Skip to Content

Top 10 Famous Buildings in Boston

The capital and most populous city in Massachusetts is also the most populous city in the New England region of the northeastern United States.

The City of Boston has one of the most histories of any city in the country as it was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630, not too far northeast of New York City.

The city was named after the English town of the same name from which the Puritans (a type of Protestant during this era) who established it came.

It played a major role in the American Revolution as it was the scene of several major events, including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the Battle of Bunker Hill.

The city continued to be very important as a port and trade center and has grown to a huge metropolis with nearly 5 million inhabitants today.

The history of the city is reflected in its diverse architectural landscape, and here are some of the most famous buildings in Boston.

1. Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall is a historic marketplace that also serves as a meeting hall. It’s located in the Government Center area of downtown Boston, not too far from the iconic Waterfront.

The building first opened its doors in 1742 which means that it has seen quite some history. It served as the venue of several important that lead up to the Revolutionary Wars.

Today, it’s visited by over 20 million people every year, making it one of Boston’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s part of the Boston National Historical Park and an important stop on the so-called “Freedom Trail.”

Art-Facts Youtube Channel

Official website: Faneuil Hall

Famous buildings in Boston Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall / INfrogmation / Wiki Commons

2. Trinity Church Boston

Trinity Church Boston is one of the great churches in the city that was constructed in the 19th century. It was established on a piece of reclaimed land now known as the Back Bay neighborhood.

The church building was constructed between 1872 and 1877 and features the distinctive Richardsonian Romanesque style, a Revival style of Romanesque architecture that was popular at the time.

The church was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886) himself, the man after which this style was named. It turned him into one of the most sought-after architects in the United States.

Official website: Trinity Church Boston

Trinity Church Boston
Trinity Church in Boston / Gregg Squeglia / Wiki Commons

3. Massachusetts State House

Massachusetts is one of the 4 U.S. states that is referred to as a “Commonwealth,” a traditional English term to define a political community that was established for the common good.

As the capital city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston is the home of the Massachusetts State House, a building also known as the “New State House.”

The building was constructed between 1795 and 1798 and is one of the oldest capitol buildings still being used today. It was constructed in the distinctive Federal Architectural style.

Official website: State House

Massachusetts State House
Massachusetts State House / Ajay Suresh / Wiki Commons

4. Boston City Hall

While the Massachusetts State House is the seat of government of the entire state, the Boston City Hall serves as the headquarters of the city government of Boston.

The offices of the mayor of Boston and the Boston City Council are located within the building that was completed in 1968. It replaced a former building called the Old City Hall which dates back to the 1860s.

The Brutalist Building was heavily criticized upon completion because few people could appreciate the remarkable design of the structure. Being called “The World’s Ugliest Building” is perhaps a bit too much as it’s a fascinating landmark in Boston.

Official website: Boston City hall

Boston City Hall
Boston City Hall / NewtonCourt / Wiki Commons

5. John Hancock Tower

John Hancock Tower is the former name of a building that is currently referred to as 200 Clarendon Street. It’s still commonly referred to as “The Hancock” in the City of Boston.

The famous skyscraper is a great example of Minimalist architecture. This means that it was constructed in such a way to make everything as effective as possible, including the large panes of glass that decorate its exterior.

The tower stands 240 meters (790 feet) tall, a height that still makes it the tallest building in Boston. It has held this record since it was completed in 1976.

Official website: 200 Clarendon

John Hancock Tower Boston
John Hancock Tower in Boston / Beyond My Ken / Wiki Commons

6. Old North Church

Old North Church is a historic church located in the North End of Boston, an area in the city that is classified as the oldest residential neighborhood in the city. It’s famous for its large Italo-American community.

The building was completed in 1723 which makes it the oldest church in Boston that still stands today. It’s so old that its major source of inspiration was the churches in London designed by Christopher Wren (1632-1723) after the Great Fire in 1666.

The exterior of the church is dominated by the tall spire, a distinctive characteristic of Wren’s churches. Because of its historic value, it was classified as a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

Official website: Old North

Old North Church Boston
Old North Church in Boston / Francisco Anzola / Wiki Commons

7. Boston Public Library McKim Building

The McKim Building of the Boston Public Library system dominated Copley Square in the Back Bay Area of Boston. It features several facilities, including a research collection, exhibition rooms, and administrative offices.

The Beaux-Arts Building was completed in 1895. It also features elements of Renaissance architecture, making it one of the most stunning buildings in Boston.

The exterior of the building looks amazing and the interior features lavish decorations as well. That’s why it was proclaimed the “Palace of the People” upon completion in the late 19th century.

Official website: McKim Building

Boston Public Library McKim Building
Boston Public Library McKim Building / Daniel Schwen / Wiki Commons

8. Stata Center

The Stata Center is the common name of the building that is officially known as the Ray and Maria Stata Center. It’s also sometimes referred to as “Building 32.”

This stunning Deconstructivist Building was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and serves as an academic facility for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The peculiar shapes and colors are elements that Gehry included in many of his designs, including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Official website: Stata Center

Stata Center Boston Detail
Detail of the Stata Center / Tony Webster / Wiki Commons

9. Institute of Contemporary Art

The Institute of Contemporary Art is an art museum that is housed in of the most stunning buildings in Boston. It’s located in the Seaport District of South Boston, an area also known as the “Innovation District.”

The museum has a history that goes back to its establishment in 1936 as the “Boston Museum of Modern Art.” It has since been renamed several times and has moved 13 times as well.

The current modern building was completed in 2006 and features both an exhibition space and a performance space. It’s only since then that the museum started building a permanent collection of modern art.

Official website: ICA Boston

Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
Institute of Contemporary Art Boston / Smart Destinations / Wiki Commons

10. Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is one of the largest art museums in the United States and the 20th largest museum in the world. The museum was established in 1870 and has been expanded several times.

The original location of the museum was at Copley Square but it moved to its current location in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood of Boston back in 1909.

The museum houses an incredible collection of paintings and houses over 450,000 artworks. These staggering figures make it one of the most popular museums in the country.

Official website: Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Museum of Fine arts Boston building
Museum of Fine arts Boston / Merriweather / Wiki Commons