Massachusetts State House
Massachusetts State House
4.5
Architectural BuildingsGovernment Buildings
About
Designed in 1798 by renowned architect Charles Bulfinch, the historic building is dominated by a magnificent gold dome.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Hyde Park
How to get there
  • Park St • 4 min walk
  • Bowdoin • 5 min walk
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See what travellers are saying
  • andyh67186334
    Coalville, United Kingdom6,829 contributions
    Afternoon Visit to the State House
    I visited late afternoon as there were fewer people there. it is a place of work, so staff are still using the building. You have to go through airport style security when entering the building then go to the Doric Hall for a map or a free tour. Entry to the building is completely free! I was very impressed with the architecture, paintings and sculptures and the grandeur of some of the rooms and staircases. It's a great place to visit when the weather is not too good outside as you can spend as much time as you wish exploring the building.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 15 April 2023
  • M H
    Lytham St Anne's, United Kingdom117 contributions
    Fantastic place to visit
    What an incredible building with so much history. We had a great tour guide who was very engaging and informative, with so many stories to tell. Including takes of two fishes, the sacred cod and the holy mackerel. I would highly recommend including this on any trip to Boston.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 21 May 2023
  • Larry-Calif
    San Francisco, California377 contributions
    GOLDEN DOME
    On the Freedom Trail, our next stop was the Massachusetts State Capital that was designed by Charles Bulfinch and situated on Beacon Hill overlooking the Boston Common . The State Capitol has undergone several expansions and modifications. The shiny glistening golden dome can be seen from the Boston Common and various tall buildings in downtown area. The Capitol interesting architecture is a must stop along the Freedom trail. Shining in the Boston skyline, it is the GOLDEN DOME … at the Massachusetts State House
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 13 August 2023
  • Anthea B
    1 contribution
    Excellent tour
    What an amazing trip. I would highly recommend taking the organised tour which is so informative about past and present politics in Boston. Our tour guide was exceptional, she took us into several rooms where current laws were getting passed....this was awesome to see. The interior of the building was just so impressive with all the marble floors, pillars and stained glass windows. I free tour I would recommend with such knowledgeable and helpful staff.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 21 October 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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Lady Gigglemug
Monrovia, CA2,538 contributions
Oct 2023 • Solo
This is one of America’s most historic statehouses and it’s truly a sight to see!! It’s positively stunning inside and packed full of interesting displays around every corner. They offer guided tours but you can also do a self-guided tour which is what I did - they provide a map with info about the major points of interest but there’s so much more to see so be sure to explore!

This statehouse was built all the way back in the late 1700s!! The giant gold dome wasn’t gold originally - it was just wood but it started to leak so they hired Paul Revere (yes that Paul Revere!!) and his copper company to cover it in copper which was later painted gold.

When you first enter, you have to go through security and then you’re free to just wander around as you please pretty much lol - that really surprised me haha! I suggest you make your way upstairs to Doric Hall to start where you’ll find the info desk to get a map and info on points of interest- or sign up for the guided tour if you prefer.

Doric Hall is full of giant columns and has a statue of George Washington and a lovely painting of Abe Lincoln. Next you’ll head into Nurses Hall where you’ll find a moving tribute to all the Civil War nurses. Next to that is Memorial Hall with a beautiful stained glass dome in the ceiling and then onto the Great Hall of Flags which is really cool!

After making my way up the magnificent Grand Staircase, I somehow found myself in the State Library which isn’t on the map - and this ended up being my fave part!! SO AMAZING!! The sweet staff lady inside the library was so excited to tell us all about it!

The thing that really drew me in was they have a display of an original drawing for John Audubon himself!! The father of birding!!! Oh I was so impressed. And they also have Bradford’s manuscript of his account of early life in Massachusetts- which included the Mayflower passenger list AND the whole description of the very first Thanksgiving!! They let you read it inside the library so I couldn’t resist - I sat down and read it and it was so interesting!! They didn’t even eat turkey - mostly fish haha! How cool is that??

After the library, I went inside the House of Representatives and the Senate Chambers - it was really fun to get to see all that. And the staff told me about a funny “Easter egg” of sorts in each chamber - keep an eye out for the “sacred cod” haha!! The fish is supposedly good luck and represents Massachusetts’ earliest business - fishing!

