Boston Travel Guide
This Boston Travel Guide shares everything you need to know before visiting the city, including where to stay, what to do and how to save money in Boston.
One of America’s most historically rich cities, Boston is known as the birthplace of the American Revolution. Beyond the history, Boston also brings us baked beans, Fenway Park and the Boston Marathon.
Walk along the Freedom Trail, visit the many museums, and get shopping at the historic indoor shopping center of Faneuil Hall Marketplace before taking in the gorgeous Boston Harbor.
Typical costs in Boston
Budget: There are a few hostels in Boston with beds costing around $40. However, there are plenty of Airbnb, B&Bs and budget chain hotels to help you cut costs and stay in private rooms for around $70.
Midrange: 3-4 star hotels are available for as little as $89 but they fill quickly. Expect to pay between $80 – $140 for these hotels.
Luxury: 5-star luxury hotels will cost upwards of $200 but deals at chains such as the Hyatt or the InterContinental can be found for around $160.
Transport: Boston is a walkable city but you can use the MBTA with each trip costing $2.75.
The average cost of food:
Boston is know for its clam chowder, baked beans and the Boston Cream Pie. But eating out isn’t always too budget-friendly Expect to pay at least $10 per meal, with dinners costing around $30 per person.
Best time to visit Boston
The best time to visit Boston is from June to October. The summer is warm and the fall brings gorgeous colors to the city parks. Although the summer holidays bring in the tourists and more expensive hotel rates, there are plenty of lively bars, outdoor concerts, cute cafes, and exciting baseball games.
If you are looking to save some money, visiting in January and February will bring quieter and cheaper attractions, flights and hotels.
Where to stay in Boston
Hi Boston Hostel is a popular choice for those looking for single-sex and mixed dorms as well as private rooms. Dorm beds start at $43 and private rooms cost $78.
Boston Homestel is another great option with a shared lounge, free wifi and dorm beds starting at just $34.
For an amazing value accommodation, check out Oasis Guest House, with rooms costing $106 a night. The guest house is in a great location and includes a shared outdoor terrace; ideal for warmer months.
The Seaport Hotel offers rooms along the waterfront for just $135 whilst The Godfrey hotel in the Theatre District is ideal for those looking for a central location and easy metro access. Rooms here start at $140.
The Eliott Suite hotel in Back Bay is the ideal place for a romantic getaway, with rooms starting at just $190 whilst The Whitney Hotel Boston offers modern and elegant rooms from $215.
Save money in Boston
America is not the best place to start if you are traveling on a budget but there are many ways you save money traveling the USA.
- Visit the free attractions – Boston has a lot of free attractions to enjoy all week long. Check out CityofBoston.gov and BostononBudget.com to browse free concerts and museum exhibits available during your visit. There are also plenty of free sights such as the freedom trail, Castle Island, and the free tours of Harvard University. There are even some free tour tours available
- Use Groupon – You can get some fantastic deals in Boston using Groupon. You can grab half-price tickets to a Red Sox game, $20 meals for $10 and even money off hotel stays.
- Use Stubhub.com – If you are looking for sports tickets or theatre tickets, check out Stubhub a week or so before or even during your visit to get last-minute tickets.
- Avoid car rentals – Unless you are staying in a hotel outside of the city center with cheap parking, avoid car rentals. Parking in Boston itself is expensive and the city isn’t the easiest place to drive around. Instead, use the MBTA which runs from 5am to around midnight and through to 3am on Friday and Saturday evenings.
- Walk – Boston is a walkable city so you can save a lot of money by walking between attractions and restaurants.
- Stay outside of the city – Find a hotel just outside the city near the T-line in order to save some money on accommodation.
- Download the free app – The Freedom Trail is a famous tourist highlight in Boston. You can pay for a tour of the trail but instead, download the app for free and take a self-guided tour.
- Free views – You can pay to get a great view of Boston from the Boston Skywalk but instead, get an awesome free view from the top of the Bunker Hill monument. This is a monument to one of the first battles of the American revolution and, after climbing the 294 step-up, you will get great views of the skyline.
- Get a CityPASS — Boston has many must-see attractions that can be expensive. Get the CityPASS to save money on attractions including the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Science, the Boston Skywalk and a Boston Harbor cruise.
- Drink in the breweries – Boston is full of breweries that offer affordable beer and tasters as part of their tour. This works out much cheaper than the $8 pints in the fancy bars within the city itself.
- Chain hotels – The USA has many budget chain hotels. These are basic and make sure to check reviews on Yelp and Tripadvisor first, but you can save some serious money staying in places like Econolodge, Travelodge, Days in and Super 8.
- Hotels with kitchenettes – When booking a hotel or motel, check if there is a kitchenette. If there is a room or hotel with a kitchenette, then opt for that choice, especially if you are staying somewhere for an extended period of time. This means you can save loads of money cooking food yourself rather than eating out.
- Download a Wifi Map – This map is fantastic at finding available Wifi Spots in your area. These aren’t just Free Wifi Spots too, they have a database of passwords to make your connection reliable and safe.
- Avoid Public Holidays – Hotel and travel prices rise around the 4th July and Labor Day, so avoiding travelling at this time. If you do want to travel at this time, book everything in advance.
Best things to do in Boston
- Freedom Trail
- Red Sox at Fenway Park
- Museum of Fine Arts
- New England Aquarium
- The Boston Common
- Somerville’s Bow Market
- Fenway Victory Gardens
- The Waterfront
- The Greenway
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
- Eat the lobster rolls
- Encore Boston Harbor
- Boston Public Library
How to get to Boston
Flights – Logan International Airport is the most convenient airport to fly into. From the airport, you can catch the Silver Line Route SL1 bus to South Station via the waterfront. Or you can catch a taxi or Uber from around $20 to downtown Boston.
Rail – You can catch the Amtrak from New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Portland to Boston, with trains arriving and departing from South Station, Back Bay Station and North Station.
There is also a high-speed train (Amtrak Acela) between Washington, New York and Boston, traveling up to 150 miles per hour.
Driving – For those looking to drive to Boston, this is possible but make sure to book a hotel with affordable parking and avoid driving around the city whilst you are there.
How to get around Boston
Walking – Walking around Boston is a great way to see the city centre, especially on a budget. Take a stroll along the Charles River Esplanade or rent a bike to cycle between the attractions.
The MBTA (Boston’s public transportation system) is a great way to get around the city, with the subway system running throughout Boston and intro Cambridge and nearby suburbs. You can also use the buses or Commuter Rail to get outside of the city centre.
Taxis & ride share – You can flag down taxis easily in Boston and, as the city is fairly condensed, prices aren’t too high. Uber and Lyft is available, particularly ideal for travel outside of the MBTA’s operating hours.
Hop On/Hop Off Trolley Tour – For those looking to see lots of points of interest, you can catch this trolley tour around the city. Get on and off as you please to see the sites at your own pace.