates from a tree known as “The Great Elm.” Several important historical figures are also buried in the park.

Ralph Waldo Emerson House

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Ralph Waldo Emerson House was designated as a National Historic Landmark on December 19, 1962.

©Thomas Faull/iStock via Getty Images

Located in Concord, the house was built in 1828. Originally it was owned by John T. Coolidge and his family, but Ralph Waldo Emerson decided that he wanted to live in Concord and bought the house from him in 1835. From then, he lived there for the rest of his life. During his time there, he invited so many guests like Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and others. Today, the house is a museum and is open from mid-April to mid-October. 

John F. Kennedy Birthplace

A John F. Kennedy badge pictured over the USA Flag

The John F. Kennedy Birthplace was designated as a National Historic Landmark on July 19, 1964.


John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was born in Brookline, MA, at the home of his parents. His father bought the house in 1914 right before he got married to his wife Rose. The Kennedy family lived in this house until 1920, but they bought it back in 1966. Rose Kennedy renovated the home to look like it appeared in 1917 and then donated it to the National Park Service. Today, you can take a tour of the home.

Trinity Church

Trinity Church and the John Hancock Building in Boston, Massachusetts.

Trinity Church was designated as a National Historic Landmark on December 30, 1970.

©Jon Bilous/

The original Trinity Church was built in 1735. Unfortunately, the Great Boston Fire of 1872 completely demolished the church. So, in 1872, work on the new church and parish house started. Once finished, parishioners were able to congregate in the newly restored church once more. Trinity Church is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and is located in the Back Bay neighborhood in Boston. Mass is still conducted on Sundays and a few times per week.

Walden Pond


Walden Pond was designated as a National Historic Landmark on December 29, 1962.


One might think, what is so special about a pond? The reason is that Henry David Thoreau, who was a writer in the 1800s, lived on the northern shore of the pond for several years. He wrote of the beauty of the pond and its surroundings in various works. Located in Concord, Walden Pond is now part of the Walden Pond State Reservation, which encompasses a 335-acre park site. While walking through the site, you’ll see nature in all its glory, with the pond in the distance that echoes the beautiful words of Thoreau.


And there you have it, these are seven of the best national historic landmarks in Massachusetts to visit. These places are extremely historical and they represent a time and our country’s history that has shaped the future and astonishing ways. When you walk through the halls of these landmarks, think about the history that took place there. It will be an eye-opening experience.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © BestStockFoto/

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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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