This Fourth of July, you may be tempted to play it lazy. Stay home and barbecue, set off a Roman candle in the driveway.
Say no to this.
Instead, when America sings for you, sing back.
That’s right, we’re talking about a tour through U.S. historical sites inspired by our favorite Founding Father Without a Father, Alexander Hamilton.
Like many a Hamilton fan, it’s likely your appetite for just about anything to do with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s award-winning musical is insatiable. (One might say you could “never be satisfied.”)
Maybe you’ve spent hours scouring the annotated lyrics at Genius.com, learning about the facts and fictions of Hamilton’s life along with the early history of “this great nation of ours.” What better way to experience everything Hamilton than to literally follow in his footsteps?
Well, don’t throw away your shot — make it happen! With help from Wanderu’s unique routing technology, we were able to develop a bus and train itinerary that takes you through 11 Hamilton-centric locations for less than $400. Here’s how to do it:
Book your trips:
|Boston, MA to Utica, NY||$48.03|
|Utica, NY to Poughkeepsie, NY||$48.81|
|Poughkeepsie, NY to New York, NY||$29.81|
|New York, NY to Newark, NJ||$10.59|
|Newark, NJ to Morristown, NJ (local transit)||$14.00|
|Morristown, NJ to Newark, NJ (local transit)||$14.00|
|Newark, NJ to Princeton, NJ||$50.00|
|Princeton, NJ to Philadelphia, PA||$49.88|
|Philadelphia, PA to Washington, D.C.||$17.80|
|Washington, D.C. to Alexandria, VA||$17.04|
|Alexandria, VA to Mt. Vernon, VA (rideshare app)||$15.25|
|Mt. Vernon, VA to Alexandria, VA (rideshare app)||$15.25|
|Alexandria, VA to Williamsburg, VA||$43.39|
|Williamsburg, VA to Yorktown, VA (rideshare app)||$18.59|
|TOTAL TRAVEL COST:||$392.44|
- Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period.
- Local transit prices are based on the one-way fare for the featured route using NJ Transit.
- Rideshare app prices are based on the average cost of an UberX ride during off-peak hours.
Your journey begins in Boston and ends in Yorktown. The cities and towns you’ll visit along the way played a fundamental role in the founding of our nation — and in Hamilton’s life.
Traveling by bus and train will allow you to kick your legs up and relax without having to worry about navigating there yourself. (After all, in Alexander’s day, he never had to worry about passing a semi-truck on a two-lane road.) Besides, this way you can gaze out the window and picture revolutionaries in tricorn hats trotting by in a horse and buggy.
One important note: In a few instances (such as between NYC and Newark), public transit may actually be cheaper than the bus/train options we’ve listed. For convenience sake, we included the prices available in our system. For stops that are especially close to each other, however, public transit is worth checking for an even better deal.
Now, the overture is over — it’s time to read about this route like you’re running out of time.
1. BOSTON, MA
We start in Boston, the site of many pre-Hamilton revolutionary events.
Beantown is an ideal launch point because it’s the first place Hamilton landed in the U.S. when he was an “immigrant comin’ up from the bottom.” (For a really authentic experience, you’ll want to arrive in Boston by way of a “forgotten spot in the Caribbean.” But that’s a whole separate vacation.)
To begin, consider paying homage to our hero in the Museum of Fine Arts, where John Trumbull’s 1806 portrait of Hamilton hangs. (Visit our guide to learn about some other cool things to see at the MFA.)
Then, set the Revolutionary stage by visiting sites like the Old State House (the location of the Boston Massacre in 1770) and the Old South Meeting House, where local patriots planned the Boston Tea Party (and where Benjamin Franklin was baptized). Other essential destinations include Dorchester Heights, where Washington first established his army in Boston in 1776, and the education center at the Paul Revere House.
2. UTICA, NY
Before we get to “the greatest city in the world,” we’ll head to a couple of other Hamilton hot-spots in New York. First is Utica, from which you’ll visit nearby Clinton — once called the “village of schools.”
