Spelling the name of this landmark public building is a rite of passage for Boston  schoolchildren. Named after one of the wealthiest of Boston’s merchants, Peter Faneuil, Faneuil Hall (Congress St, 617/523-1300, website , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, free) demonstrated Yankee thrift and mercantile ingenuity by serving two purposes. Downstairs was a public food market, full of stalls for meat, vegetables, milk, and cheese, while upstairs was a meeting hall for discussion of pressing local issues.
When the hall was built in 1742, the most pressing issues were taxation on goods by the British government, and Faneuil Hall became the main meeting space for protests and discussions by the Sons of Liberty—earning it the nickname the “Cradle of Liberty.” After it was expanded in size by architect Charles Bullfinch, Faneuil Hall was also the main venue for talks by William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and other anti-slavery activists.
Public talks and citywide meetings are still held upstairs at Faneuil Hall, lent more gravitas by the huge mural of Daniel Webster arguing against slavery that overlooks the stage. During the day, historic talks are given by National Park rangers every half hour.
Downstairs, the stalls still exist, even though they have long since stopped selling food products; most are now the venue for souvenirs and other made-in-Boston goods.