Katie Sagal

Celebrating the Boston Tea Party

Boston’s historic pedigree is practically unparalleled in the United States. Boston is a great city to visit to explore the country’s past. It's home to some of the earliest European settlements and birthplace of the American Revolution. This is a unique opportunity to explore areas that date to the eighteenth century (and earlier). Additionally, you'll have the rare chance to explore museums, graveyards, and historic buildings that tell the story of America’s earliest years. One way that Boston likes to celebrate its Revolutionary heritage each year is by marking the date of the Boston Tea Party. This is the day when American colonists threw British tea into the Boston Harbor. They were protesting heavy taxation on imported goods, including tea. The anniversary of the Boston Tea Party falls on December 16 each year, and the whole city gets in on the celebration. Want to join in the celebration and honor the legacy of those early American patriots? Check out this guide to celebrating the Boston Tea Party.

When is the Boston Tea Party?

The original Boston Tea Party took place on December 16, 1773. Each year the city marks this momentous occasion with a series of special events on December 16. For 2019, December 16 is a Monday. While the official reenactment will still take place on the day of, a few other institutions may honor the occasion with events on the weekend prior.

Top Things to Do to Celebrate the Boston Tea Party

The top things to do to celebrate the Boston Tea Party include...
  • Watching the Boston Tea Party Reenactment
  • Visiting the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museums
  • Visiting the Old South Meeting House
  • and more!
Admission to many Boston attractions is included with the Go Boston pass. You could save up to 55% on admission vs gate price.

Watch the Boston Tea Party Reenactment

This annual evening-long reenactment honors the people whose dedication to American freedoms ultimately contributed to fomenting the American Revolution. Join people who’ve come in costume from across New England and protest all over again. You’ll start with a high-energy theatrical meeting at the Old South Meeting House. Then, you'll march to the Boston Harbor where Griffin’s Wharf once stood. You'll watch the Sons of Liberty reenactors destroy real chests of East India Company tea. This event sells out quickly, so buy tickets in advance!

Visit the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

An amazing opportunity to connect with Boston’s maritime history and the legacy of this momentous day, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum offer visitors the chance to walk in the shoes of the protestors from 1773. There are two restored ships—the Eleanor and the Beaver—from which you can partake in the throwing of the tea (or, year-round, tour for the broader historical value). There’s also an accompanying museum including artifacts like the Robinson Tea Chest, the only known surviving tea chest from that day in 1773.Image of Water, Waterfront, Bench, Harbor, Pier, Port, City, Neighborhood, Nature, Outdoors, Scenery, Boat, Vehicle, Urban, Metropolis,

Visit the Old South Meeting House

The place where the protests all began, the Old South Meeting House hosted the angry citizens of Boston as they argued, debated, and finally decided to protest that unfair British tax on tea. You can tour this building and explore the exhibits focused on the Boston Tea Party, Revolutionary-era America, and free speech today. It’s the oldest surviving building in Boston. Plus its downtown location makes for a perfect complement to a larger historically-focused itinerary.

See Related Artwork at the Museum of Fine Arts

While the Museum of Fine Arts was not around during the year of the original Boston Tea Party, its Art of the Americas wing holds several artifacts, furniture, paintings, and more that date from the eighteenth century. Visit the MFA to see things like the famous John Singleton Copley painting of Paul Revere, Revere’s Sons of Liberty silver bowl, and early colonial-era decorative arts. There are also paintings of famous eighteenth-century Americans in Boston.

Walk the Freedom Trail

Finally, here is one of the best ways to celebrate the legacy of the Boston Tea Party. Honor the Revolutionary spirit that Boston has long been famous for. Walk in the shoes of those colonial Americans who joined in the Tea Party protests, and who lived through the ensuing Revolutionary War. The Freedom Trail showcases many of the most important sites from this historic period, including the Boston Common, the site of the Boston Massacre, and Faneuil Hall. Several sites date from a few years after the war as well, like the Old State House.

Save on Boston Tea Party Attractions

Visit many of these historic Boston attractions with a Go Boston pass and save big. You’ll save up to 55% on admission versus buying your tickets individually. You can explore historic places like those listed above plus the Paul Revere House and more.

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