6 miles NW of Cambridge, 9 miles NW of Boston
A country village turned prosperous suburb, Lexington takes great pride in its history. It's a pleasant town with some engaging destinations, but it lacks the atmosphere and abundant attractions of nearby Concord. Making sure to leave time for a tour of the Buckman Tavern, you can schedule as little as a couple of hours to explore downtown Lexington, possibly en route to Concord; a visit can also fill a half or full day, especially if you visit the National Heritage Museum. The town contains part of Minute Man National Historical Park, which is definitely worth a visit.
British troops marched from Boston to Lexington late on April 18, 1775 (no need to memorize the date; you'll hear it everywhere). Tipped off, patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes rode ahead to sound the warning. Members of the local militia, known as minutemen for their ability to assemble quickly, were waiting at the Buckman Tavern. John Hancock and Samuel Adams, leaders of the revolutionary movement, were sleeping (or trying to) at the nearby Hancock-Clarke House. The warning came around midnight, followed about 5 hours later by some 700 British troops, en route to Concord, where they planned to destroy the rebels' military supplies. Ordered to disperse, the colonists -- fewer than 100, and some accounts say 77 -- stood their ground. Nobody knows who started the shooting, but when it was over, eight militia members lay dead, including a drummer boy, and 10 were wounded.