Arts & Culture Business Featured

Old North Church Letter to Community Regarding New Visitor Admission Fee

About 1/2 million tourists visit the Old North Church every year (NEWF Image)

Dear North End Friends and Neighbors,

As you may have read in the Boston Globe, the Old North Church and Historic Site will begin charging admission to most visitors ($8) beginning on May 1, 2018. Our goal is to raise additional funds to preserve the nearly 300 year old church and to provide a living wage to our forty plus staff members who welcome half a million visitors each year.

We wish to assure our friends that this change will have minimal impact on the residents of the North End.

  • All North End residents will continue to be welcomed to the Old North campus, including the chocolate shop, free of charge. Just show your driver’s license at one of the new ticket booths for admission.
  • All worship services (except weddings and funerals) at the church are open to the public free of charge.
  • Neighbors just passing through the campus from Unity Street to Salem Street may do so without stopping at a ticket booth.
  • We will continue to offer use of the church to neighborhood institutions like the Eliot School, the North Bennett Street School and NEMPAC, free of charge.
  • We do not anticipate the admission fees will substantially reduce the number of visitors coming to the Old North and patronizing North End businesses.
  • We do anticipate that the additional resources will enable Old North to better serve the visiting public as well as the neighborhood by adding new interpretive programs.
  • We do anticipate that additional resources will enable us to take better care of the church and campus. The next major preservation project begins in 2019, when we will restore the crypt beneath the church and make it more accessible to the visiting public.

The Old North Church, founded in 1723, is likely the oldest institution in the North End. Our members are your neighbors and friends. Our visitors are your patrons. Our goal is to be hospitable to all who visit the Old North campus, whether from two blocks or two thousand miles away. We welcome all who come for spiritual direction or civic education and promise that we will continually strive to be good neighbors in a community we deeply love.


Steve Ayres, Vicar, Old North Church and Executive Director, Old North Foundation

13 Replies to “Old North Church Letter to Community Regarding New Visitor Admission Fee

  1. I support the decision to put a fee of eight dollars verses the hope of a voluntary contribution for a guided tour of The Old North Church. In the past I have viewed groups of twenty visit and bypass the donation box. Over 50,000 children visit the church on school trips annually. The church needs revenue to support the docents that staff the tours. Tourism takes a hard toll on the facilities, that need constant repair. If I recall correct, one very large, and well endowed, Boston based church charge the same, without issue. Thank you to Rev. Ayres for the insight and direction going forward.

  2. Very beautiful photo of the church. No mention was made of a fee for a group of students arriving en masse, with teacher, of course.

  3. I understand the Old North Church’s need to raise revenue but at the same time I feel a bit sad as I’ve always had a personal affinity with the church. As a boy growing up in the North End I frequently popped into the church just for a quick look around to feel its historic presences around me. It fostered my love of history and sense of patriotic and civic mindedness. I am no longer a resident of the North End. Now when I visit my family there, which I do at least twice a week, I will only be allowed access to my old friend for a fee. Like I said, it’s personal. I feel a little bit of a loss.

  4. I understand the church needs revenue for upkeep, repairs, etc. but…… I think any resident in the City of Boston should be allowed in FREE….. charge the tourists.

  5. The Globe article didn’t publish our full “rate card”. Boston residents are free. Boston school groups can access our premium tours for free. EBT card holders are free. Group tours are only $3.00 per person. While the highest rate is $8.00, the average per person ticket revenue will run closer to $4.00.

  6. Jay, I agree with you whole heartedly. I would rather they have an event at the Battery Wharf Hotel, or
    one of the restaurants in the No. End to raise money & have raffles. This in my opinion, is kind of tacky.

    1. Is there anything more tacky than raffles? I doubt that a fundraising event would come close to covering the restoration.

      I support the new admission fee on tourists, as it should be. As a resident, thank you for continuing to allow us to enter for free. It is a policy that has worked well at the Paul Revere House too.

  7. I am hopeful that adding perceived value to touring the Church will make visitors a little more respectful of the areas around the Church. Maybe there will be less trash.

  8. I think whatever needs to be done to ensure this treasure of the city thrives, should be done. Church attendance is down across the country given various reasons. Eventually these issues all come down to objective budgeting decisions. Old North is a gem and the community is fortunate to have Rev Ayres and his colleagues at its helm.

    $8 is possibly an arbitrary number unless the hope is people pay $10 and say “keep the change”. I believe it is worth paying to see — plus the maintenance on a landmark like Old North is getting more and more expensive.

  9. People want to charge people to have a car in the neighborhood and install tolls for the people who live here but they are against charging tourists 8 bucks to see a site?

  10. I feel an admission fee is appropriate, but $8 per person seems a bit steep. For comparison, I believe the Paul Revere house charges just $5. The great cathedrals of Europe tend to charge a euro or two at most.

Comments are closed.