Clinton is the site of Hamilton College. Now a traditional four-year undergraduate university, the school was founded as a seminary called the Hamilton-Oneida Academy in 1793, and ol’ Alex was one of the original trustees.
The academy was the first school founded by European Americans that educated European and Native American young men together (yay!). Of course, the original Academy and later Hamilton College were only for men (boo!). That is, until 1978, when women were indeed included “in the sequel.” For visitors purposes, the college boasts a beautiful hilltop campus well worth wandering.
But Hamilton didn’t go upstate for the summer, so we’re headed downstate.
3. POUGHKEEPSIE, NY
What comes next? Oceans rise, empires fall, and you’re in Poughkeepsie!
One of the former capitals of New York, Poughkeepsie is now a pleasant college town on the Hudson River, home to Vassar and Marist.
Most importantly, however, it was the site of the New York Ratifying Convention. Hamilton was all-in on the Constitution (he did write 51 essays supporting it, after all), so in 1788 he went to Poughkeepsie with his pal, John Jay, and made New York the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
Unfortunately, the site of this event — the Dutchess County Courthouse — was destroyed by a fire in 1806. But the current Dutchess County Supreme Court stands on the same spot, and is also a historical landmark.
American history is best appreciated with drink in hand, just ask Samuel Adams. Which is why while in Poughkeepsie, it’s also worth your while to visit a scenic winery. (Poughkeepsie is a destination on our East Coast wine tour.)
4. NEW YORK, NY
You could go anywhere in the world, but you’re headed here, to New York City. Honestly, this is the place to be for all things Hamilton. The following are all the places in NYC where you can pay homage to “your obedient servant, A. Ham.”
Hamilton attended King’s College before joining the Revolutionary cause. The school was severely damaged during the war and, needless to say, King’s was in need of a name-change before it could be reopened. (Sorry, George.)
Hamilton helped reestablish the school in 1784 as Columbia College, which eventually became the Columbia University we know today. Tours of the campus are free, no “scholarship to King’s College” required.
Now a museum, Federal Hall on Wall Street was the site of the first inauguration of a president of the United States: The “Pride of Mount Vernon” himself, George Washington. Though no longer standing, the house Hamilton lived in at the time was nearby, also on Wall Street.
The Morris-Jumel Mansion
Located in Washington Heights, the Morris-Jumel Mansion is the oldest house in all of Manhattan. The building is now a museum that hosts a variety of community events, but back in the day, it served as a temporary residence for George Washington in 1776. It also, eventually, became the site of Washington’s first Cabinet Battle — we mean, meeting.
Museum of American Finance
The National Bank is the legacy — the “work of genius” — Hamilton left the U.S. after his time as Secretary of the Treasury. At the MOAF, you can get a full view of his lasting effect on American finance. The museum includes an entire room dedicated to Hamilton, featuring documents he signed and samples of his published works.
Hamilton Grange National Memorial
These days it’s probably a lot less quiet uptown than when Alexander and Eliza moved there after their son, Philip, died in his duel. Supposedly the only home Hamilton ever owned, the house is no longer in its original location, but the Hamilton Grange National Memorial is still a pleasant (and free) place to visit at the north end of Harlem’s St. Nicholas Park.
Just a week before the Hamilton-Burr duel, both combatants attended a meeting held at this tavern for The Society of Cincinnati. (The society’s mission was to, among other things, promote “fellowship among its members.” We’ll call that meeting a mission failure.)
Since then, the tavern has been renovated by the Sons of the American Revolution and reestablished as a restaurant and museum covering the Revolutionary War. The modern “tavern” is a bit more upscale than back in Hamilton’s day, so make a reservation if you’re planning on a meal.
Weehawken Dueling Grounds
Back in the day, rivals looking to get into a little murderous mischief would row across the Hudson to the Weehawken Dueling Grounds. Today, you’ll have to take a cab through the Lincoln Tunnel, but the site is well-worth the traffic. Although the exact spot Burr shot Hamilton has been quarried away, a bronze bust of Alexander — along with the boulder upon which he allegedly laid his dying head — are still stationed at the scene.
