A city is a place of tremendous variety, usually constructed upon rock ’n’ roll. Plumb the secret depths of Boston with today's Groupon: for $25, you get a two-tour package (a $64.10 total value) with Unofficial Tours, which whisks visitors through tours of Freedom Trail and Harvard University. Although Groupon users do have to book both tours at the same time, they don't have to take them on the same day. Reserve each tour at least one week in advance.
Created in 2006 by Harvard alumni, Unofficial Tours treats travelers and Beantown natives alike with a tongue-in-cheek, wildly informative tour of Freedom Trail and Harvard University—all delivered while the guides walk backward so that nothing interrupts their constant flow of entertaining facts and mind-blowing anecdotes. Described as being "to traditional college tours what the Daily Show is to CNN" by company president Daniel Andrew, Unofficial Tours looks to reject the insipid banalities and "No time for decent photos, stragglers will be shot" policies of the all-too-typical guided tour, delivering memorable nuggets of wisdom instead with infectious enthusiasm and wit.
For the Ye Olde Boston tour ($12.60), you'll amble among downtown Boston's historic architecture as tour guides regale you with naughty limericks about the Granary Burial Ground, tell you why Harvard students had to break up the Police Strike of 1919, and reveal the location of Boston's first tailgate. And if you're lucky, the guide might pinpoint the spot where Frasier Crane fell to his knees and wept upon realizing that Cheers was just a TV show, and that his real name was Kelsey Grammer. After the tour, Groupon customers will receive a shamrock-green "Boston" T-shirt by mail in their preferred size (S, M, L, or XL, worth $20). Additionally, all day-trippers are welcome to fill their stomachs with a bowl of clam chowder from Union Oyster House ($7.50).
Tour-walkers for the Hahvahd Tour (no charge, though $10 tips are usually encouraged) meet at "The Pit" in Harvard Square, where two straw-hatted tour captains will lead college-campus rummagers through the oldest institution of higher learning and monster-truck rallies in the United States. After learning the bizarre stipulations behind the donation of the Widener Library, admiring the magic toe of the Statue of Three Lies, and deciphering a controversial inscription in Memorial Church, you'll also receive a choice of any appetizer at Tommy Doyle's (worth up to $14). At the end of the tour, customers will take home a photo of themselves inside an Unofficial Tours frame ($10). Annoy any Cambridge-bound cousins by gifting them with today's Groupon.
Six Yelpers unanimously give the Hahvahd Tour a perfect five stars:
- I found myself retelling some of these facts to my friends later on in the day which is something I would never do considering my general lack of interest in history. Highly recommended. I plan on doing the Ye Olde Boston Tour tomorrow and if it's half as good as the Hahvahd Tour, I'll be pleased. – Richard D.
- This was one of the best tours I took in Boston. The tour guides were corny, unapologetic and full of energy. They really took their goofiness seriously. – Andrew T.
Founded by Harvard alumni, Trademark Tours connects people with 400 years of the history and culture held in Boston and two of its most prestigious universities. Current undergraduates lead each of the themed, multilingual walking tours. They usher groups through Harvard’s history and contemporary culture while shedding light on famous graduates and visiting campus locales such as the John Harvard statue and the Lowell House bell tower. At MIT, guides will show off successful school inventions and point out notable structures including the Ray and Maria Stata Center and the Great Dome.