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A lot of visitors wander into Faneuil Hall to use the bathroom or browse the souvenir shops here. After all, it’s the headquarters of the National Park Service’s Visitor Information Center and rangers offer great tips about seeing the site and others that are part of the Boston National Historical Park. But Faneuil Hall, pronounced “Fan-u-el” by locals today, is an eminent landmark notably christened “the Cradle of Liberty” by James Otis in 1761—a moniker that’s plausible as well as, perhaps, somewhat dramatic. Boston merchant Peter Faneuil had this building constructed in 1742 and gave it to the city of Boston. It attracted local activists, and earned notoriety for being the breeding ground of the American Revolution. Since then, orators continue to speak in its Great Hall, among them Barak Obama, John Kerry, Daniel Webster and Susan B. Anthony.
If your taste falls to military history, head all the way upstairs to the Museum of Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachu- setts for a jam-packed quarter hour filled with extraordinary artifacts—uniforms, firearms and swords, photographs, medals and memorabilia— from every war of which America has been part. Lastly, there’s a time capsule hiding here in plain sight. Look up! Not to be confused with a cricket, Faneuil Hall’s golden grasshopper weather vane has been observing the goings-on of orators, rabblerousers and ordinary citizens for upwards of 275 years, and its belly contains veritable artifacts from these times— coins, newspapers and notes. 1 Faneuil Hall Square, 617.242.5642