High on the top of Breed’s Hill stands a 221-foot granite obelisk (Monument Square, Charlestown, 617/242-5641, www.nps.gov/bost/historyculture/bhm.htm , exhibit: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, monument: 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily, free) to mark the misnamed first major battle of the Revolutionary War. In it, the patriots—while defeated—inflicted such high casualties upon the British Army that thousands rushed to the colonist cause to begin a protracted siege of Boston . The monument itself has some 300 steps inside that lead up to one of the best views of the Boston Harbor and the city skyline.
Across the street, the impressive new Bunker Hill Museum (43 Monument Square, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, free) opened in 2007 with two floors of exhibits about the battle. In addition to artifacts such as a British cannonball, the museum features two dioramas with miniature figurines that perpetually fight the battle over again with the help of a sound and light display. The highlight, however, is the beautifully painted “cyclorama” on the second floor, depicting the battle in breathtaking 360 degrees.