Our esteemed mayor, Thomas M. Menino, is fond of describing Boston as a "young city." He's not referring to the age of the city, but to its character. With its many colleges, technology-focused jobs, and other attributes, Boston boasts a young, well-educated population who bring to it a vitality and vibrancy. Its youthful fervor, however, energizes a decidedly old city, at least by U.S. standards.

In fact, Boston predates the founding of America and played a critical role in its formation. (As a well-educated individual yourself, you knew that, right?) One of the (many) places to discover the city's rich history is the Old State House. The name, "Old" State House, refers to the original building where the Commonwealth of Massachusetts conducted its governmental affairs as opposed to the "new" gold-domed State House that is located a few blocks away on Beacon Hill. But make no mistake; it is the oldest surviving public building in our fair city and is celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2013. No longer used as a seat of power, the Old State House welcomes visitors and offers access to its galleries and exhibits.

Did you know, for example, that John Hancock, John Adams, and Sam Adams (the man, not the beer) all graced the building's hallowed halls to conduct the business of the colonies? Or that the Boston Massacre took place just outside the building? The best way to learn about these and other fascinating historical milestones is to take half-hour guided tours, which are included with admission. In addition to a general tour of the building, the Old State House offers two additional tours that focus on Revolutionary Boston and the Boston Massacre. Old State House 206 Washington Street, Boston 617-720-1713 Open 7 days a week Adults $8.50, 18 and under free

Photo: The Bostonian Society