Boston’s Bunker Hill Monument, also whimsically nick-named “Cleopatra’s Needle” by Boston locals, is a lesser-known way to see a view of Boston. The view is really quite spectacular from the tip of this thin tower, and you can get it for free, without paying the exorbitant fees to visit the popular Skywalk Observatory or Top of the Hub restaurant at the tip of the Prudential Building downtown. The only thing is – you have to climb the tower’s 294 steps to get the rewarding view from up top!
The steep and winding climb is not for everybody – it can probably be terrifying for someone who is severely claustrophobic, since it’s a rather tight, dark and gloomy staircase. It’s also probably a good idea to be in moderate physical shape, since the 294 steps will leave most people quite breathless once they reach the top. For anyone who is up for it, the work out is very rewarding, and will leave your calves and hamstrings sore, shaky, and heck – if you do this three times a week, you’ll have legs like a gladiator!
The Bunker Hill Monument was erected to commemorate the fallen American colonists who died in battle against the British at the Battle of Bunker Hill that took place in 1775. The Monument now stands on the site of the historic battle. The tower was completed in 1842, and is a real tribute to New England, as its large bricks were transported from quarries in neighboring Quincy, Massachusetts.
The Bunker Hill Monument is at the very edge of the Freedom Trail in Boston that trails all the way into Charlestown. Many people who do the Freedom Trail opt not to walk this far out of downtown Boston, so they tend to miss the monument. It surprises me, in fact, how many native Bostonians I’ve spoken to, who haven’t even heard of this tall, thin, historic gem!
Check out the slideshow for pictures of the monument – inside, outside, and from up top! You can get an idea of how narrow the staircase is too, in case you are scared of small spaces and you aren’t sure if you can handle it. Courage! It’s worth it!