Heading to Boston? Stephanie shares the prices in Boston, USA, as well as how to save money and visit Boston on a budget.
We know how hard it can be to budget and plan a trip to a new country. Prices online can vary and it can be hard to find a fixed range of prices for anything further than a hotel and flight. That is why we have created this Cost of Travel series where we ask travel experts and expats about the travel costs and prices in their favorite countries and homes.
The exchange rate at the time of publishing (January 2022): $1 USD = 0.90€ EUR = 76p GBP
Why visit Boston?
Boston is a historic American city that has lots to do, see, and eat! It’s totally walkable, and the fall, spring, and summer are just magical times to visit; who doesn’t love New England in the fall?! I’ve lived in Boston for 10 years and love so many things about the city! One of America’s most historically rich cities, Boston is known as the birthplace of the American Revolution. Beyond 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. New England is an incredible area in the US to explore, meaning there are plenty of great day trips from Boston to be taken too.
Typical prices in Boston
Accommodation in Boston
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.
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.
A private room in an Airbnb costs around $50-$100 per night but can be a good budget-friendly option, especially for groups.
Get a hotel on the outskirts but near public transit for $150-250 per night.
For downtown Boston, you can get a 3-4 star hotels are available for as little as $89 but they fill quickly. Expect to pay between $80 – $140 for these hotels.
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.
A 5-star hotel costs $300+ per night but can be found at discounted rates when you book in advance. You can also find luxury hotels at fair prices when booking with chains such as the Hyatt or the InterContinental; rooms can be found for around $160.
The Eliot 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.
- Bus: $1.70 per ride Metro: $2.25 per ride these costs are going up 6% sometime soon.
- We also have Uber and Lyft. Rides in downtown Boston are about $10. Rides to places like Cambridge or Allston could be $12-18.
- Airport rides about $20-$25.
Food and drink in Boston
Breakfast: Local Dunkin: $3-$7 for coffee and donut or sandwich per person
Street food: isn’t Dunkin street food? (haha). I don’t know of any breakfast street foods Sit down: $12-20 per person plus 15-20% tip
Lunch: Au Bon Pain or quick lunch stop/sandwiches: $6-$15 for a lunch and drink per person
Sit down: $15-30 per person plus tip
Dinner: Street food or quick place/takeout: $6-$15 per person
Sit down: this can vary wildly from $15-$100+ per person based on location, cuisine, number of stars or fame of chef/restaurant, wine, etc.
Activities and attractions in Boston
- MFA Boston $10-$25
- Duck Tour $10.50-$43
- Red Sox game $22-$160
- Trolley Tour $42
- Bottle of water $1-$3
- Bottle of soda $2-$3
- A gallon of milk $5
- Pint of blueberries $4
- Banana $.70 per pound
- Yogurt $1-$2.50
- Cereal $2.50-$4 per box
How to save money in Boston
- 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 centre 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 have many must see attractions that can be expensive. Get the CityPASS to save money on attractions include 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 which 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.