82 Jane Street & Trinity Churchyard
The address at 82 Jane Street is (supposedly) William Bayard Jr.’s former home, and (purportedly) the location of Hamilton’s death after they rowed him back across the Hudson. There’s a plaque on the building and everything!
That said, historians assert that Bayard’s home (and Hamilton’s deathplace) was actually a few blocks away, and 82 Jane Street wasn’t built until decades after Hamilton died. But anyway, it’s a nice plaque. (And if it’s on a plaque, it must be true!)
Even if you can’t visit the actual place Hamilton died, you can stop and pay your respects at his final resting place: Trinity Churchyard. He’s buried with his wife, Eliza Hamilton — and, just as Eliza sings in “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” Angelica Schuyler Church is buried nearby as well.
And, while in The Big Apple, save some with our guide for doing New York on the cheap. That’s money better spent on (another) Hamilton hoodie.
5. NEWARK, NJ
From New York to Newark: birthplace of Hamilton’s first friend, his enemy, Aaron Burr. At the corner of Broad and Williams streets, you can visit the site of The Parsonage. The mansion where Burr was born is no longer standing, but it’s not hard to imagine the elegant house where the Rev. Aaron Burr (Senior) and his wife, Esther, once lived.
Otherwise, there’s not actually much to see in Newark, Hamilton-wise. More than anything, our stop here is about getting you to Morristown, a 45-minute ride from Newark via New Jersey Transit.
Newark, NJ to Morristown, NJ
(local transit, buy @ station)
6. MORRISTOWN, NJ
In the Winter of 1777, Washington was headquartered in Morristown at Arnold Tavern. It was there that Washington asked Hamilton to become his aide-de-camp.
While the original tavern is long gone — you’ll find a plaque marking the spot — there is a hotel/spa/event venue called The Arnold House that today includes a restaurant named “The Tavern.” (A gimmick perhaps, but we won’t blame you for stopping there as part of your historical tour.)
Washington upgraded from the tavern to a mansion for his 1779–1780 winter headquarters. The Ford Mansion is still standing and now includes the Washington’s Headquarters Museum. In 1780, a “Winter’s Ball” (probably at the Ford Mansion) was the setting for Hamilton’s intro to Angelica and Eliza Schuyler (and Peggy!) in the musical.
Morristown also boasts the Schuyler-Hamilton House, where Eliza stayed with her aunt through the winter of 1780 and was courted by Hamilton before they married.
7. PRINCETON, NJ
After a quick pit-stop back in Newark, you’re off to Princeton.
Princeton University was founded by, among others, Aaron Burr’s father. Along with James Madison, Aaron attended Princeton on an accelerated course of study, and Alexander wanted to do the same. (Fact Check: Hamilton didn’t actually punch Princeton’s bursar. That one was all about the rhyme with “Burr, sir.”)
There’s a legend that during the Battle of Princeton, Hamilton shot a cannonball into Nassau Hall, the oldest building on campus today. The cannonball was said to neatly decapitate a portrait of King George II. Hamilton did fight in that particular battle, but the tale itself seems a little far-fetched. It’s a good story though, so we’ll allow him this dollop of fame.
In Princeton Cemetery lies the grave of Aaron Burr, which is far smaller than Hamilton’s massive monument in New York. (Not that size matters, but just sayin’.) Although Burr was the Vice President of the U.S. during Thomas Jefferson’s first term, even in death, he’s overshadowed by Alexander. Guess that’s what you get when you’re the villain in our history.
8. PHILADELPHIA, PA
When it came to making key decisions about the future of our nation, Philadelphia was the real room where it happened. Independence Hall, the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, also hosted the Constitutional Convention in 1787. (You’ll remember, Hamilton “was chosen for the Constitutional Convention” as a delegate from New York.)
The First Bank of the United States, Hamilton’s solution to the new nation’s near-crippling war debt, is also in town. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to meet us inside: The bank is not open to tourists, but the outside still makes for a stellar photo-op. During the First Bank’s construction, the federal bank was temporarily housed in Carpenters’ Hall (which is open to visitors, and was also the site of the First Continental Congress in 1774).