The state house truly is beautiful- I was there twice as long as I expected to be and still don’t feel like it was enough time - I definitely want to go back and explore more of the treasures in the library!! It’s all free to enter as well and there’s a cafe on the top floor. It’s in the heart of the freedom trail, right next to Boston Common - very much worth a visit!
Written 20 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anthea B
1 contribution
Oct 2023 • Family
What an amazing trip. I would highly recommend taking the organised tour which is so informative about past and present politics in Boston. Our tour guide was exceptional, she took us into several rooms where current laws were getting passed....this was awesome to see. The interior of the building was just so impressive with all the marble floors, pillars and stained glass windows. I free tour I would recommend with such knowledgeable and helpful staff.
Written 21 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelingBum10
United States2,735 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
We did not go inside. Saw the building from the outside. It is very beautiful. A must see. The freedom trail leads you there.
Written 28 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Larry-Calif
San Francisco, CA377 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
On the Freedom Trail, our next stop was the Massachusetts State Capital that was designed by Charles Bulfinch and situated on Beacon Hill overlooking the Boston Common .

The State Capitol has undergone several expansions and modifications. The shiny glistening golden dome can be seen from the Boston Common and various tall buildings in downtown area. The Capitol interesting architecture is a must stop along the Freedom trail.

Shining in the Boston skyline, it is the GOLDEN DOME … at the Massachusetts State House
Written 13 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SeniorTravelerTF
Fort Atkinson1,199 contributions
Aug 2023 • Family
The least professional state capitol tour. among at least a dozen, we have been on. The college age guide had his script memorized, with a ton of "now" and hand-fidgeting thrown in, but could not answer any questions. Seems a shame to waste so much history. We had guests from other countries and it was embarrassing how their questions went unanswered or even understood.
Written 8 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Disneybus
Pittsgrove, NJ859 contributions
Jun 2023
My wife and I , touring from New Jersey, made it a point to visit the State House.
Our tour guide was great - energetic and wanting to please his group. We toured both the magnificent House and Senate. We got many historical tidbits along the way from our guide, including the sacred cod story of the House and the Holy Mackerel of the Senate. A cod statue was given to the House years ago and stolen; it's been returned and is now prominently displayed, but not to be undone the Senate now has a mackerel on top of its center chandelier. Throughout the State House, murals, stained glass windows, and wrought iron railings told a story of long ago. Touring the Governor's corridor where portraits of each are prominently displayed, I had forgotten that Mitt Romney, senator from Utah, was once the Governor of Massachusetts. Our docent pointed out that portraits are required to be only of the Governor: Mitt circumvented it by including a photo of Ann on a desk in the background! Don't pass up this touring opportunity!
Finally, Recognizing one of the earlier dark periods of 1660, - a statue of Mary Dyer is located on the from lawn. A resident then of Rhode Island, she was hanged by Massachusetts on the Commons for religious freedom. We heard this story from a docent while touring the Rhode Island State House.
Written 3 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

romadaro
Washington DC, DC1,583 contributions
May 2023
I’ve always thought that the Massachusetts State House is one of the most beautiful in the country, partly because of its prominent location on Beacon Hill overlooking Boston Common. A Must See, especially if it’s your first visit to Boston.
Written 26 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

M H
Lytham St Anne's, UK117 contributions
May 2023 • Solo
What an incredible building with so much history. We had a great tour guide who was very engaging and informative, with so many stories to tell. Including takes of two fishes, the sacred cod and the holy mackerel. I would highly recommend including this on any trip to Boston.
Written 21 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

andyh67186334
Coalville, UK6,829 contributions
Apr 2023 • Solo
I visited late afternoon as there were fewer people there. it is a place of work, so staff are still using the building. You have to go through airport style security when entering the building then go to the Doric Hall for a map or a free tour. Entry to the building is completely free!
I was very impressed with the architecture, paintings and sculptures and the grandeur of some of the rooms and staircases.
It's a great place to visit when the weather is not too good outside as you can spend as much time as you wish exploring the building.
Written 15 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nano1739
Ipswich, UK516 contributions
Mar 2023 • Friends
We visited on a really quiet day, so was quite peaceful to wander around. Some beautiful rooms and interesting pieces to see.
Written 30 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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