While in The City of Brotherly Love, make sure to visit the Museum of the American Revolution and (especially if you love the Constitution as much as Hamilton did) the National Constitution Center, which is completely dedicated to the epic document.
To really get the most of your time in Philly, download a tour guide for your phone. There’s literally an app called Alexander Hamilton Walking Tours in Philadelphia. Among Philadelphia’s other claims to fame, it’s the city where Hamilton started up his affair with Maria Reynolds, and also has a seductive food scene, which you can learn about in this guide.
9. WASHINGTON, D.C.
From the former U.S. capital to the current one, Hamilton’s legacy looms large in our modern political institutions. A bronze statue of him by James Earle Fraser, dedicated in 1923, can be found on the South Patio of the Treasury Building (tours of which are available by advance reservation).
And at the Library of Congress (which is free and open to the public), you’ll find a collection of the Federalist Papers in two volumes as part of Thomas Jefferson’s library. The volumes belonged to Eliza Hamilton before being passed to Jefferson, and were annotated by both of them. Jefferson even made notes about which essays were written by Alexander.
10. MT. VERNON, VA
Catch a Lyft from Alexandria for the 20-minute drive to Mount Vernon: Washington’s long-time home and the place he returned for his “moment alone in the shade” after his presidency.
Admission to Mount Vernon includes a tour of the mansion and other attractions around the grounds. Some of these buildings (like the spinning house) have demonstrations, and you can buy products (whiskey, cornmeal, grits, pancake flour) made at the fully functioning reconstructions of the gristmill and distillery.
And don’t miss a visit to the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center for a glimpse of Washington’s dentures, which — urban legend alert — were not actually made of wood. (Frankly, we’re a little disappointed Christopher Jackson didn’t method-act and decide to sing with fake teeth. Now that would’ve nabbed him the Tony.)
11. YORKTOWN, VA
The path to Yorktown is through Williamsburg.
It’s not really relevant to Hamilton per se, but Williamsburg is a living-history museum of colonial America. That means historical reenactors who work, dress and talk like they’re living in 18th-century Virginia. You’ll remember that Hamilton, a city boy at heart, had a contentious relationship with his peers from Virginia. While you’re there, however, you may as well get a feel for how Virginians like James Madison and George Mason lived.
A short Lyft ride away is the place where “the world turned upside down”: the site of the Battle of Yorktown. Now a historic national park, you will have to pay admission ($10 for adults), although the fee is waived on certain significant dates. Guided walking tours are available, and the site also hosts various events (like artillery demonstrations), so check the calendar if you’re looking to end your Hamilton-inspired tour with a bang.
City-to-City With Wanderu
And that’s it!
Look at where you are. Look at where you started.
After this expedition, you’ve officially leveled up as a Hamilton buff. Feel free to lord that over lesser fans who mumble through the refrain of “My Shot.”
Frankly, we can’t think of a more patriotic way to celebrate the stars and stripes than with an Alexander Hamilton–themed pilgrimage. Which is why you should book your bus and train tickets on Wanderu today!
Enjoy American history-themed vacations in general? Then don’t miss out on these three road trips that will take you to the homes of 21 U.S. presidents. In fact, so many places across the U.S. have their own historical meaning, so wherever you go you’re bound to learn a little more about American history. You can plan a trip around the country (literally) using our train loop itinerary or explore the East Coast following the 21-day road trip the duo behind Tripination did.
To map each leg of this Hamilton tour, we used Wanderu’s proprietary data on bus and train travel in the United States — including pricing, duration and schedule information from Amtrak and multiple bus carriers — to leverage our unique routing technology, which allows us to route and build multi-stop travel itineraries using trips from various providers in real time.
The prices quoted in this article are based on the average cost of bus and train tickets available on Wanderu for each route over a 30-day period.
To ensure that this trip is more than just data science, the Wanderu algorithm used actual bookable trips to verify that this road trip was possible at these prices over multiple consecutive days.